Posts Tagged ‘Character’

Control + Alt + Delete for many with computers that was how you would escape the screen freeze or blue screen of death. Then have to answer the question if you wanted to restart in safe mode. Alberta thought they were doing that when the United Conservative Party was elected to governance just over a year ago. The traversing of change, the needing to re-invent our economy, and create space for belonging for everyone had stalled many out in the change process in anger and denial.

That was preyed upon by a high centralized bully culture.

Is it the best governance? How many voters have voter remorse as our world class institutions were decimated, the world rebuked our oil and gas sector for the draconian ways we scaled back to, and diversification was cancelled. With announcements of Premier Kenney tomorrow (Monday) around diversifying our economy, one has to simply wonder is it relabeling NDP era policy as UCP to try and win back support, knowing the shenanigans’ of this government I would side on yes.

In the midst of cancel culture though, it raises the question what about governance and politics? Why do we accept shady business and almost zero accountability for actions and behaviours? Have we defaulted to our “colour” must win at all costs in striving for power and be damned the consequences to ourselves and neighbour? Data points to yes.

The ideological lock chain does not help out world, our neighbour or ourselves. It locks us into false dichotomy for solutions with no robust discussion on topics and research. It leads to school yard tattle tale gotcha moments that can deflect from the ongoing ineptitude in governance for all Albertans (insert your context here as I am sure you have examples). The rallying cry for engagement has always been the least you can do is vote.

NO! That’s not the least you can do, showing up and putting an “x” beside the party name, as you say it’s the leader not the local representative doesn’t matter—oh but it does. For when the leader with the centralized power is off base, it is the local members that need to hold them to account, and within the Westminster System have the power to replace.

Knowing the character of the person wanting to represent your party is important. Do they show up for debates and events? Do they live locally and have their kids in the public institutions? Are they a parachute candidate from somewhere else? A paper candidate or flag bearer (just letting their name stand on the ballot)… all these things are important and need to be understood, for if we move beyond gotcha, to the ability to demand better choices we begin to engage. In the last federal election the Greens and Cons played games with voters with the gotcha era pretending to fire candidates, and then election day people were shocked they were still on the ballot, once confirmed you are confirmed. Know our system, the local constituency associations need to take seriously a candidate search and are the main point of vetting for the best to represent… are they doing their job?

What if the ballots were party blind? No parties listed, just names, how would you choose your representative? You’d actually have to get to know them, and the volunteers behaviour would reflect directly on them…those that espouse ableist, rascist, queer hate, misogynistic views would be held to account. Also, knowing they could not fly under the party colours how much more seriously would the local EDA’s take the vetting? Would all parties be fielding full slates? Or would their be times if a candidate had to be of good character and active in the election period to stay on the ballot (i.e. 3 debates planned must make 2 or are deleted)…would we get a better crop (and I do believe a ranked ballot would aid the process even more).

Cancel culture when used well and targeted appropriately can bring about positive change. It needs to hyper focus on our political systems, demand better choices, push media to remove the voice of opinion from policy, and close off the options for populist-extremism on either side to be shuttered away, to create space for robust discussion of the issues, and the big questions on why and how? The voice to strip the centralized power from the First Minister’s office (Prime Minister and Premier), to re-empower the local representative, remove the party whip, and allow the local voices to come together to create consensus policy for the whole.

The least we can do is to open the conversation and share why things matter and are important, to create a space for healthy, robust debate and dialogue so that come election day, it is not an adversarial approach to save our own fragile egos that our team needs to win like some Stanley Cup play off round, but be able to say the local candidate with the best ideas is the one that was voted for and elected.

Ready to do the least for the vote?

If you’re interested in being a part of the reboot of our province, I encourage you to check out

The journey is just as, if not more important, than the destination. How we achieve says as much about us what we have achieved. Amazing for leaders to understand, as well as just those seeking to be seen as having good character. It is more than just being “seen”, it actually is walking the talk.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

-Epistle of 2 Timothy 2:1-13 (English Standard Version)

It is also interesting to note that the journey touches upon various ways of understanding. Is it speaking of not paying attention to that outside of yourself or your job? I don’t believe so, the examples show the diversity of the community. Going to a deeper core being. Knowing what your wholeness is beyond labels, beyond vocation, to who you truly were and are created to be.

This is what an image bearer is. It also points out that there will be moments in the journey, when wanting to stay on the moral-ethical past will bring “heat” on you or may cost you a role, or a title. It is about knowing that this happens, but by staying true to yourself it is you that can walk with assertiveness and true confidence. Why? Simple, those that sink into the any means necessary perspective to justify the ends will continually have an unseen burden they carry. It eats away quietly at them, and eventually the debt catches up to them. The unseen scales that they have created for themselves, with the pain they create that is unseen by them, but can be seen by others.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God[b] not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[c] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

-Epistle of 2 Timothy 2:14-26 (ESV)

As noted this writer in Paul’s voice comes across a bit more in the Pauline vein of Christianity. I love the line of irreverent babble. If you follow any type of media, you can see how entrenched we have become in the irreverent babble. That is in a silo’ed ideology unwilling to think beyond that sphere of thought, belief or actions. For instance we try terms evangelical, charismatic, mainline, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Social Conservative or progressive within the Christianities. This becomes a way to create an us-them false dichotomy. Not looking at the unity of the human family. Same with other religious labels, political labels, medical and mental health labels, socio-economic labels. The list can go on and on. As labels create hierarchies and unwritten caste systems. They create an ability for peace, faith, hope, joy and love to be removed from equations. Where jobs do not require compassion or kindness even in a helping profession because it is first and foremost about “bringing home the bacon” not about the person you are and the person before you asking for aid. Or the person you are as a customer and how you treat a shop clerk, or a trades person in your house or place of business, or whatever role it is.

We have created this concept it is okay to treat individuals certain ways because of where they fall on our false scale.

Irreverent babble.

It gets us no where as a society or as a people. It only stalls us out, and allows corruption and darkness to recycle within our history just with new labels. Like a burnt out Studebaker with a quick paint job and new tires. It is time to stop the babble, and rejoin the conversation. Step out of hopelessness into hope; out of chaos into peace; out of agony into joy; out of micromanagement for your own image to faith…

out of hatred to LOVE
Will you end the babble,
and have a cuppa with your neighbour?

Is it adventures in missing the point? Or is Pseudo-Paul simply locked into the era’s fascination with patriarchy? That is what comes through in the passage on leadership, as with all early church evidence to the contrary in Ephesus, the writer focuses only on men in leadership. Let us expand this thought to character look at all who would seek to serve and lead. Character traits of kindness, compassion, integrity, strength, wisdom…do you see any others needed? There is a need within leadership to aid in the transition of change in healthy ways. For some it may be aiding them in transitioning to new roles or new opportunities, to others it may be aiding them in growing within their role to meet the new challenges ahead.

Within the church the roles are focused on growing the community in healthy ways. Caring for those who would fall into the have not categories of the world, but also deepen one’s own holistic development as a disciple of the Way.

Pseudo-Paul brings these traits to Leaders (overseers/elders/bishops) and Deacons to the young Timothy:

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

-Epistle of 1 Timothy 3:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Is it personal aspiration? Is it a calling? One would hope it would be the small still voice within, but others in the community seeing the character as well for the individual to be called. What are the traits one is looking for? Faithful in relationships (wife can also be translated as one woman); be able to be in control; apply knowledge (wisdom); be seen as a good person within and without the community. Has to be willing to have a space for hospitality and not one who beats his spouse or family members or anyone else. That is of keen mind and heart.
There are things within that have been used to harm those in office. For we expect perfection. We create the holier than thou sin list, but don’t stop to look at the person before us. The person before us may be divorced and re-married, this is not what the passage is speaking of. It is speaking of the practice of being present and faithful in your relationship now, not in seeking to have concubines and mistresses as was the norm of leaders of the day. In regards to respect of children, some have short shifted this to be that children must also be believers. This is not what it is saying, it is speaking of a person who is respected and loved within their family. Doing the work of parenting, the tough work of teaching, mentoring, coaching and raising a person to become who they are meant to be in this world. One would hope by the example set, the same belief systems would become part of the other, but there is no guarantee on that.

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

-1 Timothy 3:6-7 (NLT)

New believer. What does this term mean? For some it is amount of time within the faith or movement. But it goes deeper than that, for someone with a whole life in could still be seen as a new believer. For I do not tend to discern depth of faith by amount of years, but rather by the fruits of the belief system. What gifts are being shown and used? Is it growing the world in a better way or not? How would you define a new believer if you were looking for spiritual leaders?

In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, their wives[e] must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. 13 Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

-1 Timothy 3:8-13 (NLT)

What are deacons? At the simplest level it is like the financial wing of the church. Yet it is also more. In many traditions that still have deacons they are the ones commissioned to teach and do social work. Yes, this is the leaders in the human services wing of the church. The opening is speaking of the Deacons not being active in addiction or anything that can cause temptation to, well, essentially do the Judas Iscariot and seek out other means of earning money.

It is looking at life for the gifts necessary, but also the willingness to serve. Their focus is on the care of the members, but also the community. Out of these movements and the religious orders we would see things such as nursing, social work and public school teaching emerge within the secular world strongly.

The purpose the writer is getting at, once you remove the second century b.s.; is that when one is called to be in a role of leadership they and their families need to understand that they will come under scrutiny. Beyond that, it cannot be due to a love of money, power or esteem that leads you to take the role. It has to be an authentic desire to do the work. For it is in doing the work that your true legacy will be left.

When I have done the work it is nice to hear from those who are above you about the good work being done. What really hits home for me, is when those who I am called to serve share the impact we have made in life together on the journey.

This passage is a simple one in that it allows one to begin to not do a mental checklist of qualifications, but more importantly do a heart check on where you are being guided to serve.

Where is your heart leading your vocation?