Chapter 3. The Concept of the Servant as a Leader 3-9
But I prefer to see faith as Dean Inge defined it, the 'choice of the nobler hypothesis,' the kind of choice that only an experienced person can make." (The Search and the Seeker, pp. 287-288).
Greenleaf described himself as a "student of organization," his primary interest being "…in the quality of our society" which he judged to be far below what it could be. He believed that this shortfall could be corrected if churches and seminaries would reach for the best they can achieve. To this end he consulted with various religious organizations throughout his life ranging from individual churches to national judicatories and ecumenical groups. Despite his efforts, in later years he came to feel that the religious community was not fulfilling its obligations to society and to God. He felt the vast potential was largely untapped. "I have had more than 50 years of listening to and watching those who carry the leading and managing roles in institutions of all sorts, large and small. In all of this, I rarely hear reference to influence being wielded on these people's institutional roles by churches."
Greenleaf was "loving but tough and unsentimental." He was a person who got to the heart of things, questioning, for example, how church leaders could conduct conferences without speaking about God or the spirit, or the power of the Gospel to change and renew human life. One observer (Christ R. Klein, American church historian)
In pursuing Greenleaf's writings, the present author finds that Greenleaf makes direct reference to Jesus only once (In Servant Leadership, Greenleaf recites Christ admonishing his challengers, saying "Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone." pp. 28-29). He continues, "I have come to see Jesus as a Jew living in the light of the Jewish law and carrying it forward by adding creativity to it through his own experience."
Apparently Greenleaf acted more out of ethical sureness that follows from the efficacy of religious feeling rather than by the power of religious faith itself. As we quoted him above, "I see belief or faith as a consequence, rather than a source. Such faith as I have is a consequence of my own experience." Later he wrote this poignant afterthought. "This search is a lonely affair. Beyond the few with whom I share individually, I have found it so. No group or movement carries me very far, although I value the 'lifts' they have given me." Oh that he knew Christ!