Three Looks of a Leader


Carson Palmer – the out of the way qb
A few weeks ago I was reading in a local Cincinnati magazine an article about Bengals QB, Carson Palmer. I was struck by his humility, “down-to-earthiness”, and “ordinary-i-ness”. I was also taken by a something he said, “I’m not the most important player on the field”. Now, this may seem ironic and maybe even wrong given the recent events vis-a-vie Pittsburg. But honestly I think that has more to do with the synergy of the team and, perhaps, the inability of some individuals. So, with that withstanding…. here’s my point:

The look of a leader is one who does not consider him or herself to be the King-of-the-Hill, the Top Dog, the greatest thing since sliced bread, da bomb, or the most important player.

The leader makes others better. The leader creates context, environment, and atmosphere where others grow, change, and become. The leader gets out of the way so the team can be the team and reach its goal.

Aragorn – the singing, bowing king
…. so I haven’t had time to write on this one… watch LOTR. All three actually, but ROTK specifically. Aragorn’s coronation moves me to tears everytime. Especially the sense of humility, honor, and vulnerability that he displays.

Andy Kunkel – the vulnerable youth
So, I’m at our Chrysalis meeting. (Chrysalis is the youth version of Emmaus which is the Protestant version of Catholic Cursillo) And this high school senior, Andy Kunkel, does this talk on “Christian Action”. And he blows me away. No, actually – he blows all of us away. Is he the most eloquent, not necessarily, but he is no-holds-barred vulnerable. He is open, passionate, and present. I sense that the Holy Spirit is birthed within him. Like that youth named David that God mentions a couple times in the Bible. He looks like a leader.

The look of a leader is one who lets the voice of the Spirit seep through the cracks in our self-imposed prison of safety. The leader is one who is vulnerable, open, and willing to let the emotions of the heart be shown on the face. When tears are allowed and brokenness is accepted. It is in our weakness that God is strong. It is in our brokeness that we can be used.

Andy embodied this real well. Even though he’s only a senior in high school he was not intimidated by the older men in the room. He was present to the strength of the Spirit. He has wisdom and maturity beyond his years. I sense that God has something really cool in store for him.


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