Lessons


Every weekend, my mother or my father commanded me to clean my room. And as I neared completion, my chest swelling with pride for a job well done, one of them would drift by the bedroom door and say, It's a good start. Those words crushed me and inspired me.

A similar moment of deflation and determination accompanies Paul's description of spiritual gifts:  Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

Each person has a unique spiritual gift. It cannot be stolen, avoided or denied. Spiritual gifts are not like talent in the way an Olympic sprinter might have more fast-twitch muscles. Spiritual gifts require conscious effort to discern and develop. You are called to big and important work. Christ compels you: pick up your mat, and walk!

Teacher Edwin Friedman believed that every person can harness and deploy spiritual gifts to become a leader. A leader, not in the sense of a captain of a team, but a soul that is alight with the Spirit.

Well-differentiated leader is not an autocrat who tells others what to do or orders them around, although any leader who defines himself or herself clearly may be perceived that way by those who are not taking responsibility for their own emotional being and destiny... is someone who has clarity about his or her own life goals, and, therefore, someone who is less likely to become lost in the anxious emotional processes swirling about.... is someone who can separate while still remaining connected, and therefore can maintain a modifying, non-anxious, and sometimes challenging presence... is someone who can manage his or her own reactivity to the automatic reactivity of others, and therefore be able to take stands at the risk of displeasing.
 ~Edwin Friedman

Over the years, I've led countless discussions. Who really knows if any were any good. Here are five for you to judge. Most were created in consultation with other, wiser minds.