"And Yahweh spoke
unto Moses, saying,
Send you men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall you send a man, every one a prince [leader] among them.
And Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of Yahweh: all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel." Numbers 13:1-3
Is it alright to challenge leadership? Can you criticize the leadership with impunity? Can you evaluate the leaders character? Torah teaches this:
"You shall not revile Elohim, and you shall not curse a ruler among your people." Exodus 22:28
Dr. Akiva G. Belk offers the following on the passage in Numbers 13.
"These were twelve men personally selected by Moshe. Men who Moshe had confidence in. Men who Moshe knew to be wise, moral, Torah observant and honest. Moshe selected men of the finest character from among all Yisroel. These were highly respected men of exceptional distinction. Yet ten of these men brought back an evil report to Kal Yisroel which resulted in rebellion against Hashem, other sins, death and a prolonged stay in the BaMidbar. The results of their message were devastating to G-d's people.
"Our sages identify the three areas of
character evaluation as:
1. Bekoso: Observe one's drinking habits. Excessive drinking results in loose language and displays a lack of self restraint. One who controls his liquor is in control of himself / herself!
2. Bekiso: Observe one's business habits. Our sages teach that a person's way of conducting business is revealing of one's attitude toward his fellow man. By observing if one acts righteously... honestly... fairly towards his fellow man or by observing if one seeks to shortchange his fellow man we can measure his relationship to his fellow man!
3. Beka'aso: Observe one's temper. Anyone who loses his temper in a fit of rage, who throws things, tears clothing or damages things is considered like an idol worshipper by our sages. If he allows his / her evil inclination to dominate to that extent, then that one is capable of idol worship, G-d forbid."
Moshe selected twelve from among many highly respected men of exceptional distinction. Times have changed! Leadership has changed! Moshe was a central figure that all Yisroel knew, that all leadership knew. Moshe was a man appointed by G-d! In the Jewish community we have no central figure like Moshe in our world today. We have no one to hold leadership accountable for their actions. Our leadership is frequently unaccountable! Our crisis is a crisis of leadership!
Leadership must always set the example. When you cannot count on the leaders to guide and protect you, they have failed. The ten men selected by Moses were supposed to be accounted worthy to even be in their leadership positions, (verse 2) . It appears that these ten men had the same character fault, being negative! This negativity (and perhaps cowardice could be added) changed the course of Israel's time frame. Israel was supposed to follow their leader Moses into the land that Yahweh had promised Israel for quite some time. Israel became poisoned by the evil report these ten men gave Moses and Israel. They had to wander in the wilderness condition until that negative, rebellious generation perished!
"And they sent out an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the sons of Israel, saying, The land into which we passed, to spy it out, is a land eating up the ones living in it. And all the people we saw in its midst were men of stature." Numbers 13:32
You now have an evaluation by ten men who were respected as leaders in Israel. Their report is considered an evil report when evaluated by Yahweh's word, verse 32.
Which brings us to question and point: Can we evaluate leaders? Yes! Leaders must be held to a set standard. Leaders must posses abilities above and beyond their followers. Moses father-in-law; Jethro, gave his son-in-law the following counsel.
"Moreover you shall
provide out of all the people able men, such as fear Elohim, men of truth,
hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers
of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
and let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves: so shall it be easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you." Exodus 18:21-22
Moses accepted Jethro's counsel, and his burden was lessened. Selecting your assistants, can be valuable to your position, or, it can be detrimental to everyone concerned. The criteria for modern leadership can be seen in these passages: (This is leadership according to Biblical criteria, but can be applied to leadership in every vocation.)
"On account of this
I left you in Crete, so that you should set in order the things lacking and
appoint [or, set up] elders [Gr. prebuteros] in every city, as I commanded you.
If anyone is beyond reproach, [the] husband of one wife [or, a one-wife kind of man], having faithful [or, believing] children, not under accusation of reckless living or insubordinate.
For it is necessary [for] the overseer [Gr. episkope] to be beyond reproach, as Yahweh's steward, not self-willed [or, stubborn], not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not violent [or, quarrelsome], not greedy for dishonest gain,
but_ a friend of strangers [or, hospitable], loving what is good [or, tireless in activities prompted by love], sensible, righteous, holy, [and] self-controlled,
holding firmly to the trustworthy word according to the teaching, so that he shall be able also to encourage [others] in the sound teaching and to convince the ones speaking against [it].
For there are also many [who are] insubordinate, idle-talkers, and deceivers, especially the [ones] of the circumcision,
whose mouth it is necessary to be silencing, who overturn [or, upset] whole households, teaching what is not necessary, for the sake of dishonest gain.
A certain one of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans [are] always liars, evil beasts, [and] lazy bellies [fig., gluttons]!" Titus 1:5-12 [Analytical-Literal Translation]
Categorically; the following qualifications emerge from this passage. And, this not only applies to the position of Bishop and Deacon, but should, and can be, applied to every leadership position when teaching the Bible is applicable.
1. Blameless (No charges of any kind)
2. Not self-willed (Yahweh's will must be done)
3. Slow of Temper (Anger rests in the bosom of fools)
4. Not Addicted to Wine (No alcoholic, or drug addictions )
5. Non Violent (No pugilist/brawler, word fighter, argumentative)
6. Not Greedy (No dishonest dealings financially)
7. Hospitable (Open to strangers)
8. Loving the Good
9. Self-Controlled (Moderate, Discreet)
10. Holy (Not profane in any way)
11. Self-Controlled (In appetite and everything else)
12. Holding Fast the Word of Yahweh (Maintaining sound doctrine)
"Faithful is the
Word: If anyone reaches out to overseership, he desires a good work.
Then it behooves the overseer to be blameless, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching;
not a drunkard, not a contentious one, not money-loving, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not avaricious;
ruling his own house well, having children in subjection with all respect.
But if anyone does not know how to rule his own house, how will he care for an assembly of Yahweh?
He should not be a novice, lest being puffed up he may fall into the devil's judgment.
But he must also have a good witness from those outside, that he not fall into reproach and into a snare of the devil.
Likewise, deacons are to be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy of ill gain,
having the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
And also let these be tested first, then let them serve, being without reproach.
Likewise, their wives are to be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their own houses and children well." 1 Timothy 3:1-12
In both of these passages, a criteria is delineated for leaders, albeit Bishops, Deacons, or anyone in charge of a religious work, based on the inerrant Word of the Most High, Yahweh! Leadership is a hard work and not everyone can be considered capable of this great responsibility. Some leaders have actually ascended to their level of incompetence circuitously. Perhaps a well placed financial donation! Perhaps a buddy network! Perhaps a bribe or favor owed, placed them into a leadership position. Qualifications do not always matter in less important organizations and companies. Only companies with the highest qualifications will necessitate the best leadership possible. Observe.
"After this thing
Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way,
but turned again and made from the lowest of the people priests of high places;
he who desired, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high
And in this thing is the sin of the house of Jeroboam, even to blot it from off the face of the earth." 1 Kings 13:33-34
Jeroboam placed the lowest unqualified people in positions of higher authority and responsibility.
"Woe to you, O
land, when your king is a boy, and your leaders eat in the morning.
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your leaders eat in due time, in strength, and not in drinking." Ecclesiastes 10:16-17
If you value your business or organization, you do not place incompetent, unqualified people, in leadership positions. Jeroboam did exactly that, and it was considered a sin. Also; you would not place an inexperienced child to be the ruler of a large country or business, would you? If you do however, be sure they are being controlled by competent handlers.
The American Heritage®
Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
NOUN: The theory that employees within an organization will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted to and remain at a level at which they are incompetent.
ETYMOLOGY: After Laurence Johnston Peter (1919–1990).
Incompetent placement, epitomizes the real leadership level of many organizations today! The reason for failure resides within the confines of management. Leaders are responsible for the direction an organization assumes. The ole buck stops here truth, falls on the shoulders of leadership. Companies fail when leaders lose the vision, or prove incapable of leadership positions. It resides in the leadership to set and maintain the highest standards possible for continued success. Why do some CEO's have better success than others? They follow the rules that make them better!
High honest standards are required in Biblical leaders. Many times the leaders throughout the various generations failed in their positions. Classic examples can be found in King Saul, (failure to obey Yahweh), and Elijah, (running away from his assigned position). While Classic success examples can be found in others i.e. Isaac, Yahshua the General, King David, and the ultimate leader, Yahshua the Messiah!
The following caution can be found in the book of James (Jacob) chapter three.
"Be not many of you
teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.
For in many things we all stumble. If any stumbles not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also." James 3:1-2
Being in a leadership position requires abilities. You really must know what you are doing. You should be adequately trained in your particular duties. And! You must always upgrade yourself as new techniques and new information comes along. Some School teachers spend their summers in continuing education classes. This ensures a fresh knowledgeable approach to their teaching methods and information exchange. Knowledge continues to increase and you cannot afford to be left behind!
What makes a great leader? Consistency! Vacillation in any administration cannot be accepted. Making up the rules as you go, or situation ethics as the need arises, just don't apply to great leaders. The great leaders always play by the rules. And! The rules are much higher for religious leaders than others, according to the Biblical standards.
Years ago, I came across a book called "Feet Of Clay" by Anthony Storr. I would like for you to read the introduction to this book, for some insight into leadership problems. Although lengthy, it is well worth the read! You will gain invaluable insight into many leaders real/true personality, and the real reasons for what they do, and what their true intentions might well be!
THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT GURUS. The Sanskrit word guru means ‘one who brings light out of darkness.’ If this definition were to be adopted without modification, it could be argued that scientists, artists and writers should be included. ‘Nature, and Nature’s laws lay hid in night: G-d said, Let Newton be! And all was light.’ Although Newton certainly did bring light out of darkness, and was a deeply religious man who wrote more about religion and history than he did about mathematics and physics, he does not qualify as a guru in the sense in which the word is used in this book because he did not found a sect or preach a new religious message. Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary defines guru as ‘a spiritual teacher: a venerable person’. Not all gurus are venerable; but the definition ‘spiritual teacher’ is sufficiently accurate to indicate what is popularly meant by the term today.
Gurus differ widely from each other in a variety of ways, but most claim the possession of special spiritual insight based on personal revelation. Gurus promise their followers new ways of self- development, new paths to salvation. Since there are no schools for gurus, and no recognized qualifications for becoming one, they are, like politicians, originally self-selected. Anyone can become a guru if he or she has the hubris to claim special spiritual gifts. Both recent and earlier history demonstrates that many gurus are, or become, unscrupulous wielders of power who exploit their followers in a variety of ways. Yet there have also been gurus whose holiness, lack of personal ambition, and integrity are beyond question. J-s-s, Muhammad, and the Buddha were gurus who are still venerated and whose teachings have changed the lives of millions of people. Some of Muhammad’s injunctions concerning legal punishment and the treatment of women, as recorded in the Koran, are repugnant to modem Western ideas, but both J-s-s and the Buddha compel our admiration, even if we are neither Chr--tians nor Buddhists.
Since this book is concerned with some gurus who were less than admirable, I want to affirm at the outset that I recognize that morally superior individuals exist, whose integrity, virtue, and goodness is far beyond the reach of most of us. Such people, unlike gurus, usually influence others by their examples in daily life rather than by swaying crowds with rhetoric, surrounding themselves with adoring disciples, or claiming access to esoteric wisdom which the ordinary person cannot reach unaided. Most of us have encountered people who can be described as 'good' without being priggish. Perhaps they visit the sick, or adopt deprived children, or devote themselves to charitable enterprises without hope of reward or public recognition. They do not preach; they do. Genuine virtue is usually unobtrusive, although it may be perceived as something less admirable when exposed to the glare of publicity, as happened with Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa.
Gurus are in a different category. I do not mean to suggest that all gurus have feet of clay. Yet many gurus have been entirely unworthy of veneration: false prophets, madmen, confidence tricksters, or unscrupulous psychopaths who exploit their disciples emotionally, financially, and sexually. In the light of history, we may think it easy to distinguish the saints from the madmen and the crooks; but it is clear that those who seek a guru to give their lives meaning find it difficult to make this distinction. This is partly because their urgent need blinds them to the true characteristics of the guru; a distortion familiar to psychoanalysts who are accustomed to the phenomena accompanying transference. It is also because the best and worst prophets, though varying greatly in intelligence and personality, have a number of characteristics in common.
A person becoming a guru usually claims to have been granted a special, spiritual insight which has transformed his own life. This revelation is sometimes believed to come direct from G-d or from his angels; but may also be attributed to mysterious beings residing in the Himalayas or even to the inhabitants of other planets. Often, this purely personal revelation is claimed to be universally, or at least widely, applicable. In other words, gurus generalize from their own experience. Some gurus are inclined to believe that all humanity should accept their vision: others allege that, when the last trump sounds, their own followers will be saved, whilst the majority of mankind will remain unredeemed. This apparently arrogant assumption is closely connected with certain features of personality displayed by a variety of gurus.
Many gurus appear to have been rather isolated as children, and to have remained so. They seldom have close friends. They are more interested in what goes on in their own minds than in personal relationships, perhaps because they do not believe that anyone else really cares for them. In other words, they tend to be introverted and narcissistic.
As Freud wrote:
“The man who is predominantly erotic will give first preference to his emotional relationships to other people; the narcissistic man, who inclines to be self—sufficient, will seek his main satisfactions in his internal mental processes.”
Many painters, writers, and composers are narcissistic in that they value their own creative pursuits more than human relationships, and are often predominantly solitary. I wrote about such people in my book Solitude. But, although they may spend much of their time alone, most creative artists want to communicate with others through their work and gain self-esteem from those who appreciate it. They may be very sensitive to criticism, but many are prepared to learn from it, and to exchange ideas with people who do not wholly agree with them.
Gurus tend to be intolerant of any kind of criticism, believing that anything less than total agreement is equivalent to hostility. This may be because they have been so isolated that they have never experienced the interchange of ideas and positive criticism which only friends can provide. It is also because revelations are in a different category from works of art, in that they cannot be criticized, only accepted or rejected.
Gurus tend to be elitist and anti-democratic, even if they pay lip-service to democracy. How could it be otherwise? Conviction of a special revelation must imply that the guru is a superior person who is not as other men are. Gurus attract disciples without acquiring friends. Once established, gurus must exercise authority, which again precludes making friends on equal terms. Indeed, friendship may undermine the guru’s power. One of the favorite sayings of Gurdjieff’s father was: ‘If you want to lose your faith, make friends with the priest.’ The relationship which the guru has with his followers is not one of friendship but of dominance. This again derives from a previous lack of friendships on equal terms. A guru’s conviction of his own worth depends upon impressing people rather than upon being loved. Gurus seldom discuss their ideas; they only impose them.
It is frequently the case that the guru’s new insight follows a period of mental distress or physical illness, in which the guru has been fruitlessly searching for an answer to his own emotional problems. This change is likely to take place in the subject’s thirties or forties, and may warrant the diagnosis of mid-life crisis. Sometimes the revelatory answer comes gradually; at other times, a new insight strikes like a thunderbolt. As we shall see, the distress of chaos followed by the establishment of a new order is a typical course of events which takes place in all creative activity, whether in the arts or the sciences. This Eureka pattern is also characteristic of religious revelation and the delusional systems of people we label insane. Relief comes with the solution of problems; and I shall argue that both revelation and delusion are attempts at the solution of problems. Artists and scientists realize that no solution is ever final, but that each new creative step points the way to the next artistic or scientific problem. In contrast, those who embrace religious revelations and delusional systems tend to see them as unshakeable and permanent.
When the guru’s ‘dark night of the soul’ has been ended by his new vision of reality, he usually appears to become convinced that he has discovered ‘the truth’. The fervent certainty with which he proclaims this, accounts to a large extent for his powerful effect upon others; his persuasiveness, his charisma. Gurus must possess charisma. The Greek word χάρισμα (kharisma), originally meant the gift of grace. Max Weber introduced it into sociology to denote a special magical quality of personality by virtue of which the individual possessing it was set apart from ordinary men and women, and treated as if endowed with supernatural or superhuman powers. Such people have the capacity of immediately impressing and influencing others and of attracting devoted followers. Charisma is closely linked with intensity of conviction. The ability to speak fluently in public and good looks are helpful additional assets. Some of the gurus discussed in this book were so fluent that, without reference to notes, they could hold an audience entranced for hours at a time.
Eileen Barker, a leading expert in the sociology of religion, has written: ‘Almost by definition, charismatic leaders are unpredictable, for they are bound by neither tradition nor rules; they are not answerable to other human beings.’ If a leader is accepted as having charismatic authority, he is often accorded the right to direct every aspect of his followers’ lives. For example, he may dictate where they live, with whom they form sexual relationships, and what should be done with their money or other possessions. [Think HWA here! Emphasis Mine]
Intensity of conviction is necessary if a guru is to attract disciples. This is not to say that all gurus believe everything they preach; but an initial conviction of having special insight is probably necessary if a new sect is to be born. Many people go through conversion experiences and hold strong religious or other convictions without being impelled to preach or to convert others, but gurus require disciples just as disciples require gurus. We must consider the possibility that the conviction expressed by gurus is less absolute than it appears in that their apparent confidence needs boosting by the response of followers. As we shall see, some gurus avoid the stigma of being labeled insane or even of being confined in a mental hospital because they have acquired a group of disciples who accept them as prophets rather than perceiving them as deluded. Some historians have proposed that all messianic characters have secret doubts about their missions, and that this is why they strive to gain disciples. It is difficult to sustain a belief in the authenticity of a new revelation if no one else shares it.
Because they claim superior wisdom, gurus sometimes invent a background of mystery. Travels to parts of Central Asia or Tibet inaccessible to ordinary mortals have, in the past, been promoted as prologues to the acquisition of esoteric knowledge and mystical experiences. Now that most of the world is mapped, explored, and, like Everest, cluttered with western rubbish, it is harder to find places which are sufficiently remote to be mysterious. But there are always other worlds. Perhaps other planets are inhabited by creatures of infinite wisdom that send messages to selected mortals? Some gurus appear to believe so.
Like other humans, gurus risk becoming corrupted by power. Although a guru may begin his mission in ascetic poverty, success often brings about a revision of values. It is intoxicating to be adored, and it becomes increasingly difficult for the guru not to concur with the beliefs of his disciples about him. If a man comes to believe that he has special insights, and that he has been selected by G-d to pass on these insights to others, he is likely to conclude that he is entitled to special privileges. For example, he may feel, along with his followers, that he cannot be expected to carry out his exhausting spiritual mission if he has to worry about money, and that he is therefore entitled to demand and make use of any money which his followers can raise. Gurus sometimes end up living in luxury.
Gurus who feel entitled to be relieved of financial responsibility, also often engage in sexual behavior which would be condemned as irresponsible in an ordinary person. If a man is surrounded by adoring and attractive women, it is difficult for him to avoid sexual involvements. But the guru who seduces disciples who look up to him as a spiritual guide, may do them as much harm as the psychoanalyst who seduces his patients, or the father who sexually assaults his children.
Gurus not infrequently, exploit their followers in other ways. Subservient disciples are all too willing to undertake the chores of life, so that the guru may be spared involvement with trivia. Gurus often get pleasure from this exercise of power, and some carry it to the point of making their followers perform meaningless and unnecessary tasks, ostensibly as spiritual exercises, but in fact as a proof of the guru’s power over them. Some enjoy inflicting cruel punishments upon transgressors. Gurus vary greatly in personal integrity and the ability to resist the corruption which power over others usually brings with it.
Because a guru professes a bizarre cosmology or becomes corrupt it does not necessarily follow that all his insights are nonsense. I have never believed R. D. Laing’s theory that psychosis is a path to higher wisdom, but the period of intense distress or mental illness which so often precedes a new revelation may open doors of perception which are closed to the ordinary person. Manic-depressives sometimes claim that their experiences of the depths of despair and the heights of elation have so intensified their lives that, if offered the choice, they would choose to have their illness rather than suffer the tedium of conventional normality. Even those who passed through an acute episode of schizophrenia and who have emerged intact are sometimes grateful for this experience. I shall often refer to Ellenberger’s concept of ‘creative illness’ which is applicable to a number of gurus.
Some gurus pass through a period of definable mental illness from which they recover: others deteriorate to the point at which most psychiatrists would diagnose them as psychotic; that is, insane rather than neurotic or suffering from temporary emotional instability. Still others remain socially competent and reasonably well-balanced throughout their lives. Critical examination of the lives and beliefs of gurus demonstrates that our psychiatric labels and our conceptions of what is or is not mental illness are woefully inadequate. How, for example, does one distinguish an unorthodox or bizarre faith from a delusion?
In what follows, I want to examine a few gurus who differ markedly from each other, but who all display some of the features which I have just described as characteristic. No guru exhibits all these features; but even the best and worst of gurus have something in common which distinguishes them from ordinary human beings. Contemporary cults like the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and the Children of G-d have been extensively studied and written about during the last twenty years because so many parents and others became anxious about the effects that membership of these new religious movements was having on their children. My particular interest is in the personalities of the gurus themselves, although some characteristics of their followers will be mentioned in passing. I have deliberately chosen to study a number of gurus who, ranging as they do from saints to crooks, appear to be quite dissimilar. I hope to show that they have more in common than meets the uncritical eye.
You may want to procure this book for your library. It provides valuable information that you may find necessary for your salvation. Perhaps this book covers someone you are aligned with? Or? Perhaps someone who exhibits the same bad characteristics of the gurus discussed in this book? Forewarned is forearmed!
Yours in Yahshua, Hawke
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