What does this mean?

What a great weekend. My head is overflowing with ideas, my extraverted self exercised all it’s capacities reconnecting with and meeting new colleagues, and my passion for teaching and learning has been renewed. All in all, my three days at the Academy of Religious Leadership were fulfilling.

Yet, I sit here wondering. Wondering about teaching and learning religious leadership in relation to…
– attending to learning environments
– participating in inter-religious community
– thinking about transformational moments in life
– asking hard questions about inclusion, exclusion, and connectedness
– reflecting on how the everyday life of public Christian leaders form and shape our spiritual lives
– imagining “the more” of leadership – leadership beyond knowledge and practices
– engaging in personal and communal practices which attend to noticing and expanding our personal windows of the world
– expanding faith community’s decision-making processes to include moral reasoning and discernment practices.
I wonder about them individually, and I wondering about them collectively. And I wonder how they inform my own leading and teaching, how they shape my imagination around the spiritual side of leadership, and where they are pointing as we, as I, struggle with leading people of faith in the 21st century.

Religious leadership and leading spiritually are not the same. Our academy is centered on the teaching and learning of religious leadership, but this gathering was centered on attending to the spiritual aspect of such leadership. Yes, they overlap, but spiritual leadership asks more of me, as it also has a component beyond me. And it’s one thing to attend to my leading spiritually, it’s another to draw others into such attending.

As we, teachers of religious leaders, were dwelling in these questions, the city of Boston was in a lockdown. One of our colleagues was unable to be with us because of the events which had taken place in the days previous. We were both present with each other, as we were also aware of her absence and current situation. Throughout the day, our conversations became a bit melancholy and named the heaviness in our hearts, as we continued to explore our topic. Yes, we are educators, but we are more than educators. What does this mean?

As I turn in my receipts tomorrow, I face a cross-road: return to my work as usually or keep wondering, pondering, and wrestling. What does it mean to be people of faith and lead in today’s world?

Terri

4 thoughts on “What does this mean?

  1. It’s crazy that at the same time you were at the gathering the bombings and aftermath in Boston was going on. When I think of people of faith and leadership, I think of images like the one you described – you all “named the heaviness in our hearts” as you went through the day.

    It’s when people not afraid to name where they are at – that’s when I see leadership shine the brightest. It might look like “we’re distracted!” but being honest with those around you about where your heart and soul is at the moment – I think that’s a piece of leadership that often gets overlooked. I can look glassy-eyed during a meeting that I’ve committed to and get through it – but I think a small group/community needs to honor authenticity as well as following a previously-set agenda (high’s/low’s, check-ins, take the temperature, etc.). Who knows, that might get to the root of why you are gathering in the first place! As people of faith, the courage to name that authenticity and honesty, I think, is an act of leadership.

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