Monday, June 14, 2004


I've been reading the George Leonard book entitled Mastery. Leonard is a black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, a former B-25 pilot during WW2, and a jazz pianist. I understand that he also has an interest eastern religions, in particular Zen Buddhism.

So what lessons could a Christian learn from reading his book? There are many: Leonard's main thesis is what it takes to master something. It doesn't really matter what that something is, the process is pretty much the same. If I could sum up the "big lesson" of his book in one word, that word would be perseverance.

But there are other important lessons as well. Here is a quote from his book that one could easily apply to ministry:
A human being is the kind of machine that wears out from lack of use. There are limits, of course, and we do need healthful rest and relaxation, but for the most part we gain energy by using energy. Often the best remedy for physical weariness is thirty minutes of aerobic excercise. In the same way, mental and spiritual lassitude is often cured by decisive action or the clear intention to act. We learn in high school physics that kinetic energy is measured in terms of motion. The same thing is true of human energy: it comes into existence through use. You can't hoard it. As Frederich S. (Fritz) Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy, used to say, "I don't want to be saved, I want to be spent."

George Leonard. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment. Plume: New York, 1991.

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