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20
May

Integrity

Posted on May 20th, 2008

For the past few weeks I have been reading, pondering and praying about what integrity actually is. Consider this definition : Integrity is when who I am on-stage is the same as who I am back-stage. It is when there is no separation between what is going on inside of me and what I am expressing outside of me. There is no separation of my inner and outer life. Easier said than done! I realize how easy it is for me to get so concerned with what is going on outside of me (my activity) that I lose touch with my soul. There becomes a gap between the inner ground, the center, my values and beliefs, my being and the actual life I am living. I can easily preach and write things I am not living!! To live congruent and internally consistent is difficult. This is integrity! This is what Parker Palmer has called the undivided life. I think he is right in arguing that for this to happen we need both solitude and community. Solitude enables our souls to come out and show up. This means I need to slow down enough for silence, time to actually reflect on what is going on around me. As my life continues to grow in its complexity, I am finding I am needing more and more time alone – not less. Community, hopefully a safe one, then offers then both comfort and challenge. This too is not an easy thing to do. In my case, Geri does this better than anyone for me. NLF elder board and the staff do this for me on a smaller scale along with one or two others outside NLF. I need (I think all of us need) people around us who are “non-violent”, that is they act in ways that honor our souls, our true selves in Christ – and do not have a need to control, fix, advise or “save” us. It has been argued that most great movement for social change has been through people who did this kind of deep inner work. They took their inner life seriously enough that they were able to move against the powers around them. For example, consider Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Vaclav Havel – to name a few. I think there is some truth in that. I know it is true for me if I am going to live with integrity and lead as a Christian, husband, father, and pastor. How might you add or edit that definition of integrity and how does this intersect with your life today?

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