Tag Archives: Politics

Healing Our Racial Division with the Fiery Passion of Pentecostal Love

As our American friends are in the midst of their 2016 presidential election, politicians are on the campaign trail explaining the reason to be voted as a president. The country is divided in many ways where activists ranging from race, to gender, to class and to religion are all crying out to be heard. When it comes to race, the division is much more sharp and piercing. Both Democratic and Republic politicians are professing to be the glue to unify their nation and mend the divide between Black, White, and Brown people.

Canadians may laugh at the made-for-t.v., political circus and comic show down South. Yet there are challenges of division with racism as deals with Afro-Canadians/Caribbean and First Nations and its offshoot religious racism with Muslims/Syrians/Middle East migrants and residents. It seems that both nations are having a difficult time closing the divide and opening our hearts. Americans are more blatant in their vitriol whereas Canadians are subtler. Either way – both are dehumanizing! I believe the Pentecostal Church could provide a road map for unity and reconciliation where both countries could learn from.

The Pentecostal/Charismatic Church is the fastest growing church in the world and approaching the size of the Roman Catholic Church as the largest Church family. The phenomenal growth and size is not by fluke. It is intentionally based on an open door and outreach position for diverse cultures and nations to embrace the message of Gospel love. Where did this attitude of passion fiery love come from for Pentecostals/Charismatics to reach out to Russians, Brazilians, Filipinos, Nigerians, Chinese etc.?

On April 1906, in a rundown church in Los Angeles, a passionate Black preacher William Seymour with a loyal group of Black Christians who prayed for racial unity and Christian unity. What made this prayer and fervor unique was in the midst of Jim Crow laws that these brave Christians were extending themselves to hug racist White Christians. God rewarded their desires by a phenomenal event where those Black Christians miraculously spoke in a different language never taught to them. This documented event echoed biblical times just after Jesus’ death and resurrection where the Early Church spoke miraculously through God’s Spirit in a different language to share the good news of Jesus to a diverse yet divided crowd in Jerusalem. What happened in Los Angeles 1900 years later known as the Azusa Street Revival had the similar effective power where it drew different races. Many of them experienced this miracle of speaking in a different language (called tongues speaking) and other miracles like healing. But the biggest miracle was the beginning to heal the divide of racism (and sexism) between people and their segregated churches. The reason being the experience was bigger than any race or culture (or gender). This Déjà vu moment was God pouring his love on all people, which humanized and humbled racist and sexist people to see each other with dignity and equality.

Although the Pentecostal Church is a human organization, not perfect and still struggles with racism and sexism like other organizations, but they have learned principles and practices to overcome the sin by God’s love. And the people are their fruit. This compassionate experience plus a compelling story is what our respective countries need to hear – especially our politicians. And quite possibly, they can feel the fire of unity that these men and women felt at Azusa Street. We can only pray in tongues for that miracle to happen.

~ Denley W. McIntosh

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The DULLberry – How The Culture of Canadian Conservatism Has Helped Killed RIM Innovation


When I coined the term DULLberry to aptly describe what RIM’s BlackBerry has become, I had two thoughts in mind. Firstly, I imagine a business where innovation has been ‘taxed’  to point of dullness. Lastly, I thought about a product, BlackBerry, which symbolically demonstrates that enervation of innovation. It can be argued from both sides of the fence whether RIM/BlackBerry – in its current state – will thrive or dive. I would suggest it is hard to be definitive that one or the other will be. So I will lean toward a more moderate position, a middle ground and say that RIM will just – survive. I say this not because I have a lack of confidence in the new reign of leadership at RIM or I dislike the BlackBerry for I am quite content with mine. I say this because RIM is a prisoner within the country they reside. Canada is the fertile ground where the DULLberry is grown.

When I refer to Canadian Conservatism, I do not mean Canadians whom lean toward a political right-wing party. However, I am referring to Canadians whose first inclination are to stand pat and wait, and such resist fundamental change especially the way we do business in this global economy. Canadians  who spout off  ‘what’s wrong with RIM’, ‘why can’t they add this feature like the iPhone’, ‘why is my BlackBerry not like the Android…’, are smugly forgetting this aspect of their Canadian meta-narrative or just simply ignorant thereof. An incessant flow of innovation as if turning on the kitchen tap, unfortunately runs against the fabric of being Canadian.

Innovation requires a high-degree of risk. It speaks about uncertainty of the final outcome with your idea, your job, your brand, your reputation and yes…your business. Many Canadians and their companies are highly adverse to strong risk. Of course, risk aversion has its advantages. Our banking institutions have a financial system that is best in the world touted by Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty (our counterpart to Timothy Geithner, the US Secretary of Treasury) and corroborated by the IMF. These economic pillars continue to withstand the quicksand of US sub-prime mortgages and their associated tentacles of financial instruments. Yet, it begets the question: do we have the best banking institution intentionally or incidentally? I would say incidentally. Our banks did not set out to be world’s best (as far as public branding goes). Their success in this regard is a by-product of Canadian Conservatism, which has helped anchor our economy from sinking into the abyss with those in Europe.

Now that’s the good news! Canadian Conservatism will keep us a float. What’s the bad news? It means Canadian Conservatism will just keep us a float. A key distinguishing feature between America and Canada is that Americans have a culture of risk-taking. From sending people to the Moon to sending people to war, these require a great deal of risk. When talking to the average American, there is a prevailing attitude of being number one. And they will prove why it’s so, courtesy of their politicians. American executives’ conversations are saturated with doing work differently – doing work better. Many tend to ask where is the next seminar on leadership, what cutting-edge knowledge can I scoop up to win or how can I grow my business and myself to the next level. To this mass of people, there is a hunger for going where no one has gone before. There is a insatiable hunger for innovation. These men and women will go and get it. That attitude is rooted in the American dream. It is part of their meta-narrative for better or for worse.

Many Canadians on the other hand will watch-and- wait and perform smoke tests on these innovations. If it does not blow up, then we will jump on board. If it blows up, we are seen as the wiser for sensible caution. (I would adapt Bobby McFerrin’s song of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” to ‘Don’t worry, Be Cautious’ as our national ditty.) Now the drawback with that attitude is that it is hard for us as Canadians to be or stay number one in the realm of business. If it is endemic to our culture to have a wait-and-see attitude, how on earth do we expect our Canadian companies like RIM NOT to naturally drift toward that risk-averse attitude? If Canadian companies who are ran predominantly by Canadians and employ predominantly Canadians that come out of risk-averse culture, how will these individuals will all of sudden be something different than being Canadian?

This is my point. If RIM was an American company, I would dare to say RIM would be ahead of Apple. Quite simply, not because of leadership alone, but because they would have access to a cultural hotbed of risk-takers. RIM would be a microcosm of the daring American populous. The risk-taking attitude of the American culture will spill over into the work environment spurring on innovation. It is just inevitable.

I wish RIM all the best in their transformation efforts but just know, RIM has to buck the trend toward Canadian Conservatism… or risk being called DULLberry.

~ Denley W. McIntosh

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Pure as Gold – Authentic Leadership

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It has been a packed couple months with Christmas holidays, playoff football and the soap opera drama of American Politics not to say the least. Indeed, American Politics is very entertaining soap I must say. Mud-slinging, undercutting, he-said-she-said, all comes with this amusing package of “Oops” as Governor Rick Perry would say. Who wouldn’t chuckle with the public tit-for-tat? With each dirt – or sin – becoming uncovered and exposed, our urbane darlings of great hope become  the ugly ducklings of great ‘grope’ – as Herman Cain found out and John Stewart mocks about. We stay glued to the tubes as we watch our modern day Alchemists, the Media, determine who is gold and who is not. In other words, who is authentic or who is a joke.

This was quite analogous to what I saw with the royal couple of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Yes, the Alchemist were working very hard to uncover dirt like they found with the other Royals. The Media brought their super power microscopes to find the most miniscule of faux-pas that could be brought up to the light of day. With every failed experiment of scandal, they were left disappointed that the couple were authentic as they appeared. They were gold.

I was part of the herd of onlookers who flocked to the television set to watch the Royal Wedding (for me at least in part). Yet I did not watch it because of the royal display of opulence although it was impressive. Nor did I watch it because of the fairytale narrative of the couple although it was romantic. I watched it for one key reason: I was trying to understand the qualities that drew people to watching the couple especially Prince William. The startling quality that I observed in all the conversations was the theme of Prince William being real – being genuine. Unfortunately, a lot of the American politicians lack.

Prince William displayed authenticity, which was part of his charm. It was the charm of authenticity that created his ardent followers. He was a leader not just by position but by permission as John Maxwell would put it.

Leadership, if we recall, means having influence, which is demonstrated by having followers. Authenticity is a vital component for attaining and maintaining leadership. It gives us the permission to lead others and have followers. When authenticity is missing from the mix of leadership, a politician’s effectiveness to lead from the polls to the post is weakened. Here are three brief reasons for this case:

Authenticity Shows Integrity: The Public can know that their leader means what they say and says what they mean. Thus, they know that their leader will take their words and actions seriously and acknowledge its impact on others. The Haves and Have-nots are equally considered.

Authenticity Builds Trust: The Public can feel confident that their leader is not duplicitous and ‘fake’. Thus, the Public will accept the leader’s vision and trust the leader’s (his/her) motives. They are willing to sacrifice for the common good.

Authenticity Creates Duplication: The Public can mirror their leaders and develop a culture of authenticity. Thus, the Public will build that openness, transparency and integrity among each other. This creates a stronger a society.

Just as important for politicians and royalty, let us as leaders, or aspirers of such, make these points a good reminder of the importance of authenticity. We may not be royal blood, but it does not mean that we cannot have a royal heart. Let us lead with regal authenticity. It is our gold standard. We should settle for nothing less.

~ Denley W. McIntosh

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