Over the last 6 months, I think have had more conversations on politics than in the previous 6 years! Most of those conversations have been thoughtful. A few have been robust. Occasionally there is some intense fellowship on some political matters.
About 18 months ago, I began a long and deep study of American presidential history. I am using the American Presidents Series as my starting point. When I have finished the series I will have read about every president. I just finished our 12th president, Zachary Taylor. Next up is our 13th president, Millard Fillmore. Click here to find out more about the American Presidents series.
These books are the starting point. For many of the presidents, I then look to read one or two other, longer studies about them.
Why am I doing this?
For one, I want to be a better citizen of our country, and I realized how little I knew of our history.
Second, political matters are inescapably a part of our lives. As a thought leader and influencer of many people, I needed to be more well read and more thought-full on political matters.
Third, I want to be a better leader. For the last 20 years, I have extensively studied leadership in the Bible, leadership in the business world, and to a lesser degree, leadership in the world of sports. Occasionally, I would do some reading on a favorite president (Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt in particular). But I realized I was way behind in understanding presidential, executive leadership.
It has been a rich time of reading and reflecting on our presidents. Some have been outstanding. Some have been horrible. Many were mediocre. But all are worth learning from.
Currently, I am also doing sustained study of biblical leaders. I started off with an engrossing study of Kings Saul and David in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. I put that on hold for a bit, when I dove back into the earliest part of the Bible and its core leader, Moses, a prophetic leader who would never be equaled.
We should all hold EVERY leader to the highest standards possible: standards of moral character, standards of high competency, standards of noble visions and goals, standards of emotional healthiness, and for those who lead the work of Christ – standards of spiritual integrity.
As we have seen and heard the growing voices of victims of sexual abuse by men in positions of power (I am going to blog on this in the near future), mature, faithful, healthy leadership is an imperative.
Let us pray and keep praying for all who are called to leadership (1 Timothy 2:1-4, perhaps an often overlooked command).
However, tomorrow I have a concern that is a grave concern.
P.S. I have also loved this book on leadership by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible.
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.