Visionary Leaders Vs. Masters

A visionary leader focuses much on vision, mission, and passion. He wants to be an inspiration to his potential followers. He is big on teams and for the members of those teams to buy in heavily to his vision. For this reason he creates as many opportunities as he can to impart his vision to the team members. Team members are encouraged to lead themselves, and change themselves as needed to be effective team members. Those team members who do not sufficiently buy in to the vision become pariahs.

Aside from evoking passion in potential followers, the visionary leader does not have much to offer. He does not necessarily know the solutions to the problems his followers will face. Nor does he necessarily have access to the resources his followers will need. Rather, he encourages his followers to deal with those issues themselves.

As so much depends on the visionary leader’s public image for his success, those followers who are best at making him look good will be the followers most celebrated and promoted.

bsmithA master, however, does not concern himself too much with vision, or at least not in the same way as the visionary leader. He is on a mission, and he is passionate, but in order for him to lead, he doesn’t require his followers to focus so much on who he is or why he’s there. A master knows what needs to be done, he knows how to get it done, and he has access to all the resources needed to get it done. He knows all the problems his followers will face before they themselves ever encounter those problems, and he is there to provide teaching and guidance.

A master requires hard work and excellence from his followers. Those who do that will be promoted and celebrated. Those who do not become the pariahs. The motivation for the followers is not passion inspired by the leader, but rather passion inspired by the work itself, excellence, and an ever increasing growth in knowledge.

I suppose a good leader will have both a visionary side to him and a master side. But, from my experience, most leaders lean heavily towards one, depending on what field they’re working in. Visionary leaders tend to be found in the business world, or in Christian growth movements, whereas masters are found mainly in the trades. But there is no reason the master has to stay there.

Personally, I prefer to follow a master, and am trying to become one myself.

Related reading…

Platitudes Are Contagious: ‘Company Culture,’ Management Maxims, And Other Bullshit

Shop Class as Soulcraft

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The Forge

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When blacksmithing, you can either work with a charcoal forge or gas forge. Both have their pros and cons.

The charcoal (or coke) forge is more traditional. You can get the steel hotter and you can be more selective in what parts of the work piece you heat up over the gas forge as there is more space to move the piece around. If you want to do any forge welding, the charcoal forge is usually the better choice. The charcoal forge is also messy to use and requires more maintenance.

The gas forge is clean and easy to fire up. Propane is usually not too expensive (depending on where you live of course), and a well made gas forge will be quite fuel efficient. A well built gas forge can get up to welding temperatures, but if one is using flux, measures must be taken to protect the lining of the forge. The opening of a gas forge, depending on how it’s built, can be restrictive on the size of work pieces that can be heated.

I personally use a two burner gas forge. I do have a charcoal forge, but most often the gas forge is more than sufficient for what I’m doing and it is quicker and more efficient than a charcoal forge.

Black Bear Forge is one of my favourite Youtube channels. Here they discuss the pros and cons of the two different forges…

The Anvil

I’ve recently gotten into blacksmithing. A couple of years ago I got into welding. Both these are an amateur interest for me. Working with metal is not only a practical skill to have, but can also be an artistic outlet as well.

The three essential tools of the blacksmith are the anvil, the forge, and the hammer. Here I will write a bit about the anvil. I’ll write more about the forge in another post.

Anvils are difficult to find no matter where you live, but they are especially difficult to find where I live, which is Cambodia. At first I just used a big chunk of cylindrical steel as an anvil, and that works if it’s all that’s available. A large sledge hammer will work as an anvil also. I searched high and low on the internet to find an anvil. It’s actually not that hard to find one online, and there are places in the USA that sell new anvils for reasonable prices. But in Cambodia? No.

But, I did eventually find one. An old Cambodian man had one and wanted to sell. I wasn’t available to see it before buying, but my father-in-law went and picked it up for me, and I just had to trust his judgment on it. When it was delivered to me it was covered in rust, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover after removing the rust that I had acquired a decades old Peddinghaus anvil.

Peddinghaus is a German company founded in 1903. They are known for making some of the highest quality anvils in the world. The particular stamp on my anvil shows that it was made some time before 1930. It is possibly 100 years old. The old man I bought it from had it for the last 39 years. He acquired it shortly after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia thus toppling the Khmer Rouge government. Somehow the anvil ended up in a ditch on the side of the road at the time, and the old man found it. Who knows who owned it in the decades prior to that or how it came to Cambodia in the first place.

The anvil is 110 pounds, and while the face is perfectly smooth, it is curved inward a small bit from many years of use. Regardless, it still has many more years of use in the decades to come.

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8 Steps to Overcome Porn

Even though I am a Christian, when talking to men who masturbate and watch porn, I will not tell them to stop because God is mad at them. I will tell them to stop because masturbating and watching porn is for losers. If you’re married, why are you setting a real flesh and blood woman aside for your hand and a video screen? And if you’re single, why don’t you get married?

Anyway, here’s 8 steps (in no particular order) a man can follow to get off porn….

  1. The man must admit the problem and become aware of the patterns of the addictive habit. He must be honest with himself and with God. No hiding. When does he usually look at porn? How often? What triggers the desire? What thoughts run through his mind just prior to viewing porn? He must identify and define his addiction. He must know his enemy.
  2. Pray, fast, and pray some more. I’ve known several men, and I have my own personal experience with this, with various different addictions — smoking, drugs, porn, drinking — who, after struggling for years, suddenly knew one day that their addiction was gone. And it is somewhat of a mystery. “Why now? Why have I been struggling for so long, and why now am I suddenly free?” Obviously there is a spiritual battle going on, and we can’t see what’s going on behind the scenes — perhaps there are angels fighting demons, perhaps something else — but through prayer we participate in the battle. Prayer calls down the power of God against our enemies. The man must not quit his spiritual warfare when things are difficult, but rather, “Rejoice evermore. Pray with out ceasing. In every thing give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  3. Run. Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to flee sexual immorality. There is no shame in fleeing an enemy the man can not possibly defeat all on his own. The man must flee the enemy and later fight the enemy from higher ground (in the prayer closet and in worship). In fleeing temptation, the man resists temptation, and in resisting temptation, the devil flees from him (James 4:7).
  4. Remove items of temptation. Maybe he needs to turn his computer around so that others can see what’s on the screen, or get out of the office and work in a more public space. Maybe he shouldn’t be alone for too long periods of time. He needs to keep his hands busy doing better things in his free time and when he might be alone — build a workshop, learn to weld, do some woodworking, learn an instrument, read more, write more, etc.
  5. He needs to tell others of his problem. Tell a counsellor, the pastor, his wife, his friends, his brother, and who ever else can help him. Sin thrives in the darkness but dies in the light. Hopefully he attends a church in which it is safe for him to confess his sin without being condemned. If not, he needs to find a biblical church.
  6. If he begins to look at porn, but does not follow through to climax, he needs to know that he can and should stop himself in the process. Just because he has begun doesn’t mean it is a lost cause to stop.
  7. If he does fall, he needs to have, what John Piper calls, gutsy guilt. “I [Piper] call it that because the believer admits that he has done wrong and that God is dealing roughly with him. But even in a condition of darkness and discipline, he will not surrender his hold on the truth that God is on his side.”* No hiding in the bushes when God comes asking where he is. He goes to God, admits what he has done, and submits to God’s discipline. This is the quickest path to restoration. The words of Micah 7:8-9 should be memorized by the man who falls into porn use: Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Psalm 51 fits well here also.
  8. The man needs to set up a structure in his life so that he can actively replace the bad habits with the new ones. He needs to order his ways before the LORD. This is where he can get help from a Christian counsellor who will give him homework assignments designed to create new patterns of habit. Counsellor and counselee can work together to list all the bad habits in the man’s life which lead to porn and what can be done to replace those habits with godly habits.

*How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause by John Piper

Recommended reading:

Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson

Fidelity: What it Means to Be a One-Woman Man by Douglas Wilson

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