I picked up David Mas Masumoto's latest book, Wisdom of the Last Farmer and want to share this quotation.
He's speaking of his father's "annual haircut" of the raisin grape vines.
"Good pruning is really the art of taking away, like a sculptor chiseling at a rock, working to uncover life inside. Dad paced around the grapevine, paused and clipped, leaning in and cutting; eyes darting back and forth, searching for the strong canes, locating spurs for next year's growth. He worked with the past and saw the future----adding to a living timeline."
Working with the past and seeing the future - this seems to me the essence of ministerial leadership, too - of prophetic leadership, if you will. We need to get that gestalt, that helps us work deftly to get rid of the non-essential, to get rid of what weakens, what draws our energy in an unhelpful, and eventually undermining direction. The strong canes of our life together are already there. The promising spurs are, too. We just need to uncover and free them.
Sometimes the landscape maintenance people here where I live say they are pruning - but they really aren't. They are hacking and cutting without any eye to the plant's history or the plant's promise - and often their work makes the next "pruning" more difficult, even less helpful.
We need to encourage the art of pruning - both in the life of plants and the life of organizations. But what pruning do we need to do to accomplish better pruning?