Can everyone be a leader?

Is the capacity hardwired into every person?  ...or only some?

The older I get, the more I tend to think leadership is unique to some people, and not all people possess it...  It stands to reason that leadership potential exists on a spectrum, (it's not an off/on thing) but there it is, some people have more, others less.

Of course, we need to define a few things.  First, leadership itself can be largely defined by influence and responsibility.  Leaders wield influence, and leaders take responsibility.  My daughter is naturally a leader; she often tells me what to do.  ;-)

Which brings up a second caveat: leadership is not inherently more valuable than other skills.  Leadership must be exercised in a healthy way, and in a healthy direction.  Hitler and Mother Teresa were both leaders.  Leaders can lead people as servants or as lords, they can lead people to heaven or to hell.

A friend of mine today talked about the difference between leading people in terms of 'arts and crafts.'  Leading someone in a craft means we begin with a common vision of what we will create; with the end in mind.  Leading someone in art means we begin with a common set of materials and inspirations; with the end up in the air.

Another friend added to this, the second approach is less like giving building something, and more like planting a seed and waiting to see what will grow out of it.  It requires patience and faith...

I'm waiting to explore this with them further...


Is Poverty Spiritual?

Genesis 1-3 the story of creation and fall; man is created in a state of harmonious relationships with God (Genesis 1:27-31) , with other human beings (Genesis 2:20-24), with the natural world (Genesis 2:8-16), and with himself (Genesis 2:25).  Man's rebellion fractures and distorts each of those relationships; God (Genesis 3:8-9), Others (Genesis 3:12 & 16), Natural World (Genesis 3:17-19), Self (Genesis 3:10).

This is a helpful rubric for understanding poverty as a condition that is rooted, not in a lack of material 'stuff,' but rather in something much more implicitly personal, and intrinsically spiritual; the relative health our relationship to God, Others, the World, and Ourselves.

This has the benefit of explaining the language and experience of poverty in ways that mere materialism does not.  Those who self-identify as 'poor' are more often going to define their poverty in terms of shame, impotence, and disenfranchisement, as opposed to low earning, or a lack of material possessions.  Indeed, the identification of oneself as 'poor' comes with its own stigma for precisely those reasons.  It also takes the most culturally prominent aspect of what we call poverty (lack of stuff), and frames it in a more holistic way; a broken relationship to stuff (or the world around us).

It has the additional benefit of explaining the unique poverty of meaning and community that is present in many middle-class neighborhoods as (while clearly different) rooted in the same basic state of humanity as the poverty of environment and self that is present in many economically challenged neighborhoods.

Further, it highlights the basic flaw in most attempts to combat poverty, namely through direct redistribution of goods and services.  If all forms of poverty are rooted in a lack of spiritual health and/or maturity, and a broken relationship in one or more of these areas, then changing the circumstances of the poor won't alleviate their poverty (a painfully obvious reality in economically challenged communities the world over), but simply exacerbate the problem through the perpetuation of impotence, self-victimization, and manipulation.

Finally, it points to the common solution; a resolute commitment to the process of developing a healthy relationship with God, Others, the World, and Self; namely discipleship unto Christ-likeness within the multicultural community of God's missional people.