At an Australian Labyrinth Network Gathering I was blessed to join a group of people to learn how to paint a seven circuit Petite Chartres labyrinth. Labyrinth creator Lisa Gidlow Moriarty from Stillwater Minnesota was our teacher. It took an evening and a day to pencil the design on the canvas, put down the paint tape along the pencil marks, and then carefully paint the fields, centre and outside lunations. It was an inspiring creative time to join others in community to paint this beautiful canvas labyrinth.
2. Engaging the Community
Working in a Lutheran School or Early Learning Centre means one needs to be engaged in community. The community of the school which has all sorts and levels of relationship as well as a community of faith founded on Christ. Growing deeper into the school community takes time, effort and intentionality. We grow in listening and understanding how our values are aligned to the direction of our learning organisation, building support and ownership for our ideas and partnering with others. The four descriptors for engaging community in the Growing Deeper framework are modelling integrity, listening and understanding, building support and networking and strategic relationships.
2.1 Modelling Integrity
Involves being genuine, authentic, open and honest in dealings with others while remaining steadfastly professional in one’s behaviour, action, advocacy and decision-making. It involves being true to one’s self and acting with integrity. It includes treating all people in an equally transparent, fair and equitable manner as well as advocating diplomatically and assertively for what we know is right even when under stress or pressure.
When we think about integrity and what it is, three things come to mind. Integrity is about alignment, wholeness, and comes from a humble self-assurance.
1. Integrity is about alignment. Alignment of my values with my actions. Alignment of myself with my school, its values, it mission, and strategic direction. Alignment of myself with others. Being aware of others, advocating for them when I need to be an ‘upstander’ rather than a bystander.
2. Integrity is about wholeness, the complete package being consistent. Etymologically, the word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective ‘integer’, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" which is derived from qualities such as honesty, authenticity and consistency of character.
3. Integrity comes from a humble self-assurance. That sense of humility that we are not better than anyone else. That our stuff stinks just as much as anyone else’s stuff. But a humility that is sure of itself and what we value most and hold to be true.
As educators in a Christian community we are called to be people of integrity. But each of us grapples and struggles with living lives of honesty where our actions align with our values. Sometimes we cannot draw the lines so neatly and squarely. Despite the most well intended alignment of ourselves with our values, with the values of our school, and with others, people are hurt and wounded, boundaries are crossed, our consciences and principles are called into question. That’s where teaching and living in community, the power of doing it together, can influence and shape character in people, as leaders promote and model integrity by learning Christ together.
Integrity is the task of both talking and walking in the way of Jesus as he gifts us with his presence. It's the life spoken of in 1 Peter 3:10-12; Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. That definition of integrity calls us to walk in the path of Christ, to steer clear of telling untruths and half-truths that can lead to hypocrisy, and to seek peace within ourselves with others and with God as by his Spirit he makes us whole, humble, faithful people.
Was Martin Luther a stubborn German or was he a man of integrity? Luther’s reported words from the Diet of Worms (Religious Council in a city in Germany) were; I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. These are words spoken from someone of integrity. Luther cannot speak against his conscience and what he knew scripture was saying. Some people may have viewed it as bloody mindedness but under pressure he courageously gave voice to his values.
Lord Jesus, help me to align my actions with my values. When I am under pressure help me to act and speak with integrity, honesty and courage. Help me to model these values to my students, my colleagues, my family. Give me a humble self-assurance in all I do today as you walk beside me. Amen.
About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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