Marvin Gaye once sang a song called, “Mercy, Mercy, Me”. This song was directed to the ecology of the earth being disrupted by oil spills in the ocean, mercury in the fish, and pollution in the skies. Even in the 1970’s, this soul-singer was concerned by what he was seeing, wondering how things could progress in the state that he felt things were going.
Simon P. Walker in The Undefended Leader Trilogy uses the metaphor of our personal ecology, “the dynamic, ever-fluctuating matrix of relationships we construct around ourselves”, to explain the strategies we use to manage relationships effectively (Turner 2016). “Dr Walker was educated at Felsted School, and then Christ Church Oxford where he studied Biology. He returned to study Theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford between 1994-7 and wrote several papers on the epistemology of relational knowledge and the ontology of personhood which would become foundational for his subsequent psychological ideas of an ecology of personhood (Walker n.d.).” This ecology of personhood treats the person and their relationships as a system which can be disrupted just like the ecology of the earth. Just as the earth adjust to pollution, and greenhouse gases, so we must adjust to changes in our relationships.
This use of one of the branches of biology, ecology, as a metaphor to look at human relationship is reminiscent of Friedman’s Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix, who uses Cellular Biology, another branch of biology, to describe family systems. These systematic approaches to study relationships show how changes in our environment, on many levels, can have significant impact on our lives. Deciding to take on a DMIN program was fine while my life seemed to be relatively uneventful and somewhat stable. The addition of unexpected family with emotional problem coming to live with me, major changes at work in upper management, the uncertainty of working for the Federal government in crisis, has caused me to say, Mercy, Mercy, Me, things ain’t what they used to be!
I have tried to cope using the Front/Back Stage as described by Walker (Turner 2016), by keeping the show going on the front stage, revealing only what I want people to see on the outward side, while things are falling apart on the backstage; but hey, as someone said, the show must go on. Freedom is supposed to come when some of the back stage is more visible and is not as much of a threat (BMS World Mission 2018).
Trying to become “Undefended” is going to be a process and reminds me that I do need to let God be my defense. Psalm 118:14 says, The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. While my personal ecology is out of balance, I need to continue to cry to the Lord for mercy, and let others assist in the cleanup and restoring balance. This is the only way I will restore my personal ecology and continue to make progress.
BMS World Mission. “Book Review and Reflections: The Undefended Leader.” BMSWorldMission.org. 2018. https://www.bmsworldmission.org/book-review-and-reflections-the-undefended-leader (accessed November 14, 2019).
Turner, Mike Munro. “The Undefended Leader: Blog.” Mike the Mentor. December 14, 2016. https://www.mikethementor.co.uk/blog/2016/12/14/the-undefended-leader (accessed November 14, 2019).
Walker, Simon P. “Simon P. Walker: Biography.” Simonpwalker.com. n.d. http://simonpwalker.com/biography/4587805186 (accessed November 16, 2019).