Wisdom From Babylon: Leadership For the Church in a Secular Age
:What does it mean to provide leadership for the church in an increasingly secular context? When religion is privatized and secularism reigns in the public square, Christians are often drawn toward either individualist escapism or constant cultural warfare. But...
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:What does it mean to provide leadership for the church in an increasingly secular context? When religion is privatized and secularism reigns in the public square, Christians are often drawn toward either individualist escapism or constant cultural warfare. But might this context instead offer a fresh invitation for the church to adapt and thrive? Gordon Smith is passionate about the need for capable, mature leaders to navigate and respond to a changing society. In this book, he draws on his extensive experience as a university president, pastor, and international speaker to open a multidisciplinary conversation about the competencies and capacities essential for today's leaders. After analyzing the phenomenon of secularization in the West and charting common Christian responses, Smith introduces four sources of wisdom to help guide us through this new terrain: the people and prophets of Judah during the Babylonian exile, the early church in its pagan environment, contemporary churches across the Global South, and Christian thinkers in post-Christian Europe. From these resources he identifies practices and strategies-from liturgy and catechesis to mission and hospitality-that can give shape to faithful, alternate communities in such a time as this. In cultures fraught with fear and division, Smith calls for leaders who can effect change from the margins, promote unity and maturity among Christians, and provide a non-anxious presence grounded in the presence of Christ. Educators, church leaders, and anyone seeking to understand the times will find this book to be an indispensable resource for cultivating distinctively Christian leadership.
Gordon T. Smith (Ph.D., Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University) grew up in Ecuador and is president of reSource (formerly Overseas Council Canada), which works with other reSource affiliates to support and enable excellence in theological education in the developing world. Formerly academic dean and associate professor of spiritual theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He is author of a number of works in theology and the spiritual life including A Holy Meal; Beginning Well: Christian Conversion & Authentic Transformation; Courage and Calling; Listening to God in Times of Choice and The Voice of Jesus.
- Introduction: "the Times They Are A-changin'"
- <strong>part I: Reading And Understanding The Times</strong>
- 1: Secularity: An Interdisciplinary Consideration
- 2. Four Contemporary Responses To Secularity, Part 1
- 3: Wisdom From Babylon: Attending To The Exilic And Postexilic Prophets
- 4: Perspective And Wisdom From The Early Church
- 5. Learning From Historic Minority Churches
- 6: Christian Voices From Secular Europe
- 7: Responding To Secularity, Part 2 (the Four Responses Re-considered)
- <strong>part Ii: Forming The Alternate Community: Competencies And Dispositions</strong>
- 8: Cultivating The Capacity For Liturgical Leadership
- 9: Cultivating The Capacity For Catechetical Leadership
- 10: Cultivating The Capacity For Missional Leadership
- 11: Ecumenism In A Secular Age: A Theological Conviction, A Practical Necessity
- 12: Cultivating Interiority: Spiritual Practice In A Secular Age
- Conclusion: Hospitality And The Gospel
- An Essential Reading List For Leading The Church In A Secular Age
- Name And Subject Index
- Scripture Index