Charity suffered long and is kind. Charity envieth not, charity is not easily provoked. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5)
Jesus knew well that if men became leaders in the truth of the Gospel without a correct notion of the principle that “like begets like,” they could never faithfully represent HIM. He knew that such leaders could not possibly preserve harmony where they had jurisdiction. He knew, too, that without harmony in leadership, the fruits of the spirit could not thrive, nor could there be any true representation of the Grace of God.
Community thinking always takes on the complexion of community leadership. If you will observe the peculiarities, prejudices, time-honored notions, bigotry, and hard-headedness of the leadership of any segregated people, and then take time to examine the mental movements of the groups over which such leadership reigns supremely, you will certainly discover the same thought elements in those groups that you discovered in their leadership.
Intelligent, individual thinking, and a proper freedom of the mind is always strictly forbidden by such leaders. Where leadership is jealous, envious, jarring, clashing, often in collisions, the community over which that leadership reigns will certainly give evidence of that same sort of distrust. There never seems to have been a better theater for the exercise of this maleficency than the religious theater. In that theater, it has always seemed easy for leaders to hide their mediocrity and hypocrisy behind a cloak of seeming sincerity.
Jesus not only pointed out, in his earliest contacts with his disciples, the absolute necessity of intelligent, harmonious leadership, but HE showed that, without the virtue of intelligence, neither leadership nor followers could keep themselves upon the sensible middle ground, the road that lies between the two extremes. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child.”
There is a record in the Gospels of thirteen lepers being healed. In each case, Jesus besought the men who were healed to go and show themselves to the leaders of their communities. Only a mind blinded by Anglo-Saxon tradition could fail to see that Jesus was making a special effort to appeal to the leadership of HIS people. Leprosy was a type of the loathsome, contaminating, spiritual sickness of Israel’s “leadership.”
Religious leadership, when all out of bounds and irreparably disheveled, possessing no harmony, nor unity, gets great satisfaction out of trying to combat reason and to justify its unhealthy and unholy condition by blaming, what it calls, the weak links in the community. It would have us believe that these weak links are the dangerous persons and ingredients in the society. Such silly, hypocritical, self-justification can satisfy only the most inverted and illogical minds. Reason points out that in harmony, mental corruption, and degeneration always seize first upon leadership, and it is then imparted to the followers. The downfall of society is preceded by the degeneration of masters and manners. “My brethren, be not many masters.” “Take the oversight, not for filthy lucre, neither as being lords over God’s heritage.”
Among the numerous gangs of vanities and vices that infest bad leadership, there are some that are decidedly glaring, and they are always in evidence. These vicious vices are incurable; the damage they do to innocent, trusting followers is irreparable.
First among them is a quickness of temper upon the slightest provocation and an insulting retort instead of a civil answer;
Second, an insatiable lust for power over the minds of other people;
Third, a love of seizing the conversational initiative in all companies, a kind of conversational road-hog disposition;
Forth, a subtle subordination of others, a subordination that pilfers all their moral rights.
These unwholesome traits are always traceable in ignorant, vice-filled leadership. Men whose minds are bent on securing this sort of dictatorship are incapable of rightly evaluating character. Merit, which is the only true, unfailing badge of manliness, is sure to be spurned by them. There is only one way of remaining in the favor of such leadership, and that is by constantly making court to it. Their little, bigoted, selfish minds will always believe that whatever notion seizes them, no matter how inconsistent and selfish it is, is a God-given inspiration. In company, they must be first, and in conversation, they must be foremost. They are ill at ease, wherever they go if they cannot be the center of attention. Their whole conversation turns upon their own accomplishments. They, themselves, are the heroes of their own stories.
The close associates of such leaders are not men of merit and virtue. They are yes-men; men who will bow, and grovel, and cater to their whims. In fact, there is only one way to please them, and that is by flattering their vanities. The man who will not flatter their vanities will be demoted and ruined. No calumny is too low for them to stoop to, if, by it, they can accomplish their evil design.
These leaders try to choose their close friends for filthy lucre’s sake. They are extremely partial to men, who, they think, have money. But their want of intelligence frequently defeats them where they wished most to be successful. Their glaring partiality has been known to disgust the very persons to whom they applied.
Their wicked minds can hatch out a so-called reason for crushing every idea and every explanation that is not a brainchild of their own. They fail to see that subordination and curtailing freedom of thought, not only corrupts the tyrant, who enacts the wicked law, but it also displaces happiness with bondage and suspicion.
One of the many things that will expose bad leadership, that will prove the wickedness of its precepts, that will make it sweat, and cringe, and fly into a convulsion of hatred, and discharge the venom of its tongue, is the intimation that it does not and cannot preserve harmony within its own ranks. Yet, no two leaders, who are power gluttons, have ever been known to agree for any length of time upon the fine points of a religious subject.
All power gluttons have within them a natural barrier to manliness and have never yet been known to agree with their contemporaries. Their own self-inflicted blindness prohibits the light of reason from directing them. Leaders who are power gluttons, not only want to direct the minutest affairs in every department of other people’s lives, even to giving advice about women’s garments but, in doing so, they despise the concepts of civility and courtesy, which are the fundamental principles of harmony.
There are only two things in life that we need be ashamed of: one is ignorance, the other is crime. Every irregularity that man has fallen heir to may be placed under one of the heads. The ignorance of believing that harmony can be preserved apart from courtesy may not be the most glaring evidence of ignorance in leadership, but it is certainly an evidence of “BAD” leadership. It is an ignorance sufficiently benumbing to make its possessor blind upon a decidedly important point, and if the blind lead the blind, they “ALL” fall into the ditch.
The great importance of intelligent leadership, leadership that discourages stereotype thinking rather than insisting upon it, leadership that practices self-discipline and has the ability to understand the fundamental principles of harmony, is clearly pointed out in the story of Paul’s conversion. The notion of building Christian character independent of the virtue of intelligence is an Anglo-Saxon inheritance that roots itself in Catholicism. The only cause it has to plead is that when a community is kept in ignorance, and its thought patterns furnished ready-made, it is more easily held in subjection to its leadership.
God created the world by the operation of intelligence, not by ignorance, incivility, and vulgarity. In the Grace of God, we see intelligence properly applied. Intelligence properly applied secures courtesy, and without courtesy, it is impossible to preserve harmony. If you have difficulty in believing this, just observe the lack of harmony in the leadership about you. Observe, then the basic reasons for that lack of harmony, and God will turn your darkness into light unless you are an Anglo-Saxon, dyed-in-the-wool, stereotype thinker.
Numberless times in Old Testament days, the people of God were led away from that good land, that land that flowed with milk and honey; they were disunited, plunged into the lowlands of strife, of ignorance, and of bigotry; and every time, without exception, it was the degeneration of their masters that brought them low.
If leadership cannot control its own moods, humors, tempers, and passions, how can it wisely guide others? If leadership cannot rise above jealousy, envy, hatred, slander, how can it help anyone else past such vilifying calumny? “He that sayeth he is in the light and hateth his brother is in darkness still.” “He that hateth his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness and knoweth not whether he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes,” and “If the blind lead the blind, they all fall into the ditch.”
If leadership cannot keep itself in countenance by innocence, rather than by shameful quarreling, scandalizing, subordinating, and character smearing, it certainly deserves to be labeled as possessing nothing but polished hypocrisy. This artificial light of hypocrisy spreads too thin a covering over its holdings to deceive any, for long, but the blind, idolatrous hero-worshipper.
The distinguishing badge of this artificial, self-appointed leadership is self-justification. When it is proved to be in error, it will, instead of facing the issue in a manly way, vehemently justify itself. If the error is so glaring as to be evident, even to a child, it will invariably try to recover itself by treating its blundering conduct as if it were a joke. If pressed, it will show evidences of anger, rather than an eagerness to be right. I have seen these leaders fly into a rage, and I have heard them utter the most disgraceful statements when they found that their dissimulations could not rescue them.
By being constantly self-contradictory, the minds of corrupt leadership become habituated to inconsistencies, and let me say that being constantly inconsistent in any department of life is one of the gravest errors of mankind. An inconsistent mind cannot think correctly, for symmetry of judgment is destroyed. When, in the minds of leadership, inconsistency is given the room that only reason should occupy, there are certain evils that cannot possibly be avoided. I will mention only two of them.
First, partiality. Partiality shown to those who are thought to have money;
Second, intolerance. Intolerance of any idea that is not the brainchild of that mentally dislocated leadership. Leadership of this sort always destroys all coordination. It thrives only when it can reduce others to the order of serfs. Every operation of a mind so maleficent seems to be for the extension and promotion of its own glory, and woe betide the man who attempts to restrain such a swinish mind, or even to reason with it.
Never having taken to itself a respectable intellectual weapon, with which to support and defend its opinions, this sort of leadership has recourse to insult and abuse, weapons of the ignorant and the vulgar. Such men have nothing that is logical and well fortified. Their attitudes and conduct prove that they do not know the correct science of anything. Their little muddled minds go into even the most simple matters in the most confused and unskillful way.
Whatever does not appeal to them through the power of instinct belongs, they are sure, to the enemies of God. Civility and gentility are interpreted by them as evidences of weakness. For survival, they trust to the goring power of horns, rather than to the strength of reason. A sort of swinish aggression is substituted for intelligence. Their minds are too little to see and their hearts are too wicked to admit that the discord amongst them is the direct result of their incivility and discourtesy.
Such observations upon aggressive, self-projecting leadership could hardly be made without notice being called to the social damage done by it to many trusting souls, who, being unfortified, are unfortunate enough to be subject to it.
I know it is a dangerous thing for me to mention these deplorable conditions and situations, and to point out the reason for such blundering and floundering, and to state emphatically that Anglo-Saxon bigotry has been substituted for intelligence. I know, too, that it is dangerous to declare positively that there is only one remedy for such unprincipled conduct. But I have watched this leadership operating for many, many years, and I have observed that God cannot give the world a manifestation of the moral perfection of Jesus through such artificial conduct.
Sow flowers and flowers will blossom,
Around you wherever you go,
Sow weeds and of weeds reap a harvest,
You will reap whatsoever you sow.
George W. Roszell (Ex-worker)
August 7, 1955