Might: Spiritual, organizational, personal and positional sources and resources are appropriately used to make decisions and develop people

The Church Needs More Non-Dual Leaders

Dualistic thinking, or the ego operating system, as Cynthia Bourgeault calls it, is our way of reading reality from the position of my private ego. “What’s in it for me?” “How will I look if I do this?” This is the preferred way of seeing reality for most of us.

Richard Rohr calls it either/or thinking. It knows reality by comparison, by opposition, by differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, intelligent/stupid, not realizing there may be 50 or 150 degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. When we think only black and white, we miss the shades of grey in between.

For some reason, once we compare or label things (that is, judge things), we almost always conclude that one is good and the other not so good or even bad. This is usually the result of some deeply rooted fear.

The dualistic mind has difficulty in processing things like infinity, mystery, paradox, contradictions, God, suffering, death, or even love. This is why Jesus said “do not judge” and made so much of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace, because these are the things that, if truly experienced, totally break dualism down. It is difficult to understand and follow many of Jesus’ teachings with only a dualistic mind.

The dualistic mind is necessary to practical decision making and everyday life, discerning right from wrong, and to careers such as teachers, scientists and engineers. But, it can limit us as leaders, especially spiritual leaders. If we can acknowledge that in the grand scheme of things, we only have limited information and that there is an infinite amount that we don’t know, it opens up a huge world of possibility, acceptance, and understanding.

Attributes of Non-dual Leaders

To be a non-dual leader requires a different operating system, one that originates in the heart, taps into the mind of Christ, and is guided by the Holy Spirit. It is capable of listening to God, the other, and to the heart. Non-dual leaders……

  • See alternatives; can critique and then detach from the critique
  • Don’t need to be right
  • Don’t need to be perfect
  • Don’t need to be recognized
  • Don’t need to impress, be successful or special
  • Don’t need to compare themselves with others
  • No longer need to compete
  • Don’t need power or control
  • Don’t not need to condemn one side or one group
  • Can find truth on both sides of an issue
  • Can give the benefit of the doubt to both friend and enemy
  • Can live in contentment with whatever the moment offers
  • Don’t “have to” judge first, either positive or negative
  • Don’t need to be in charge
  • Can be gracious and affirming when attacked
  • Don’t need to humiliate or defeat those who hurt them, even in their minds
  • Don’t hold on to obsessive or negative thoughts
  • Can accept themselves, warts and all
  • Move forward by influencing events and inspiring people more than by ordering and demanding
  • Know that most often every one-sided solution is doomed ahead of time to failure on some level; it is only a postponement of the problem
  • Study, search and discern together with their people (teams) for solutions
  • Know that we create dilemmas because we are internally stuck, attached, fearful, over-identified with our position, needing to win the case, or unable to entertain even the partial truth the other opinion may be offering
  • Search for middle ground; win-win solutions and situations
  • Know that there is no perfect solution
  • Know that wisdom is the art of the possible
  • Keep prayerfully offering new data and ideas until they can work toward some consensus from all sides
  • Know that when done well, compromise and consensus seeking does not have to mean abdicating essential values but can rather be viewed as reinforcing other values
  • Increase both freedom and ownership among the group
  • Let people know the “why” of a decision and shows how it is consistent with the group’s mission and values
  • Bears things they can’t change
  • Focuses only on that which is truly important
  • Don’t burn up energy being anxious
  • Acknowledges that people are primarily thinking about themselves first
  • Realize that no matter how much they try to please, some people just aren’t going to like them
  • Seeks first to understand
  • Can wait, listen and learn
  • Can be satisfied without closure
  • Can forgive and forget
  • Are not fearful
  • Can admit when wrong, and apologize and change
  • Can find God in all things

How would your church differ if it had leaders with these attributes?

Posted on February 28, 2017

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5