As long as there have been humans on earth, we have sought great souls—people of preeminent attainment—characterized by one or more character qualities of greatness. Every faith tradition remembers its great leaders and studies their lives. American theologian Michael Plekon writes “what we do know, whether we are willing to admit it or not, is that we need heroes, people who can inspire us, help shape us morally, spur us on to purposeful action.”
In their book, “Moral Leadership for a Divided Age,” authors David Gushee and Colin Holtz explore the lives of remarkable people who were great moral leaders. They reference a famous definition of leadership from historian James MacGregor Burns: “Leadership over other human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political and other resources to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers.” We find this approach to leadership among people of biblical times. Moses had a purpose and was responsible for leading the Hebrew people out of bondage. David was a great leader who became king and sought to unite his people under a single nation.
Leadership comes in many forms and sizes. Presidents of this great country are responsible for fulfilling the promises they make on behalf of the people who elect them. We expect our leaders to exemplify moral character. A moral leader is someone whose character is rooted so profoundly in such virtues as compassion, justice and courage that we cannot help but admire the way he or she engages with the world, beyond questions of impact.
Great moral leaders have strong moral purpose. Gushee and Holtz write “some moral leaders forever alter our moral map, applying old and universal values to a particular situation to transform our notion on what and who matters.” At LHP, we are fortunate to have great moral leadership whose purpose and goal is to lead with compassion and care for all employees and residents. Great moral leaders can become a source of moral encouragement and move us to do things when we might other wise not be provoked to accomplish. So, let us continue to pray for our leaders because they have an awesome responsibility and Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!