Center for Ethics and Leadership

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

America's Leadership Religion

I spent a few minutes at an upscale bookstore today. I am not frequently in bookstores, so when I go I notice trends. I looked in the business section and then in the religion section, and I saw the American myth in each.

The business section was filled with books written by America's wealthiest self-made men and women. Some were giving advice; others were telling their story. Every book jacket showed a face beaming with similar self-determination and confidence.

The religion section told the same tale. Here the books were from successful televangelists, but there was the same beaming self-confidence and the same encouragement to the reader that he or she indeed can do it.

A parenthesis here is that the wives of famous men are also getting their own book deals.

And there it is: America's leaders, including its spiritual leaders, triumphantly extolling a narrative of self-satisfaction available to anyone who makes the effort.

That's some spirituality of leadership. This center has a mission dedicated to a very different idea of genuinely spiritual leadership.


  • The most recent Atlantic Monthly mentioned that Calvinism is experiencing resurgence. Seems that evangelical affluence, or what has been referred to as the ‘gospel of prosperity’ tends to be more difficult to sell in a down market. So God needs to be recast. I doubt Calvin will make the televangelist circuit, his theology a bit doom and gloom.
    Speaking of selling well, one might want to distinguish leadership from celebrity. Leadership, for me, has some quality of endurance. The fact that one has landed a book contract or even made the best seller list implies some level of popular interest, or celebrity. I would imagine that many a bestselling author has had their literature relegated to the trash heap. Leadership should be more enduring than that.

    By Blogger kobe2, At March 30, 2009 2:22 PM  

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