Posts

Thoughts on Covid-19

Many times over the last three months, I have paused in my activities in a slowed-down day-to-day life to reflect on the ways the coronavirus pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of our humanity, especially here in the United States. I have thought of healthcare workers who have put themselves at risk by simply doing their jobs, and I have recoiled in horror at the rage exhibited by others whose indifference toward the well-being of others, both known and unknown, is offset only by their egocentrism and supposed invulnerability. I have thought of the pitiable and irksome manner in which people have politicized the pandemic and even now seek to acquire political advantage in the current election cycle.I am weary of my own repugnance, just as I marvel at the courage of those who, for whatever reason, put themselves in harm’s way. As of yet, no one known to me has died of the disease, but I do know a few who have survived it. I listen to public figures and healthcare professio…

Doing Things With Words

It has been three months since my last posting to these Conversations, and I would like to take a moment to let you know what I’ve been doing since mid-June that has kept me away from writing. Since moving to Colorado Springs in 2016, I have become quite fascinated, perhaps a little obsessed, with voters, voting, and votes in the county where I live. My “project” for the last three months has been gathering and analyzing voter data in my county from voter registration rolls and the election results from the general elections of 2016 and 2018 – think of it as a deep dive into numbers that has required that I learn to use Excel. In this project, I have focused on the political affiliation of voters here and the distribution of their votes in national, state, county and local elections. But while this deep dive has been going on, the noise of politicos and pundits has become increasingly loud and shrill as the country heads toward the 2020 election. It seems to me that the language of pol…

Leadership Fails and What to Do

Leaders have two ways of acquiring the knowledge and experience they need to function in their organizations: success and failure. That’s it. A leader learns something when an idea or plan succeeds and its purpose is accomplished or a problem resolved. When a nascent idea, born of intuition or insight, evolves into a sophisticated strategy and resources can be allocated and deployed, a positive outcome will assure an accumulation of new knowledge and experience that will serve the leader and the organization well into the future. When a seemingly good idea or plan goes awry and fails to achieve its intended purpose, when intrusions of an unexpected sort intervene to divert the energy and resolve needed to bring a project to completion, a leader learns something here too—if the leader will take the time with others to discern and assess the reasons that contributed to the failure. Learning from successes and failures is difficult work. In fact, such learning is different in each scenario…

Changing Church

“The only thing that is constant is change; nothing endures but change.” So wrote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus in the sixth-century bce. Supposing him to be correct in this observation, I find it strange indeed that so much of our outlook and activity seems to be premised on the permanence of things, as though the way things are at present has always been the case and can be expected to endure indefinitely. If Heraclitus is right, it is odd indeed that we should expend remarkable energy in preserving what is.
I thought of Heraclitus’s comment when I found myself seated among a group of friends one recent morning, engaged in delightful conversation on matters both trivial and profound. I listened carefully as the conversation turned to how difficult it is for the church to change. I must say, I was fully awake at that point, my attention focused and undivided.
“Why is it so hard to get the church to change?” one of the interlocutors asked, expressing both a thinly veiled critique of …