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Bitter Driven Leadership


I recently read Robert Price’s book, The Reason Driven Life.

It’s basically a point-by-point rebuttal to Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and is a ruthless attack on evangelicalism.

I want to say that I loved it.  And I suppose that I did.  Price’s critique on contemporary Christian culture was scathingly accurate most of the time.  In a few chapters I felt like we were kindred spirits.

Except…

Robert sometimes is just plain ‘ole mean.  Several times I actually had to put the book down and take a break– not because I disagreed with what he was saying– but because his tone was so acidic, so bitter, so wounded.

I’m sure he doesn’t live his life out of an embittered spirit.  It’d be hard to write a book attacking something and not come off as, you know, attacking.  So I get that.

But it was a reminder to me how much of a turnoff bitterness can be when it comes to persuasion.  It’s okay to be angry, but we don’t have to be snide.  It’s okay to be passionate…but bitterness isn’t passion.  Passion is being willing to suffer for something greater than yourself.  Bitterness is inflicting suffering on yourself because something greater doesn’t go your way.

I wonder in what ways we let bitterness into our leadership?  Who are we angry at?  Who do we feel owes us something?  Who has hurt us?  How do we deal with that pain?

When we use pain to motivate us to understand, heal and serve it can be a powerful asset.  But when pain motivates us to attack it only attracts the bitterness in others.

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And our leadership begins to create mobs, not teams.  And our leadership begins to tie our hearts down rather than set our hearts free.

And this is neither Purposeful nor Reasonable.

Here’s to your healing, Mr. Price…

…and to the healing of us all.

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