Saturday, October 24, 2009

Legacy – Being Aware of our Impact

I was thinking about my friend Donna Butler today.

Donna is one of those people who always comes up in conversation whenever people of my graduating class get together.

Earlier this summer, I was reconnected with two friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in 28 years.

Within five minutes of each of our initial conversations, the inevitable question was asked by each of them:

Do you remember Donna?

Both guys went on to describe the impact that Donna had in their lives.

I know all about it – I think about her impact on me all the time.

If you will allow me a moment, I will tell you about Donna.

She was like any other typical kid in many ways.  She was smart.  She was cute.  She seemed up more than she was down.  She always had a kind word to say about someone.  She spoke of her brothers a lot.

Her life in many ways seemed to be quite normal.  She didn’t aspire to be in the limelight and her impact on others seemed to be typical for a kid her age.

Donna did have something that we didn’t have.  She had a heart that wasn’t healthy.  She died in 1983 at the age of 18 of a congenital heart defect.

While we were stunned and saddened at the time, such things occasionally happen and we moved on in life.

So I thought.

I thought I was the only one that thought about Donna a lot but it seems like a lot of people think about her on a fairly regular basis.

I was thinking about this today and wondering how one who lived such a seemingly ordinary life could have left such an impact on us.

Then it occurred to me.

Donna saw the best in people, regardless of who they were.

She worked hard, not because it brought her public acclaim, but because it seemed the right thing to do.

She spoke words of wisdom without trumpeting them or pushing them down your throat.

She wanted everyone to be happy and did her best to help everyone around her.

If someone spoke harshly to her, she didn’t return the act with venomous words.

She was always smiling.

She did all of this for only one reason – it seemed to be the natural thing to do.

In living a life of unselfish giving and doing it as naturally as you or I breathe, she left an incredible, powerful legacy on those who were lucky enough to have met her.

This got me to thinking about the legacy that we all leave behind.  Many times, we work so hard to leave a personal or professional legacy as we would want it defined – wanting to get the legacy just right.

Many times, the legacy that we leave will not result from the things that we tried to create willfully.

Our legacy will come from the things we do naturally, from the things we do when no one is looking, from the things we do when we are significantly challenged and from the things we do because they are simply the right things to do.

That’s what Donna did.  While many of us have gone on in life to create personal or professional success, the one that everyone remembers and talks about is Donna.

Thank you, Donna.  Twenty six years after you have left us, you are still teaching us.

Which brings me to this question:

How is your legacy doing?

In service and servanthood,


For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Legacy – Being Aware of our Impact”, please click here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

O Passion, Where Art Thou?

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

I’ve been feeling lately like I have been working double-shifts in the ER.

Many of the patients who have been admitted haven’t been in any type of accident.

They are suffering from what I will define as deficientia passio – passion deficiency syndrome.

As each patient is rolled in, a quick assessment is usually all that is required.  I grab the passion defibrillator, yell out CLEAR and zap them with the passion they need to make a difference in the world.

Ah, if it were only that easy.

A lot of wonderful people have come my way lately whose passion is either gone, never manifested in the first place or manifests in destructive ways instead of constructive ones.

The reasons are many, I’m sure.  We can can all psychoanalyze the many reasons – fear of this or that, bad life experiences, the stress of living in the 21st century, etc.

All I know is that when it comes to making a real difference in the lives of ourselves and others, when all things are equal;  opportunity, networks, intelligence, etc., there are two things that will separate those who can’t or won’t from those who do.

The ones who ultimately get it done exhibit ferocious amounts of passion but do so with an inner humility that allows the passion to be directed in a positive manner.

I have worked with a number of business leaders lately who exhibit one or more of the following symptoms of deficientia passio.  If you have any of these symptoms, please see your “passion therapist” right away.  The symptoms may appear similar to one of the following:

  1. People who wonder why their team doesn’t seem to care about exceeding expectations (or even meeting them).  Meanwhile, the team leader doesn’t seem to care either, focusing on irrelevant things but getting upset when their team is not focused.
  2. Leaders who hope that their company can survive while telling everyone that they are doing everything they can.  At the same time, offers to inject capital or help of any kind are spurned and some go off on vacation at the wrong time, with the scarcity mindset of “the company is lost anyway so I will take one more vacation on someone else’s dime”.  These people also embrace the concept that to own all of nothing is superior to owning a smaller piece of a much larger entity.  Passion to protect ego is stronger within these people than passion for success.
  3. People who lead organizations or groups with little or no communication, have meetings with no purpose or have no clearly established vision, mission and goals.  These leaders will lament ad nauseum about how their people won’t get engaged or are worthless.  How can they get engaged – the team either doesn’t know how to get engaged, what they should engage in or why they should even bother?
  4. Leaders who demand respect from the environment while at the same time, perform acts that violate most acceptable HR principals.  “My people are professionals”, these leaders reason, “they should be able to do as I say and not as I do”.
  5. People who are in constant “hurry up and wait” mode, right up to the final demise of their team, committee or organization.  These are the people who exhibit less passion for their team and their purpose than the people who are called in to help them.  They are the ones who will ask for help or money but when it is offered to them, take weeks to respond.  Weeks later, the cry for help comes again and is even more desperate.  The offers of help go out again and again there is silence.  The cycle continues for a while until suddenly there is long-term silence.  A year or so later, you run into this person and they tell you the sad story that everything collapsed because of the fault of everyone but them.  They in fact snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
  6. People who constantly talk about the need to improve themselves or their company.  They never make any progress towards improvement but they will meet with you forever and never do anything themselves.  Some even get angry when you won’t do it for them – that somehow you must be more passionate about them than they are.
  7. Leaders who demand strong values of respect, honesty, collaboration, etc. and yet do everything to undermine these values.  Eventually the team members get disgruntled, performance levels fall, team members leave and the leader blames all the problems on the team members. 

I guess I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t add that other symptoms also include dry-mouth, headache, stomachache, a sense of fatigue, a sense of hyperactivity, constipation and diarrhea.  It seems that all diseases and the medications that treat them include these symptoms also!

There are amazing opportunities all around us.  There are more than ever, despite the projection of gloom and doom.

We only come this way once.  We get one whack at whatever our purpose is and then we are gone.  In the grand scale of things, our limited time on this earth is a blip that doesn’t even register within the context of time in the Universe..

However, that blip has huge potential within the context of our lives and the people around us.

We all have different impacts on this earth.  Some of us live quiet lives and impact a few people.  Some impact a lot of people but still do it quietly.  Others prefer to be “out there”, using their gifts in a more noticeable way.

Whatever we do, we need to make sure our passion is engaged. 

Our passion changes our result from good to excellent.

It is contagious.  A strong passion brings other people into your circle to help  you achieve that which you are striving towards.  Lack of passion is equally contagious and can kill projects (and sometimes people).

When Life gets tough as it always does on occasion, passion (with other things) helps us to move forward.

A lot of people are afraid of passion.  I’ve been told that my passion is intimidating.

That’s fine – don’t waste your time trying to make them passionate.  You will burn yourself out and upset them at the same time.

Find others who are equally or more passionate.  This is not always easy.  However, when it comes to finding passionate people to engage, remember the law of the 4 SWs.

Some will

Some won’t

So what ….

Someone’s waiting.

St. Augustine wrote:

The fire you wish to enkindle in others must burn in yourself.

Find your purpose.  If you don’t know how to do that, send me an email.  I’ll help you find it. 

Why would I do that? 

Because the world needs your passion for success, excellence and contribution.  It needs you to share your talents, knowledge and strengths and to do so with as much enthusiasm as you can muster.  It needs you to light the fire of passion in others as well.

A world of apathy and indifference is a world that will ultimately collapse.  Read your history books – organizations and nations have fallen when leaders either didn’t have passion or their passion was misdirected.

As Earl Nightingale once said:

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.

Be passionate.

Associate with passionate people.

Make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

Do it with the best of your ability.

Make the most of your time.

After all, when it comes to time:

  • We are born with a finite amount allocated
  • We don’t know how much is remaining
  • Once it is burned, it is gone forever

Now if you will excuse me, I have to run.

Another patient has been rolled in and it looks like a really bad case of deficientia passio.

<<Ok … I need 10 ccs’ of purpose here, 20 cc’s of legacy definition and 30 cc’s of enthusiasm …. and get that passion defibrillator here … stat.  C’mon people, move it  – this person’s in trouble.>>

Yours in service and servanthood – passionately.


For other musings about passion, please check out:

Check Your Passion at the Door

A User’s Guide to Passionate People

For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “O Passion, Where Art Thou”, please click here.

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

Oh, pasión, ¿donde te hayas?

To read this blog in English, please click here.

Últimamente, me he sentido como si hubiera estado trabajando doble turno en la sala de Urgencias de un hospital.

Muchos de los pacientes que han sido admitidos no han sufrido ningún accidente.

Sufren de lo que yo defino como deficientia passio – síndrome de deficiencia de pasión.

Según llega cada paciente, tan solo hace falta realizar una valoración rápida. Agarro el desfibrilador de pasión, grito LISTO y les doy un zap de la pasión que necesitan para marcar la diferencia en el mundo.

Ay, si solo fuera así de sencillo.

Muchas personas maravillosas se acercan a mi últimamente, cuya pasión o se ha desvanecido, nunca se ha manifestado o se manifiesta de forma destructiva y no constructiva.

Estoy seguro de que hay muchas razones. Todos podemos psicoanalizar las múltiples razones: el miedo a esto o aquello, malas experiencias en la vida, el estrés de vivir en el siglo 21, etc.

Lo único que sé es que cuando llega el momento de marcar la diferencia en nuestras vidas y en la de los demás, cuando todos los factores son iguales, por ejemplo, oportunidades, contactos, inteligencia, etc., hay dos cosas que separarán a aquellos que no pueden o quieren de los que lo hacen.

Aquellos que marcan la diferencia exhiben una cantidad tremenda de pasión pero lo hacen con una humildad interior que permite que la pasión sea dirigida de forma positiva.

Recientemente, he trabajado con varias personas, líderes de negocio, que exhiben uno o más de estos síntomas de deficientia passio. Si sufres de alguno de estos síntomas, por favor acude a tu “terapeuta de pasión” inmediatamente. Estos síntomas pueden parecerse a alguno de los que describo a continuación:

  1. Personas que se preguntan por qué a su equipo de trabajo no le importa superar las expectativas (o siquiera cumplirlas). Mientras, el líder del equipo tampoco se preocupa, centrándose en cosas irrelevantes pero disgustándose cuando ve que su equipo no se centra.
  2. Líderes que tienen la esperanza de que su compañía sobreviva tan solo por medio de decir a todo el mundo que están haciendo todo lo que pueden. A la vez, rechazan ofertas de inyecciones de capital o de cualquier tipo de ayuda y algunos se van de vacaciones en el momento equivocado, con el pensamiento escaso de que “la compañía está pérdida de todas formas, así que me iré de vacaciones una vez más con el dinero de otro”. Estas personas además, también aceptan el concepto de que es mejor ser dueño total de nada a ser dueño de algo más pequeño dentro de una entidad más grande. En este caso, la pasión para proteger el ego es más fuerte dentro de estas personas que la pasión para el éxito.
  3. Personas que lideran organizaciones o grupos con poca o ninguna comunicación, celebran reuniones sin sentido o no tienen una visión, misión y objetivos claramente definidos. Estos líderes se quejan ad nauseum sobre como su gente no se comprometen o son inútiles. ¿Como pueden comprometerse, si el equipo no sabe como embarcarse, en que deben centrarse o siquiera molestarse?
  4. Líderes que exigen respeto de su entorno y, sin embargo, llevan a cabo actos que violan los principios más básicos de recursos humanos. “Mi gente son profesionales” según el razonamiento de estos líderes “deben de hacer según digo y no según hago”.
  5. Personas que están siempre en modo de “date prisa y espera”, justo hasta el momento final de su equipo, comité u organización. Estas son las personas que exhiben menos pasión hacia su equipo y propósito que las personas que llegan con ayuda. Son aquellos que correrán a pedir ayuda o dinero pero cuando se les ofrece esta ayuda o dinero, tardan semanas en responder. Y semanas después, llega de nuevo la petición de ayuda y en esta ocasión, es aún más desesperada. De nuevo llegan las ofertas de ayuda y, de nuevo, se produce silencio El ciclo continúa durante un tiempo hasta que, de repente, se produce un silencio prolongado. Más o menos un año después, te encuentras con esta persona y te cuentan la triste historia de como todo se vio abajo por culpa de los demás, salvo ellos mismos. De hecho, ellos arrancaron la derrota de la fauces de la victoria.
  6. Personas que están hablando constantemente de la necesidad de mejorar su compañía o a ellos mismos. Ellos nunca harán ningún progreso hacia la mejora pero se reunirán contigo eternamente y nunca harán nada por ellos mismos. Algunos hasta se enfadan contigo si o lo haces por ellos, dando a entender que tu debes ser más apasionado sobre ellos que ellos mismos.
  7. Líderes que exigen fuertes valores de respeto, honestidad, colaboración, etc. pero, sin embargo, hacen todo lo posible para minar estos valores. Al cabo del tiempo, los miembros del equipo pierden la motivación, la productividad cae, los miembros del equipo se marchan y el líder echa la culpa de todos los problemas en los miembros del equipo.

Creo que no cumpliría con mi deber si no incluyo otros síntomas tales como sequedad de boca, dolor de cabeza, dolor de estómago, fatiga, hiperactividad, estreñimiento y diarrea. ¡Es que parece ser que todos los males y su medicación también incluyen estos síntomas!

Existen multitud de oportunidades a nuestro alrededor, más que nunca, a pesar de las predicciones negativas y borrascosas.

Venimos por este camino tan solo una vez. Tenemos tan solo una oportunidad a cualquiera que sea nuestro propósito y de repente, ya no estamos.

Al nivel de la gran escala de las cosas, nuestro tiempo limitado sobre este planeta es un blip que ni siquiera queda registrado en el contexto del tiempo del universo.

Sin embargo, este blip tiene u potencial enorme dentro del contexto de nuestras vidas y de las personas a nuestro alrededor.

Todos tenemos impactos diferentes en este planeta. Algunos llevamos vidas tranquilas e impactamos sobre pocas personas. Algunos impactan sobre muchas personas pero de forma silenciosa. Otros prefieren estar “ahí fuera”, usando sus dones de forma más notable.

Sea lo que sea lo que hagamos, debemos realizarlo con pasión.

Nuestra pasión tiene la capacidad de camiar nuestro resultado de bueno a excelente.

Es contagioso. Una pasión fuerte atrae a otras personas a tu circulo para ayudarte a conseguir aquello que estás intentando. Una carencia de pasión es igualmente contagiosa y puede acabar con proyectos e incluso, a veces, con personas.

Cuando la vida se pone difícil como suele ocurrir de vez en cuando, la pasión (junto con otras cosas) nos ayuda a seguir adelante.

A muca gente le da miedo la pasión. A mí me han dicho que mi pasión intimida.

Eso está bien, no hay que perder el tiempo intentando hacerles apasionados. Te quemarás y además se enfadarán contigo.

Debe encontrar a otros que son tan apasionados o más que tú. No siempre es fácil. Sin embargo, cuando se trata de encontrar a personas con pasión para que se comprometan, hay que recordar la ley de las 4 Sws....

Some will (algunos lo harán)

Some won’t (algunos no lo harán)

So what …. (¿y qué?)

Someone’s waiting. (alguien espera)

San Agustín escribió:

El fuego que deseas encender en otros debe arder dentro de ti

Debes encontrar tu propósito. Si no sabes como hacerlo, enviame un correo electrónico. Te ayudaré a encontrarlo.

¿Por qué haría yo eso?

Por qué el mundo necesita tu pasión para el éxito, la excelencia y tu contribución. Te necesita para que compartas tus talentos, conocimientos y fortalezas y hacelo con tanto entusiasmo como puedas aportar. También te necesita para que enciendas el fuego de la pasión en otros.

Un mundo de apatía e indiferencia es un mundo que tarde o temprano se derrumbará. Lee tus libros de historia: organizaciones y naciones han caído cuyos líderes no tenían pasión o cuya pasión estaba mal dirigida.

Earl Nightingale dijo en una ocasión:

La creatividad es una extensión natural de nuestro entusiasmo

Debes ser apasionado.

Relacionate con personas apasionadas.

Marca la diferencia en tu ida y en las vidas de aquellos a tu alrededor.

Hazlo lo mejor que puedas.

Aprovecha tu tiempo de la mejor manera posible.

Después de todo, respecto al tiempo:

· Nacemos con una cantidad de tiempo limitada

· No sabemos cuanto nos queda

· Una vez que se acaba, ya no hay más

Ahora, con su permiso, tengo prisa.

Otro paciente ha llegado y parece ser un caso grave de deficientia passio.

<<Veamos... necesito 10 ml de propósito, 20 ml de definición de legado y 30 ml de entusiasmo.... y traígan ese desfibrilador de pasión aquí, vamos, gente, deprisa, esta persona tiene problemas>>

Tuyo en el servicio y a tu servicio, con pasión


Traducción al español realizada por Robert Moore Bernardos.

To read this blog in English, please click here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

“The Catholic Vision For Leading Like Jesus” – A Book Review


“Each of us is not only called to be a leader, but we are all leaders by default – whether we like it or not.”

Thus opens one of the best books I have ever read on servant leadership and the most powerful book I have ever read on stewardship – the notion of contributing our time, talent and treasure to those who need it.

The author, Dr. Owen Phelps, is the Director of Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute.  He is a writer, college professor, master catechist and trainer – to say the least.  To see his impressive background, please go here.

First of all, I have to admit that despite my openness and acceptance of many things, I have become somewhat skeptical of a lot of books in the motivational / inspirational / personal growth genre.

Why is this?  It’s because many of them either say the same thing that others in the genre have already said or they promise much and deliver little.  For many authors, they are merely piggybacking on the great results produced by others.

Such is not the case with this book.

This book was inspired by the book “Lead Like Jesus”, co-authored by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.

First of all, Dr. Phelps explains that leadership is not about power or authority.  In fact, he explains this way:

Effective leadership is not about formal power or money.  It is about integrity.  Leadership begins in the heart.

The book goes on to address four powerful questions that many people find themselves pondering over.

The first three transcend people of all creeds, faiths and beliefs:

  1. Whom do I influence in big or small ways?
  2. How will I be remembered?  What is my legacy?
  3. What is the source of influence with others and how can I exert this influence?

The fourth question is one that many Christians who are passionate about service within their faith ask:

  1. How do I fit into Christ’s mission and message for the world?

Dr. Phelps answers these questions by introducing us to the concept of S3 leadership – the concept that we all act as Servant, Steward and Shepherd as we serve our fellow human beings.

Within the notion of servant leadership, Dr. Phelps explores the art of being the servant to others.  What he means by this is that as a servant, we seek to influence others and help others to grow and shine.  Our purpose is in the form of selfless giving to others instead of working towards our own gains and rewards as our first priority.

As a servant leader, the author suggests that when we act with our own priorities first and foremost, our ego places us in jeopardy as our sense of self-worth is based on pride-based or fear-based models.

When we move towards a servant-based leadership model , our modus operandi is transformed from being pride and fear-based to one that is based on humility and confidence in our purpose to serve and help others.

Such a model is transformational in concept and implementation and changes the very fundamental of human interaction.

The notion of steward as the second part of S3 is equally powerful.  If we accept that as a steward, we assume responsibility for taking care of things that do not belong to us, then we begin to feel compelled to make a difference in as many aspects of life as we can.  This responsibility covers a broad spectrum of things, ranging from the welfare of all living things on the planet to taking care of the planet itself.

The final element of S3, being the shepherd, is based on two very important concepts – the power of trust and and the power of unconditional love.  If we are unable to trust and love ourselves, our ability to work with others will be severely limited.  In turn, having accomplished this level of self-acceptance, it is critical to be able to establish trust and unconditional love with others in order to be able to offer help and to accept help if offered.

Just as the shepherd loves his sheep unconditionally and the sheep trust the shepherd through the shepherd’s actions, our ability to truly serve the needs of others will only manifest when we have the ability to love and serve others unconditionally and in a trustful way.

Dr. Phelps uses a quote from Scripture that summarizes the notion of S3 perfectly:

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

- 1 Peter 3:8 (NAB)

The workbook that is available for this book is equally powerful.  For stewardship groups that struggle with how to get their group or parish stewardship activities engaged on a higher level, the workbook is a powerful guide.

In fact, the workbook is the best guide to stewardship that I have seen in my many years of stewardship activities.  It’s flexible, insightful structure is an asset to beginning groups who need help with structure and execution and for advanced groups looking for fresh, new ideas to take their efforts to a higher level.

If you are an individual seeking to expand your stewardship activities or you represent a group looking to implement larger stewardship initiatives, this book and the accompanying workbook are a must-read.

If you are not faith-based or are Christian but not necessarily Roman Catholic but you seek to expand your leadership abilities and your ability to influence others, this book is also a must read for you.

Dr. Phelps closes his book with a quote from Scripture that I found to be powerful and made me stop and think before I closed the book:

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell.  Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

- 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NAB)

The book is available from your traditional book retailers and from the publishing company directly.  The publisher can also be found at

I wish you well on your exploration of servant leadership and your quest to help others.

In service and servanthood.


For my Musings-in-a-Minute review of “The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus" – A Book Review”, please click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Authenticity – Those Who Live By the Sword …

To see my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Authenticity – Those Who Live By the Sword …”, please click here.

This week, the Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by another scandal with a member of its clergy.  Bishop Raymond Lahey of Atlantic Canada has been charged with importing and possessing child pornography.  Parishioners across Canada have been shocked, angered and saddened by this latest event in the saga of child abuse by a member of the cloth.

It is an unfortunate but poignant example of what happens when a leader chooses to be inauthentic, when s/he chooses to present a persona of themselves that doesn’t represent who they really are.

In the interests of due process, we cannot yet condemn Bishop Lahey.  He has not been found guilty despite the number and scope of the allegations against him.

However, it is notable that one man, with the mistakes that he may have made in his life, can rock an organization as large and as rich in history and tradition as the Roman Catholic Church.

When authenticity breaks down, it only takes one person to rock an entire organization and devastate other people for the rest of their lives.

The events of the current week demonstrate the importance of being authentic and the importance of an organization to hold all of its leaders accountable for authenticity.

As rumor swirls around the possibility that some people within the Church knew of the Bishop’s alleged issues over 20 years ago, we are reminded more than ever:

1. If we choose to be something other than that which we are, sooner or later the truth comes out.  The longer it takes to come out, the greater the damage that results.

2. If we know of a lack of authenticity within someone else, we must find a way to rectify it before greater damage is done to the organization or more importantly, the people that it serves.

3. A lot of damage and hurt can be avoided when we choose to hold ourselves and others to be authentic.

Authenticity goes hand-in-hand with transparency, accountability and trust.

Trust is built on the belief that someone else is being authentic.  Trust develops when each person in a relationship is open and clear about who they are and what they represent in the way of values, beliefs, needs and intentions.

Transparency ensures that authenticity is actually being embraced.

Accountability demands that we or someone overseeing us can vouch for our authenticity.  If an event occurs that demonstrates lack of authenticity, accountability demands that the event will be handled appropriately, quickly and transparently.

Without this, trust cannot be established or maintained and definitely cannot be restored if lost.

Many people assume that where there is smoke there is fire and that there are many ticking time bombs still within the Church in the form of pedophiles. Some claim proof of this.

Whatever the case, it is important for any organization, whether it be the Church or any other group, to step forward and own responsibility for the event and to be totally transparent.

This goes beyond saying “we are sorry, we are hurt or we are angry”.  Words are easy to come by.

It means that if there are other priests struggling with these demons, that someone has to remove them from their position of power, authority and leadership and get them the help they need.

Otherwise, the trust is dead and the damage to others continues.

A scattered event such as this catches us by surprise.

Repeated events suggest a deeper problem that warrants a transparent solution.

We all know what happens to organizations that garner no trust.  Some of the largest corporations in the world collapsed when trust in them from customers or shareholders failed.

As a Roman Catholic myself, I would like to see the Church embrace this moment to really come clean.

This would represent an authentic moment for many faithful and not faithful alike, whether Roman Catholic or not.

Teach us from the pulpit to be honest, truthful and respectful.  Teach us to demand the highest standards from ourselves and others.

And then:

Honor us and embrace us by leading by example and ferreting out those within who struggle with their own inner demons.

Many of you who go to church or once attended church will remember this from Matthew 18:7-11 (NIV):

"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

We are overdue for large organizations like the Church to cleanse themselves in the same way.

Otherwise, be honest with everyone and stop teaching everyone else to do this.

To not do so is to not be authentic as an organization committed to leading us morally, ethically and spiritually.

When one examines why many churches are losing parishioners, some suggest it is entirely based on a decline of faith in the 21st century.

However, more Bibles are being sold now than ever.  The self-help spirituality publication industry sells $5 billion a year in product.  Many people are clearly on a spiritual quest.

I would posit that it is a lack of trust – a model of “do as I say and not as I do”.

Many people say it is wrong to ask questions of the Church.  I once questioned a devout Catholic who told me that she believed that the abuse of the 50’s – 80’s was the fault of the children because they allowed it to happen.  When I questioned the sanity of such a remark, I was told that I was the anti-Christ if I dare question the Church.  My reply was that if this is the label that one gets when defending the rights of children, then I wear the label with pride.

I believe the faithful and others have every right to ask questions.  Any organization or leader grows stronger as a result of being challenged to learn and improve upon execution.

Trust is based on each of us being totally transparent and authentic with the other.

If dialog is ok ONLY if we don’t touch on the sensitive subjects, then we are not being totally transparent with each other.

If we can’t be transparent, there is no room for trust.

Without trust, each of us is an island unto ourselves.

Who wants to live that way?

In service and servanthood.


PS Here is an unfortunate example of a disconnect in authenticity.  Quoting Bishop Lahey from a couple of years ago:

“Sexual abuse, indeed any abuse, is wrong. It is a crime and it is a serious sin in the eyes of God. I want to assure you that for some time our diocese, like others throughout Canada, have been taking steps to protect children and youth,” Bishop Lahey told a news conference

As with many things, saying and doing are often difficult to reconcile.  We are all human, regardless of someone’s expectations to the contrary.

To see my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Authenticity – Those Who Live By the Sword …”, please click here.