Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hitting the Ground Kneeling

Yesterday I was at Chelmsford Cathedral for the installation of the new Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell. It was an impressive occasion with lots of different elements to the service. It was particularly good to see him being "drummed" into the cathedral. As it happens, I have been reading one of his books "Hit the Ground Kneeling" (Church House Publishing, 2008). In it he tries to offer a different perspective on leadership, suggesting that we, who follow God, ought to be providing a different kind of leadership from that conventionally found elsewhere. He makes the point that - p. 4 - "creativity is usually cultivated in the soil of contemplation." Leading up to that conclusion he says: "Whatever sort of leadership we exercise, indeed, whether or not we think of ourselves as leaders, time spent in reflective attentiveness, what the Church calls contemplation, makes for healthier and more fruitful living. But I say this against the backdrop of a world of remorseless and implacable busyness. We seem hell bent on filling every waking moment - and most of the sleeping ones as well - with noise and activity. Time for reflection is squeezed out. In fact sleeping moments are harder to come by. We sleep less than we did 40 years ago. We work longer hours. And we are constantly chided and chivvied by the chatter of the TV, the chirping of the mobile phone and the clamour of email. We are tied to the trees but more and more cut off from the wood." I absolutely agree that we need more contemplative leadership. I did hear about a minister who gave up meetings for Lent. My response was that I was going to give up email for Lent - but I didn't have the courage to follow it through.

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