Leadership, and the challenges of our time

Thought Leaders Series: 2018

Seldom do we see leaders stepping up at a time of adversity as we see with the Elders at a time that can be best described as their worst crisis.

Amidst the destruction of the Temple (the place they met with Yahweh), destruction of their institutions; power vacuum leading to political and social instability; the Elders were able to come up with ideas that will not only sustain them through Exile, but also preserve them as a nation.

On reflection on their trajectory, and with exposure to ideas in Babylon they came up with the philosophy of monotheism, and the idea that God does not need a visual representation (idols), but, is in fact a spirit. And that he works through them as co-creators or stewards in the continuation of his purpose on earth.

Interestingly we also see the early developments of other ideas that will later form the basis of Christian doctrine. These include: the idea of a contrary force (Satan or the devil), although we are not privy to the source of this entity or being; the concept of resurrection of the dead and judgement in the afterlife; a messiah (one that will lead the people of Israel against their enemies); and in the absence of The Temple, fasting and prayers as means of atonement and connecting to Yahweh, and as a means of resisting Satan.

These Elders were wise. They saw that the tides were shifting, and that what was held as ‘truth’ in time past were no longer so. Rather than forcing these old ideas on the masses, they reimagined, reengineered, re-envisioned, and reinvented their faith not only to address present challenges, but also future challenges. In simple terms, instead of going backwards, they chose the more difficult option of moving forward.

In the words of Nehru:

Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think.” – Jawaharlal Nehru (first Prime Minister of India)

Consequently the present crisis we face in our world should force us to think. These challenges can act as a catalyst to move us, but there are only two polar opposite directions: forward or backward.

The choice for us as leaders is binary.

Reachout | Revive | Recover


Thought Leaders Series: 2018

In their bid to galvanise the people after the Exile towards nationhood, the Elders needed a new metanarrative.

So, they captured stories from their oral traditions (very similar to what is left in the folk and oral traditions in most African settings), updated elements of these stories, infused new scripts; with a view to stir the minds of their audiences towards this new overarching narrative.

Most of this work we see in the so called historic books (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Chronicles, Samuel, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther). The editors were careful to use characters known through Jewish history to convey the sort of values that will strengthen and foster unity and prosperity; and those that were detrimental to the cause.

Hence they weaved into these stories character traits like collectivism, selflessness, faithfulness, loyalty, sacrifice, patience, humility, vision, kindness, unity, etc. At the same time inverses like individualism, selfishness, disloyalty, greed, shortsightedness, pride etc.

To this end the characters we find in these stories are not there by coincidence, they are symbols and milestones in the struggle of a people trying to carve out a future amidst the complexities of the world around them. Hence we find ourselves in major difficulties when we try to read these stories through the lenses of Christian dogmas and doctrines; or treat them as principles that govern all aspects of life.

While there might be elements of universality in them, they are clearly Jewish stories which were written retrospectively, with the vision of bringing the people together towards a common goal – nationhood. In simple terms: One God, One People, One Covenant.

Starting this Sunday I will be examining some of these stories with a view to highlight the virtues the editors were trying to convey and why they were necessary.

In other words the sort of Operative Narratives and Scripts the Elders wanted to see manifested in the lives of the citizens of this great nation they envisioned.

Reachout | Revive | Recover


Today @ Healingsprings fellowship!

According to most writers in the bible, the Jews were warned against marriage to Gentiles (non-Jews), except they converted to Judaism. In fact there were clear guidelines for conversion for men and women. 

So much so that most of the prophets challenged intermarriage with neighbouring nations, and state it as the chief reason behind their inability to comply with the articles of the Covenant, which eventually leads to Yahweh’s judgement and the Exile. 

Therefore, in comparison to other books in the Old Testament, the Book of Ruth presents an unconventional story of race relations and worship for Jews in ancient antiquity. 
The story challenged social and cultural norms, and theology, in new and radical ways at the time it was written, and it still does today. 

As such questions have to asked about scriptures as presented in library of writings we know today as the Bible. 
So join us as I lay the foundations for my series on the Book of Ruth. 

As per usual, I will be doing some ground work today by way of history, background and context, to set the scene for this epic journey into purpose, meaning and destiny.


The English Room,

Bexleyheath Academy,

Woolwich Road,