Sunday, November 14, 2010

Obdurate – Difficult changes in perception, understanding and corporate culture

Pronunciation: \ ob-doo-rit -\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin: to harden
Date: 1400-50
1. unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings; stubborn; unyielding.
2. stubbornly resistant to moral influence; persistently impenitent

Currently, I am reading two books. One is fiction by Anne Perry, a favorite author of mine. It is set in the Byzantine Empire and places the characters within the larger conflict between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. Each clings with violent intent to its beliefs. There is little room to quote the text “for gentleness and the humility to learn, to crush the appetite for exclusivity and to tolerate the different.”

The second book is a frank discussion of the perceptions of Christians by non Christians and the “good news about the end of Christian America.” The author, Gabe Lyons, speaks of Christians of in all variances seeking to “be a a force for restoration in a broken world” ~ wanting the label “Christan to mean something good, intelligent, authentic, true and beautiful.”

The intertwining of history with fiction, the present with the past, as I read these two books speaks to my own journey, personally, spiritually and professionally. Growth is often brought upon us through trial, sadness, grief or illness. Why is that so? What is it about us as humans or in a broader sense our corporate structures that require pain (or litigation) to move from self interest (which is often destructive) to health and justice?

We are a stubborn lot, well at least I am. I repeat what I have done before, no longer expecting different results (expecting different results being the definition of insanity). I repeat it KNOWING the results will be the same. What is the level after insanity?

I also see the workplace doing the same. We face budget cuts and looming insecurity, yet corporately we turn to the same dogged solutions we enacted during the last crisis. Where is the creativity? The willingness to at least listen to persuasion?
My prayers are simpler these days. I have stopped praying answers. I have turned to asking for guidance. A twelve step prayer is simple “knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out.” Yet, I feel guilty. Raised in a church culture that not only preached but required praying for specifics, I at times feel as though I am not “doing my part.” On the other hand, I tremble at the idea that I might know God’s will for anyone’s life.

My concerns for work are as complex. There are rules and traditions and a hierarchy not much different than any church. Contemplating different approaches rocks the norm.

To change a couple of words of Anne Perry “Maybe an [institution] can only take us so far, provide a framework in which we can climb far enough to see just how much father there is to go, and that the journey is infinitely worth it.”

What Worked for Me Today
Moving – when I wanted to hide. Reading beyond the text thanks to my IPod Touch (thank you Jared) with Kindle books backed up by Google, Wikipedia and the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Shopping Local at Third Street Books in McMinnville – This is a great place to pick up a title or two (especially when they actually get it off the shelf and hand it to you while you walk around). I have found the most interesting books here; ones I may not have encountered otherwise.

The Next Christians: How a New Generation is Restoring Faith
, by Gabe Lyons

The Sheen on the Silk
by Anne Perry