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 →

Book Review: You Are What You Love

You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016. 224 pp) James K. A. Smith is the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin College. With a background in philosophy focused on French thought, Smith engages as a public intellectual and cultural critic. In addition to his published books, Smith has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Christianity Today, and The Hedgehog Review. A Divided World We live in a divided world. The obvious unpacking of this statement surrounds divisive politics or schisms between worldviews. But, our experiences are divided even at a metaphysical level. In other words,… Read More →

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, translated by Ilse Lasch (Boston: Beacon Press, 1959, 1962, 1984, 1992, and 2006. 184 pp) Viktor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. Frankl’s memoir of his time in the Nazi concentration camps became a foundational element of his psychological and existential philosophy. Frankl died in 1997. The Holocaust Museum In high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for a youth leadership conference. The event included high schoolers nominated from their respective schools across the United States. The principal aim of the conference was to educate the future leaders of America on the minutiae of D.C. politics. We created a pseudo-government and tried to lobby for… Read More →

Book Review: The Price of Salt

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (New York: Dover Publications, 2015; originally published in 1952. 256 pp) Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1921. She studied English composition, playwriting, and short story at Barnard College. Highsmith wrote 22 novels during her career, including Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. She died in 1995. Who Are You? Identity is a tricky thing. When I was younger, I worried consistently about goodness. Did I possess good qualities inherently? Did I need to work for them? What did it take to be good? With a constant focus on these identity questions, I never felt whole. I had nothing obviously hindering me from living a decent life,… Read More →

Book Review: Calling & Clarity

Calling & Clarity by Doug Koskela

Calling & Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life by Doug Koskela (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015. 136 pp) Doug Koskela is associate professor of theology and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. What Will You Do? I would argue the question of purpose represents one of the central conundrums in life. As a child, endless potential allows for dreams to span the universe. You can be that 7-foot center in the NBA, no matter your actual height, commandeering the driveway to practice your sky hook. But eventually, the dream fades to basic reality. At 5’11’’ with no hops, your professional basketball years are a mirage. No matter… Read More →

Book Review: The Fabric of this World

The Fabric of this World by Lee Hardy

The Fabric of this World: Inquiries into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work by Lee Hardy (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 1990. 214 pp) Lee Hardy is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written articles in the areas of philosophy and the theology of vocation. Disengaged The latest Gallup poll on employee engagement, now a couple of years old, tells a dark story. 70% of the workforce is disengaged. Even worse, 30% of the workforce actively inhibits the productive means of industry. In other words, we hate work. The majority of people find work barely tolerable at best. But not something upon which you can build purpose and meaning. For some,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mad Men: Season 7.2

Mad Men Season 7.2

Mad Men: Season 7.2 created by Matthew Weiner (Lionsgate Television, Weiner Bros., AMC) Starring Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, and John Slatterly. Becoming Who You Are “To be a saint means to be my true self.” Thomas Merton utters these words in exploration of true meaning in this world. For him, humanity ventures forth as a shadow of its true identity. People wear masks every day, shrouding the real person underneath. Thinking practically, it’s easy to see this example illustrated. When was the last time you entered a job interview and willingly admitted your shortcomings and the deepest hurts and insecurities you might face daily? Or look at social media, how often do… Read More →

Book Review: The Yellow Arrow

The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin

The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin; translated by Andrew Bromfield (New York: New Directions, 1996; originally published in 1993. 96 pp) Victor Pelevin is a Russian author best known for Omon Ra and Generation P. He has won the Russian Little Booker Prize and the Russian National Best Seller. He lives in Moscow. Andrew Bromfield was born in Yorkshire, England. He is a translator of Russian literature and an editor and co-founder of the literary journal, Glas. Metaphors for Life What’s your preferred metaphor for life? Are you in favor of “Life is like a box of chocolates; you’ll never know what you’re going to get.”? Perhaps you prefer, “Life is a game.” That one points toward the business-minded, the… Read More →

Book Review: The Fabric of Faithfulness

The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior by Steven Garber (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 1996. 222 pp) Dr. Steven Garber is the Founder and Principal of the Washington Institute. For many years, he taught on Capitol Hill in the American Studies Program, and then became a Scholar-in-Residence for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He is a board member for the Ransom Fellowship, the Blood:Water Mission, A Rocha, and the Telos Project. He is also a consultant for the Wedgwood Circle, the Murdock Trust, the Demdaco Corporation, and the Mars Corporation. A Purpose-Driven Life We’ve all heard about the mission statement. Every business conjures one to varying degrees of success. But why? Everyone talks about mission but… Read More →

Book Review: Every Good Endeavor

Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf (New York: Dutton, 2012. 288 pp) Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1989, he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Katherine Leary Alsdorf worked twenty-five years in the high-tech industry as an economic analyst and in various executive leadership positions. After her CEO roles at One Touch Systems and Pensare, Redeemer Presbyterian Church recruited her to lead the church’s efforts in marketplace ministry, now called the Center for Faith & Work. Defining Point The year between my undergraduate and… Read More →