Spiritual and Religious Community Leaders


The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury: Spiritual leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, political leaders – or all of the above?

We all think we know what we mean when we say ‘spiritual leader’ and we may have a corresponding image of someone who fits the bill.

But is a religious community leader the same as a spiritual leader? Can one person be a ‘spiritual person’ and a ‘community leader’ at the same time?

When a ‘spiritual community’ grows in size from 15 devout people who live together to 55 who don’t, do we need a different type of leadership? What about 5,500? Or 55,000?

Many idealistic people who join spiritual leaders don’t like institutions. But what happens when, due to spirituality, a community grows in complexity and diversity of membership? What then? What changes – and what stays exactly the same?

Who speaks for that community? And who speaks to the government about the community’s needs?

Here is a BBC radio programme that went out this morning. I thought it was interesting enough to share with you. If you like, have a listen (it’s only available for the next seven days) and let me know what you think. It’s only about Britain and our religious communities here, but you may find something here to stimulate your thought processes.

Let me know.

Here it is: Sunday – Roger Bolton discusses the week.

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2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Community, Hinduism, Judaism, Religion

2 responses to “Spiritual and Religious Community Leaders

  1. Listening to the radio programme it makes me appreciate how unique Srila Prabhupada was in being a leader in all aspects of the role.
    His leading of ISKCON didn’t water down his spiritual leadership.
    Perhaps other faith leaders could learn a lot by studying the example given by Srila Prabhupada.

  2. Thank you for this comment Jereme. There is a very nice story of how the famous Christian preacher, Billy Graham, was speaking at a London football stadium in the late 1980s. At one point he was admonishing the 30,000 strong crowd of Christians, saying that: “You have all seen those Hare Krishna people out selling their books; I ask myself why don’t Christians go out with the same enthusiasm?”

    Srila Prabhupada gave his followers an amazing legacy. He gave the example of the missionary, ready to go anywhere to serve God, but also the community-builder, the religious institution developer, the canonical text translator and commentator, and so many more types of leadership.

    Only problem in ISKCON these days is that everyone has their favourite type of leadership and wants to stress the importance of that. The secret of institutional success – as well as personal success – is always balance between all of these.

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