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Have you ever gone backward into time and sifted through old emails? They are a journal unto themselves. One day an anthropologist will sift through the world’s emails in the future, and will discover something great.

I emailed this to Core before we started our senior year in college. It was my attempt at rallying the team to be transparent and loving toward one another. Well, 2 years later I heard the fellowship underwent major changes and there had been some sort of “falling out”. But that’s college, and hopefully we’ve all grown up a little since then.

Below is a quote from Henri Nouwen. I’ve never read any of his works but heard my pastor end his sermon with this quote once, and since then its message has forever been seared into my mind. Transparency. Community. Loving correction. Forgiveness. All these will help temper the pangs of guilt that comes with the inevitable¬†hypocrisy involved in leading people.

—-

This morning at the Eucharist we spoke about hypocrisy, an
attitude that Jesus criticizes. I realize that institutional
life leads to hypocrisy, because we who offer spiritual
leadership often find ourselves not living what we are
preaching and teaching. It is not easy to avoid hypocrisy
completely because, wanting to speak in the name of God, the
church, or the larger community, We find ourselves saying
things larger than ourselves. I often call people to a life
that I am not fully able to live myself.

I am learning that the best cure for hypocrisy is community.
When as a spiritual leader I live close to those I care for,
and when I can be criticized in a loving way by my own
people and be forgiven for my own shortcomings, then I won’t
be considered a hypocrite.

Hypocrisy is not so much the result of not living what I
preach but much more of not confessing my inability to fully
live up to my own words. I need to become a priest who asks
forgiveness of my people for my mistakes.”

– Henri J.M. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journal – the Diary of His
Final Year, Crossroad, 1998, pp. 219-220

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