It’s difficult to be yourself when you don’t know who you are. In this latter state we can spend a lot of time as a false self - maybe as one whose talk is loud and non-stop. Is this to crowd out the opinions of others and ensure that only our view is heard? Not knowing anything about the topic has never held some of us back. Being a bore or a bigot can be a family characteristic. We talk because we can and because we need to confirm our views to ourselves. But in doing so there is a danger. We might reveal to others that our thoughts have little weight and we are not good at joining the dots. We would have been better remain silent more, listen more, follow wisdom’s advice and take the lower place. ‘But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests’ Luke 14.10 NIV. BORN AGAIN Once we have been born again, we are no longer tied to 'our theology' or previously held ideas. We are not purveyors of information so much as sharers of 'being.' If we have learned well we are a new being because the old us has gone and the new us has come. Christ has put us to death and we have agreed. He has raised us to life and we have said 'Ok.' We really are a new person because we live not in ourselves but in God. Yet in God we are really ourselves and the instigators of His spirit and life. This kind of new birth is of a different order to the religious cliche of ‘being born again.’ Being born again results from the union of His life with us and in our journey. Born again, we are able to lead in our sphere as our genuine selves and in the authority Father gave us in our unique sonship. We contribute best as ourselves and not well at all as clones of others or as manifestations of abstractions like the law or the more amorphous 'law' of religion. 'Wannabe' leaders talk the most and the loudest. Genuine leaders talk little, listen a lot and simply be themselves to release life and words of spirit and life as as appropriate. In the Melbourne Age I read a sharp article on leadership and noted that I had not experienced many good leaders in the places I had worked. There was one I admired, however. He did not try all that hard. He was intelligent, educated, competent as well as measured and gracious. It helps to have a good mind if we are to be leaders. Some of the leaders I have experienced are only one or two notches above dim. Some have been incompetent and lacking in intelligence and education. Others are not real leaders. They survived in the role mainly as a result of the love and support of their colleagues. Legalistic communities choose the poorest leaders for one simple reason. Genuine life and vision are too threatening to the visionless system of un-life their community has cobbled together. AGE MELLOWS - SOMETIMES Not everyone improves with age. Living in a scarcity mentality physically and spiritually will shrink our soul. You have an abundance that is the inheritance of all that transcends the natural. Some people begin as simple-minded folks and with age progress into increased bigotry. Rather than becoming people of vision and grace they increase in bitterness. They pass their limited ideas on to their children and create a family culture of intellectual peasantry. Caricatures of their potential selves they pass onto future generations their caricature of life - the life of blind folks talking and dead folks walking. Richard Rohr writes, 'It always deeply saddens me when old folks are still full of themselves and their absolute opinions about everything. Somehow they have not taken their needed place in the social fabric. We need their deep and studied passion so much more than their superficial and loudly stated principles.' A GREEN BOUGH None of us have to wither - unless we are the children of a non-gospel that dulls the spirit and shrinks the soul. Others, like a wine age with grace and flavour. But they are not gracious and sagacious because they are old and tired. They are who they are because their spirit and soul has advanced in depth and breadth even as their body is fading. The older they get the more they flourish in the fullness of Jesus. Imperfect as this world is, they have been able to flourish in their union with Father and the communion with the creation that is theirs as His daughters and sons. In the old age they are life-giving spirits in the person of Jesus. Again, Richard Rohr puts it this way. ‘Life is much more spacious now, the boundaries of the container having been enlarged by the constant addition of new experiences and relationships. You are like an expandable suitcase, and you became so almost without your noticing. Now you are just here, and here holds more than enough. Such “hereness,” however, has its own heft, authority, and influence. Just watch true elders sitting in any circle of conversation; they are often defining the center, depth, and circumference of the dialogue just by being there! Most participants do not even know it is happening. When elders speak, they need very few words to make their point. Too many words are not needed by true elders.’ SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP Not all who have a following are spiritual leaders. The minimum criteria in this field is to have been transported with Jesus into the new covenant union that is ours. Here we are competent to minister His Kingdom of life. His union with Father is now our union. His fellowship with Holy Spirit is our fellowship. Jesus is life. In Him we are one with life and we become alive to the maximum. We begin to know what God knows and see what He sees. Increasingly we are as He is. ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides.d If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit’ Matt 15.14 NIV.