Good morning, Gentle Reader. This morning I will begin to respond to these two questions: ‘When is Serving potentially immoral?’ ‘When is Serving immoral?’
In order to respond to them it will be, I believe, helpful, to have some guidelines to follow. I offer us two guidelines, both provided by Greenleaf.
By the by, Gentle Reader, I purpose-fully have chosen the word ‘respond’ rather than the word ‘answer.’ For me, ‘answer’ implies that there is truly an ‘answer’ and thus a consequence is that further searching and seeking will be hindered if not blocked because we now have the ‘answer.’ I prefer the word ‘respond’ for a response leaves, perhaps even invites, further searching and seeking.
Greenleaf offers us two guidelines, his ‘Best Test’ for the Servant and his ‘Credo,’ his ‘I believe’ statement. Both of these can be found in his 1980 essay, Servant: Retrospect & Prospect.
Greenleaf’s ‘Credo’: I believe that caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other is what makes a good society… If a better society is to be built, one more just and more caring and providing opportunity for people to grow, the most effective and economical way while supportive of the social order, is to raise the performance of servant of as many institutions as possible by new voluntary regenerative forces initiated within them by committed individuals: Servants.
Greenleaf’s ‘Best Test’ [for the Servant]: Do those being served grow as persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will she or he benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived? No one will knowingly be hurt by the action, directly or indirectly.
So, given these two guidelines let us return to our two questions: ‘When is Serving potentially immoral?’ ‘When is Serving immoral?’
Before I respond to these two questions I invite you, Gentle Reader, to stop, step-back, reflect, emerge and capture in writing your own response(s) to each of these questions. As you reflect I invite you to keep in mind Greenleaf’s two guidelines (since our overall topic for this blog is ‘Greenleaf’s Legacy’).
In order not to influence nor contaminate your reflection, I will, next time, respond to the two questions. I am curious as to what emerges for you so I also invite you to email me your responses (firstname.lastname@example.org).