Have you ever experienced the feeling of becoming lost in the woods? For those who have they know it can quickly instill frightening disoriented feelings of total vulnerability and insecurity. Feeling lost can be terrifying and has a way of stimulating a frantic human response for seeking re-orientation. Generally, the first reaction is to back-track to a place of familiarity; to a landmark, a creek crossing, a marked trail or a vantage point where a perceived sense of security becomes the antidote to anxiety and fearfulness.
Being an observer of American culture I believe we are a nation which has lost its way. America is presently backtracking in hopes of finding the security it once felt. It is unfortunate that our present leadership has chosen to instill fear into a segment of our culture as a means to motivate them to turnaround and back tack. We are a culture feeling disorientated and lost in a world moving towards a very scary and uncertain future. The entire world is now entering a wilderness of technology and mandatory globalization and the ramifications of such a destination is not only uncomfortable but terrifying to many. To be fruitful at such a time, a new type of heroic leadership is needed; a leadership that is not afraid to enter the future wilderness but willing to blaze new trails and build new bridges into it. America longs for the Thomas Jefferson’s who can see the possibilities the wilderness can provide and for the Lewis and Clarks who are willing to explore it. We long for leaders with forward looking vision and adventurers of faith and passion willing to forge ahead, never backtracking.
When leaders are without true vision they call their people to turn around, shouting slogans of returning to a time in past history; a time when they perceived America was greater in the security of back trail familiarity. They are often charismatic personalities but incapable of realizing that true greatness will only be discovered in the uncertainty of the wilderness. It’s true, it is far easier to lead an insecure society backwards using age old fear tactics than to take them forward into an uncharted wilderness, but the fact is, the future will not only come but is already among us.
True leader’s who are seeing the future know that dependency on fossil fuels as primary sources of energy are already behind us on the back trail of America’s success. Renewable energies are not only on the trail ahead, but will provide the only means to travel it. True leaders innately understand that isolationism and nationalism which once successfully provided security through the building of physical walls and harsh trade barriers are also on the back trail of a nation called to a place at the table of global influence. The world has grown too small for any nation to withdraw looking only out for self interest. True leaders, Christian or not, instinctively understand that possessing the heart of Jesus for an entire broken world will be the only means for advancing any kingdom.
True visionary leaders also understand that the problems which threaten all human existence can no longer be solved by the decisions of one nation standing alone. Our only hope is that nations would unit together and address the huge global crisis issues such as climate change, world hunger, the preservation of global water sources or inevitable global migration which no physical border will be able to hold back.
Leaders of the past have seen immigration as a threat to a nations job market security, but leaders with vision for what’s to come in the wilderness now realize that the inevitable development of robotics and automation will soon replace the majority of blue-collar employment. Robots do not demand health care; they don’t request overtime, they don’t even require the facilities in which they operate to be heated, cooled or lit. They are the threat to future employment, not illegal Mexicans or foreign immigrants. Leaders of the wilderness are putting energy to solving those kinds of problems rather than focusing their people on issues which are rapidly becoming irrelevant.
America needs a new breed of leadership; leaders, who not only see the wilderness before us, but have the vision and giftedness to thrive in it. America will never be the same again. The world will never be the same again. Back-trailing will lead us to obscurity. We have no option but to forge ahead into the unknown and we cry for the leaders capable of taking us there.
Inspired by the writing of Yuval Noah Harari