Bock

Leadership: Extended Influence or Faithfulness?

Another common measure of leadership is influence. Leaders lead by influencing others. Some leaders lead by default because their position dictates it, but real leadership is leading others when position does not dictate it. Others follow because they desire to go the direction the leader leads. 

Another common measure of leadership is influence. Leaders lead by influencing others. Some leaders lead by default because their position dictates it, but real leadership is leading others when position does not dictate it. Others follow because they desire to go the direction the leader leads. 

But there is a trap in this. Because sometimes we can confuse leadership for popularity or growth. The logic on the surface makes sense. If a leader leads and leads well, others will follow and growth will take place. But this can be misleading, because another element of leadership is leading with the right goals and values. Sometimes faithfulness in this area will get in the way of growth, particularly in contexts where people like short cuts rather than the real deal. One need only think of the example of the prophets or of Jesus to realize that leadership does not always translate into popularity or expanding influence. 

So in the end leadership is about the right kind of influence, an influence that reflects faithfulness to God and his ways. That is what is central to biblically rooted leadership.

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6 Comments

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    Michael A. S.

    Influence and elections

    In mentioning leadership and influence, will you seek to influence people to vote for Obama again in the upcoming election, especially in light of the recent controversey over Obamacare's infringment of religious freedom?

    Thank you.

    Michael

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    Darrell L. Bock

    Influence and elections

    Michael:

    Not quite on the topic, but the answer to your question is no. I find this proposal within the health care program most disturbing and part of what is wrong with the way we are doing politics these days.

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    Lynn L.

    Political Conservatism and Leadership

    I know this is a little off the topic, but it’s interesting to me that some people believe that an entity, which is in the business of service to the public, is protected by the First Amendment from being required to serve all without religious bias. Religious beliefs and differences aside, this issue is about the concept of religious liberty, in the view of Republicans, and they believe this rule is an infringement on that principle. That is a curious position in my view. Is not preventing unwanted pregnancy indisputably in the best interest of people and society? Is there scientific evidence that the use of birth-control is harmful to women? If these things are not the case, then there would be something to talk about there. (I haven't heard anything that indicates that potential harm to women is the basis for their position.) On the issue of insurance companies being required to give contraceptives free of charge to all policy holders, that seems nonsensical and wasteful to me, but I don’t see a legitimate issue of religious liberty being infringed upon, in light of the facts. If there were a health care clinic that serves a broad section of the poor, and this clinic is run by the Catholic Church, should they be exempt from giving out contraceptives to the people who can’t pay for it? There may be something I am missing there, but this seems to me to be an example of the Conservatives embracing "appearance" and "popularity" above "common sense" and "scientific evidence". Maybe the Catholic Church has a better solution for those women who need this service–which includes married women who do not desire to get pregnant, usually because they have had all the children they want to have—but I personally doubt it.  

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    Darrell L. Bock

    On the Birth Control issue and Religious Liberty

    Lynn:

    My response is made, even though I am not a Catholic and do not share all their views on sexuality. The issue of religious freedom here has to do with forcing or mandating a religious entity to act against its moral views and conscience. In Catholic teaching, contraception is immoral, so asking a Catholic institution to pay for contraception is asking them to participate in something they view as morally and ethically wrong. The issue is not one of what the science of contraception may be. If a person desires such a service, they should be able to go elsewhere to find it (at the same cost), but do not compel a religious institution to act against its conscience on this matter. I think that is the basis for their protest.

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    Lynn L.

    The best interest of the public

    Dr. Bock, thank you for your reply.

    I understand your point, and I believe strongly in the First Amendment right of people to believe and practice their faith. Where the difference is for me, is in the fact that we are talking about a regulation upon what is essentially a secular service, which receives government funds, hires people of all faiths, and serves the general public. The Supreme Court has always held that religious liberty is not absolute, and must be carried out with reason. The position that "prevention of unwanted pregnancies via use of contraceptives is immoral" has no foundation of any kind in terms of sociological evidence or the good of the public, but can well be argued to be counter-productive to the good of the public. Their argument holds no more weight than for an Islamic-run hospital to require that their female employees adhere to an Islamic dress code.

    I believe in the right to excercise your faith, but not the right to excessively impose your beliefs on others in a public entity such as a hospital or a school. If they want to be engaged in what are essentially secular services to the public, they should learn to embrace diversity and acceptance of people and their personal rights and choices.

    It is a little off the topic, but not entirely because leadership should be based on making sense. I'm glad someone brought it up because it is important. I appreciate the opportunity to express my comments and opinions on the subject. Thanks again.

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    Darrell L. Bock

    Public interest

    Lynn:

    I think the point is that Catholic hospitals and schools should not be requried to do this (right now it would be required). So the issue is not a secular service (and the action is not seen as being socially neutral in the long term consistent teaching of the church). It is mandating what action a religious institution must take (against its own teaching). That is a violation of religious liberty. How can a Catholic school teach its theology about sexual practice and then be told it must not adhere to it? This is a violation of religious liberty. We are speaking about a moral act and choice, not something associated with worship or decor (although if an Islamic hospital wanted to have such a dress restriction for tis employees, I do not think the government should be able to prohibit it). Just use another hospital. 

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