Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing

Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing

by Andy Crouch


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830844432
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 03/11/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 208,230
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Andy Crouch (MDiv, Boston University School of Theology) is executive editor of Christianity Today and the author of books such as Culture Making and Playing God. Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is also a senior fellow of International Justice Mission's Institute for Biblical Justice. His writing has appeared in Time, the Wall Street Journal and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing.

Crouch served as executive producer for the documentary films Where Faith and Culture Meet and Round Trip, as well as the multi-year project This Is Our City, which featured documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. He also sits on the editorial board for Books & Culture and was editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly. He also spent ten years as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University.

A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz and gospel, Crouch has led musical worship for congregations of five to twenty thousand. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

1. Beyond the False Choice
2. Flourishing
3. Suffering
4. Withdrawing
5. Exploiting
Interlude: The Path to Flourishing
6. Hidden Vulnerability
7. Descending to the Dead
8. Up and to the Right
Discussion Guide

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Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
The Paradox of Flourishing One of the great joys of middle age has been the privilege of watching my oldest son and his wife parent a son who is made in the exact image and likeness of his energetic, curious, strong-willed dad. Like all new parents, they are executing this balance of firmness and warmth, freedom and structure, love and discipline in the midst of multiple distractions and with sleep-deprived brains. Good parenting requires the embrace of two things that seem like opposites, but in Strong and Weak, Andy Crouch shares a useful and inspiring manner of viewing paradox that reveals the myth of our linear model for viewing the world which focuses on the word "or": humble or bold; firm or warm; exaltation or humiliation. In the paradox of flourishing we are invited to embrace this tension, for flourishing requires both strength and weakness, authority and vulnerability. Simple and ingenious, Andy Crouch has devised a 2x2 chart that demonstrates "the genius of the 'and'" which results in a melding of authority and vulnerability, and which captures John 10:10-style abundant living, "the very heart of what it is to be human and to live for God and others." Capacity for meaningful action (authority) balanced with exposure to meaningful risk (vulnerability) is the essence of the flourishing life. Failures of authority, vulnerability, or both result in: suffering (high vulnerability, low authority) exploitation (high authority, low vulnerability) withdrawal (low authority, low vulnerability). Everyone experiences each quadrant of this 2x2 grid at some point and to some degree: end of life suffering, complete helplessness (withdrawal) in infancy (or when the X-Box One is on in the living room). Andy helps his readers to see, however, that even though both authority and vulnerability are necessary for a full life and for effective leadership, "we do not pursue these two good things with the same wholeheartedness - or even the same halfheartedness." The unwillingness of one person (tyrannical dictator) or one group (a police force that uses extreme methods) to bear any vulnerability at all sheds and multiplies that vulnerability onto another person or group. Ironically, those who pursue authority without vulnerability are pursuing an idol which will rob them of meaningful relationships -- and will not deliver on any of its lofty promises. Jesus demonstrated the greatest paradox of flourishing in His own life on this planet by revealing that the abundant life is "only found on the other side of suffering -- specifically, our willingness to actively embrace suffering." Particularly in the case of leaders, we must be willing to take responsibility for the flourishing of others, thereby becoming exposed ourselves to the forces of idolatry and injustice. "Only those who have faced loss, who have drunk from the cup of undiluted vulnerability -- and who have been rescued by a power infinitely beyond their own at the depths of their greatest need -- can offer hope stronger than the idol's word of fear." This understanding brings flesh and blood to the Apostle Paul's upside-down statement about authority and vulnerability: "Whenever I am weak, then I am strong," I Corinthians 12:5-10. With elements of memoir and story, Strong and Weak is deeply informative for leaders, or for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world, and this in itself would be "enough"; however, Andy Crouch shares intensely practical advice that bring