Book Review: Institutional Intelligence

Institutional Intelligence

Institutional Intelligence: How to Build an Effective Organization by Gordon T. Smith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017. 224 pp) Gordon T. Smith is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Courage and Calling, Called to Be Saints, Spiritual Direction, and The Voice of Jesus. Where Have You Gone, Institutional? As the 2017 roller coaster comes to a complete stop, a variety of circumstances fight for the label of a year’s defining moment. The world feels miles different… Read More →

Television Show Review: Nathan for You: Season 4

Nathan for You Season 4

Nathan for You: Season 4 created by Nathan Fielder and Michael Koman (Comedy Central, Abso Lutely Productions, Blow Out Productions) Starring Nathan Fielder. The Dreams of a Lonely Man A lonely man shoulders the burdens of what is lost. A spare apartment, notable more for the material possessions it lacks rather than the collection of goods signifying a life experienced. This man, adorned in off-the-rack clothes, emits a simmering desperation, a need for connection. 78 years old, the man represents a life on the verge of completion rather than the unfulfilled dreams of youth. And those dreams echo the dreams of generations after him. They mirror the dreams of those who came before him. This man wanted to see his… Read More →

Television Show Review: Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things: Season 2 created by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix, 21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre) Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Noah Schnaap, Joe Chrest, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser. Social Commentary One tried and true social cue, at least in my playbook is the “What-are-you-watching” question. I️ pull such a question when I️ want to know more about someone new. Or, I️ even ask the question in deeply held relationships because I️ want some good recommendations for what to watch next. Recently, during a current-viewing-habits discussion, Ozark came up. As I️ often mention at during Ozark discussions, I️ reference… Read More →

Book Review: Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Scribner, 2017. 448 pp) Jennifer Egan is the author of five previous books of fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award finalist; and The Invisible Circus. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, and The New York Times Magazine. A Crisp Morning in the San Juans Life’s verification exists in the vignettes we embed in our unconsciousness. Our senses capture the material world and etch these memories into our brains like a Dürer woodcut. Of the many etchings catalogued in… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Deuce: Season 1

The Deuce Season 1

The Deuce: Season 1 created by David Simon and George Pelecanos (HBO, Blown Deadline Productions) Starring James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gary Carr, Dominique Fishback, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Margarita Levieva, Emily Meade, Method Man, Daniel Sauli, Kayla Foster, Don Harvey, Chris Bauer, Chris Coy, Natalie Paul, Michael Rispoli, Anwan Glover, and David Krumholtz. Red, White, and Blue Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Football. Country. Bourbon. Basketball. Levi’s. Budweiser. American as apple pie. When I think about the brand persona of the good ‘ol Red, White, and Blue, these are a few of its favorite things. Yet beneath these cosmetic representations of civic pride, there’s a deeper concept in the American ethos. The entrepreneurial spirit. A natural end to the “bring-me-your-poor” narrative,… Read More →