Being a cleric requires certain skills and interests. If you are a member of the clergy, of any denomination, you are likely drawn to the concept of wisdom. You are also naturally in a leadership position in your church, temple or mosque and possibly in your community as well. However, if you are like most clerics, you probably never “learned” much about leadership formally in seminary or even after. In fact, many of us have an outdated understanding of leadership, and our institutions often promote expectations that are difficult to attain because of this lack of understanding. Likewise, you may find that wisdom is a topic that you do not have a whole lot of time to ponder, explore and understand.
Is there a connection between wisdom and leadership that is unique for the practical and spiritual demands of clergy? And if so, how do we fuse our natural inclination towards the development and understanding of wisdom with the desire to be a good leader?
Wisdom and Leadership Circles are gatherings specifically for pastors, rabbis, priests and imams who are interested in exploring and expanding their understanding of wisdom and leadership, learning and sharing with like-minded clerical leaders in the community, and consciously engaging in the practice of leadership on the road towards wisdom. These circles are designed for those of us who are called to a vocation where leadership and wisdom are central tenets but their development may not always be clear. Wisdom and Leadership Circles are meant for people who ask, “How can I best serve as a leader for my congregation and community?” but are not sure they have all the answers. The circles are also for those of us who hope to develop wisdom and leadership, to become wise leaders or leaders who promote wise decisions and good work.
You can have charisma and be a bad leader. You can be a good leader without charisma! When was the last time you were able to share your leadership questions and learn from your peers about what they have experienced?
But what is wisdom and why is it important to us? You may find that wisdom is a topic that you do not have a whole lot of time to ponder, explore and understand. When was the last time you were able to muse about wisdom and spirituality, either on your own or with peers?
The opportunity to delve deeply into these topics, and our roles as community leaders is, in the words of Joseph Campbell, a heroic journey. It is both a communal and an inward journey – “into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world” (from the book The Hero With A Thousand Faces). Wisdom and Leadership Circles gather to help us better understand and explore this journey -- our callings, challenges, and what gifts we have to offer "for the transfiguration of the world."