964 Chapters
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6 The Self That Transcends Itself: Heschel on Prayer

Shai Held Indiana University Press ePub


Heschel’s final work, A Passion for Truth (1973), is a vivid portrayal of the Hasidic master Reb Menahem Mendl of Kotzk (1787–1859), known above all for his zealous pursuit of truth and integrity in the religious life. One of the central preoccupations of both the Kotzker and his biographer is their insistence that falsehood and self-centeredness are inextricably linked, and that so, too, are truth and self-transcendence.1 For Menahem Mendl, there is no greater spiritual and theological problem than humanity’s obstinate self-concern. “The ‘I’,” Heschel writes, “becomes the central problem in the Kotzker’s thinking; it is the primary counterpart to God in the world. The sin of presumptuous selfhood is the challenge and defiance that God faces in the world.”2 The Kotzker had “contempt for the self-centeredness of man,” and he demanded “the abandonment of all self-interest.”3 He insisted, in fact, that an authentic quest for truth is predicated on a “total abandonment of self.”4 To strive to be a Jew, the Kotzker taught, is “to disentangle the self from enslavement to the self ” and to struggle against “the inexhaustible intransigence of self-interest.” Indeed, “for the Kotzker, one became an authentic Jew only when he moved out of the prison of self-interest, responding with abandon to Heaven’s call.” To have faith, the Kotzker taught, “meant to forget the self, to be exclusively intent on God,”5 and to “disregard self-regard.”6

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Medium 9781576751114

9 Practices for Being Effective in Role

Peppers, Cheryl Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


AMOTHER GOES IN to wake up her son. “Johnny, get up, it’s time to go to school.” Johnny moans, “But I don’t want to go to school. The kids hate me, I don’t get along with the teachers, and the food is bad. Give me one good reason why I should go to school.” Johnny’s mother says, “I’ll give you two. First, you’re forty years old. Second, you’re the principal.”

The humor of the punch line points to how difficult role can be. While stepping into role is a challenge in its own right, being effective in role on an ongoing basis presents a different set of issues. Showing up with our full range of selves, for instance, is a practice that takes discipline. We chuckle at Johnny’s wanting to hide under the sheets, because we recognize that longing, to just be “free of all these responsibilities.” Other practices essential for being effective in role, the focus of this chapter, include retrieving the pieces of ourselves that get lost along the way, resisting the forces that would pull us away from our role, learning to work with ambiguity, and stepping back to discern what’s going on.154

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Medium 9781523093984

7. Servant Leaders Create a Great Place to Work for All

Blanchard, Ken; Broadwell, Renee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


I’m a great believer in catching people doing things right. The first time I heard Michael Bush speak at a conference, I knew he was a great believer in catching organizations doing things right. As a result, he took the helm at Great Place to Work and has been traveling around the country looking for organizations that have a servant leadership culture. I think you’ll be fascinated by the common characteristics these great companies have when you read Michael’s essay. —KB

MY ORGANIZATION, CONSULTING and research firm Great Place to Work, has spent more than two decades studying and celebrating the best workplaces around the world. Since 1998 we have produced the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list as well as other best workplaces lists. We operate in more than 50 countries and each year our Trust Index© survey captures the views of roughly 10 million employees globally. We, along with other scholars, have documented the way the 100 Best have outperformed peers in terms of profitability, revenue growth, stock performance, and other key business measures.

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Medium 9780253012517

2. On Expansion

Peter Wake Indiana University Press ePub


On Expansion

Baby Suggs grew tired, went to bed and stayed there until her big heart quit. Except for an occasional request for color she said practically nothing—until the afternoon of the last day of her life when she got out of bed, skipped slowly to the door of the keeping room and announced to Sethe and Denver the lesson she had learned from her sixty years a slave and ten years free: that there was no bad luck in the world but white-people. “They don’t know when to stop,” she said, and returned to her bed, pulled up the quilt and left them to hold that thought forever.

—Toni Morrison, Beloved 1

Divided Jesus

The imperative to spread the word of the master comes after the Resurrection. The risen Jesus commands of his disciples,

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:15–18)

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Medium 9780253013866

9. Charms and Spiritual Practitioners: Negotiating Power Dynamics in an Enslaved African Community in Jamaica

Edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula S Indiana University Press ePub

Paula Saunders

In recent times, the focus of African Diaspora archaeological research has moved to examine the spiritual-based practices of people of African descent throughout the Diaspora (see, e.g., K. L. Brown 1994, 2001, 2004; Fennell 2007b; Russell 1997; Stine et al. 1996; Wilkie 1997, on spirituality and ritual paraphernalia). The results of these studies often produce more questions than answers, and demonstrate the many complexities involved in examining such places of ritual activity, as well as the impossibility of creating standardized theories and methodologies to deal with such complex sites. As a result, archaeologists are still attempting to find ways to address the use of spirituality as one of the means whereby oppressed women, men, and children in the Diaspora negotiated power, resistance, and discourse inherent within the colonial state, as well as how these practices may be seen in the archaeological record.

This chapter presents some findings from the enslaved village at Orange Vale coffee plantation, located in Portland, Jamaica. This research applies an interdisciplinary approach by combining documentary, archaeological, and oral sources. In addition to information on daily living conditions and settlement patterns within the enslaved African village, additional findings include (1) the recognition of various levels of power negotiation, and (2) clues to the enslaved people’s ritualized spiritual practices through their use of charms. Further, this research underscores the importance of including descendant communities throughout the archaeological process, as well as the need to engage oral traditions in the interpretation of past societies, particularly for marginalized groups excluded from “official”—that is, written—stories of the past.

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