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Disturbing the comfortable & comforting the disturbed.

Staff thoughts and life lessons about poverty, injustice, leadership, religion and other social issues in the world today.

Know empathy, know leadership

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

Our effectiveness and impact as a leader is directly tied to our ability to experience empathy. Whether your leadership is in your home, your place of work, your church, your peers, or anywhere… you will only be able to inspire and influence to the degree that we can feel what other people feel. And while empathy comes easier to some than others, I am also convinced that empathy can be learned. But nothing is learned if it’s not valued.

Leadership without empathy is only a position on an organizational chart. And hierarchical influence is the worst type, but also the easiest to practice. “Because I said so” is terrible leadership. Empathy is relational leadership and your influence will grow to the degree of your shared feelings with someone.

The work “empathy” comes from two Greek words; “en” is translated “in” and “pathos” is translated “feeling or suffering”. What an awesome and powerful word picture! To practice empathy is to be in someone’s feelings or to be in someone’s suffering.

Empathy enables us to see something from someone else’s perspective, which gives us a common starting place to move forward. Empathy prevents judgments and self-centered stereotypes. Empathy stops us from assuming or projecting someone else’s motives. Empathy builds team momentum and direction. Empathy prevents the dangers from an “us and them” mentality. Empathy propels all of us toward generosity and service.

Being in someone’s feelings inspires other-centered actions and words. If empathy is harder for you than others, if emotion is often distant or irrelevant in your thought process, how can you grow empathy?

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The only hope for any change

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 2 minute read

Everything would change if we completely understood we are absolutely loved. I mean everything. Imagine your life was lived each moment, knowing in every fibre of your being, that God is madly and endlessly in love with you? And then imagine you couldn’t help but live out an unconditional love that mirrors the very image of how God loves.

Imagine an unconditional love lived out in our marriages and families. How many families would still be whole?

Imagine an unconditional love lived out where we work. How much joy and success could we have as a team?

Imagine an unconditional love lived out where we live. It would become a community and not just row of homes.

Imagine an unconditional love lived out in our churches. We would become known as a force of love and compassion and not just an irrelevant self-absorbed religious institution.

Imagine an unconditional love lived out around the world. It would become a world without extreme poverty.

The only way to “get it”… the only way to increasingly become one who loves unconditionally is to increasingly spend time in the presence with the One who does. We can only love to the degree we’ve been loved. When I am experiencing the love of God then I don’t have to work at being patient. I don’t have to twist my arm to be giving. I don’t have to grit my teeth to show a bit of grace. I don’t have to force myself not to sin. I don’t have to make myself love. 

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Porcupines

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 2 minute read

We live in such an unsafe world. Physically yes, but more damaging, emotionally. Do people feel emotionally open and safe around you or do they feel emotionally protected and fearful in your presence? Some questions.

Do I quickly look to find someone else to blame in the face of a mistake because I can't handle being wrong? When there is the potential to feel small in front of people, do I make someone else look small so I can look bigger...even when it's done in fun? Do I try and find ways to let people know how much I know? "I told you so" and "I could have told you that" are sure signs of striving to make others fell small so I can look big. Do I always feel that I need to teach others? What about gossip? Talking negatively about other people is a huge indicator of insecurity, and insecurity causes us to puff ourself up by diminishing someone else by focusing on their weaknesses. Do people avoid me or are they drawn to me? Do I show preference to people who tend to be like me, and not others? Do I tend to have a controlling behavior? Do I usually feel the need to correct people in conversations? Do I have a hard time turning conversations back to other people and focusing discussions on them?

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Why would anyone want to be religious?

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

In my travel to about 40 different countries over the past 20 years I've encountered and engaged a lot of religion. I have toured many churches, temples, shrines, mosques and monasteries. I have been in the most ornate and invaluable holy sites and I have also been in worship places carved out of rock and made of mud and sticks. I have discussed faith with Buddhist Priests, Muslim Imams, Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Orthodox Priests, many different flavors of Christian leaders of various denominational backgrounds, agnostics and fervent atheists. I have had my fill of religion.

I have stood in a humble church in Africa and heard stories of people being raised from the dead, and I have stood in a sports stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan hearing stories of women being stoned and limbs being severed, all in the name of God. How do people outside of a personal faith make sense of religion, and all that bare it's name?

The first five books of the bible alone is filled with enough laws that a lifetime of memorization could not master, never mind successfully apply. Religion is one of those topics people stay away from discussing, and I understand why.

It has divided more than it has unified. It is vastly complicated and subjective with no common ground. Inherent to religion is the unavoidable "us and them" divide. And most obviously, religion is complicated.

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48 747’s

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 2 minute read

How do you think the world would respond if a world leader filled 48 Boeing 747’s with children, with just enough fuel to take off, and then watched them crash…and did this each and every day?

We would be sickened. It would completely take over the world’s attention. The international community would…freak out…unify…take military action…and do whatever it took and as soon as possible to immediately stop such a preventable crime against humanity.

But think again. In rough numbers, this is what now happens every single day when 24,000 children die from hunger and hunger-related causes. Tell me, how is dying from hunger any different than my illustration above? Hunger is the world’s biggest and yet most preventable health risk. It kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and TB combined. And what is insane is, while we don’t have the cures for AIDS, malaria and TB, we do have the cure for hunger. We just don’t share it with the 24,000 children who will die by this time tomorrow.

And lest you think that this is such huge task, think yet again. One Oxford economist pointed out that only 2% of the world’s grain harvest, if it was shared, would be enough to eradicate the suffering of hunger and malnutrition around the world. It is simply a matter of priorities and values.

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