Saturday, April 20, 2013

How To Be A Monk

Originally posted on the old Servant Leadership Blog on January 20th, 2008.  
Colin writes a blog from Victoria, Australia called "Conversatio Morum". In a recent blog, he writes on the topic of Servant Leadership from his perspective. This perspective includes being a middle aged man who works as a registered nurse, his practice as an Oblate of St Benedict, his relationship with his partner, and his struggles with cancer and bipolar affective disorder. His Blog discusses the challenges he faces in a new job of working long hours, traveling, and the need to concentrate, but he sees the new job as “a good thing.”

With this background, he questions his leadership style and reflects on Robert Greenleaf’s concept of Servant Leadership. Collin sees his “primary calling as being to serve - I have always felt that my vocation was to the diaconate, being a servant of others. I think the challenge for me at the moment is to see how I can serve and lead.” He acknowledges the challenges of practicing servant leadership that we all face in our non-servant leadership world. “My workplace is loud, busy, focused on results - how can I be who God calls me to be in this place? How can I be a monk there? How can I serve and lead?”

Collin’s questions seem to be a good lead into some concepts covered in Robert Greenleaf’s essay “Spirituality as Leadership” from the book Seeker and Servant – Reflections on Religious Leadership (pages 61-62). Greenleaf points out that “if spirituality as leadership […] is to become a major force in producing a more caring society […], then the process of spiritual formation will need to reach the large numbers who do the work of the world.” The challenge that we all face in the work world today is the distractions of “power, money, and competition” that force us to “lead split lives” where “spirituality must be reconciled with the realities of the world.”

For Greenleaf, the work of a “monk in his cell or the theologian in his study” (or for any of us) is not “spiritual unless the fruit of their efforts is such that it finds its way to nourish the servant motive in those who do the work of the world.” Greenleaf believed this nourishment would become available when:
  1. Large numbers of people that suffer from alienation find themselves at home in the world, as it is, the good and the bad – “by accepting and nurturing their servant natures”.
  2. Current leaders are helped to find the sustaining spirituality that will allow them to become detached from and keep perspective on their burdens through “clarity of vision, compassion, and grace.”
  3. Individuals become willing to receive the gift of spirituality as leadership and then “make a mission of healing alienation and assisting the spiritual formation of established leaders."
As we look for the answers to life's questions, we can become part of the force that will help create a more caring society.

No comments:

Post a Comment