Dr. Joe Rigney: Leadership and Emotional Sabotage DMW#219


This week Greg sat down with Dr. Joe Rigney. Dr. Rigney serves as Fellow of Theology at New Saint Andrews College. He is the author of six book, the most recent titled “Leadership and Emotional Sabotage” which we are going to discuss today. He has served as a professor and president of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, a pastor at Cities Church in St. Paul, and a teacher at Desiring God. They discussed his book, what it means to be a leader, what type of sabotage a leader can expect, and why people pleasing is not an effective means of leadership. Dr. Rigney also stuck around for a "Fresh 10" segment, and some of his personal answers will surprise you! Enjoy! Buy “Leadership and Emotional Sabotage” here: https://canonpress.com/products/leadership-and-emotional-sabotage-resisting-the-anxiety-that-will-wreck-your-family-destroy-your-church-and-ruin-the-world K&K Furnishings: Providing quality furnishings for business, education, worship, and hospitality for the Glory of God! http://www.kkfurnishings.com Jacob's Supply: Quality building materials at wholesale prices! http://www.jacobssupply.com Facebook: Dead Men Walking Podcast Youtube: Dead Men Walking Podcast Instagram: @DeadMenWalkingPodcast Twitter X: @RealDMWPodcast Exclusive Content: PubTV App Support the show and check out our merch: http://www.dmwpodcast.com


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So yeah, not too much going on here, usually I might say a little bit, get into some personal stuff, but with a guest, we usually like to jump right into it because we know their time is valuable, so they don't want to hear me ramble about me being excited to camp this summer and all that good stuff, so let's get right into it.
He serves as the Fellow of Theology at New St. Andrews College. He's the author of six books, the most recent title,
Leadership and Emotional Sabotage, which we are going to be discussing today. He has served as professor and president of Bethlehem College Seminary in Minneapolis, a pastor at City's Church in St.
Paul, and a teacher at Desiring God. It's Dr. Joe Rigney. Dr. Joe, how are you? I'm very good, thanks for having me.
Yeah, thanks for being here. So I saw the book, ordered it a little bit ago from Canon, haven't got it in yet, so I'm in, you know, these type of interviews,
I'm kind of, I'm not feeling it because I haven't been able to read the book, and I usually like to try to look through it and read it and try to get some questions from out of there, so I'm kind of going blind, so you have to forgive me.
I haven't been able to get through it yet, but I'm hoping that maybe from this discussion we can explore a little bit about the book and things like that, the listeners maybe go out and purchase it and read it after we get done talking, but before that, can you give us a little bit more on your bio just than your professional bio there?
Tell us about the wife and kids, kind of a little bit of your growing up, your origin story so to speak. Yeah, sure.
I grew up in West Texas in a town called Midland, and I was converted in a
Baptist church when I was about 12 years old, and then my family was a part of a church plant in our town that was kind of a hybrid of like a, it was kind of a seeker -sensitive model church, but with a pastor who'd been really influenced by Piper.
So you try to, you just, that, I didn't know, you know, when you're 15 years old, you don't know that that's not normal, but it's not.
And I'm really grateful for what I got there because it did, my pastor was very, very gracious and discipled me and in some key ways and introduced me to Piper.
When I was in college at Texas A &M is when I felt called to ministry, that was largely through Piper's influence.
I got real, real, Bible broke open through his ministry. And so when
I graduated from Texas A &M, newly married to my wife, who I met there, we moved to Minneapolis and I was a part of the
Bethlehem Institute at the time. And then was, it was sort of one of those providential, in the right place at the right time situations where they were leveling up and adding a college, and so in my time there, they added a college, made it a full seminary.
And I was right there in the thick of it, building it. So that was a great, great experience.
We spent 18 years in Minnesota and had many wonderful, you know, hardships, ups and downs, the whole nine yards of life.
Great ministry there. Three, we have three sons, all of whom were born there. So 14, 12, and five.
And so that's kind of how that all went. And then last year, the
Lord kind of loosened some stuff and we made a transition and moved out here to Moscow, where I'm now a
Fellow of Theology and coach in high school football. Okay. It's well -rounded.
I do like that you went from probably one of the hottest states to one of the coldest states. That was probably a fun transition going from that Texas sun to those winters in Minneapolis.
I am an extremist, I think. No, I actually don't actually enjoy the extreme weather. But yeah, so we can just meme that one,
I suppose. But yeah, I grew up in the desert in West Texas, where it was like, you know, it's a hundred degrees and then
God's like, you know what you need right now? A hairdryer in your face. And it was just, it was windy, but it was not pleasant windy.
So I grew up in the desert and then moved to Minnesota where, you know, you get those negative 40 degree days where it just, you walk outside and everything freezes and you might die.
And now we're kind of moderating. So I would say that our climate here is a little, it's not as cold as Minnesota.
It's not as hot as West Texas. It's not flat like West Texas. It's got the hills and the mountains.
And so this is kind of a new, new, a new adventure. We miss, we miss all the lakes of Minnesota. And I miss,
I was going to say, you know, my running joke about West Texas, I really love my upbringing and we're grateful for all of it.
But like West Texas is the place where God ran out of ideas. So, and so it's just flat.
If you like the sky, which I do like the sky, the heavens do in fact declare the glory of God. West Texas is the place for you because it's all sky.
There you go. That was the creation on six and a half days. God said, I need to rest after this. I'm running out of my time.
No, that's awesome. Yeah, I'm a Michigander myself, so I like the lakes. But every winter, man, I go, I need to be down in Florida or South Carolina.
But, you know, the four seasons are nice, too. But we didn't come here to talk about the weather. I want to talk about leadership and emotional sabotage, because first of all,
I love the title. I love I go through so many books and I, you know, and sometimes you get sucked in by a book cover and then you get to the book and you go, oh, this is not what the cover looked like.
And don't judge a book by its cover. Right. Sometimes you get a horrible cover and the book is unbelievable. So it goes both ways.
But the name intrigued me. Leadership and emotional sabotage. Most of the listeners know here that, you know,
I'm a real estate broker. I run my own business. I do a lot of entrepreneurial things. So leadership in the business world always grabs me leadership at home with my family and my wife and my children.
But the emotional sabotage, I go, what is that? And if you can make someone like me go, what is that?
I'm getting that book, you know, as a curious person. So kudos to the title. But can you unpack that a little bit?
What is where the title come from and what are we 30 ,000 foot view? What are we looking at in this book?
Yeah. So to get to the sabotage part, you have to understand sort of two facts about the cultural moment in which we live, which is not an unusual one.
Historically, there's there's been there's precedent. These sort of things happen throughout history. And I try to give some examples.
But the basic thing has to do in the opening chapter, I talk about what what Shakespeare I'm a theology and literature professor.
So Shakespeare calls a crisis of degree and degree is his term for basically social order.
So every society has sort of a glue that holds it together and it operates kind of like gravity.
So you've got the sun at the center of the solar system and there's this invisible force that keeps all of the planets moving the way they should and not colliding with one another.
Well, societies are like that and they they have to orbit properly and that gravity in the social world he calls degree.
Well, there's a particular play where Shakespeare basically describes what happens when degree comes undone, when degree collapses, when it's concealed, when it comes untuned.
And what happens is everything falls into chaos. The planets are now colliding with each other. Everything's a big chaotic mess.
And then Shakespeare basically applies that to the social world. And in this particular play, it's an army and basically says the reason our army is feckless and unable to get anything done is because of this crisis of degree.
And so that's the first thing. So we look around our culture and we go, man, look at the angst, the anxiety, the agitation, the turmoil, the chaos.
Nobody doesn't seem like anybody is steering the ship. What in the world is happening? Everything is coming unglued. We're a society in the midst of a crisis of degree.
That's step one. Step two is where'd that come from? And Shakespeare pinpoints it as sort of the neglect and abdication of leaders.
So neglect and abdication of leaders. So he says it's not that there were these external forces that caused it.
It's actually an internal reality where leaders have abdicated their responsibility to be to have gravity and therefore enable the different spheres of society to operate.
And that abdication has led to this chaos. And so it's the failure of leaders, this abdication that's the problem.
And I draw from Shakespeare. There's a guy named Edwin Friedman who wrote a book in the 90s called A Failure of a
Nerve. And I'm really drawn a lot on his on his own insights in the book. But he was a
Jewish rabbi, a family systems therapist. He was a hardcore evolutionist.
So his book, while really helpful in diagnosing some problems, seeing some things and making some good recommendations, needs work.
I was always when I would teach it as a college professor, I was always having to translate and say, OK, I know he says this.
This is the language we should use. I know he says this and he thinks evolution gets it. It doesn't. But this does.
Here's the gospel, how it does. So I was always doing that. And this book was basically put that on paper with the idea that what we need is self self -controlled, sober minded, faithful leader.
So sober mindedness is sort of the fundamental virtue that I'm commending for leaders. And so then that brings us to the sabotage part.
If you have abdicating leaders and a crisis of degree and everything's unraveling and all of a sudden someone goes, you know what,
I'm going to lead around here, I'm going to take responsibility, I'm going to take responsibility for my family, my business, my church, whatever, and I'm going to lead with sober minded faithfulness.
The thing that you should expect is not that everything will go well. You should expect sabotage. You should expect that sort of the forces at work in the system and the people at work in the system, the emotions and passions and reactions and anxieties at work in the system will respond to your sober minded leadership with hostility, sabotage and steering.
And this is what the book's about, is to say there's an anxiety out there. It's a crackle in the room. And you if you want to take if you want to address it with your own steady leadership, you should expect there to be blowback and it's not going to look like you think.
And this book's about how to how to manage that. Interesting. So let me kind of drill down on something you said in the first half of that.
So when you're talking about Shakespeare, talking about an absence there of that force, we can give examples of ungodly governmental forces that are well in control.
I mean, anyone under Stalin wouldn't have went, well, at least they're running a very tight ship governmental wise.
They didn't advocate their duties. So what is that that force? You can't just be leaders doing leader things in government and business and things like that, doesn't it?
And I think we're on the same page here of what we believe a civil government is supposed to do. So is it just the let's say government, for instance, is it just them abdicating their duties altogether or abdicating them in a certain way?
Like what are you saying when you're giving that Shakespeare example? It can't just be them not doing something because you can not do anything very poorly and it go very poorly also for the for the constituents.
Right. Absolutely. So in a tyrannical government, what you have there is you actually still do have kind of an absence of of degree, as I think
Shakespeare intends it, because degree is I think of it as like it's social glue, but it operates kind of an invisible way.
What in the absence of that, all you have left is brute force. So Shakespeare actually addresses this. He says, when you have a crisis of degree, it's might makes right.
OK, and and then that might defines justice, so there's no actual justice. It's not like justice is an independent standard.
It's just whatever the biggest dog says, because in the absence of real leadership that sort of pulls by gravity and draws people into a common mission, all you have left is, you know, you can bark orders, you can swat people, you know, you can you can lay down the law in that sense.
But you're compensating for the absence of degree with heavy handed tyranny.
And that's and that's actually one of the signs. And then the other way. So both tyranny and anarchy would would have it.
And and oftentimes this is just a sort of political philosophy point. But all people, if given the choice between tyranny and anarchy, will choose tyranny because at least it's orderly, because at least there's some structure versus versus anarchy in which it's and anything goes.
And so that's why you have that swing between tyranny and anarchy, whereas something like self -government and and and faithful government, you know, just government is is rare.
And it flows from the from the bottom up. You don't have just government from the top down unless you have self -government, unless you have family government.
All of those things have to come because that's where you learn how to govern, how to lead, how to be ahead.
Yeah, see, the only point I was trying to make, too, and maybe for the listeners to clarify, is I've talked to some nonbelievers and they would go, can't we just get back to the way things were, where we kind of all just knew how to get along and we had kind of a respect for each other?
And I mean, I'm going, yeah, but that glue that you're talking about, Joe, what is that glue consist of?
Because the unbeliever would just go, well, we just kind of all agree on A, B or C. And I'm saying, well,
I say it's the law of God. It's it's the precepts and law of God and the word of God. So some of the Shakespeare who's saying force or glue or the social kind of construct,
I would say, well, what is that glue made up of? And I think that's where the difference comes in. What would you say that that glue is?
Or it can't just be a common atheist kind of view of like, well, it's good for me and it's good for you. So we kind of have a moral landscape we have to have.
What is that relationship in society made up of or based on, I guess? Yeah. So the fundamental thing is to take the concept and work it into a
Christian frame is God made the world so that he's the sun at the center of the solar system.
Right. So he's he's the one that supplies gravity. He's the unifying force that makes the planets orbit properly.
Then you can think of each planet as sort of the different institutions of society. So you've got a planet that's the family.
You've got a planet that's the state. You've got a planet that's the church, a planet that's business or whatever. You've got these different spheres.
And then in each of those planets, there's sort of a principal leader, a head. There's a king in the
Commonwealth. There's pastors in a church. There's a husband in a home. There's the boss at work. You've got these different heads, and then they are the ones that make the moons of those planets orbit properly there.
OK, so at the macro level, you remove the sun from the solar system. You take God out of the picture.
Now the planets are going to wander to disorder. And now the planets, they're going to lose their gravity. They're going to abdicate. And now the moons are going to wander to disorder.
And now it's just lots of things colliding with each other. And eventually it's just the biggest the biggest dog will win.
Right. You'll have envies, rivalries, scapegoating. This is sort of the Shakespearean thing.
Envies, rivalries, scapegoating, blame shifting. All of that will just multiply. And then at some point, somebody will win.
And then you have the tyranny. The example I use in the Bible for this that maybe sometimes if Shakespeare's a little too,
I don't get that or whatever, is I try to get to Adam in the garden. Because Adam in the garden is a great example of the kind of abdication and failure of leadership that I'm talking about.
So there's this three step pattern where Adam abdicates. He's passive while the serpent is tempting his wife.
He says nothing. He's there, but passive. And then when the moment of choice comes and she offers him the fruit, she's fallen, she offers it to him.
He follows her. So here we have idolatry where he listens to the voice of his wife. He elevates her above God and the commands of God.
Her offer trumps God's command. And so now he's the leader, but he's following her.
And then this is the key. When it's time to pay the piper and God shows up and says, what have you done?
He says, the woman you gave me. So he he blames her, which is effectively I mean, this is important.
Given the consequence for eating is Adam saying, kill her, not me.
Kill her, not me. And so that pattern of abdication, which leads to sort of a high handed idolatry and a worship of the creature rather than the creator, and then culminates in blame shifting, excuse making an accusation.
That pattern is Adamic leadership. It's failed leadership. It's abdication. And you see it throughout the
Bible and you look around and you go, that's what we're dealing with. That's what we're doing. Yeah. Oh no, that that's a, that's so good.
So you talked about emotional sabotage. Let's talk about the second part of that. Can you give us, or maybe in the book, you give an example of what emotional sabotage looks like?
Um, and how it's, I guess, what did it define it? And then if you have any examples of that.
Yeah, sure. So I give a couple of examples, like sort of two common ones. Uh, the one maybe to start with here is, um, is all of the, what everything that would go in the slander, false accusation, name calling insult bucket.
Okay. So, um, so if you have someone who decides I'm going to lead faithfully, I'm going to try to be a faithful leader.
What should he expect? If he tries to lead faithfully in the middle of a crisis of degree, like we're in, then you should expect sabotage to take the form of name calling, where the names are labels that people slap on you in order to become steering wheels by which they steer you and manipulate you.
So it's like, it's, and this is, here's what's happening. So as Christians, uh, and just humans, we want to please others.
We want to be approved by others. We want to be liked as Christians. We add to that. God tells us you should have a good reputation with outsiders.
You want to have a good testimony for the sake of the gospel. And all of that is to the good. It's normal, natural and good, but it can go wrong and it goes wrong.
And when the world realizes, Hey, these Christians really care about their reputation. Then what they do is they wield your reputation as a steering wheel.
And so they say, if you do this, if you do the thing that we don't like, if you call out the sins that we want to do, if you, um, try to, um, do, you know, if you do stuff we don't like, then you're a bigot, you're a hater, you're an abuser, you're an abuse enabler, you're a misogynist, you're a racist, just run through the list and what those are, right?
Yeah. Tack on the label and each one they're trying to see which one of these is going to give me a firm enough grip on your back to get you to do what
I want to take you off mission, to take you off what God has called you to do so that you're now doing what
I want you to do, which often is shut up and sit down and let us run things. And so that, that pattern of using labels as steering wheels is a fundamental sabotaging tactic that is designed to take homes, churches, um, you know, schools, missionary agencies, whatever off their actual mission, what
God has commissioned them to do, and instead to allow the world to set the agenda.
Um, so that's a, that's a key way that, that the world, um, the world doesn't. And maybe I'll add one thing we often think, oh, well,
I'm the world calls us names all the time. I don't care. And it's like, here's how this actually works. I wish
I had a, um, you know, the, the modern AI art stuff. I don't have, I'm not skilled enough in it, but I have a friend who's getting good at it and he's trying to figure out how to illustrate this because often it's actually a series of steering wheels.
So it's, you got a guy, you have the world over there, you're trying to be faithful and you preach something. And that guy over there, the world says bigot, hater, whatever, but you don't care because Jesus said the world's going to hate us like it hated them.
No biggie. Well, you don't care. But here's a compromised Christian who does care and they care.
And so what they do is they differentiate from you. We don't want, we're not like those Christians, those hateful, bigoted Christian nationalist
Christians. We're not like them. And so you go, but I don't care. Cause they're woke and progressive and I don't care what they think either.
Okay. So you don't care what they think, but then there's another church in your denomination where that pastor does care and he doesn't want your denomination's reputation to be bad because of what you said.
And so you don't care what he thinks because you think he's a little squishy, but there's a pastor in your church who does care what he thinks.
Or maybe there's a pastor's wife who's friends with that guy's wife, who does care and their talk, and then now that wife brings it to her husband, her husband's on your team and your husband, her husband's going to come to you and say,
Hey, I know you didn't mean it that way. I know that they're taking you out of context, but they were hurt by what you said, they perceived it this way.
This is what they thought. And I know, I know it's not entirely true, but do you think that maybe you could speak more carefully next time?
Do you think maybe you could apologize for any offense that you might've caused? So it's not the guy over there.
That's actually like, you're not responding to him directly, but now that's, that sabotage is being laundered through a stream of steering wheels into your, and that's the hardest thing to resist because it's your friend.
He's reasonable. He, he doesn't agree with all of it. And he's the one who's saying, Hey, maybe you could just fill in the blank.
That's sabotage. No, that that's really good. And, you know, it's also very important to why some of these, they call them like discernment blogs or discernment ministries.
And I've always had an eye for just something within the Christian realm that is false, because I kind of tend to agree with your analogy.
I really don't care too much what the world's calling me. They're lost. They're unregenerate. They're depraved just like I was before the
Lord saved me. They're not going to understand. In fact, the Bible calls us to judge our brothers and sisters and say, don't, don't judge in that aspect of they know not what they do kind of thing.
So if they're calling me names, the world, that's fine. But it's, what really gets to the heart of it is when you see that woke or like you said, squishy or kind of left church, and they are now taking on that mantle of put in the whatever intersectionality, victimhood, whatever label that they're pushing that week.
And that's the tough one for me is we have to have those hard conversations with our brothers and sisters and say, no, this is what the word of God says, because I think that does much more damage, you know, a woke pastor, so to speak, preaching the
LGBTQ social justice gospel, and then coming to maybe you or me and going, oh, could you be a little more caring and loving?
And I love your enemies. And, you know, that's the conversation I'm agreeing with you that I think is much more important and I think does a bigger disservice to the body of Christ than anything that, you know, the world can hurl at me.
Like you said, we know that we're going to be hated for Christ. But do you think it's intentional that that kind of the progressive secular left has laundered through the church or they see an opportunity and they go,
OK, cool, we got some we got some squishy ones here that are going to do our bidding on our behalf. And it's a great, great tool to, like you said, take hold of the steering wheel.
I don't know, there was like so, for example, there's a book called After the Ball written in 1989 that was basically a book about it was a you can't find it anymore.
It's really difficult to get because they've kind of memory hold it. But it was basically the gay agenda.
How are we going to mainstream homosexuality in America, given the state of affairs? And one of the key strategies was to kind of jam up anybody who opposes by saying, hey, you're opposing homosexuality.
Well, you know who else does? These haters, these skinhead racist Nazis, they oppose us, too.
And you're like them. And so there's the association. You're just like them. And therefore, people who care about the reputation go,
I don't want to be like them. And so they spend all of rather than opposing the agenda that's being crammed down your throat or being subtly, you know, worked into the cultural stream.
You spend all your time trying to differentiate from bad actors who are used as steering wheels against you.
So it was 100 percent a deliberate strategy. And now it's just worked its way into the system. This is how they've figured out that this is a good way.
And this isn't just true of like the culture, like part of what I'm trying to do in the book is say you're like families work like this.
Families work with this kind of steering wheel stuff. So the other kind of big steering wheel
I talk about is the way that emotion sharing or empathy can be hijacked in this way. So if you think about in a home, you may be an extended family.
If you have a family member who throws a pity party whenever they don't get their way and everybody accommodates them, everybody says,
OK, well, their feelings were hurt or they're getting emotional. And so now we're going to do what they want. And it's nobody ever says it verbally.
Nobody ever says, hey, let's just accommodate to the manipulator. Nobody. Because if they said that, it would expose it instead of, hey, you know, like they've had a hard week.
Hey, you know, it's been a rough year. So, yeah, I know that they shouldn't have said it that way. It's the same phenomenon of excuse the most immature, reactive, combustible people and allow them to set the agenda for your institution, whether it's a household or a church or whatever.
And so this sort of tactic of sabotage, steering by name calling or steering by emotional blackmail, those are the things you should expect if you decide to say, hey, wait a minute, this is the institution
I've been put in charge of. I'm a head of my household. We're going this way. I know this this household exists for fruitfulness and multiplication and dominion.
And so that's what we're going to do as a household. And all of a sudden you start getting kneecapped from the side. Where did that come from?
And now you're spending all your time doing this because it's taking you off mission. And there's an attempt to grab the steering wheel of your institution and take it where somebody else wants to go.
So it is it's partly deliberate. And then once it gets going, it just becomes the reactive way.
It's I talk a lot in the book about social stampedes, which is when passions work themselves up and they just shoot through a body and everybody runs left or everybody runs right and everybody just reacts and panics or everybody shuts down.
And all of those sort of emotional reactions and and everybody's just an emotional domino.
It's just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And as a leader, your job is to be the place where it goes, thunk. Yeah, because you're steady.
You're so you're you're planted. You've got some ballast in your boat. You don't just get tossed by everybody else's reactions.
That's the sober mindedness is the fundamental virtue that I'm commending in the book for leaders. OK, so that's good.
I'm glad you brought up the other spheres, too, because I know the book doesn't just focus on politicalism. We're talking about all the spheres, family, church, business, governmental, civil fear, fear, stuff like that.
So how do we guard against that? What's the solution to that when we when we encounter those type of emotional saboteurs that will do that?
Even that's a great family example that you gave someone who is, you know, a certain way to gain attention or get their way, even within a family unit.
The leader has to be able to respond to that correctly. So what's some pragmatic ways to either guard against that or to protect ourselves against emotional sabotage when we're in a position of leadership?
Yeah, so you've got to be grounded. So, again, sober mindedness is the fundamental virtue, and it's a virtue that I don't think we give enough.
We've given enough attention to in the old, you know, in the ancient world. I think they did sort of treat it with a kind of, you know, it shows up in the
New Testament in a number of key places. It's a qualification for eldership and things like that. And I've used it as kind of like an organizing virtue, because basically sober mindedness it comes literally from don't be drunk.
So alcohol causes drunkenness if you drink too much of it. And therefore you're physically impaired, you're mentally impaired, you're morally impaired, you make bad decisions, you're unwise, you fixate, you're staggered, all of these impairments of your functions by virtue of this alcohol.
Well, the point is you can get drunk on more than alcohol. In fact, you can get drunk on passions. You can get drunk on emotions, emotions as if they're important, they're good and they should not be in charge.
They should not be leading. When the Bible talks about emotions and passions, they can be good, but often they're dangerous because they can lead you astray.
They can enslave you. You can be enslaved to the passions of the flesh, the passions of the flesh wage war against your soul.
That sort of language implies that your passions are unavoidable. They're going to be there, but they need to be governed and stewarded and guided.
And therefore you have to have a mind, an intellect and a will, your mind needs to be set on Christ, grounded in the gospel, and therefore stewarding your own emotional reactions.
So at a practical level, what that means is the first thing a leader has to do is be aware of his own emotional states.
So when does he feel reactions? When does he feel passions rise up? And passions could be like blow up, like you get angry or shut down.
You withdraw and get passive. That's a that's a passion, too. It's a it's a reaction. When when do you feel a hesitation?
When do you feel reluctances? When do you kind of when are you kind of moving to avoid certain painful things, painful situations?
Leaders have to learn to recognize when they are doing that and then they need to interrogate it.
Why did I do that? Why? I was about to say something and it caught in my throat. Because I knew if I said it, what?
And it's like, well, that person would have blown up. OK, so did you just let that person set the agenda for your church?
If you said that, that elder would blow up. And so now he has a veto power. Anything that upsets him?
Or was it just wisdom saying, hey, this wasn't the right time? It could be either. But the point is, if you need to know, is it your passions leading the way?
So you got to pay attention to your own. And then the second thing is you become alert to the passions in the room. Where do you see other people's passions sort of governing where you're sensitive to the crackle, to that tension, to the fumes where, you know, there are certain topics in this room that are now off limits.
And oftentimes, you know this because if it's this group of people, you know, you get, say, two or three of your siblings together and you can have a very frank conversation about things.
Add the fourth sibling and all of a sudden it's can't do it. Right. Why not? What's happening?
Well, something's happening and you need to interrogate why and then decide what does it mean to not react to this, which is just another domino.
But how do I respond? How do I intentionally wisely respond? So sober mindedness
I define as a clarity of mind. So you're not drunk. You're not groggy. You're not sleepy. You see things clearly.
A stability of soul, a stability of soul. So you're grounded. There's ballast. You're anchored.
You're rooted. You're not tossed by doctrine. You're not tossed by passions. And then a readiness to act.
You're leaning in. You're you're you're you're forward looking. And you're saying, I'm waiting for the opportune moment to do what
I need to do. You're not just passive. So the clarity of mind, stability of soul, readiness to act. That's the virtue that leaders must cultivate.
And it must start with themselves, work its way into their home and then out from there to whatever calling they have in the world.
Yeah. Yeah, I know. Totally agree. And, you know, from a young age, my father told me, hey, thirty one proverbs, thirty one days in most months, read a proverb every morning.
And I have passed that on to not only my children, but anyone that'll listen. If you're a leader in any type of situation, husband, father, business, church, boy, there's a lot of good stuff in proverbs that kind of encapsulates what a leader that is sober minded, self -controlled, full of discernment, a lot of the things that you've described right here to be able to deal with those things.
And it sounds like what you're saying, too, is look, you can't sabotage something that is closely guarded or guarded correctly.
You can only really sabotage it if it's if it's available. So that emotional sabotage, you have your emotions under control and you're using them wisely.
And that sabotage isn't going to work or you're not going to fall prey to that, which it kind of sounds a little bit like that's the advice you're giving as well, too, which
I would agree with. So if someone's listening right now as we round this out and they go, yeah,
I want to get the book. Who was when you wrote it, who was the book mainly for? Did you have any certain position in mind or is this a book to where if you're in any type of leadership position, you should probably get the book and read through it because there's going to be things that apply to you.
Yeah, it's written. So, you know, the structure is basically the chapter one diagnosis. Chapter two goes to sober mindedness as sort of the solution.
Chapter three talks about the two forms of sabotage. And then I spend time in the last three chapters applying it to the home, the church and the world.
So how do you how do you do it in the home? How do you do it in the church? And what do you do when you're moving out into the world? And it's just chaos.
So I use Paul in the book of Acts as an example of someone who's sober mindedly leading as the world is just coming unglued around him.
So really, it was written for any leader, any head. So husbands, fathers, pastors and churches, elders, deacons,
Sunday school leaders, because oftentimes it's about understanding how the team is operating, how the group is operating.
School boards at classical Christian schools, guys working in business, though, could will benefit from it because they'll realize the way that the current market situation is an attempt to kind of steer you in particular ways.
And then, of course, all of it's relevant for the cultural chaos around us in society. But it really does start more like I'm I'm trying to say we can't expect to do anything fruitful out there if we're not managing it well in here.
This is the biblical pattern of if a man doesn't manage his household well, how is he going to manage the household of God like that?
That's the qualification for ministry in the pastoral. And so it's a similar thing, I think, in other spheres.
Manage your household well, and then you can move out and lead the church or lead a business or lead a school or other leaders nation.
But it really starts. We learn to do this first and fundamentally at home. Awesome. All right, so leadership and emotional sabotage, guys, is the book.
Dr. Joe Rigney is the author and Dr. Rigney, I believe you can find that where everywhere
I know you can probably get on Canon, Amazon, those places. Yeah, so you can go to emotional sabotage dot com.
I think it actually sold out of its first print run. So depending on when this drops, they may be we've ordered a new new set and so they should be coming.
I think Amazon still has some. So if if emotional sabotage dot com doesn't
Amazon might for a little bit longer, but we've ordered a new print run because the first one went went pretty quick.
OK, well, that's good news. That's a good problem to have. We'll make sure we we'll make sure we link everything up to you guys so you can click right down on whether you're watching or listening to this.
They'll have the link to where you can find it. But yeah, so what we like to do, too, on the show is we like to take learned men, doctors and bring them down to our level by doing a little segment called
Fresh 10, which is where we ask 10 fresh questions. It seems to be a very popular segment. People love to hear the personal side of their favorite speakers and authors.
Would you stick around for a couple more minutes and I'll give you 10 fresh questions to get to know you a little bit more? You bet. All right, let's do it.
Here we go. OK, we talked a little bit about the very first question, which is ironic because I didn't know we would.
But what city and state did you grow up in and how did it affect your childhood? So we know Texas, but how did it affect your childhood growing up in Texas?
Yes, I grew up in West Texas specifically. So I'd say maybe a quick way I grew up playing high school football in West Texas.
So Friday Night Lights was my high school experience. So the actual like the original that book that then became the movie and became the show was based in my school district.
So so that was and I was a football player, so I played a lot of high school football. So the two things that sort of,
I think, define my high school years at least was high school football on the one hand. And then
I was involved in my youth group and in, you know, community Bible study where I learned to do inductive
Bible study. That's where I learned to study the word of God, really grateful. So both of those for me were really great experiences.
Follow up question, what position did you play? I was a wide receiver and I figured out
I figured out I was I was not the fastest. I was not the biggest. I had pretty good hands and I was smart.
And so I actually learned all four wide receiver positions as well as tight end, because what it enabled me to do is when
I was on the field and the coach would send somebody in to replace me, I would just have the guy next to me and say, hey, you go out and I would move over to his spot so that I never had to come off the field.
I was like, so as long as I knew. And so then it was fun because there was one time I distinctly remember there was one time where the coach called a play in and had the wrong personnel, like we needed a tight end and didn't have a tight end.
And so I was and I'm like this little wide receiver and I'm like, I got this. So I set up a tight end and then the right tackle massive dude looks at me and he goes,
Rigney, what are you doing? I'm like, I'm a block that guy. And and I just got in his way for a minute. So that was kind of how that was how your wide receiver with like one block at tight end.
I was going to say you in there blocking a Rob Gronkowski or something. OK, question number two, what's your favorite funny story to tell people or maybe a go to joke or maybe you meet someone for the first time you're in a social situation?
What's a little go to joke or funny story or something like that you can share with us? Oh, man, I probably already used it.
I use my I grew up in West Texas, which is the place where God ran out of ideas. That one always ends pretty good.
That one lands pretty good. I didn't realize we're going to be running through all these questions at the top of the show. Let's try to get some new in here.
OK, let's we're in the DeLorean. The flux capacitor is fluxing. Are we going back in time to visit our great, great grandfather?
Are we going forward in the future to visit our great, great grandchildren or great, great? Yeah, yeah.
I would say I'd say we're going to go back in time, back in time. OK, are you in your post mill, huh?
OK, well, yeah, OK. My son here usually want to go to the future.
No, no. I'm like, hey, God's got the future, man. I want to go learn from the past. I want to go figure it out.
All right, question number four, moving right along. What's something people would be surprised to know about you?
Maybe they've known you for a while. They don't know it or maybe they're just meeting you and you go, oh, blank. And they go, I'd be surprised to know that.
I so I read so I read a lot, but kind of one of the things I read for fun as the kind of like it's partly for fun and partly because I actually learn stuff from it.
There's actually a series of Star Wars novels that I read and get get get filled up by,
I guess, like it's kind of like the the snack that's kind of like a really good. So there's a character in like the
Star Wars extended whatever it is. I got it. I read it in high school. And then they've like brought some back and they've made new ones.
This character named Braun. And I think he's fascinating. He's actually it's related to a lot of stuff we've talked about on leadership because he is a sober minded strategist, imperial admiral, kind of the post
Death Star. They've they've refitted him now into the earlier stuff. Anyway, there's like a series of novels that this one fanfic guy wrote.
And and I read those whenever I'm like, I just need a break and I read them, I really enjoy them.
So that's like a like, oh, you're a professor of literature. And it's like, can I read that? So there you go. All right.
You can bring one album with you to the island. You're on the deserted island. You're allowed to bring one album, a music album.
Which one would it be? A band album. Yeah, I probably
I probably bring some Brian Suve songs. I'm like a song.
I don't listen. I don't listen to a ton of like other music. I enjoy like my boys like country music.
We listen to country music around the house. I grew up listening to that. And then I could probably think of like, you know, so, you know, a
George Strait. If I was going to go there, I'd be like a George Strait or or something in that vein as kind of like a go to.
But if it was like right now, I'd be like, I'm on an island. I need to be able to sing some songs. So let's get Brian. No, shout out,
Brian. He was just on a few weeks ago. Awesome. Question number six. What what Monopoly piece do you take?
You the hat, you the thimble, you going for the dog, the pot of gold. I'm probably doing. I'm probably the thimble.
When I think about it, I think I remember being the thimble. But I don't actually. But I don't know why. Just I don't know.
I say the thimble is the classiest one. So you're doing well there. Which is what you're doing when you're playing
Monopoly. Exactly. Classy. Classy and flipping tables, if it's my family. Question number seven.
What do people misunderstand about you the most? What do they misjudge or misunderstand or assume?
And then you go, no, that's not right. I think my wife would say that people assume that I am unapproachable, that if they had a problem, that they couldn't bring it to me.
So I think she's like, that's the thing that she's brought up, is that people don't realize, Joe, that you would talk to anybody about anything and you don't lose your cool.
You don't mind criticism. It actually is an opportunity. So I'd say probably that, that like there's plenty of times where people sort of think false things and are reluctant to come talk about it because, oh, he's, you know, you know, he's a preacher, pastor, theologian,
PhD, intimidating, whatever, whatever those things are. And I'm actually like a super chill.
Like people come talk to me. It's fine. There you go. All right. This one we've modified a little bit because we're getting a lot of the same answers.
So any secular nonbeliever historical figure dead or alive, you could sit down with a cup of coffee and talk to them for an hour.
Who would it be? Secular, secular, not not a non -Christian dead or alive historical figure.
Oh, man, you know, I'd actually so part of me think
I don't know what Churchill's faith commitments were. So if he counts, I'd be maybe maybe interested there.
That'd be a Churchill. But if I was actually going to go farther back, it would probably be like a.
Like a like a Roman emperor, because I'm just curious, like, how did you think, you know, you have this massive empire, but it's like you don't have technology.
How do you think about it? Like, what is what is what is it? And how are you how are you thinking about all these things? So and I don't know which one
I would, you know, like Dioclete. I don't know. Dioclete should probably kill me. But, you know, they're just going to say they break. Oh, we just kill people.
We like, you know, like maybe like a Marcus Aurelius or something like that. Like the stoic guy who's like, you know, the good one, the decent one.
I'd be like, hey, let's go talk to that guy and see how did how did it go? All right. Cool. Question number nine. We modified this one, too.
We used to ask, what's your favorite movie? And people go, oh, I can't pick a favorite. So we modify and said, what's a movie you have just watched multiple times?
And usually that becomes your favorite. What's one you can just put on? You watch it and you go, I've seen it nine times, but I'm just going to watch it again.
It's comfort movie. Yeah, so I could actually say favorite movie here. It's Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. I just saw that for the first time about three years ago.
OK, Groundhog Day is, in fact, the perfect movie. It is. That's a bold statement.
There. Well, it's just that there is no way that you could improve it. Like there's no there's no what it is.
There's no fat. It's got the humor works. Bill Murray is perfectly cast.
The other characters work really well. It's got a fantastic. Like you could just endlessly talk about the message.
It repays multiple viewings. You watch it every year on Groundhog Day because, of course.
So, yeah, we try to do that around every year in February. It's not always on February 2nd because sometimes stuff's going on.
But somewhere around there, my family, we are going to be watching Groundhog Day. That's awesome. All right.
Last question. Here we go. What is a book outside of the Bible that everyone should at least read through once?
And it can be one of your books if you want. No, I won't be one of my books. My books are fine. I would say that's a test you passed.
Yeah, good. So I would say Pleasures of God by Piper. Pleasure. That is a good book.
If I was going to say one, one for everybody here somewhere. Yeah, that's that's my that that was the one, you know,
I think I can't remember if I read Desiring God first. I probably did in college. But it was when
I read Pleasures of God that like a bunch of stuff kind of broke open. And I think that it's just more it's yeah, that's
Piper's best book. There you go. All right. That was first time with Dr. Joe. All right,
Dr. Joe Rigney, everyone. Thank you so much for coming on, spending some time with us, talking about the book. As always, you can click below.
You can go through and get that. The new book by Dr. Joe Rigney, Leadership and Emotional Sabotage. You got any socials you want to throw out for anyone?
And we'll make sure we link those up, too, if you do the socials. Yeah, only one I'm really on is is
X Twitter, whatever we call it now. Joe underscore Rigney. So I'm there.
Beyond that, if you want to find my stuff like I typically I've written a bunch for Desiring God over the years, you can find a bunch of old articles there.
I'm on Canon Plus. So there's some various things are coming out on Canon Plus and some relaunching of some books, different things like that.
And then I've written a good bit for American Reformer and World Opinion. So those are kind of the places if you want to go find more stuff online, there you go.
There we go. And we'll link it up. Thanks again for stopping by and speaking with us. Thanks, Greg. All right, guys, thanks so much for listening to another episode of Deadman Walking Podcast, as always, you can find us at DMW podcast dot com, anywhere on social media,
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