How pastors and other leaders deal with inner chaos

There are lots of books about leadership, particularly leadership in churches.  The book that won the Award of Merit (2nd place) in the category of Christianity & Culture in the Christianity Today Book Awards, goes much deeper than most.   Mark Sayers, in Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, shows how leaders–that is to say, pastors–are often caught up in battling their own inner chaos.

In his discussion, he also shows why so many leaders (pastors) adopt an anti-establishment, neo-bohemian mindset in insisting on changing the institution they are trying to lead.   But the book is not a critique, as such, but a very personal treatment of its author’s own experience as a pastor, one that will be of great help to other pastors and leaders, burnt-out or otherwise, trying to do their best for the people following them.

After the jump, see the mini-review I wrote about the book as one of the Christianity Today judges. [Read more...]

Why artificial intelligence won’t conquer humanity

Some smart people, from Bill Gates to Stephen Hawkings, have been raising the alarm that computers might get so intelligent that they could conquer the human race.  But artificial intelligence specialist David W. Buchanan explains why this isn’t something we need to worry about, saying the alarmists are committing the “consciousness fallacy,” confusing intelligence with consciousness. [Read more...]

The Eight Human Truths of Impulse

Candy sales have been soaring ever since marketers started putting their wares by checkout counters.  Such “impulse buying” increases the longer customers have to wait in line to get to the cash register.  Now, though, self-service checkout, online retailing, and other technological developments mean that consumers are spending less time in checkout lines, which manifests itself in less impulse buying and a problem for the snack industry.

Hershey’s, though, is planning new ways to sell its candy.  And it is using certain truths of human nature that they call the “Eight Human Truths of Impulse.” [Read more...]

Why do the winners riot?

Ohio State beat Oregon to win the collegiate football championship, the first one under the new playoff system.

Question:  Why in America do fans of the winners of big games riot, setting fires, breaking things, threatening cops?  In other countries, sports violence is a problem, but my impression is that it’s usually losers and fans who feel cheated who start tearing up things.

To switch to the NFL, I don’t think Detroit fans rioted when the penalty flags against Dallas were picked up, and no one rioted in Dallas when an apparent catch was ruled incomplete in the game won by Green Bay [hooray!].  And there were no riots in Oregon.  But the victorious Ohio State fans felt so happy that they set 89 fires. [Read more...]

A perceptive review of our book on the Imagination

The always-interesting Greg Forster has written a very perceptive review of the new book I wrote with Matt Ristuccia:   Imagination Redeemed.  The best reviews not only tell about a book but contribute to the topics it raises, and this one certainly does this, thoughtfully extending the discussion of the role of the imagination in the life of the Christian.  (And, for the record, I even agree with his one criticism of our book, which zeroes in on something we did not intend to say.) [Read more...]

What about New Year’s Resolutions?

A time-honored custom is to make New Year’s resolutions, decisions to use the new beginning offered by the new year to improve one’s life in some way.  Reportedly, 50% of people make such resolutions, but 89% fail to keep them.

This can be seen as evidence for the theological teaching about the bondage of the will.  But though moral self-improvement is largely fruitless, apart from the Gospel, are there are other kinds of resolutions (exercise, eat better, or keep a tidier desk [my goal year after futile year] that are worth making and might be realized?  (Though such non-moral resolutions fail too:  I’m told that new gym memberships soar at the first of the year, but that attendance plummets after just a few weeks.)

Have any of you actually kept a New Year’s resolution for the whole year or longer?  How did you manage that?  After the jump, some advice for doing so. [Read more...]


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