Restoring the Godly Call:
In the midst of our Modernist culture, our leaders took us into frontiers only dreamed of in centuries past. Men landed on the moon and explored remote planets. Genetic engineering revolutionized our ability to rearrange the minute interior of human life. We combined theory and technology to control the "unruly masses" that threatened global communities. Organizations lived by the rules and values found in social science paradigms. Research enhanced the design of corporate structures and provided leaders with principles to escalate growth in organizations and to improve society.
Through our technologies and scientific theories, we had solutions for the problems of the once proclaimed "Golden Age"—the 20th century. But with the exhilarating rush of scientific breakthroughs came an eclipse of transcendence wherein the human maker superseded the transcendent maker in our culture. Society's leaders often bought into the thinking of such men as Nietzsche, who believed God to be a human construct created because we needed to explain ourselves to ourselves. After all, our leaders often reasoned, our social, economic, and scientific success spoke for itself. We needed no god. By the end of the 1970s, a lack of certitude in our ability to conquer our world surfaced. Speakers such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian author and prison-camp survivor, fed our unease. His words, "Men have forgotten their God," rang quietly in our ears, unable to be silenced. See link...
By 1989, we rejoiced as the Berlin Wall fell! But with the fall came the structural decline of modern secular, social regimes. We faced the reality of no longer being in the "predictable" scientific Modern Age. Now we faced the postmodern world. The challenge was no longer "Men have forgotten their God." The Postmodern challenge became, "Which gods do we remember and serve? What shrines do we build? And to which gods do we build them?" Questions that remaind us of polytheism of Ancient Greece and Rome, the days of Peter, Paul, and Silas. Today's society calls out, "Who will lead us into the third millennium?" Solzhenitsyn, speaking before congress two decades ago, put it thusly, "Very soon, only too soon, your country will stand in need of not just exceptional, but of great men. Find them. Find them in your souls. Find them in your hearts. Find them in the depths of your country."
Solzhenitsyn's warning is upon us. How will Christian leaders in our organizations and nation respond? Traditionally, they are taught to "Know thyself," and to "Pursue the good of society." I suggest more. They must ask whom do I serve and for what purposes do I serve? As I lead, when do I show the Truth revealed to me in Jesus Christ? When do I compromise that Truth, and why do I compromise? Last, but not least, do I lead through my epistemology—my knowing as I study more about leadership—or in my ontology—my being where only the Spirit of the living God can provide the leadership within that creates in me a new being?
As Christian leaders answer these questions they must also ask whether they have been called as contemporary Nehemiah’s to rebuild the city walls in the new millennium. To rebuild in postmodern society, leaders must hear the cacophony and plurality of voices, while offering hope by instilling godly principles into their organizations. To rebuild requires following a godly standard. Where is that standard for leadership? For Christians, the standard is in whom God calls them to be. To "know thyself" is not enough; rather, Christian leaders must know themselves in God. Are you Godly Driven?
By Kathaleen Reid Martinez, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Leadership Studies at Regent University.
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