Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fortress of Solitude

I was sitting on my couch the other night, doing some channel surfing, when I stumbled upon one of the classic Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. The scene depicted on screen was his discovery of the fortress of solitude. For those of you who have seen the flick, perhaps you are familiar with this portion of the movie. For those who have not, let me do my best summarize.

The fortress of solitude is the one place where superman can find out more about who He is, and also get some much needed rest and downtime.

The question that I found myself asking was this: If superman needs a fortress of solitude, do I need one?

Now I know that superman is a fictitious character (or is he??), but there is a leadership principle at work here that I'd like to identify. Sometimes we as humans crave a space where we can discover more about who we are while resting, recharging and realigning. It's kind of like vehicular maintenance in a way. As I discover more about myself as a leader, a pastor, a husband and a friend, I'm learning that there are three facets to my personal fortress of solitude.

1. Community - my fortress of solitude includes a community of people that believe in me as a human being. They don't believe in me because I'm worthy of worship, they believe in me because that are willing to be lead, challenge, accept and love me. While there are times when my fortress of solitude does in fact need to be filled with alone time, more often than not I long for my community to support me. I want to be loved and cared for; respected and needed.

2. Results - my fortress of solitude has a purpose. I can measure it's effectiveness and value through intrinsic qualities. I look for things like authenticity, hope, encouragement, challenge and desire as a construct my fortress of solitude so that I have what I need to know that who I am is not only worth something, but also making a tangible difference in the world in which I live.

3. Creativity - my fortress of solitude is filled with trial, error, failure and success. I must be allowed to create, to dream, to experiment and to evaluate what "works" and what doesn't. Without the ability to be creative, in any sense of the world, we've ceased to be alive. The last thing our world needs is yet another duplicate...originals only please.

I recognize that this concept of a fortress of solitude is a work in progress. What I do know is that we all need a place (physical or metaphysical) where we can discover more about who we are and what we exist essence, we all need our own personal fortress of solitude. 

What does your fortress of solitude look like?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Empowerment and Apprenticeship

Language often gets us in trouble...

There are a lot of interesting conversations that take place in my household. With three young children, I have learned that I need to be careful about what sort of words I use to describe things. Instead of saying something like, "this is astonishing," I use these words "this is really fun." The reason being is that the cognitive development of my kids sometimes doesn't comprehend larger words. In fact, there are many times when my kids ask me what a certain word might mean. As I'm explaining the meaning of this word, I've learned that it's not only important to use additional verbal references, but also to demonstrate to them what this words actually means.

When I think about the future of our society and the community of faith, I think there are many similarities that can be found between how I'm learning to interact with my young children and how different generations need to grow in communicating with one another.

The words empowerment and apprenticeship are key verbs that describe what I believe needs to happen in order for us to continue to grow and develop as a community.

Empowerment means "giving responsibility to" or "allowing to lead." There are so many younger folks who long to be a part of something significant. This, I believe, is why there is such a draw to social justice initiatives currently. Our younger generations are leading us as a Canadian culture in a creative way of thinking about others instead of only ourselves. Like it or not, we have intentionally (or maybe unintentionally) empowered them to help us course correct as a society. The question I now find myself asking is this, "will we allow this empowerment to continue and in what ways does it need to grow?"

Apprenticeship means "working alongside" or "doing things together. This can be best observed in rural farm settings as the older generation passes on to the younger generation the way of doing things...and more importantly the mission and passion for farming. I wonder what it might look like for this to take root at a deep level in our current society? Could we see CEOs from large companies becoming younger in age as executive boards try to grow their companies next successor? Will we see an increased team oriented approach for leadership with perhaps a three-headed hydra steering an organization instead of the lone ranger CEO or president?

I don't know a whole lot, but I do know that I fascinated by our societal and cultural development and the factors that stimulate this kind of growth. This next generation will inherit what we are it or not. The question we need to ask ourselves is will we allow them to create alongside of us through empowerment and apprenticeship, or will we attempt to "manage their potential" by some other means?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Message of Hope

We haven't been created to journey through life all alone. No matter what you might be facing in life right now, take comfort knowing that you are not alone, even when you feel that you just might be...

Be Still
on Vimeo.