Archive for February, 2006

Ministry from one to many

Ministry from one to many

Carol and I were talking about church the other day. I got going on a little bit of rant. It went something like this. Imagine a hotel that has guest rooms, conference and meeting space, a restaurant, and catering. Now imagine everyone gathering together once a week to hear a message from the General Manager on how to become a better employee. Picture it as staff people from the kitchen, front desk, sales, accounting, maintenance, catering all gathering together to hear an inspirational and informative lecture from their leader.

Sounds like a colossal waste of time doesn’t it?

What message could be relevant to accounting and maintenance? I suppose you could talk about values like hard work, honesty, value, or efficiency. What good is it to talk about value in broad terms when what the prep cooks need to know the easiest way to clean Calamari?

The truth is there is some merit in gathering all the people together and talking about the shared values and direction of an organization. Lots of organizations do this once or twice a year. However the bulk of what people need to know and need to learn can only be taught in very small groups while in the business of doing something together. One prep cook teaches another how to fulfill the values of the organization by showing the other how to quickly and effectively work through a rather large pail of uncooked squid.

If this idea of continual mass teaching and inspiration seems absurd in a business why do we buy in to for church? I really don’t know why the bulk of church experience is sitting and listening in a large group. I can understand why we might do it once in a while but if expect every member of the church to be a minister then they need a time and place to conduct that ministry. For most people it will be like one cook helping another.


You had an option, sir

You had an option, sir

From Prime Minister Harper’s victory speech

Tonight, our great country has voted for change, and Canadians have asked our party to take the lead in delivering that change. To Canadians I say this – we will honour your trust, and we will deliver on our commitments…

Throughout this campaign, we were crystal clear about where we will lead. First and foremost, we will clean up Ottawa by proposing and passing the Federal Accountability Act. We will do this because shuffling the deck in Ottawa is not enough. We need to change the system. And we will change the system to strengthen our institutions and make them more accountable to you, the Canadian taxpayers.

So Harper’s first step to clean up government is to give a cabinet post to someone elected two weeks ago as a Liberal in a seat no Conservative could ever win. Mmmmmmmmm. Does this not look like Mulroney winning an election by pummelling Turner on patronage and then indulging in the practice?


New Design

New Design

A little while ago I went for breakfast with Randall. As always it was a very good time. He encouraged me. In his very gentle pastoral way he said something like “Leighton I think it is time for a redesign.” My previous “frosty” incarnation had been around for awhile. So I thought I’d make something in anticipation of some summer storms. This photo was taken just outside of Saskatoon (not by me).


Lessons from Brian Mulroney

Lessons from Brian Mulroney

I’m finished reading “The Secret Mulroney Tapes.” I loved the book. I found most of the book very fascinating. When I was finished I was sad because I wanted to read more. A lot of the book is our former PM and various other players on the political scene. I came away with a much better impression of Mulroney than I had before. This Mulroney appeared likable, competent and even admirable. There are a lot quotes that unflattering but I think his good qualities outweigh the bad. He genuinely cared about people and was very loyal to his friends.

It seemed our former PM had trouble being honest about himself. He felt the need to project an image of perfection so that people will follow his lead. He exaggerated a lot. He kind of reminds of an old friend of mine who was both very sincere and full of BS at the same time. It wasn’t that he really intended to deceive people, he just didn’t pay enough attention to whether the force of his words accurately reflected the reality of the situation.

It was refreshing to read a book that reflects on leadership rather than just posing theories about it. I learned something from Brian’s example. Even the best people with the best qualities can be completely undone but a couple of character flaws. You can have intelligence, principles, charm, good humour, charisma and knowledge but if you can’t best honest with yourself or you can’t forgive those who wound you you’ll be handicapped.

I’m starting to see that one of the requirements of spiritual leadership is emotional health. If you have too much baggage or old wounds something done by someone somewhere will eventually trigger your sore spot.