• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Senior Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@gmail.com

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurers: Christina King and Li Ying

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Willa Hui, Donglan Zhang and Alfred Zhou.

Critiquing leadership…

Leadership is an important topic in church circles, just as it is in secular circles. And so, I keep my eye out for good material on leadership. An article that caught my interest a few years ago appeared in the magazine ‘Scientific American Mind’ (August/September 2007, pp22f). Entitled ‘The New Psychology of Leadership,’ the three main points of the article are:

  • A new psychology of leadership suggests that affective leaders must understand the values and opinions of their followers – rather than assuming absolute authority – to enable a productive dialogue with team members about what the group stands for and thus how it should act.
  • According to this new approach, no fixed set of personality traits can assure good leadership because the most desirable traits depend on the nature of the group being led.
  • Leaders who adopt this strategy must try not only to fit in with their group but also to shape the group’s identity in a way that makes their own agenda and policies appear to be an expression of that identity.

Now that is all good stuff. But… I have a problem with the person the authors chose as the lead example of skillful leadership. There is no doubt that George Bush grasped the situation in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and led decisively. But where did he lead the American people? Bush led the American people into an un-winnable war, justifying the decision by ignoring international law, and in the process has mortgaged future generations of Americans. He may have caught the mood of America in the fall-out from the heinous crime of 9/11, but the subsequent war has portrayed Americans as nationalistic, militaristic and hegemonic. This is not what we saw in the aftermath of WWII, when American industrial muscle helped Germany and Japan climb out of the desperate situations that defeat had left them in. And it doesn’t capture the generous spirit evident in the valuing of freedom that has seen the USA welcoming refugees from wherever.

I think that there needs to be a fourth item added to the list summarising the Scientific American Mind article. It should be something like: Good leaders should so lead that they create outcomes that genuinely enhance the common good. And this common good should go beyond national interest. If we are to survive on this planet, we need leaders who can capture our collective imaginations with visions of how together we might save this wonderful planet (and each other in the process).

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2 Responses

  1. As the host of a radio talk show, I have interviewed several of our veterans who served in the middle east in recent years. Their stories all bespoke of American soldiers HELPING the oppressed people in Irac and Afghanistan. Of the citizens LOVING Americans. Of the schools and water facilities and health facilities that have been built with American dollars. Don’t be so fast to accept the trash that the biased media of this country has been selling to the public.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ann. I have no doubt that the American Armed Forces have many dedicated and professional soldiers who have worked hard to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. (Of course, this work is undone in a moment by events such as the recent murderous rampage by an American soldier in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.) But, my argument is that this war was never justified in the first place, and will eventually be assessed as being detrimental to the America’s – indeed the world’s – long-term interests.

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