An Odyssey of Epic Proportion
The term odyssey is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a voyage or series of experiences that give knowledge and understanding through many changes of fortune. To me, LPG5 has been a true odyssey marked by amazing global experiences, an exponential increase in knowledge through diverse exposure to powerful texts, writings and resources, and a life-altering shift of perspective and understanding from the astounding lives met along the way. As I write this concluding review, I am reflecting particularly on the concluding thoughts of each of my essays that have been a culminating piece to of each of the semesters experienced. From the exploration of happiness, human flourishing, and the church and politics, to the investigation of leadership, power, ethics, and social movements, an odyssey of epic proportion has been the result of my great fortune.
The prevailing question I entered this program with was, “How can the Church better contribute to making the world a better place?” For my first essay entitled, Making the World a Better Place: Understanding the Pursuit of Happiness and Human Flourishing, my concluding thought was the Church has lost its voice in our culture. In my second essay, Making the World a Better Place: Understanding the Church and Politics, my culminating thought was for the Church to find its voice in our culture, it must discover or rediscover its identity, narrative, and politic. My third essay, Making the World a Better Place: Understanding Leadership, Power, and Ethics, contributes the possibility that the Church will have its best opportunity to determine its identity, narrative, and politic based on how it approaches, practices, and stewards leadership, power, and its ethic. I remember coming up with the the concluding thought, “The weave of leadership, power, and ethics is a constitution on which the possibility of personal and social flourishing lies.” Lastly, Making the World a Better Place: Understanding Social Movements, was my capstone essay that uncovered an organizing structure the Church may find necessary to best speak-up and ultimately help contribute to making the world a better place.
The work God has been doing in my heart and head through this epic odyssey currently has me packaging these thoughts in the following framework:
The voice of the Church is for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.
The identity of the Church is based on the incarnation and that God is with us and we are to be with those God is calling us to reach … becoming poor to reach the poor.
The narrative of the Church is that all things can be made new.
The politic of the Church is a politic of courage and hope.
Leadership in the Church should be a leadership of thought and thoughtfulness.
Power in the Church is to be diffused and redistributed to the fringes.
And finally the Church is an ethic, a way unto itself, the Kingdom and virtue of God’s way in this world and for this world and all of creation.
I do not mean to apply these conclusions universally. Rather personally, for right where God has me now, and for what he is calling me to be concerned about and to attend to in the coming days of my life and ministry, he is wrecking my heart for these matters. I continue to be amazed by all that God is doing in my life, ministry, and calling through the Leadership and Global Perspectives doctorate. I continue to be filled with gratitude and thankfulness for these days and the days ahead and what I know will continue to be a true odyssey of epic proportion.