The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network like Jesus by Joseph Castleberry (Springfield: My Healthy Church, 2013. 312 pp)

Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Raised in Alabama and educated at Evangel University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Columbia University (EdD), he has served as a youth pastor, campus minister, church planter, university professor, missionary to Latin America, community development entrepreneur, seminary dean, and college president. He is also the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life (Experience the Life) (NavPress, 2012).

A Theology of Work

Given my background, I will always have room for books giving accounts on a theology of work. In truth, work can be a nasty environment for people of faith or without faith. A majority of people hate their work; so, anything attempting to bring redemption to work piques my interest.

And yet, I also possess a limited bandwidth. I can’t spend every day from dawn until dusk pouring over the written word. I have many important aspects of my life competing for attention. So if a book doesn’t catch my attention quickly, I have no issue abandoning it—even if temporarily.

Sadly, Castleberry’s The Kingdom Net missed the mark, and for a specific reason.

Be like Jesus and Go Network

Having only read the first 50 pages, I continued to get a clear picture about how we all could utilize Christ as an example of how to network professionally. There is a distinct inference to the notion of receiving the skills necessary—read, extraversion—for accomplishing these tasks.

Such a position became too much for me to overcome. Much research in the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology have suggested that our innate capacities are pretty static for much of our lives, including introversion/extroversion. In fact, many of the issues people have in their work come from the misplaced juxtaposition of capacity and competency. An introvert that must perform sales as a part of her job description will be miserable. Just as an extrovert that must spend a majority of her time doing research will also struggle.

Recognizing Innate Capacity

These facts run deeper than having enough faith. It’s great that Jesus built a network of followers. It’s important to network in your work no matter your innate capacity. But to assume that some prayer and some faith can make you a different person is a step, in my mind, too far.

Did I quit too early? For those that have read Castleberry. Is it worth moving forward? Do my complaints get addressed later?

Verdict: Incomplete

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