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Recently my friend, Fr. Doug Robertson, was describing the beauty of the parish picnic. He said it was “the power of the potluck” that transformed the ordinary into the sacred. This can be a metaphor for Servant Leadership. The “power of the potluck” is the personal sharing of what we all have, to feed each other. It is a banquet of goodness and generosity in which we are all fed and nourished. The power of the potluck recognizes that everyone has something to bring to the table and everyone has something to take away. By definition this is what it means to be in a good company. Company comes from the Latin words “cum panus,” meaning to break bread with. Servant-led organizations are good companies to work for because they have discovered the power of the potluck where people gather to work together, play together, and celebrate together for a Good greater than themselves. During this Oktoberfest season, a time to remember and celebrate good work, why not unleash the power of the potluck.
Peace and all good,
Director, MA in Servant Leadership program
A peace that passes all understanding. That has been my prayer of late. The desire for a peace that passes understanding seems the only appropriate response to the persistence in our world of conflicts that pass understanding. Servant leadership students at Viterbo University know all too well what these conflicts look, sound, and feel like. A recent graduate returns to Rwanda to carry the work of truth-telling and reconciliation forward for the next generation. A current student and priest celebrates the independence of his home country, South Sudan, even as he anticipates the challenges of raising up leaders from the literal rubble of decades old animosities and atrocities. Closer to home, many of our students navigate the increasingly perilous politicization of their workplaces, their uncertainty about the future a stark contrast from the too-often righteous certitude of many of our leaders.
Praying for a peace that passes understanding is a practice that makes me more sensitive to the peace that already exists in our midst. We know what peace looks, sounds, and feels like—even when we don’t always know how to make peace or resolve conflict. It looks like Hutu and Tutsi women in Rwanda collaborating on a micro-enterprise coffee bean project in order to support their remaining family members. It sounds like hammers pounding new roof beams on the bombed-out shell of a church near the new capital of South Sudan. It feels like that moment when the bread is broken at a divided family table, and all those present recognize in the face of one another our deepest human need to be loved unconditionally, our greatest desire to be heard amid the cacophony of campaign slogans.
Before we can become peacebuilders, we must re-sensitize ourselves to the ways peace is revealed in, around, and often in spite of us. May we discover in the coming days a world abundant with acts of peace. And may we find the courage to become “peace-revealers”—especially when that peace passes our understanding.