Taking Steps toward Leadership-Cleanliness

We are Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave.  Ain’t we wonderful?  We also need to be Clean.  OH NO!!!!!  *shoves last night’s dinner dishes into oven, and kicks the dropped food over in the direction of the waste basket…*  What does Cleanliness have to do with leadership?  We’re not talking organized or uncluttered, we’re talking clean.  It means having respect for yourself and the others around you in maintaining cleanliness of body.  It means avoiding typhus by having a clean kitchen and bathroom.  It means that when the grand kids or neighbor kids come over to play, they don’t have to have their shots 1st.  It means that when you serve dinner you know that your guests don’t have to make sure they have poison control on speed dial.  If President Obama were to give a speech on T.V. and he looked disheveled and every time he raised his arms, one of his aids fainted, what kind of impression would he be making?  Why do you suppose that before the military sends soldiers out into the mud and the grime and the dirt they are able to make hospital corners and shine their boots?  Shouldn’t they practice being dirty?  If a teacher came into a classroom and was wearing the same clothes he had been wearing for the past 3 days, would he have the kids’ attention?  If you had two men, one in a $1000 suit, and one in a Salvation Army suit, but the $1000 suit was dirty and rumpled, the man, no matter what his income, would be looked upon as a bum.  And if the Salvation Army suit was clean and pressed, even if it did not fit right, the man wearing it would be considered respectable.

People listen with their Eyes.  You heard me…  (get it?  you read the words, but you heard the inflection…hehehe)  We went to see a band show once many years ago.  Their brass section was top rate, and the woodwinds were very fine.  They were wearing old worn-out uniforms, and they slouched when they played and when they marched, they were out of line and out of step.  If we had just had a recording of the band’s performance we would have thought they were pretty good.  But we were watching them.  There were no kind words for this band.  It was a disaster!  It was horrible!  They should have been sooooo embarrassed to play like that.  But they played well!  We couldn’t hear them without seeing them, therefore we projected what we imagined a sorry looking band would perform–out of tune and out of balance with wrong notes and no dynamics even though they didn’t play that way! So if you were making a proposal or doing a presentation to a group of people you didn’t know, and you didn’t look clean and tidy, they would think everything coming out of your mouth was silly, or incorrect, or even fraud!  You’d have to work harder to gain their trust and to persuade them to listen to your ideas.  “Who you are is speaking so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It wouldn’t be due to your presentation skills or the ideas themselves, but HOW YOU LOOKED when you presented them.  If people were to meet you at your office and you had papers strewn all over and crooked pictures and furniture that was broken or torn, your credibility would go right out the window.  If you are trying to talk to your congregation about a building project or a new drumset for the praise team, and you show up in your gym gear without having taken a shower, that project is doomed.

To get deeper (deeper?  it’s just using soap right?) people’s instincts are to form instant separations…Them vs Us.  It’s a survival tactic.  They wear red, we wear blue.  They braid their hair, we cut ours.  Those Sneeches have stars on their bellies.  Christians vs. non-Christians, Aboriginals vs immigrants, Japanese vs Vietnamese, any one in the stands that isn’t wearing red or black vs huskers.  We in the leisure class who have the things successful people have, namely showers and access to dry cleaning, vs mechanics with black under their fingernails and who smell of gasoline and grease.  So if you are called on to lead people to prosperity, or to a new wing for the church, or to form a company softball/volleyball team, you have to dress and act the part of someone who is in that position.  You want to look like someone to whom prosperity is an every day thing; someone who is comfortable with prosperity and is willing to teach people how to get there.  You want to look like someone that adds wings to churches all the time:  organized, clean, purpose driven.  You need to look like someone that isn’t a normal Joe throwing together some guys to play any type of game, you should look like you never sweat but could if the circumstances called for it.  Someone who stays in shape and shows up for work fresh from a shower and not breaking all the chairs he sits in because he’s so out of shape and over weight would be more likely to find people to form a softball league.  If your people imagine you having a heart attack on the way to 1st base, they’re not likely to be enthusiastic about getting recruited to your team.

Clean also means clean thoughts.  There are people we deal with every day that see the worst in everyone and everything around them.  They speak inappropriately.  They offend people because they like to offend people.  They are sexist, racist, snobbish, and actually many are easily offended.  Now that doesn’t seem to make sense, but should you try to correct their “unclean” behavior, they get incensed.  “How dare you judge my opinions!  I am allowed to say what I think, and believe how I believe according to the constitution!  Where’s my gun?”  What are clean thoughts?  No pornography.  Now I’m not only talking the “dirty movies,”  I am talking about anything where behavior is excused or flouted simply because it exists and we shouldn’t judge.  Take super-hero movies–the aliens invade New York, and we take the falling buildings and the flying cars that the heroes use to stop the aliens as collateral damage and that’s ok because they’re saving the planet.  We accept collateral damage as a necessary part of any confrontation, and the ones that survive are the ones in spandex.  You get nervous if you’re the last guy in the line with a red shirt and haven’t been given a last name on the Starship Enterprise.  Good luck if you wore a suit and tie to work on the 15th floor of the office building…  That’s where the alien ship is going to come through while you’re in the bathroom.  Why is this pornographic?  What about the janitors on the 100th floor of the world trade center?  This collateral damage was acceptable to the people that planned this unspeakable attack in order to make a point.  The 3000 people that died were an acceptable way to prove that America was evil.  Yeah, I know.  That sentence didn’t make sense.  These unclean thoughts are perpetrated in the society where only certain people’s lives have any meaning and should you not be one of these people, your life is forfeit.

Then there are the circumstances where of COURSE the boy and the girl live together and sleep in the same bed even though they’re not married.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just a natural phenomenon of being human.  You know what?  It’s not.  How many people do you know that say, “Why bother to get married if 50% of marriages end in divorce?”  How many lives are really messed up because the couple lived together and things didn’t work out, they broke up and now have to worry about the children produced?  The marriage vows before witnesses means that the couple has made a commitment to each other to become something more than a man and a woman that sleep in the same bedroom.  The emotional damage on both the man and the woman in a broken marriage is nothing to brush off.  What people don’t realize is that the emotional damage happens whether the couple has a marriage or a friends with benefits arrangement.  Use this illustration:  Picture 2 ice skaters coming toward each other at a high speed.  They grab hands as they pass, and go into a wild spin and someone will fall down causing the other to spin off wildly and also fall.  Now picture this:  2 ice skaters coming toward each other at a high speed and grabbing each other’s waist and clinging tightly to each other.  They will spin wildly, then less wildly and then be able to slow down and go the same direction.  What I am saying here is that sex without commitment is pornography.  Death brought about as a means to terrorize the living is pornography.  These and many other similar immoral and unethical circumstances are brought about by unclean thoughts.

Every culture on the planet has a code of ethics.  Every culture defines what are clean and unclean thoughts.  Every society determines what is physically acceptable as clean.  If there were no consequences to unclean thoughts, there would be no code.  It is for the betterment of the society that the members show respect for the others in their society by being physically and mentally and spiritually clean.

Get your mind out of the gutter, then wipe it down.  Go make your bed.  Get rid of your dirty magazines and your pornography websites.  Do not tell dirty stories, do not gossip, do not disparage anyone.  Make sure your mind and body and heart are clean.

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