Rising Leader Series: Week 3 - With Goodness in Your Heart
Updated: Jan 27
Listen => Every Shining Star (on God in you, me and all, with love)
For the past two weeks I’ve opened my letters to you by saying, “how important you are as a rising leader in today’s world.” That’s because, though everything is connected, we’ve lost sight of that connectedness-- resulting in critical human systems spinning out of control. We need you, rising leader, and millions like you all around the globe, to turn the tide. The stakes have never been higher.
But before you can turn the tide, it’s important to understand the root of the problem.
As I shared last week, human virtue and vice hasn’t changed much over the past three hundred years-- but our capacity to act upon it, in both positive and negative ways, has. Over this past three hundred years science has grown in reach and power at an ever-accelerating rate. I want to be clear here. Science has been a force for great good: it has connected the globe and doubled life expectancy. But it has also amplified our hate and brought our planet to the brink. From curing cancer to destroying the Amazon, science can either help or harm to stunning effect-- due solely to the choices of leaders. Rising leader, the point is this: if humanity is to survive, its leaders must put science to work with goodness in their hearts.
Consider this basic principle of leadership:
Your Worldview Shapes Your Leadership Actions
If you want to elevate the quality of your leadership, you must first elevate the quality of your worldview. It’s always the right place to start. And so I begin with this challenge: will you see the connectedness of all people and things? Will you see the goodness that pulsates within those connections?
Said another way, is the monarch butterfly good, worthy of protection? Is the valley stream that sparkles with cold, clear water good, worthy of protection? Is the Amazon good, worthy of protection? Is democracy good, worthy of protection? Is the Syrian refugee in a tent at the edge of Poland good, worthy of protection? Are you and your family good, worthy of protection?
Everything is connected, everything is alive, everything emanates love. It could even be said that a mountain is alive; its rocks are made of atoms in continuous motion. From the atomic particle, to the leaping deer in the forest, to all humanity, to our planets and stars and everything in between, we are connected, with love. Once we see this truth, we naturally begin to expand our circle of care. We become ready to pursue the disciplines of goodness.
I believe that to bind science to goodness and forsake its use for evil, the world’s rising leaders must step into— even dedicate their lives to— seven disciplines of goodness:
Sustainability, so as to bring the planet back into balance
Diplomacy, so as to help nation states stay in geopolitical balance
Democracy, so as to retain national social balance
Charity, so that from hurting neighbor to failing nation state we can help the distressed regain their balance
Civility, so that in our diverse communities, debate will lead towards balance
Decency, so that in each of our encounters, by bestowing upon our neighbors the dignity we expect others to bestow upon ourselves, we keep human connectedness in balance
Piety, so that in our relationship with God, we may return our souls to balance
Good leader, note how each of these builds up from the bottom. The foundation for everything is our relationship with God. Through private prayer, through joining and participating in a house of worship, through opening our hearts to God’s love, we find the way beyond ourselves. This enables us to move up the ladder. Loved by God, we can now see others as inherently loved-- lovable-- worthy of dignity. We begin to see that all people we encounter deserve that dignity because they too carry God within them. Once we see dignity in all, we naturally embrace decency and civility. With civility we make our hearts ready for charity. Respect for others’ dignity and habits of civility and charity make us more tolerant— which strengthens democracy. With the moral authority that flows from a strong democracy, we can better engage in values-based (love-based) diplomacy. With love for all things, and love for our children’s children’s children, we are inspired to pursue sustainability.
Good leader, it all begins with your free will choice: will you choose to welcome God back into your life? God is love. God is in all things, including you and me. God calls you to return home-- to your original goodness, to Him. He smiles upon you, He is head over heels in love with you, and He is standing in front of you right now with arms wide open. Will you fall into Him? I submit that this is a good first step on your quest to save the world. Return to God.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” --Revelation 1:8
Thanks for your goodness,
P.S.: Here’s this week’s poem, written for you. My encounter with Francis happened in 2015. I hope she is alive and well-- that she is seen, known, named and loved.
Beneath the city lantern she stood fast,
clothes tattered, hair disheveled, face the same.
I handed her a Kind bar as I passed...
then turned and sputtered softly, “What’s your name?”
With that, her eyes lit up with holy light.
“No one asks. I’m Francis-- like the Pope!”
It hit me how an act of mine so slight,
could impart in both of us new hope.
Perhaps this seems a weird way to explain
how we can stop temps rising by degree,
or how my race and your race might regain
respectful sense of shared humanity.
Perhaps systemic transformation starts
with one silent shifting of the heart?
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