Saturday, April 15, 2017

How shall we then live

I Chronicles 12;32 talks about “the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.”

The question that should be in the top of our agenda as leaders of Indian churches, institutions, organizations, parachurches and networks be, do we have a core group of men and women, who understand the times and discern what the church in India should do?

The context is fast changing, and most of us who are keeping their eyes above the routine lives we live cannot but see the fast changes. Much is being written about the changes and so this short write up is not to dwell on the same. But to high light some key changes – the ardent religious nationalism, the arrogance of power, the corporatization of services or almost everything, the side-lining of the minorities and the people in the lower socio economic and caste communities are quite visible.

The question that we should be grappling with is “How shall we then live”? How shall we live in the changing context of today and potential changed context of tomorrow. How shall we reposition, reorganize and reorient ourselves to be the salt and light in a changed nation? One do not get the impression that there is much reflection in these lines from Christian leadership of our nation today.

We see much reactive responses of how to protect our rights, our institutions, our faith in the context of these being challenged and potentially being diluted. We see leadership coming together to talk about the changing policies and laws being implemented or being planned by the state and how that will affect us and how we should protect ourselves. Important as these be, it is more of a reactive and self-protective agenda, which alone should not be what we should be grappling with.

There seems to be realization of the need for prayer and intercession and some movements are happening here and there where individuals, churches, NGOS, and networks are coming together to intercede for our nation, its leaders and our communities who are adversely affected. There needs to a much more strengthening of this aspect of our engagement.

Much less response is visible where the church is aligning with or being a voice for those maximally affected by some of the changes the country is going through. People in the margins, tribal areas, other faith communities are equally affected or at times more affected. One does not see much response from our leaders either communicating about these issues or aligning themselves with these challenged communities. When we are in the self-protective mode, any way it is difficult to move in to this arena and probably that is the reason why we do not hear much.

One does not hear any discussion on, how should we as a community live and work for the Kingdom and our nation, in a changed context. The time is ripe, to reflect and discern, how shall we then live, if our country moves into a changed context. What is God expecting from the church in India? How should we reposition and reorient and reorganizes our lives, to be a community which holds on to the mandate of the Kingdom and a Kingdom vision for our nation.

It is time that as leaders, we take time off from ‘business as usual’ – the business of maintaining and protecting our churches, institutions organizations to reflect on how can we be men of Issachar. Leaders who discern through God’s perspective, the times and understand how shall we then live in a changed and changing nation of ours so that we continue to be the salt and the light.

Sandwiched Saturdays

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is the sandwiched one. Sandwiched between the sorrow of the loss and the resurrection the next day. A friend of ours asked this question today. “In some church traditions, today is called 'Holy Saturday'. It is mainly remembered as the day where Jesus' body was in the grave. Many others believe while is body was still in the tomb, His spirit was alive. For the disciples, Jesus' mother Mary and other followers of Jesus it must have been a day of silent mourning. They must have remembered fondly the experiences of the years; must have been a day of fear. They were not expecting the resurrection... so they were getting ready with the spices for the body. Wonder what they would have done differently, if they had believed Jesus' words about His resurrection?”

Reflecting on this I was doing rounds on this sandwiched Saturday and the day before. I realized that for most hospitalized people stay in the hospital is like the Holy Saturday or the Sandwiched Saturday. An unexpected illness has affected their lives and they are waiting around for a turnaround. 

The rounds in ICU was educative.

For the patient in bed number 1 with COAD, in ICU, it was a day when she was being weaned out of ventilator and moving on to the wards, hoping for full turn around in a day or two. But they were not keen to wait for a full turn around, since finances were an issue. Not the hospital finances alone but the all the supportive systems they need to take care.  

But for another patient with the same illness in the next bed, that was not to be. After being extubated, she was still quite unwell. The family after much consultation, was deciding to wait for a day and then stop treatment and take her home if she is not showing signs of a turn around. For them money was not the issue, but the indefiniteness of the chronic illness , patient being a lady, and bleak chances of a full recovery were the deciding factors.

For the next patient with a cardiogenic shock and on ventilator, there was a fast and full recovery. The one whom we had thought, she may not make it, did a fast turnaround in less than 24 hours. And it was not our treatment alone that made the turn around! It was the invisible hand of God. This was a blessing for them since they would not have been able to afford long hospitalization anyway.  

In the next bed, the previous day we had a senior doctor from the town with acute MI and pulmonary edema being ventilated. Having had a fast recovery from the immediate issues, the family wanted a much more full and complete turn around and had taken a decision to shift him to the best centers in New Delhi as soon as possible, since money and connections were not issues. And their faith was in the Health care corporate bigwigs in Delhi.

In the next bed, was a young lady with acute pulmonary embolism in shock and on ventilator. By the end of the morning rounds she had died. The turn around the family expected was not to be.  All because of she undergoing a not so required surgery in another center and being referred to us late in the illness with no BP and feeble respiration.

And in the same bed couple of hours later, a patient with severe Interstitial lung disease in heart failure was being brought in to ventilate. He is still there waiting for a turn around. Having been to multiple small centers all over the place, this was their last stop most likely. If a turnaround does not happen, I am not sure if they would be able to take him elsewhere.

I can keep on writing more such events each day – any health care institution will have many such stories. But the fact is that, in health care at contexts like where we are, turn arounds are influenced not by the disease alone but many other factors. Money, value for life, cultural and social expectations, health care ethics, lack of alternative support systems all influence turn arounds.

I was reminded by the lady who recovered despite we giving up on her, that in the midst of these factors, there is that invisible hand of God, who promises us a full turn around if we wait on Him. A good reminder on this Sandwiched Saturday. If I have the hope of resurrection Sunday, I will live with the assurance of a turnaround tomorrow, though today seems bleak and other voices tell me to give up!

How can I me the channel of hope in my daily contacts with people struggling through sandwiched Saturdays? 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Women's days

I started writing this (in my mind) on Women’s day. I wanted the first story as a celebration story for women’s day. But as usual, many good intentions, this fell on the way side but I am thankful that it was not forgotten. The story has grown from one into stories multiple women, and a one good man.

It was almost 2 months back when I saw this girl PK, first. When I saw her, she was deeply comatose, on ventilator, with history of “Hexaconazole” poisoning. She was 14, and looked much younger than that. Somehow the clinical presentation did not fit in with the diagnosis. The family from a very poor background, had no idea what happened other than that there was an empty bottle of Hexaconazole lying around. We met with the father who was all in tears and said, she is his “apple of eye” in the local Bhojpuri equivalent, and pleaded with us, to make her well. I was not at all sure if she would make it. Deeply comatose, running high fever, with extensive aspiration pneumonias, no respiratory effort, I did not give her much chance for her to pull through. Couple of days later, based on our enquiry, father had gone back home to look out for any clues again. He came back with three bottles of pesticides. What she had taken was a concoction of three pesticides that too full bottles. I gave up all chances of her pulling through. After almost 8 days of waiting watching, we decided to tell the father about the inevitable end. But he was persistent – though he had no money he was pleading, do not give up, do something. (we had agreed on treatment on the house). We decided to get a tracheostomy done and slowly move her out to palliative care for caring for a person in a vegetative state. And having made the plans, I left for a three week travel outside. The day I came back was couple of days before women’s day. And I walked in to the ward and what greeted me was this girl sitting up and smiling. Couple of days later, on women’s day, she was off to her home, fully recovered, family rejoicing. Just before she left her story came out. Mother having scolded her for not washing utensils, she out of a feeling of being discriminated because she was the girl in the house, she took this drastic step.  The hero in this story for us was the father who stood beside her through her 5 weeks of hospital stay, of which more than 3 weeks in ICU and 14 days on ventilator.

As we moved couple of beds ahead, there was yet another girl who had just come from ICU. Not as sick as PK, PuK had been on the ventilator for again for more than a week or so. Having had multiple seizures and aspiration pneumonia's and having had tracheotomy, it took many days for her to get better. Again, like the previous girl, this was a young one in her mid-teens.  I did not see any heroes beside her, but she, as she was about to get ready to go home after being de-cannulated from her tracheotomy, she went into a psychosis. She was shouting and screaming her lungs out. All this after a month of stay as she was getting ready for going home. Unlike the other girl, something seemed to be disturbing her. Sedating her and putting her down with some anti psychotics did the work, but somehow, we did not see the joy to go home on her face. We knew a bit of her story though. It seems, she was told to feed the cows by her mother when she was playing with her siblings, and in anger went outside and drank the pesticide that was kept in the shed outside. What was troubling her, and preventing her from happily going home? Was there something more than what we heard? Or was the story the truth or the “tipping point” of many previous stories which we had not heard? One would never know. But one stray comment from her close relative gave some hints. When talking about the bill which they had no money to pay anyway, (hospital had agreed to take care,) but when asked by a staff to bring some money, the close relative shared, if you push us, we will leave her here and go…..Was she the unwanted one and she sensed it?

And in the next bed was K, again a girl in her late teens this time a married one. Having been again in almost similar situation – attempted suicide with a pesticide ingestion, on ventilator and supportive management, she recovered much earlier. But still took about more than 3 weeks. Her story was slightly different. She had a fight with her husband regarding sending their son to school to study further. She wanted her husband to arrange money to do the same. Her husband didn't have enough money which led to an argument, and subsequently led to the ingestion of poison to end her life.  Was this again like the previous stories, just an impulsive decision that led to this? Or was it the final of a series of events, the last one being the tipping point? Because of a husband who was not too concerned? One would never know.

But one thing stands out these three events. The precipitating events were simple, ordinary events (at least what was communicated to us), that does not warrant such a drastic step. And such young girls landing up in serious situations is not an uncommon event in this part of the country these days….

One more story from a different context, again same week from OPD.

This 30 odd year old lady who has been with us for a year or so came for follow up and sat down in OPD. Summer OPDs are busy and we run the “conveyor belt” OPDs – patients in and out fast! As usual I was about to quickly sort her list of drugs out, and send her off, she stopped and asked me a question. She was admitted with us a year ago, with severe peripheral vasculitis, and was found to have SLE. On regular follow up, with us, doing well, a year into treatment. Again, from a low socio economic back ground, but regularly coming for follow up. Her question was about the longevity of treatment – how long will I need to continue this. I told her 2 years or even lifelong. I stopped to ask her any other issues – she said – I stay with in laws and they keep talking negatively about my illness and treatment and verbally abuse me. I can’t keep going on like this, I have three small kids. I had never met her husband, and I asked, where is your husband? She reminded me, I had told you sir, he is in jail! I had completely forgotten the story. She shared in again – He being a driver, had a freak accident and was in jail for a term of 5 to 7 years, having had no money or support system to pay the legal system! And so, she has to live bearing this abuse till he comes out! And she also had asked for a Tubectomy earlier. I had previously checked out with the OG team and they were ready to do. I asked her again about the same – why does she want one if husband is not coming back for next 5 years or so. But then I realised that it was not the wise question to ask in such a context. She replied, any way I do not want it now, I cannot allow anything to happen to me till he is out of jail, because my children need me. I am afraid that surgery might be dangerous for my life. One waiting for her deliverance from the context of abuse….

Stories of unmarried, early married and late into marriage from women from a part of our nation…..
Why these stories? Just to be reminded, Women’s days come and go but life’s go on as usual for many women…..in our nation….



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reflecting on D

D (death) is a topic we seldom talk about. Or if at all we talk, we talk it over for a short time and then move on to other immediate and urgent issues. Last few days, some of us have been constantly faced with or heard about deaths of many around us.

Last week, practically every day, one person would have been brought dead to our casualty. Elderly, neonates, young girls and middle aged. Maybe it is the severe cold around this part of the country, that they are unable to reach the hospital in time. In the middle of these, a middle-aged lady in her early 50s, known well to many of us passed away after a short spell of illness due to cancer, away in Western India. Then we had the untimely death of the young surgeon in Odisha, who was known to many of us. There was a young boy of 14 years with whom our team had spent time planning for his re-education (check my previous blog) who was brought in with suddenly hepatic failure and died in less than 24 hours. During these events, there has been elderly patients who are in their nineties sure to die recovering and going home. There have been birthday celebrations, wedding receptions, also going on.

So, life goes on amid death and dying around us, some of those deaths affect us much because they are people close to us. Others not much because they are not well known to us. And we tend not to dwell much on issues of death and dying since many of us (at least I am) are uncomfortable about reflecting much on this.

As we look around – we see varied responses. Some live in “denial”. Yes, we are aware that death is inevitable and there has been many who have been taken away from this world, we think, it will not happen to us immediately. We live in denial at this point of time and pushing thoughts on death and dying for another day, when it might come closer.

Some of us, are so busy with our self-protecting and self-promoting lives that there is no time think about death. Nations are very good in this. Millions of a neighbouring nation might die due to genocide, but nation would be busy protecting its borders. Many are running away as refugees and dying in transit, but nations are closing borders to protect and take care of their own interests.

Some others live in illusion – see life as “maya” and “illusion” and live with a fatalistic attitude. God will do what he wants, we cannot do much and so we live ‘detached’ lives. Patients relatives in our context use this argument much. No money, they will blame it on God pass the buck on to God who has ‘decided’ that nothing more can be done. We see this in all religions d cultures and we get affected by this majority cultural perspective of detached and lives based on “maya” and “illusion”.

Some others live resigned to the fact that life and death are inevitable and then move on to lead a passionless disengaged life. Life becomes a routine – the mundane takes precedence and they live to survive....

It is amid such events around us that we need to ask, how shall then we live? The good old book gives good advice and promises….To live well in the midst of death….

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom’ – Numbering and making each day count…..

‘Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is’ – Recognizing our roles in the days given to us and follow it with passion…..

‘And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you’ – and if some days are lost due to our foolishness allowing God to restore that in the days to come…..

I hope I will live well as I reflect on death…..

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Stories

As I walked into the emergency, the sight I saw was chaotic. One elderly lady who had been brought dead was being taken out of the emergency. There was a very young girl, probably less than 20 undergoing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. There were two other children quite sick on oxygen and support.

Two Doctors were struggling hard to resuscitate this young girl. Her heart rate was less than 30, she had no spontaneous breathing and was brought in just then referred from another center. I joined the team and tried our best with various methodologies of resuscitation for more than one hour, but she succumbed to the cardiac event she had suffered by ingesting Aluminum Phosphide, a deadly poison. She looked very young and innocent. And we had no idea what had prompted her to take this drastic step. A few minutes later as we were explaining to the family, the nurse in charge pulled me aside and told me the story. This nurse, while we were trying to resuscitate the girl, was talking to the father and helping him to understand the seriousness, and in that process, had heard the story.

Her marriage as fixed one year back. The boy’s family agreed for a marriage 6 to 8 months later and asked for 25 Lacs of NC (equivalent to 18 Lacks IC) to fix the marriage. And they had given the same. And subsequently boy’s side would give some excuse or other and delay the marriage, 2 days back, girl’s father had contacted the boy’s family again and they had asked for a delay of three months more. They also indicated that they will need more money before the marriage. The girl had overheard the conversation and cried and told her parents to call off the marriage. Her point was, if before marriage, this is how they are treating us, I do not know how will treat me, please call the marriage off. Father had told, it is not possible since money is already given and their status in the community had to be protected. She heart broken, decided to end her life……

Upper middle class, possibly educated family and girl but with no voice for a girl, in a man dominated, status driven, image protecting context and culture.

The next day in OPD a 14-year-old boy came to us. On ante retroviral therapy for four years, he had started getting fever and was losing weight. We evaluated him for infections and found him to be having disseminated TB, a sign of ART failing perhaps? In the discussions around treatment and cost issues, their family story emerged.

While his mother went out to get drugs, some of our doctors had a conversation with him. He seemed quite detached and silent for his age, but we could sense the desire he had to study and be like his other brothers who were studying and working.

We decided to reprimand the mother and the man who accompanied her, regarding taking him out of school. And it was when we started talking to her that the above story came out.
Father died 4 years back following a HIV late stage infection. He had contracted it while in Delhi and had passed on the same to his wife, and this son. Surprisingly though he was the second of 5 brothers, all the other four were spared, only he was infected. Doing well in school, in class 3 (at 10 year of age) his life started going down a spiral. He started falling ill, had to be initiated on ART and then due to the frequent visits to hospital, he had to be taken out of school.

After the death of her husband, the disease was not told to anyone else in the village, she had to move out of her village, bring up 5 sons alone, get her self-treated for her HIV illness, get her some treated, all the while keeping their disease story away from others. She had her father, who was accompanying her and he said, it is my daughter and her children, I will somehow support her and care for her children.

Uneducated, lower socio economic family, the lady of the house struggling alone to take care of her family of 5 children supported by her aging father after contracting an incurable illness and being rejected by her village, for no fault of hers…..


Women bearing the brunt of issues emerging out of marriage, dowry, culture and customs related practices, behavioral related illnesses. Stories that never capture anyone’s attention…..Would these capture our heart? I am sure it reaches God’s heart….

Monday, December 26, 2016

Traveling Christmas


Unusual for us, we found ourselves on the road this time on Christmas eve and Christmas day. For me personally, I did not look forward to it. Brought up in the tradition of Christmas eve carols services, (which has been given up many years back when we moved out of our home state) Christmas morning services, meetings with friends etc., a Christmas on the move was not something I was happy with. So to motivate myself, I reflected  on the Christmas story and took comfort in the fact that Mary and Joseph travelled 90 kms on foot (in full term pregnancy), Shepherds travelled from far outside town, into town, late in the night or may be early hours of the morning, the wise men set out on a tedious long journey…..Till someone pointed out that these people travelled out of dreams visions and political compulsions, and I was left wondering what vision dream or political compulsion drove me this Christmas….

I took a book to read during the journey and the back cover caught my attention. Majesty in the midst of mundane…. the meaning of Christmas. So, I took it to heart that in the middle of the mundane train and flight journeys we are taking, there is the “Majesty” and it is for me to recognize that…But little did I expect it to be revealed the way it was revealed to me….

At the Raxaul railway station, as we were waiting for the train to be cleaned and made ready for the journey, I saw a well-dressed middle aged woman in a wheel chair. And I saw a man walking up and down the old foot over bridge multiple times, going back and forth. I did not realize what the issue was, till I saw him struggling to wheel the chair, up the 30 or 40 narrow steps of the foot over bridge. After taking the chair up about half way he stopped. There were another 20 to go up, then the bridge and then similar stairs to go down. There were many others walking up and down on the bridge, but no one was stopping, rather were giving “staring looks”. I suppose this sight was unusual for this part of the country.  I walked up to him and asked him “do you need help”? He said he can manage but if one more person is there, he can be confident that the chair will not slip. I walked aside till they reached the other platform, holding on to the wheel chair, making sure that it did not slip. They were returning home to the border town of Nepal. The systems of the station were not made for people and families like her, it was made for those in the majority, the abled who can walk up and down the bridge. Broken systems the world offers to those in the margins…. Systems that need the touch of the Majesty?

In the train, we had to be on the upper berths. The lower berth was occupied by a young family with 2 children. Children 6 and 3 perhaps. They were on a holiday, all paid for by their company, to Bangalore. The younger one – 3-year-old boy, was irritatingly vociferous. The father was getting angry with him for consistently talking and screaming…But his talk did not reduce nor did he respond to any scolding’s…. But after a few hours there was a perceptible silence. Kids had become quiet, but there was animated conversation between parents. Over hearing, we could recognize that there was a clear disagreement and angry words were being spoken by each other. I was a bit judgmental internally, about parents fighting like this openly in front of kids and public. Soon the husband refused dinner and went off to sleep. The mother fed kids and put them to sleep. 12.30 AM I got up to drop off a friend who was getting down at Durgapur. And I saw the mother sitting up – not sure since when, crying perhaps? The husband was snoring away. How would their holiday go, if the start was with broken relationships? Broken relationships that need the touch of the Majesty?

We reached our interim destination and guest house facility on Christmas day morning. Uncomfortable about not being in church on a Christmas day (habits and traditions) I went in search of church early in the morning. As I went out of the guest house, I saw a completely covered human being. Man, or woman I am not sure, surrounded by multiple plastic covers, all his/her possessions perhaps. Sleeping on the road side completely covered. As I moved ahead I found a few others, some already up others slowly getting up, waiting for the church to start perhaps? To get some money from the church goers? Broken lives that wait for a few crumbs from the hands of those who have made it…. Broken lives that need the touch of the Majesty?

I saw the church, well decorated church more than 250 years old, ready for the morning service. I went back to the room, took the bible, as usual for any morning and read – the passage was a bit challenging. James spoke succinctly and clearly “faith without works is dead”. I reflected on it, it did strike a disturbing chord internally, I put it aside for some time, and got ready and went to church. The church was as any other upper middle class urban church would be. I felt a bit out of place, not because I am not of that group – I had gone in my traveling clothes and there they were in their best. I had totally forgotten that Christmas you had to be dressed up. But there were couple of others who were travelers and visitors like me. The message was from a New Testament professor and was very powerful. But one statement stood out a bit discomforting – a slip of the tongue perhaps. “The angels announced the arrival to the shepherds, the outcast and weak of the society, like many of us are….”   It did not make sense. I did not think that anyone in the church or I could be clubbed with those in the margins like shepherds. We were the privileged in all senses.

I came out, the road side destitute were still there waiting for some money or food from those of us who were coming out. Most of us passed on like the Levite and priest in the Good Samaritan story. But near one man I saw 2 ladies in white saris and blue striped borders, in animated conversation with one of them. People of faith who should be in their churches on a Christmas morning but engaging those broken lives instead. Was that their Christmas morning service – engaging with those in the margins….?

As I came back to the place I was staying, there was another Hindi service happening in the grounds. People from the lower middle class, and a charismatic Pentecostal service, with much dancing and swinging happening. Powerful message of Christmas from the pastor again, on how Christ will and can change their lives….

I am still traveling – and on the way to the airport saw, hundreds of people celebrating the Commercial version of Christmas with “Santa Caps” on heads, Tiaras on heads and kathi rolls in their hands…..halfway through this trip, I am left with a few questions …….

Where was Majesty today – If the Majesty made trip down this Christmas, where would he be found….

Among those who struggle with the broken systems, broken relationships and or lives completely broken? Among those who are trying to engage with such systems and people, like the nuns I saw? Or among the people celebrating Christmas? Or among us the privileged church goers?

What does it mean when James says, faith without works is dead in the context of seeing majesty amid the mundane and the marginalized?

I am also assured now, that traveling is a good way to celebrate Christmas, to see Christmas differently, maybe I will do it again…. till my faith and work starts meeting or worship and work merge….

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Connectedness


As we look around in the global leadership circles, political and otherwise, we are clearly seeing some common trends.

The type of leaders that seems to connect with the majority are those who can appeal to the perceived aspirations of the powerful and the majority. Or the middle class who are the majority. The connect is through the power of rhetoric, and charisma, offering them what they want to hear, generally an immediate promise of a resource rich economy. Some use polarizations based on certain groups or ideologies as the binding force, but whatever it is, it the ability to connect and offer what the so-called majority seem to aspire that set these leaders apart.

The aspirations of the majority are, what they themselves see as best for them, the resources they require. The person who can “connect” is their leader and even adulated by some as their “saviour”. For e.g., If they have been longing for bread and these leaders, respond – “Last many years they have not offered what you needed, I will turn these stones into bread and use it to fulfil what you have been longing for.” Words that promise what the ears want to hear…..

But little do these people and the leaders realize that, the aspirations of the majority or the loudest voices are in cross purposes with those in the peripheries or those whose voices are generally unheard.

The other thing they do is, to seal or cement this connect, they end up promising and trying to do the spectacular, actions which speak louder than words. Seal the rhetoric with loud spectacular actions. Even jumping off from a “pinnacle of a building” to prove that he or she is not just a man of words but of actions. And these actions lead to cementing the connect better. And as they connect better, the adulation increases, anyone who questions the words and actions is looked down upon.. Reason is given up for emotions and the emotional connect.

But in pursuit of spectacular, one forgets that spectacular fireworks last only a short time. And that these displays of spectacular leaves quite of bit of smoke and smog around. The weak and those in the margins, end up fighting the impact of the pollution that these spectacular fireworks leave, while the those for whom the spectacular was displayed are protected in their pollution free environments. For the former, life goes on as usual once the spectacular is over, many a times worse than what it was before. The daily grind of their lives are forgotten since the loud voices are crying for more spectacular and the powers that be are planning for the next one – a bigger one….

And to continue in the pursuit of connectedness, initially through rhetoric and spectacular, they come up with a third way. They promise them the world’s best, systems as an answer to all the problems. A vision for a problem free smooth sailing by sorting out all the systemic hitches. The best of the worlds systems will be in place in a few years, the only condition is, submit. Do not question or raise unnecessary issues, hold on, the best is yet to be. Am I not for you and your saviour, jut align yourself to me and what I am planning for you, you will have the best life which you cannot even imagine today. The leaders do not ask much, but only allegiance and if possible worship.

And the followers left with this “promise of utopia” cement their connectedness, believing that he or she is the one they have been longing for, the one who will save them and give them all what they wanted.

But little do the followers realize that, the connectedness is only theatrics. The leaders are trained to communicate, connect and control through manipulation of information and facts. But if you look closely enough there are signs of disconnect. There are fissures in the mask of connectedness they are wearing. Their real inner connectedness is for self-preservation and self-promotion. The external masks of connectedness they wear is only to cover their own inner insecurity and need for significance. By the time the internal-external disconnect becomes visible, much damage would have been done, for those who were in the peripheries, those whose voices are generally not heard.

Where are those leaders who in one sense had internal and external connect? Those who held on to a paradigm of leadership undergirded by the following model…

He didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death

Instead of self-preserving, self-promoting lives, a self-giving and self-sacrificing life for the sake of His followers, especially those in the margins and peripheries….?

A real connectedness, internal and external connectedness and connectedness to those who matter most….