Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Hearts and Drums

Written by: on April 21, 2021

The world could be a better place to be. We have heard the cries of people passing through this place of time, journeying between the gardens, desperate for consolation. Some are gifted to endear their lives to pursuing it while so many others are consumed, wandering in dark places or numb, empty spaces within empty spaces. Being here is a risk. Those liberated, enlightened and heroic few offer their ‘boon’ expansively and strategically, knowing that there is a market, between the gardens (as history has shown), for the message of truth and hope. In the final book of his ‘Undefended Leader Trilogy’, Leading with Everything to Give, Simon Walker draws on the interactions of personality and power, the focus of his first two endeavours, as he considers their interrelationship within whole populations and between societies over time using a hopeful, ‘specific model of social ecology’.1

The ‘Renaissance in the 15th century’ started this era of ‘Western’ social expression, as Walker perceives it, and we are at its end.2 His delineation of the stages, from then to now, using categories that he had previously used to define leadership, relatively-speaking, was intriguing, not fulfilling. Despite certain social progression, especially for bourgeoisie and the beaten proletariat, the whisper of moral and theistic degradation, from then to now, resonates. The RSX-type (Reserved-Strong-eXtended), containing a worldview inspired by faith and honest philanthropy, one breathing God into all things, was lost by the 1900s in what Walker refers to as the Aspirational Stage.3 By this time, humans of the West, stunned by an individualism awakened by a relentless capitalism and intoxicating consumerism, were on trajectory toward the flare of unbound dominion, commodifying all things, exploiting all things living.

This is not sustainable. The world falls daily, further into collapse. In poverty today, I am less of a commodity, less needed. Walker connects the experience, in our weakened and fragile condition in this final and exploitative stage of the era, as ‘a bereavement, to which we will respond with the usual stages of the grieving process.’4 Our poverty belongs to all of us, not just ‘them’. We are responsible; hence, the trend toward an popular, acceptable narcissism because such responsibility is best avoided for the truth and pain of it.

When I was a boy, I never wanted to die. I used to pray, with all my heart, that I would live to be one hundred and fifty years old. I loved life; I just couldn’t imagine it not being in me. The idea of death still escapes me. In my early teens, the driveway was another realm and basketball was the sky, the moon, sun and all the stars. I could not leave for dinner or bedtime without sinking the shot that promised the NBA. I loved playing basketball, never lightly, always with big heart and tenacious. Still, on this other side of halfway home things come to life for my aging eyes and my breath is held on beauty yet, there has been severe pain and immanent poverty that have caused violent undoing and radical discomfort. There was a time that I did not think I would make it to thirty-five years old. There are days when the story feels unbearable (excruciating, impossible, systemically unjust, structurally incorrect), that I long for home.

When grief is the appropriate response, Simon Walker determines that a propensity toward an ignorant ‘feeling good’ is more important, thereby ‘reducing the chances that we will persevere and grow through tragedy, loss and pain, or that we will aspire to act with courage in the noble cause.’5 Our attention will be achieved in life or in death, no one can evade the truth and nothing can separate us from His love.6 Presence to pain, the humility to grieve, are characteristics of an original leader who is put together with integrity and, in solidarity, is courageous to care for people through the patient process of pain, grief and loss. Patient endurance, resolute in hope for a new beginning, are cries of consolation in this restorative social movement.

The presence that we are called into, as we journey through this place of time, following Jesus, is that of a wise, old soul with skin in the game. This is phronesis and, with it there will be the experience of pain, only to situate the soul stronger, steady, gentler like Jesus. Compassion will resound, the volume at a frequency unknown to the self-centered, expressions of an untouchable liberty to confound the status quo and, you will hear the people sing!7



  1. Simon P. Walker, Leading with Everything to Give: Lessons from the Success and Failure of Western Capitalism (The Undefended Leader Trilogy Book 3), Piquant Editions, Kindle Edition, Chapter 1.
  2. Walker, Leading with Everything to Give, Ch. 9.
  3. Walker, Leading with Everything to Give, Ch. 9.
  4. Walker, Leading with Everything to Give, Ch. 9.
  5. Walker, Leading with Everything to Give, Ch. 9.
  6. Romans 8:39, NIV.
  7. “Les Miserables | Do you hear the people sing?” Universal Pictures, December 27, 2019, 2:21, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q82twrdr0U


About the Author

Chris Pollock

Dad of Molly Polly Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church Trail Runner

7 responses to “Hearts and Drums”

  1. Shawn Cramer says:

    Great reminder of Phronesis. That term is new to me and I’ll need to look into it more. Do you have a recommendation about where to start?

    • Chris Pollock says:

      Lived, practiced, in-real-life, skin-in-the-game wisdom.

      Taleb has some good ideas on this, in and through his writing! Others too, it’s there with Walker, Lincoln, Gandhi, Jesus, S. Gautama, Plato, many others and you.

      There are others. Phronesis is a personal journey…daily reflective, in-contemplation, living out wisdom learned. Perhaps the key to it, the original inspirer, is Love.

  2. Darcy Hansen says:

    “Our poverty belongs to all of us, not just ‘them’.” It would seem we have lost our capacity to feel the pain of others. I see little conscious evidence (though subconsciously and systemically the evidence is present) in the American Church of this truth: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 For 12:26). The suffering happens, but we choose to ignore the pain of others and self, and how that pain impacts us. How do we move people with superficial, narcissistic faith into “wise old souls with skin in the game”? What is the song we will collectively sing when so much division prevails?

    • Chris Pollock says:

      Not much hope for narcissism, unfortunately. Pain is not something they are interested to lean into, unless they can benefit from it.

      Seriously, narcissism (the utter fulfilment of a bitter/ugly individualism) cannot be changed. It’s an original darkness, an evil force that impresses upon, that imprisons souls very deeply, extinguishes light. It feeds on energy until it’s gone and then, finds new sources…this is the nature of it. And, perhaps there’s a bit of a spectrum to it.

      An encounter with the ‘real’ Jesus Christ, can free a narcissist (diagnosed of undiagnosed). However, I don’t think they will allow themselves to get so close to truth, because it is painful (there’s much to this)…and, surrender is not in their toolbox. That said, there are narcissists who use the platform of what is offered through Christianity, to find source for a world of energy. The smart ones (on a level with IYIs) play on this well, finding a ceaseless supply of energy (if they tend to it well) to consume, though never enough for their ever-emptiness.

      The songs…they are emotional. Enjoy a playlist from the musical ‘Les Miserables’. Songs of freedom! Bob Marley, Seger, and some of the Psalms…

  3. Jer Swigart says:

    You do well here to identify grief as a crucible for transformation. And I agree that our discomfort with (perhaps ignorance of how to) grief causes many of us to miss the transformational altogether.

    Chris, how do you allow grief to change you without walling in it perpetually?

  4. John McLarty says:

    I find myself more and more drawn to the people whose lines on their faces seem to be a map of the world. I know from my own life that I’ve learned just as much- probably more- from seasons of struggle and disappointment and death than from the times when everything seemed perfect. It shapes us and good leaders recognize the opportunity to be formed anew. Thanks for this post.

  5. Greg Reich says:

    Your line, “Presence to pain, the humility to grieve, are characteristics of an original leader who is put together with integrity and, in solidarity, is courageous to care for people through the patient process of pain, grief and loss.” is powerful and full of imagery. I believer understands pain and grief are both necessary in the leadership journey. The more I press into my times with God asking for assistance with my pain and grief the more I am prepared to love and embrace the pain and grief of others.

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