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When night turns to day: Prayer luncheon inspires

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the Air Force ensemble Wild Blue Country perform during the social portion of the National Prayer Luncheon at Peterson Air Force Base, Feb. 2, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the Air Force ensemble Wild Blue Country perform during the social portion of the National Prayer Luncheon at Peterson Air Force Base, Feb. 2, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Col.) Paul Sutter, U.S. Air Force Academy chaplain, was featured speaker at the National Prayer Luncheon at Peterson Air Force Base, Feb. 2, 2017. Sutter spoke on “Leading Spiritually Intelligent Lives.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Col.) Paul Sutter, U.S. Air Force Academy chaplain, was featured speaker at the National Prayer Luncheon at Peterson Air Force Base, Feb. 2, 2017. Sutter spoke on “Leading Spiritually Intelligent Lives.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Being aware of ones’ spirituality is helpful in building better organizations, said Chaplain (Col.) Paul Sutter, U.S. Air Force Academy chaplain, during his remarks at the National Prayer Luncheon at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Feb. 2, 2017.

Sutter was the featured speaker at the annual event, sponsored by the 21st Space Wing Chapel. The title of his presentation was “Leading Spiritually Intelligent Lives.”

Spiritual intelligence is the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the circumstances, Sutter said.

“Being aware of how you tick spiritually, and how others do, helps build bridges in relationships, not walls,” he said.

Sutter described spirituality being like two rivers running from a lake. From his research he used an example explaining that one river is secular spirituality while the other is sacred spirituality. Each of them has many branches and sometimes the two rivers and branches converge, cross, diverge, run parallel, or even go in opposite directions.

Aspects of various spiritualties are complimentary and other aspects may oppose one another. Spiritual intelligence is employed when people use this knowledge to improve the organization to which they belong.

“We need to learn how to have a conversation about improving spiritual intelligence without offending anyone,” Sutter said. “Spiritual intelligence hopefully helps (people) rise above religion to be human.”

He suggested being aware of others in everyday life instead of just looking at oneself. Being centered on others helps build bridges between different people, which is the essence of spiritual intelligence. He mentioned the advice of Gen. Stephen Lorenz, former commander of Air Education and Training Command, who encouraged leaders to meet troops where they are, balancing leadership and spiritual needs.

“We need to have a sense of awareness about who we are, but also about who is around us,” said Sutter. “Build bridges, not walls.”

People use spiritual intelligence to drive themselves when the pressure is on and still grow as a person, Sutter said. Spiritual intelligence allows a leader to be more aware of troops as people and treat them accordingly.

“Night turns into day when you can see someone and recognize them as a brother or a sister,” he said.

In closing, Sutter shared a message he saw on a bumper sticker. The message said “Human Kind. (Be Both).” He encouraged the audience to be spiritually intelligent, to be human and to be kind.

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