Capitol Christian Leadership 42nd Anniversary Celebration

Message of Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
CCL 42nd Anniversary Celebration
Quezon City Sports Club
February 02, 2010

Allow me, at the outset, to thank the Capitol Christian Leadership [CCL] for the gracious invitation for me to address its 42nd Anniversary Celebration of the Capitol Christian Leadership [CCL] -.

I wish to note that CCL [a weekly breakfast prayer gathering of Christian leaders, both clergy and lay, in Metropolitan Manila] was initiated by a group of Christian leaders led by the famous evangelist, Dr. Greg Tingson [1971 Constitutional Convention Delegate representing Negros Occidental], the late columnist and publisher, Leon O. Ty [a member of the United Church of Manila], and my province-mate, the late UP Professor Eliseo Pajaro who comes from Badoc, Ilocos Norte and a lay leader of Knox United Methodist Church. Of course, there were many other distinguished Christian leaders who later on joined the group – Secretary Narciso Albarracin, Judge Cornelio Wasan, Ms. Gilda Delegencia, Dean Serafin Guingona and Atty. Leticia Javier. I was told that there was one thing in common among the CCL members – everybody looked forward to a weekly ecumenical gathering of prayer, and sharing – perhaps something which was done more freely beyond the hallowed confines of our respective churches and sanctuaries.

And looking back, we cannot help but to praise God. CCL indeed has come a long way.

I was told that for the past 42 years, CCL was a forum of free speech – which can only mean that during Martial Law, Christians were not restrained in the exercise of their constitutional right to free speech. Every Tuesday breakfast, rain or shine, stormy or fair weather, Christian leaders would gather at Sulo Hotel to listen to a dichotomy of spiritual feeding on one hand, and a human interest discussion on the other hand. So that, leaders or experts in government, in the private sector, in the academe, in the religious sector, in foreign relations, all came to CCL to present their thoughts and positions on various issues and interests; and found in CCL a sincere, friendly and congenial audience. And I am glad that through the passing of time and seasons, the change of political leadership and administrations, and the significant shift of paradigms in the manner we look at, and conduct our affairs whether in public or in the private sector, CCL has remained blessed because the tie that binds you in this fellowship became stronger more than ever. The friendship that has cemented your relationships, notwithstanding the fact that you come from various Christian denominations and traditions, has, like the good wine, became “sweeter and finer as the years go by.”

And so today, let us together rejoice and savor the joy of 42 years of Christian Leadership; and may I ask each of you to turn to your seatmate in your tables, and greet him or her HAPPY 42ND ANNIVERSARY.

II. THE THOUGHTS I INTEND TO SHARE:

In the letter [of invitation] extended to me by Reverend Jojo Gonzales, he indicated that CCL would want to listen to my personal vision of the future of our nation. As one seeking election to the office of a senator, perhaps he was asking me to share my vision as to the program of government, the set of priorities, and a list of the key projects that I intend to support Zand promote if elected.

Let me tell you that I come to you this morning not to present a plan of government or a list of government priorities. I come to present something more fundamental than that.

I want to share with you, esteemed leaders and friends of the religious sector, my humble understanding of what I believe should be the basic attributes and qualities of one who should be elected as a leader of our nation, whether as a senator or even as president. These attributes determine the character of a leader – and that character in turn determine the kind of leadership; the degree of dedication and commitment; and the quality of service a nation may expect from that leader. Like a beautiful song, it is not the beauty of its notes and lyrics that counts, it is how it is rendered by a good singer. In short, it is not the song but the singer that counts.

III. A SENATOR MUST BE A SERVANT LEADER:

. To me a senator – or any political leader for that matter – must be a servant leader. And there is Biblical basis for this assertion: Jesus said: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.”[1]

A servant leader is CHAMPION SERVANT LEADER; one who advocates, promotes and champions the cause and welfare of others more than his own.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”[2]

The word CHAMPION is an acronym – an eight letter word; and it represents the eight essential, if harsh, attributes or qualities of what a SERVANT LEADER must possess and or aspire to possess and which can be very difficult to attain.

So let me share these eight essential, demanding attributes of the CHAMPION servant leader – in the hope that we shall strive to reach them, and, in the process, become real champions ourselves.

1. Christ – Centeredness;

2. Humility;

3. Accountability

4. Mastery

5. Passion

6. Integrity

7. Openness

8. Nobility

1. The first letter is C; and it stands for CHRIST – CENTEREDNESS. First and foremost, a SERVANT LEADER must be Christ – Centered. I am sure you all know what it means to be Christ Centered. In my modest reflection of my faith, let me say that to be Christ Centered is to be able to bring Christ at the Center of all the things we love and treasure in this life. To be Christ Centered is to realize that life is short and fleeting; and that in this world – we are mere transitory actors in a transient drama. Sooner or later, we shall sail into the sunset; and there to appear before the Throne of Grace to render an account of the talents God has endowed upon.

2. The second attribute is HUMILITY. Here I do not mean simple modesty or abasement. Humility – to me is the ability and eagerness to accept one’s inadequacies and to own one’s mistakes and lapses; and the firm resolve not to commit the same mistake again. In another vein, humility is the ability to climb a higher ground when we can start to employ, trust and even reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment is diametrically opposed to ours. In fact, it was Saint Augustine who said: “Pride changed angels into devils; and humility makes men as angels.”

3. The third attribute is ACCOUNTABILITY. Accountability is the readiness to accept responsibility wherever it may lead you.

4. MASTERY is the fourth attribute of a servant leader. By mastery we do not mean perfection; for there is only one who is perfect and that is God alone. By mastery, we refer to that constant striving towards knowing what we are; and in so doing we achieve excellence; after all, as Aristotle said: “Excellence is not a one time act; it is a habit.” Gen. Colin Powell, the first black American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the United States, puts it so well, “Excellence is a prevailing attitude; if not sustained it regresses into mediocrity.”

5. The fifth attribute is PASSION. It is important that a Servant Leader must have passion in the things he does. But first, he must identify his cause or causes; and to do this, he must have a clear and proper vision of what he wants to achieve. For as Dennis Diderot, the French Philosopher and art Critic, has said: “Only passion, great passion, can elevate the soul to greater things.”

6. Next attribute is INTEGRITY which Winston Churchill considers as the mother of all virtues. Aristotle said “What defines character and integrity is the decision we make when the choices are not clear.” And I must add – character is what you do when nobody is watching.

7. OPENNESS is the 7th quality or attribute of a servant leader. I believe that a servant leader must be open to his constituents. In being open, he must present a fair information of what is going on; and listen to contrary ideas and judgments even if these hurt his own. The problem today is that politicians hide so many things. A servant leader must be open and ready to own responsibility no matter what it costs. Paraphrasing John Adair, the British guru on leadership development, he is said that: “The executive who knows his strength and weaknesses is likely to be far more effective than one who remains blind to them. He is also on the road to humility – again, we go back to humility- that priceless openness to life that can help a leader absorb mistakes, failures, or personal shortcomings.”

8. Finally, the eight and last is NOBILITY. Here, I want to use the context of the French phrase “Noblesse oblige” which is generally used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities. In ethical discussion, it is sometimes used to summarize a moral economy wherein privilege must be balanced by duty towards those who lack such privilege or who cannot perform such duty. And therefore the servant leader must behave act and decide with “Noblesse oblige.” At the end of the day, the servant leader, conscious as to how history will judge him, must have the comforting thought that what God has entrusted to him has been administered by him with the ennobling values of truth, justice, fairness, and compassion. Borrowing the words of the Apostle Paul, the servant leader in the end must be able to say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith”

Let me close by sharing with you an old limerick which I tried to annotate.

“The Pencil Lesson

1. Everything you do will always leave a mark.

We must make sure then that the mark we leave is for good rather than for evil, for beauty rather than for ugliness. Let it enrich and edify those that read it, not diminish them nor take away anything of value in their lives.

2. On top of you is an eraser, which enables you to correct the mistakes you make.

This we must always do cheerfully and humbly, learn a lesson of value from them, then-chastened-move on with a firm resolve to do better and not to commit the same mistake again.

3. What’s important is inside you-the lead that writes.

Similarly, what’s inside us as a person is infinitely more important than what shows on the surface. Let us strive for the ideal situation – that the outside should always reflect the radiance, the luster, the purity inside.

4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will make you a better pencil-or person.

Pain is always a test of character. How you bear up to its demands is what defines you as a person.

5. Most importantly, to be the best pencil you can ever be, you must allow yourself to be guided by the Hand that holds you.

So it is in life. Many of us, consumed by an overpowering urge to rise to the top, will take shortcuts, no matter how unsavory, sometimes in willful disobedience to the Hand that holds us.

Many times, all that matter is to be ahead of everybody else. We must resist that temptation; for ultimately, it is the temptation to take the easier route, the shorter cut, that leads astray. Ultimately, which direction to take will be the dividing line between mediocrity and excellence.

Thank you and Good morning.

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