One "new" tradition that has emerged in our household over the Memorial Day Weekend is watching the video series, Band of Brothers. It is based on the true story of the World War II soldiers in Easy Company. The actual soldiers on which this story is based are interviewed at the beginning of each episode. Without exception, they each talk about the fear they all felt and how they each found a way to complete their mission -- in spite of their fears. I am inspired by the courage of these whom some have called "The Greatest Generation."
Recently, I heard a Pulitzer Prize winning historian compare our generation facing of this pandemic to that earlier generation facing World War II. While there are certainly differences between a World War and a pandemic, her point was that these were events that affected the whole world and required a response from everyone. When I watch Band of Brothers, I remember soldiers like my wife Pam's father who was a B-17 pilot in World War II. He was shot down over Germany and finished out the war in a prisoner of war camp. Pam's father was one of the "older" soldiers in his mid-20s -- a Captain and a Wing Commander called upon to lead others who were even younger than he was.
When I watch how the series depicts those young soldiers rising to the leadership challenge in spite of their fears, I'm also reminded of the excellent leadership book I have just finished by Peter Steinke called, Uproar: Calm Leadership in Anxious Times. I have shared with our session and our staff some of his key insights such as this one: in anxious times such as these, the most effective leadership comes from leaders who are able to calm their own anxiety, and then lead with a calming, non-anxious presence. This allows those of us who are experiencing the normal anxiety and fear that we all feel, to first take time to calm our own anxiety. Doing that first, then allows us to lead and make decisions based on our principles and our mission. I am grateful to be serving with leaders on our session and staff who are trying to lead in this way. Please keep our church's leaders in your thoughts and in your prayers, as we are praying for all of you -- the members of our JCPC church family.