Learning and Trust LO13126

Edwin Brenegar III (brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu)
Sat, 05 Apr 1997 23:34:59 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO13114 --

At, I very much appreciate your thoughts on trust. I've thought a lot
about this human phenomenon, and would like to share with you and the list
some of what I've concluded.

I think that you are on to some important thoughts about the relationship
between God our Creator, the Creation and ourselves, and linking that to
the issue of trust I think makes it more concrete. I have been working on
a theology of leadership. My doctorate is from a theology school, and was
on leadership development. The rabbit trail I have been following has to
do with what does it mean for human beings to be created in the image of
God. The Eastern Orthodox church see humanity as the priests of creation,
mediating the created order before God. Certainly a mandate to lead as
servants of creation, rather than the owners of creation. This is a view
which someone who is not a montheist or a theist at all will accept. I do
not imply that this is a rationale for an anthropocentric view of
creation, only that humanity has a unique and specific role, not
necessarily the central role. More about that at another time, if anyone
is interested.

But more specifically, I think that this trust issue as it relates to God
is focused at the level which you have suggested, and at another level,
where our human destiny is concerned. Accepting the Judeo-Christian idea
that we are created in God's image, I believe we are to mirror or live out
that character of trust in our lives. I may not be able to trust my
co-workers or my neighbors. But they should be able to trust me. I
guess, I see that this world has been "entrusted" to us in our role as
servants of God and bearers of God's image. It doesn't mean we are more
valuable, only that there is a unique role of responsibility to fulfill. I
don't trust other people because they are inherently trustworthy. I trust
them because my experience with them has told me they are trustworthy. I
trust God for the same reasons. My initial faith-filled trust as a 17
year old would not be sufficient today. I learned to trust, by learning
to live by faith. That is a loaded statement in our American relgious
culture, and I mean it to be the antithesis of the superficial,
self-aggrandized form of faith which is often seen in the media.

Let me give you an example. I have a proposal to write and submit by the
end of this month for the most important job I have yet had the
opportunity to bid on. I look at the work required, the planning and the
execution, and I realize I'm over my head. I lack some of the experience
I feel I need to be absolutely confident about my ability in this
situation. What I realize about this opportunity is that this is an
opportunity to trust God, to put my faith in action, believing that by his
trust in me I have come to this point of opportunity. I'll give it my
best shot and see what happens. This may be preparation for something
else, or it may be something that actually happens for me. Who knows?
And it isn't important right now. And it is this very life on the edge
form of faith which drove us to leave a secure job, move and start over
two years ago.

There is one other piece that I think touches on trust, and that is
respect. Trust is the active expression of respect. For me, it is more
important whom I work with, than what I do. Why? Because I want to work
with people I respect, admire, in whom I can learn new things, and they as
well. People who I can develop a collaborative relationship where the
diversity of our skills, experience and perspective is the strength of the
relationship and work. I am doing some work right now with a person whom
I don't respect, and don't trust. Why? Because this individual lies to
me and lies to others about me in my presence. This person make promises
which are not honored. This individual is untrustworthy. And I am
approaching a point in time when I will have to decide whether I will
continue to work in the project. For me it is becoming that simple. Give
me a set of relationships with people whom I respect and trust, and we can
to remarkable things.

I think this is an important thread because it is at the heart of how
people can build the trust which is fundamental to creating learning
organizations. Let us continue to share and learn.

Together on the journey,

Ed Brenegar


Edwin Brenegar III <brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>