I’m taking a course on “Ethical Leadership”. The past 48 hours have been something of a laboratory as we watch and listen to various leaders, from presidents to pastors to politicians and entertainers, all offering words of comfort and hope. They have also been laying out their dreams for what has to change in our world.
Some dream of walls and shutting people out; others have a vision for this country of ours becoming more tolerant. As I have experienced the different statements and demeanors of leaders it seems as if we all flock to the kind of leadership that speaks to our own opinions. The changes we are in favor of are the changes that line up with our own convictions and yes – with our own prejudices.
It also seems as if fear is at the center of it – whether we are afraid of what the world is, as seems to be the case for some of the radicals among us. They are trying to alter how things are, using fear to make us tentative about gathering to worship, shop, learn or socialize.
And then there are those who fear what the world is becoming at the hands of these radicals. Anarchy, danger where there was no danger. Many are concerned for their children and what our world will be like if the tide of hatred is not stemmed.
I heard of someone who didn’t attend the vigil and march in Burlington on Monday afternoon because they realized that such a gathering would be a prime target for a terrorist. And I have to confess that I had the same thought as we walked together down Church Street.
Leaders need to speak out, for sure. But I haven’t heard anything – not the pain, the anger, the fear, the dreams, the hopes – nothing that I have heard expressed by leaders hasn’t also been expressed – with equal eloquence, the same depth of determination, the same intensity of passion – by we who might consider ourselves “Common Folk.”
We need the moments of silence; such times enable us to more deeply hear.
We need the calls to action: such demands inspire us to march.
We need the eloquence of orators: words have the power to create the impetus to change.
And we need the people of faith – the ones who know their lives to be an offering not only to God, but to their neighbors, whatever the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.
We need to learn – from our leaders and from each other – just how intimately connected we are to each other.
A blessed Tuesday.