Spiritual Leadership: The Challenge.

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Date: Wntr-Spring 2021
From: The Journal of Values-Based Leadership(Vol. 14, Issue 1)
Publisher: The Lutheran University Association, Inc., dba Valparaiso University
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,131 words
Lexile Measure: 1070L

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For the past decade, I have been writing about values-based leadership. Perhaps unaware due to my philosophical background, I have sometimes ignored that which moves our values, that which stimulates our impulse to be moral. Having had this brought to my attention, I have published several articles identifying and explaining what is called our "spiritual" nature and including such within the parameters of values-based leadership. These writings expose the complexities of the human mind and the deep-seated values harnessed within, recognizing the moral consciousness as an internal moral capacity.

These writings have been difficult due to my training in analytical philosophy and because many of us--and perhaps others around the world--associate "spiritual" with their religious commitments. Being raised in a Southern religious culture, I am guilty of this as well. Giving this some serious thought and the strong association of "spiritual" with being religious doesn't mean that the religious, especially the monotheistically religious, have a monopoly on being spiritual. Spirituality has a much wider exposure.

Harkening back to Descartes' separation of mind and body, and due to its complexities, many call the moral mind "spiritual." Not wishing to bash any religious interpretation of "spiritual," I have steered a more neutral course recognizing that "spiritual" is not limited to any form of religious expression, but is an intrinsic predisposition indigenous to all humanity stirring within us the recognition of humanity's moral center. The spiritual, as I conceive it, is a gathering place of humanity's sacred dimensions. It is a lived experience revealed in a meeting of persons. The spiritual is, and will always be, relational--revealing the confluence of human respect and dignity and dispelling the over-accentuated diversity that separates and divides. The spiritual is the connective tissue of moral life and knowledge.

In more than eight decades of living, I have discovered that life, all life, is about relationships and relationships are built on a self-giving love for one another. Living morally unites human life as we live in an inseparable web of human affiliations. Saying this, I acknowledge that values-based leadership is innately spiritual, but not in the traditional religious sense of being holy, pious, or devout.

Being spiritual acknowledges the inside person, the sacredness of life, and committing oneself to a life of care, kindness, and respect for others.

Thus, "spiritual" can be said to be a part of our human nature. That it is intrinsic doesn't diminish its significance. As intrinsic, our spiritual natures will differ from that of others because it is subject to cultural influences. This makes it difficult to define, but, as we know, easy to manipulate. The spiritual is dynamic and energizing, a human action of moral discovery. This spiritual energy enables my giving and sharing, my ability to communicate with others, and my ability to build and sustain families and communities of moral strength. It is friendship-enabling and provides cohesion within the family and without.

I have found spiritual energy not to be unchanging, but a becoming - it is learning to see...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A647703579