By Michael Fletcher
Chad Hall is the Director of Coaching at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He “believes coaching to be an essential mindset and skill set for ministers today — an approach to conversations that allows us to express and expand the kingdom of God.” I hope you enjoy his selection of 5 Books to Note:
Dee Hock, Birth of the Chaordic Age (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000). In Birth of the Chaordic Age, Dee Hock argues that traditional organizational forms can no longer work because organizations have become too complex. Hock advocates a new organizational form that he calls “chaordic, ” or simultaneously chaotic and orderly. He credits the worldwide success of VISA with its chaordic structure — it is owned by its member banks which both compete with each other for customers and must cooperate by honoring one another’s transactions across borders and currencies. The book shows how these same chaordic concepts are now being put into practice in a broad range of business, social, community, and government organizations.
James Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge (Jossey Bass, 2008). This leadership classic continues to be a bestseller after three editions and twenty years in print. It is the gold standard for research-based leadership, and the premier resource on becoming a leader. This new edition, with streamlined text, more international and business examples, and a graphic redesign, is more readable and accessible than ever before. The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition, has been extensively updated with the latest research and case studies, and offers inspiring new stories of real people achieving extraordinary results. The authors’ central theme remains the same and is more relevant today than ever: “Leadership is Everyone’s Business.” Their “five practices” and “ten commitments” have been proven by hundreds of thousands of dedicated, successful leaders. This edition, with almost one-third new material, emphasizes the global community and refocuses on business leaders.
John Stackhouse, Humble Apologetics: Defending the Faith Today (Oxford University Press, 2006). Is it still possible, in an age of religious and cultural pluralism, to engage in Christian apologetics? How can one urge one’s faith on others when such a gesture is typically regarded with suspicion, if not outright resentment? In Humble Apologetics John G. Stackhouse brings his wide experience as a historian, philosopher, journalist, and theologian to these important questions and offers surprising–and reassuring–answers. Stackhouse begins by acknowledging the real impediments to Christian testimony in North America today and to other faiths in modern societies around the world. He shows how pluralism, postmodernism, skepticism, and a host of other factors create a cultural milieu resistant to the Christian message. And he shows how the arrogance or dogmatism of apologists themselves can alienate rather than attract potential converts. Indeed, Stackhouse argues that the crucial experience of conversion cannot be compelled; all the apologist can do is lead another to the point where an actual encounter with Jesus can take place. Finally, he shows how displaying an attitude of humility, instead of merely trying to win religious arguments, will help believers offer their neighbors the gift of Christ’s love. Drawing on the author’s personal experience and written with an engaging directness and an unassuming nature, Humble Apologetics provides sound guidance on how to share Christian faith in a postmodern world.
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Dutton, 2009). Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics and non-believers bring to religion. Using literature, philosophy, anthropology, pop culture, and intellectual reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand against the backlash toward religion spawned by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.
Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion(Ignatius Press, 1992). We have reduced all virtues to one: being nice. And, we measure Jesus by our standard instead of measuring our standard by Him.” For the Christian, explains author Peter Kreeft, being virtuous is not a means to the end of pleasure, comfort and happiness. Virtue, he reminds us, is a word that means “manly strength.” But how do we know when we are being meek–or just cowardly? When is our anger righteous–and when is it a sin? What is the difference between being virtuous–and merely ethical? Back to Virtue clears up these and countless other questions that beset Christians today. Kreeft not only summarizes scriptural and theological wisdom on leading a holy life, he contrasts Christian virtue with other ethical systems. He applies traditional moral theology to present-day dilemmas such as abortion and nuclear armament. Kreeft restores to us what was once common knowledge: the Seven Deadly Sins have an antidote in the Beatitudes. By setting up a close contrast between the two sets of behaviors, Kreeft offers proven guidance in the often bewildering process of discerning right from wrong as we move into the questionable mores of the twenty-first century. He provides a road map of virtue, a map for our earthly pilgrimage synthesized from the accumulated wisdom of centuries of Christians, from Paul and the early Church Fathers through C.S. Lewis.
This is a guest post from Michael Fletcher. Michael is a Th.M. student at Western Seminary and has the ambitious goal of seeing Church reconciliation. He and his wife, Sara, serve at Mosaic Church in Portland, Oregon and can often be found racing bicycles, running, or drinking coffee.