The future depends upon what we do in the present. –Gandhi
Rather than quote and comment, this morning I have decided to offer us a long excerpt from Greenleaf. I invite you, gentle reader, to take some time and reflect upon the gift Greenleaf offers us and then I invite you to pay attention to the thoughts (observations, questions, considerations, conclusions, etc.) that emerge into your consciousness.
Greenleaf writes: Is there any basis for hope for the future? I think there is. Let me state briefly what I see as a basis for hope.
If one is to be hopeful, it seems to me, one must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following three questions:
—Can the large numbers who suffer alienation in our times be helped to find themselves at home in this world as it is – violent, striving, unjust, as well as beautiful, caring, and supportive – by accepting and nurturing their servant natures?
—Can those who ‘lead’ and carry the burdens and take the risks and absorb the tensions of showing the way to others, whether in large affairs or small, be helped to find a sustaining level of spirituality that gives them some detachment from, and perspective on, their burdens so that they carry on with clarity of vision, compassion, and grace – qualities of life that only a lift of spirit is likely to make possible?
—Will some among us be open to receive the gift of ‘spirituality as leadership’ and then, with that gift, make a mission of healing alienation and assist the spiritual formation of established leaders – in the terms of (1) and (2) above?
If one is to be hopeful, one must have faith (as trust) to answer ‘yes’ to these three questions. Not belief that some miraculous intervention will rescue our present low-spirit culture, but belief – as trust – that a long series of painstaking steps by normal, competent, dedicated people will bring this present society, in time, to a conspicuously higher level of spirituality…
These steps begin, it seems to me, with the reader and the writer of this essay. Do WE believe that a small movement toward a more spiritual society will result from steps that WE take with our own personal efforts? If the readers of this journal will not make that effort, who will?
…I believe that, in a society in which so much caring for persons is mediated through institutions, the most open course to build a more just and caring society is to raise the performance as servant of as many institutions as possible by new regenerative forces initiated within them by committed individuals: Servants.