My wife and I were on vacation for a week. We were in Moab, Utah four-wheeling, hiking, and enjoying the sun. While we were there, I spent more time having fun than thinking about what to write in my blog. I am now home, and as my Uncle said to me, there is much to think and write about, and now it is time to get back to work. My first blog will contrast the leadership styles of two prominent leaders, one, who is doing good, and one who is leading his people to destruction. And also touch on two countries that are helping the world to push back the advancement of democracy.
On Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of the poor, including juveniles at a detention center. He did this as Jesus did to the disciples. Another example of Pope Francis’ humility is his departure from papal tradition. He will live in the Vatican, but he will not live in the papal palace, but in an apartment. Pope Francis does seem to be mirroring the example of Christ – Servant Leadership. As Peggy Noonan stated, “All this suggests the new pope’s coming approach: into the world, out to the suffering.” Francis is bringing hope to Catholics worldwide. He loves the poor, marginalized of the world. He wants to do something to help them. And many see him as a man who can deal with the problems of the church. The bottom-line is that Francis is inspiring people to do good.
The second leader is Kim Jong Eun, the young North Korean leader. He is continuing down the same road as his father, ensuring that North Korea maintains its status quo. Instead of leading the people to great freedom, Eun is ensuring that the people he is leading stay in bondage to its outdated philosophy. Kim Jong Eun has stated that he has rockets pointed at the mainland of the United States. As a result the United States has sent B-2 bombers to practice their abilities in plain view of North Korea. Yet, the rhetoric still remains.
Is Eun’s actions any different from the past? According to Julian Barnes the answer is no. “The North is running the same playbook, but using their more aggressive options. Everything they have done, they have done before.” Rather than following a similar path as Pope Francis, he is following in the footsteps of his own father oppressing his people. He is not helping to make North Korea a better place, just to maintain its level of squalor.
It appears that the Eun style of leadership is flourishing throughout the world. China and Russia is helping push back democracy around the world. According to a global monitoring group reported in today’s WSJ, that 2012 was the seventh consecutive year of democratic decline. There are many reasons for the decline, such as people becoming disappointed with freedom when prosperity didn’t occur. Russia and China are filling the vacuum created by this disappointment. Their governments are repressive, fighting to ensure their people stay in line. Putin, in particular, has done much to repress opposition. This is the exact opposite of what leadership should do.
I don’t know what Francis will do over the next few years, but I do know that if he truly follows in the footsteps of Christ he will be a good leader. I hope Francis is able to stay true to what Jesus is calling him to do. I have more hope for Francis than I do Eun, Xi Jinping, and Putin.
And that is my thought for the day!