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Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

Month: July 2016

Authenticity, Immorality, and Homosexuality: How do I find my “true self”? Thoughts from guest blogger Dr. Lewis Winkler

One of the thinkers I really respect is a find of mine, Dr. Lewis Winkler, who teaches at the East Asia School of Theology in Singapore. Dr. Winkler considers issues biblically, clearly and thoroughly. I appreciate his heart and compassion for people. I read his blog regularly.

I found this post titled Authenticity, Immorality, and Homosexuality: How do I find my “true self”? interesting in light of so much ongoing media coverage on this topic. To give you a taste of his writing, here’s Dr. Winkler’s closing paragraph:

The good news is you can discover your true self. There is a source of authentic humanity, but it comes from outside the self and even outside the universe. And also has a name: the God-man, Jesus Christ. If you want to find out who you really are, only the One who made you can tell you, and only He can make you who you ought to be: a truly authentic and genuinely godly human being.

I invite you to check out these thoughts from Dr. Lewis Winkler, my guest blogger, for the week.

Heroic Leadership

What a good book and what a different sort of leadership book than I normally read! Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney examines and draws leadership principles from the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. The Jesuits have been around for over 450 years and Lowney attributes much of their success to the four pillars that guide their leadership: self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism.

I was struck by the principle of “indifference” practiced by the Jesuits, which encourages the freedom from inordinate attachments. If you’re free from the things of the world that hold you back, then you’re free to go anywhere in the world the Lord might take you. So unlike most teachings on leadership that I read and a teaching rarely heard today.

The Jesuits focused on finding and developing “as many as possible of the very best.” They worked at finding great young leaders and then putting them in challenging situations to further hone their leadership skills. They forced people to stretch and grow, all the while pushing them to live like Jesus and to treat people like Jesus would treat them.

I was also struck by the Jesuit’s Latin motto, “magis” or “more.” This does not refer to accumulating more money or stuff, which would put it in conflict with the principle of indifference, but rather magis represents the reality that there are new places to go. There are unexplored regions that have not heard about the Christian faith, there are more ways to improve the educational experience of the students under their care, things around you can be better. I love the push that results from aiming high.

Lowney does not sugarcoat the Jesuits and there are issues to be found in their work, but his insight into their leadership culture is rich and worthy of your time, especially if leadership is something you’re trying to live out. May we all be captured by the principle of magis!

 

Consumerism

This summer I’m taking a class on Church History and we’ve been discussing ideologies – the ideas and ideals that people believe and live by, whether they know it or not. I believe that one of the overarching ideologies of our time is consumerism. Marketers drive people to want more, to get more, to yearn for the latest product. People tend to move quickly toward getting what they want. This ideology taps into the overpowering self-interest that rules our hearts. Not much is ever said about having enough.

It’s also fascinating to me to see the hero worship that goes towards business and tech leaders. Steve Jobs has been the subject of various books and movies due to his technical genius. But his personal life was a shambles and he was a jerk to work around. Reading his biography makes you shake your head that anyone could stand him. One of our leading presidential candidates is a businessman with no statesmanlike qualities at all, but it’s believed by his supporters that his business expertise will translate directly into leading the most powerful nation-state in history, this despite few previous successful examples.

In the past, clergy or generals or academics or explorers were considered wise leaders worthy of emulation. Today it’s people who can make money, be they business people or athletes or entertainers. This seems to me to be one of the dominant and troubling ideologies of our day. Is the ability to generate wealth the most important criteria we have for leaders? If consumerism and the desire for more money and stuff is at the heart of our society’s dominant worldview, then those are the kind of leaders we’ll seek out and those are the type of leaders we’ll get. But, in the end, are those the types of leaders we really want?

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