Posts Tagged ‘Workplace Bullying’

Entering into the closing letters of the first epistle to the young leaders in Ephesus. The writer continues to speak to the gathering about expectations within. It is a moment of coaching to try and avoid more carnage, and pain, but what does it mean for us today?

Let all who are under a yoke as bond-servants[a] regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

-Epistle of 1 Timothy 6:1-2 (English Standard Version)

A bond-servant is basically a save. Paying off a debt, they are kept by the family until the bond is paid. In many ways it is part of the ancient world caste system. Essentially, it is asking those to still honour those that do harm. Why? First is preservation of life and livelihood, yet it touches on what treating with honour means? It is not blindly following, and enduring abuse. It is living a life that is without reproach, it is deeper than that. It is the caution to ensure that when the time comes to speak out against the system, that you are able to do so from a place of earned leadership and power based on character and integrity.

I sit and write. It is a way to grow inwards and outwards. It can be a challenge on some days, or times of day. Yet, it is a practice that aids in my healing. It is also to show that our lives and experiences, with our learned knowledge when applied to the text before us becomes heart wisdom- soul work. It is within this work, that each time you come to the sacred text of your life and community that new things come forward, new ways of seeing and hearing, and new ways of living.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound[b] words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world.But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

-1 Timothy 6:2-10 (ESV)

What is contentment? Being at one within the Holy Mystery (divine-self-neighbour). It is knowing and applying wisdom of Holy Love in life. It is not being lost in low self-confidence or self-worth where you constantly battle for title, esteem, worth based on money or title. Amassing knowledge as a weapon without application. Amassing accolades when the fruit is destructive and harmful. For to not be living the authentic you, but constantly seeking external validation can lead down a dark spiral. It is within the dark spiral that harm comes to self and others. Where abuse and bullying germinate. Trickles throughout the gathering like an insidious infestation of stink weed that will not go away or bed bugs swarming a tenement building.

The root of evil is the infestation that cannot be killed because no one is willing to do the work to root out the zero point of contagion.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before[d] Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.[e]

-1 Timothy 6:11-21 (ESV)

One of the main reasons folks seek out my coaching or spiritual direction is due to unhealthy situations. It is situations where they are in a moral bind. Whether to remain silent, and let things continue on as they always have. For one knows when you pull the thread on immoral and unethical behaviours in organizations it is not a fun time. It creates stress for you as the whistle blower. One works to move the organization beyond the personality conflict that can so easily be used as a cover up to the actual issue at hand. This is the application of knowledge when the community leadership can see beyond the manipulations of the toxic one. The patient zero, and see what the issue is. See if the patient zero is willing to enter into a time of Sabbath (Sabbatical) for healing, learning, growing and renewal or if they need to be pruned. With the pruning the new life that is born is carefully cultivated to avoid the poison that existed before.

This is where Pseudo-Paul taps into Brother Jesus as presented in the Canonical Gospels that led to his lynching. It shows that conscience to whether the storm and stand firm in the truth of what is to happen for true contentment. In that true contentment the world is made right. It is also a reminder to the ones that follow in taking the firm stand against the toxic, that there is a price to be paid, and as such you need to plan your own self-care/healing for during and after.

This is the challenge of leadership.

It is the life of a transfigured you.


Ah the heckling for change from the Federal Level (discussed previously here) has continued its journey within our nation. This time coming out of the governing party of Alberta, the New Democratic Party with Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff’s recent announcements of a toxic culture within caucus due to leader control (here). Obviously the breaking of the thin caucus line led her caucus to “unanimously” boot her last night.

Image result for alberta NDP logoIt seems odd that an elected official would “strike” by not showing up for work as her statement said. Yet it has zeroed in attention that sitting as an independent or crossing to another party would. She has already declared she is not running again as her family wants her to spend more time with them. Yet in the parting shots she has opened up some intriguing things.

First- all political parties need to examine their toxic cultures. Yes one becomes members, and believes some (usually not all) of the party policies/ideologies. As the party is made up of smaller collectives different pockets can function differently due to the local make up. Yet, and this is a big yet, it is about power, and as such can bring out the worst in people. This was noted with why Sandra Jansen joined the NDP from the right, and now has Luff leaving the NDP. It is time for a gut check reflection of the party process, and a re-look at purpose. It is not power for powers sake, but rather serving citizens (that pesky first line of our Constitution Act, 1982: Peace, Order and Good Governance).

Second- Leaders are not be all and end alls. Within the Westminster System, as previous posts have exposed, Canada has done the reverse of other Commonwealth Nations. Wherein other countries Caucus health/direction/freedom is first; in Canada at Federal and Provincial it has become very top down. The advent in the 1970’s of the in-camera Question Period has led to more control and dramatics that do not actually support the first line of our Constitution.

This control extends further. With the UCP we saw it with the “bathroom runs” to avoid discussion on bills; and their leader tossing his grassroots guarantee. Now with the NDP in MLA Luff’s response to being removed from Caucus (Full statement here), she has two instances of control beyond the legislature:

For instance we were told that if we had any information on opposition members who had behaved inappropriately towards women that it was best not to go public with it because our party wasn’t completely without fault on the matter. This statement was never explained further, which is extremely problematic.

The thin caucus line of every political party that creates silence. Silence like we have seen within other power structures to protect (church, sport and entertainment to name but a few). Good Governance means opening up for full transparency. The challenge also illustrates why there possibly was not a full audit of financials of the government bureaucracy and MLA’s when the NDP took over after the 40+year PC dynasty (especially with the suspicious shredding by outgoing government). Could the same fear of loss be what drove the decision, not what was best for the people?

As well that this directive would come down:

When Jagmeet Singh was in town we got a text message saying not to be photographed with him.

Singh is the Federal NDP leader. Members are members of both parties, this is an outgrowth of the old social gospel-labour-human rights movements that founded the CCF which became the NDP. The provincial party has been trying to distance itself from the mess of the federal party recently, but to explicitly dictate that MLA’s could not be photographed with him, well…

I have always encouraged members of each party to call out the B.S. within their own party that harms. That takes away representation of citizens for leader control. It is hard enough to function for your constituents with the leader controls our system has moved to.

It is even harder when you are under constant duress and threat of loss of vocation. As with back benchers that have stepped up Federally to discuss and point out these concerns. It is now time to realize that these conversations cannot happen in isolation, and at a provincial level they need to happen. Members need to drive change within their parties. So do elected members, they need to speak up, and work if necessary against the cult of leader to produce the best service of citizen possible.

So thank you, Ms. Luff, for having the bravery to speak up and may your letter to the Speaker begin the process.