Leadership in Times of Crisis

Published: Monday September 16, 2013

It is said that a week is a long time in politics. Clearly it is also a long time in diplomacy. Just one week ago Bishop Michael wrote in this new blog about the need to not rush to conflict over the atrocities committed in Syria. Wise words indeed. Since then, when the finger seemed poised over the button, there has been frantic and sometimes fraught discussions at the G20. Just one week on, there is the possibility of a new idea, the handing over of chemical weapons and non-proliferation agreements. Obviously the proof will need to be presented and none of this can be achieved without threat of military intervention but this has to be better than launching missiles, especially when the complexity of the Syrian conflict means that any action is bound to be compromised.

Leadership in these situations is difficult. It is easy to criticise politicians and those who advise them when we do not have all the facts and when we do not bear the consequences. Leadership is risky and lonely and has a direct impact on the lives of others. Christians know this all too well, as we follow Jesus who led humanity into a new relationship with God, even though it meant his death on a cross. This ultimate gift should lead us into a new relationship with each other, especially with those with whom we disagree.

The key gift for leaders is that of integrity. Then decisions can be made in good faith. Those of us who watch from afar should consider our integrity too. Are we really praying for the people of Syria? Are we really praying for our leaders? We all have a part to play, and we are all responsible, under God, for each other in this world.

The Dean of Gloucester

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