Good Day Gentle Reader. I invite you to read PART V for the context of my post today. In PART V I invited you to reflect upon Greenleaf’s words and then pay attention to what emerged for you during your time of reflection. Today I will share some of what has emerged for me.
SPIRIT. In his writings Greenleaf frequently used the word ‘Entheos’ to describe ‘Spirit.’ ‘Entheos’ comes from the Greek ‘EN’ – meaning ‘Within’ and ‘THEOS’ – meaning ‘Spirit.’ Thus ‘Entheos’ is the ‘spirit within that nurtures and sustains us.’ Greenleaf expands on this: ‘spirit is the animating force that disposes one to be a servant to others.’ For me, there are two ‘key words’ in his definition: ‘to be.’ As he notes in his other writings, the servant is who one is at one’s core – his ‘being’ (either by first or second nature). ‘Being’ precedes and informs/forms ‘Doing.’
Greenleaf reintroduces us to his ‘test’ for ‘servant.’ For me there are three important challenges contained in his ‘test.’ The first is ‘that those served grow as persons.’ In order for one to serve in this way one must ‘see’ and ‘experience’ the one being served as a human being – not as a ‘resource,’ ‘commodity,’ or ‘asset’ (these labels reinforce our Culture’s embracing of the ‘Banking Metaphor’ – a metaphor that de-humanizes us).
The second is ‘AND what is the effect on the least privileged in society’? In order for us to become aware of the ‘effect’ we must be awake, aware, intentional and purpose-full (Greenleaf reminds us, time and time again, that this ‘being aware’ often causes us to become disturbed by what we ‘see’). We might not directly serve the ‘least privileged’ but there is a very good chance that some of those we do serve will serve the ‘least privileged.’ If I serve you and you grow there is a good chance that you will serve the other(s) so that growth occurs.
The third is, for me, the most challenging: ‘No one will knowingly be hurt by the action, directly or indirectly.’ There are times when one can serve so that ‘no one will knowingly be hurt.’ There are also times when ‘hurt’ will occur – it is inevitable in fact. Consider this one idea: There are times when the one serving will be confronted with a ‘Dilemma’ (a ‘Dilemma’ is not a ‘problem,’ or a ‘polarity’ or a ‘paradox’ – it is a ‘forced choice’ challenge). There are two types of Dilemmas: ‘Right-Right’ and ‘Harm-Harm.’ For example: The challenge is that ‘I must choose’ between the ‘person’ and the ‘group’ (team, community, etc.). It is ‘right’ for me to choose either and the ‘Dilemma’ is that I must choose one. The ‘Harm-Harm Dilemma’ means that no matter which I choose (in this case, whether I choose for the person or for the group) harm will occur. Think: Our organization is in great difficulty and if we don’t ‘lay people off’ then the organization will be greatly harmed and if we do ‘lay people off’ in order to protect the organization then those people who are laid off will be harmed. So, for me, Greenleaf’s challenge can, at times, be embraced and given a ‘Harm-Harm Dilemma’ no matter which is served harm will occur. Now, Gentle Reader, there is ‘hope.’ For a ‘Dilemma’ can be ‘resolved’ or it can be ‘dissolved.’ ‘Dissolving’ means that we make a choice so that the ‘Dilemma’ no longer exists.
Well, Gentle Reader there are additional thoughts that emerged – and continue to emerge – for me AND what I have shared with you today will have to suffice for now. Next time I might invite you to reflect upon POWER. Then again…