Meeting the demands of leadership today

A Christian Science perspective: What women bring to the family, community, corporate board room, and to government at all levels.

Women. Leadership. Humanity. What a potent source for good when these are combined!

Women have played powerful roles throughout history. "100 Women Who Shaped World History," by Gail Meyer Rolka, records that the first female leader of visible influence occurred in 1483 BC. Sometimes against immense pressure, thousands, if not millions, of women – both unsung and lauded – have led efforts for greater peace and prosperity for humanity. Harriet Tubman, Maria Montessori, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Rigoberta Menchú are examples of women whose sense of right impelled bold actions that uplifted countless lives, prevented suffering, and helped establish new laws and practices.

We all know women who have taken stands for a higher good – rallied hard for their children's well-being and that of their communities. That takes backbone. It manifests what the Bible calls "righteousness" – "that which is wise; just; holy in heart and observant of divine commands in practice" ("Student's Reference Dictionary").

Right (righteous) thinking and acting are characteristics of the moral fiber women have provided, often behind the scenes, for thousands of years. With women having become more visible in corporate and political arenas, an evolution of leadership styles is taking place. This evolution includes practices that represent some of the spiritual qualities referred to in the Bible. Available to both men and women, these practices include listening to many views, putting aside ego, leaning on a higher power or divine intelligence, and aiming for solutions that deliver the greatest good.

The Bible provides guidance for everyone about the starting place for a higher form of leadership: "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

Knowing God better is always possible for both men and women. Prayer provides a natural avenue for doing so. The desire to have a direct relationship with God is itself a prayer. It's natural for God's nearness, love, and guidance to become apparent when we turn to Him. God's nature is to bring about harmony, no matter the complexity of circumstances.

Mary Baker Eddy faced extreme complexities when founding the Christian Science Church and the Monitor. The work she did as an author, publisher, church founder, and Christian healer was unprecedented for a woman of her day. Included in a collection of articles, "Pulpit and Press" (p. 83), is one titled "One Point of View – The New Woman," from "The New Century." It says: "Woman must not and will not be disheartened by a thousand denials or a million of broken pledges. With the assurance of faith she prays, with the certainty of inspiration she works, and with the patience of genius she waits."

Our neighborhoods and world have need of the kind of leadership that, to paraphrase Jeremiah, God delights in. This we can support.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.