Saturday, 18 October 2008

Meditating volcanos as a way to understand the challenges of a leadership of discontinuity

This afternoon we were invited to consider a leadership of discontinuity by first meditating a series of very beautiful photos of volcanoes.
Volcanoes are one of the natural forces that most clearly represent discontinuity, spewing ash and smoke, sending down fire. Fire mountains to be feared, yet also beautiful.
I reflected that these fearful, unpredictable agents of discontinutiy were also essential to the balance of our small planet - without them the earth would explode. Without their amazing bubbling, boiling mass of chemicals, rock and liquid, it's quite likely that life on the planet might never have even started. What does this say about learning even from destructive discontinuity?
In religious terms fire is seen as purifying and energising - think of the Spirit of Pentecost - the magma could represent the surge of change (positive or negative) sweeping all before it in quite a terrifying and uncontrolable way.
On the one hand I was left thinking about Elijah in his cave when the earthquake, wind and fire go by and God was not in any of them but in "the still small voice" or as modern translation call it the sound of "sheer silence". On the other I reflected on what a challenge it is for all people to try to live through the huge discontinuities of war, natural disasters or political upheaval with integrity - for people of faith even more so...
Can one speak of God even in the midst of disaster?