The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It by Jamin Goggin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a 5 star concept with 2.8-3 stars worth of execution. The essential premise is this: we can either embrace power from below (the way of the dragon), or we can embrace the power from Above (the way of the Lamb). Goggin and Strobel write from the conviction that not only has our culture embraced the way from below (which we should expect), but that the church has as well. We have swallowed the lies of the world concerning the true nature of power and promoted a form of leadership that has little resemblance to the Jesus who emptied himself and took the form of a servant.
And the way they go about exploring this idea, interacting with Scripture and by interviewing older believers whose lives exemplify this way from above, is super useful. The concept of simply sitting with and listening to wiser older believers is something so lost on many young Christians (including those of us in positions of leadership!) that sitting through a whole book where that is what the authors are doing is a useful corrective. So I wholeheartedly endorse the message of this book. I was challenged by it, and profoundly helped. I foresee drawing on it in he future.
My critiques lie mainly in the editing process. The constant cutting back and forth between "I (Kyle)" and "I (Jamin)" was distracting. I assume it was to make the book feel more personal but it made for a clunky reading experience. Some of the practical "how do we expose ourselves to God's formation?" advice toward the end was good-insofar as it went. It could have been developed more. As it was, I don't think the book would have lost much by simply cutting 20 pages or so. The practical help was so thin as to not really advance the usefulness of the book beyond the thought-provoking questions and challenges that had already been raised. I'd rather have no help and just be left with questions. But that could be a personal issue more than a reflection on the book itself-every book review is as much a review of the reviewer, I suppose.
All in all, I'll probably give this as a gift to a few of my friends in ministry. The issues raised by this book are incredibly important.
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