leadership by bullying is an energy sucker

My latest column for the Prairie Messenger is titled Leadership can have a powerful hold over our spirits.

One of the strongest powers of leadership is the power that it can hold over our spirits. True servant leadership has the power to raise our spirits and energize us for our mission. Abusive, authoritative power crushes those same spirits and transforms our zeal into disillusion and doubt. Read more…..

Bullying is often at the root of dysfunctional leadership. We see it in the workplace, in classrooms, in homes and, sadly, in our churches. Besides making our lives miserable, these leaders bring immeasurable harm to those they are called to serve.

Leaders who speak to the heart hold the most effective power for growth and reform.

Pope smiles as he arrives to lead general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

the annunciation – saying yes and living it

annunciation - fra angelico
annunciation – fra angelico

March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. It is a day to look to Mary and ponder her Yes to God. And, what a Yes it was. Pregnancy and birth is seldom easy. An “unexplained” pregnancy for an unmarried girl carried the death sentence of stoning. Mary felt fear yet allowed her fears to be calmed by God’s promise. She did not fully comprehend, but who could? All she had at her disposal was her faith. If she was saying Yes to God, then certainly all would be well.

We often image Mary as the gentle hand-maiden meekly acquiesing to God’s will. Yet, her Yes did not come from cowering fear or blind obedience. She questioned and discerned and only then freely agreed to God’s will. This is what makes her blessed. God could have used her without her consent, but then she would have simply been a human vessel. Instead, she fully cooperated with God and became an active agent in God’s plan.

It takes courage to say Yes to the unknown. It takes even greater courage to reaffirm that same Yes when the unknowns are replaced with difficult or unexpected realities. Our Yes’s are easily forgotten in the face of suffering. The certainty of dreams and visions of goodness and glory vanish quickly when we struggle to seek God’s hand in the midst of darkness and evil.

Mary’s Yes led her to an uncomfortable birth far from home. She faced the hardships and fears of a refugee in Egypt. She felt the gut-wrenching trauma of every parent when they think their child is lost. Mary did not fully understand her son’s ministry and must have feared for his safety. How could she understand the horrors of his death?She said Yes at the annunciation and she continued to say Yes throughout her life.

In these times of Yes’s too easily retracted, of commitments too easily broken, Mary is a model of faith for us all.




the lost child of philomena lee

After too many book-less weeks, I delved into “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith. I knew that it wouldn’t be a light, escapist read. It chronicles the poignant and heart wrenching story of the forced adoption of a young Irish boy. Philomena, his young unwed mother, was sent to one of many […]