Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Grace

Robert Greenleaf, the father of the modern servant-leadership movement, learned grace this way. While a student at Carleton College, Greenleaf began a lifelong friendship with the college president, Donald Cowling. They might never have met had Greenleaf "not been a student who occasionally got into trouble and found [him]self in his office with some explaining to do." During those office visits, Greeleaf discovered a man "with deep and dependable understanding and compassion and with an unequivocal belief in freedom for the human spirit to flower." In the process of being confronted with his failures, Greenleaf experienced deep acceptance. In his writings, he laments those who never have such an opportunity: "I am sorry for those who have never gotten into trouble because they really cannot share my experience. It is one thing to experience compassion intellectually, or even give it. It is quite another thing to receive compassion when one know that all one is entitled to is justice." (quoted from "The Ascent of a Leader")

No comments: