Failure of Nerve by Edwin Friedman
Ships are safe in harbor but that's not what ships are built for. John A. Shedd is how Friedman begins chapter one.
Failure of Nerve is a book about leadership. I have just begun reading but it addresses the issue of groups of people and individuals that due to anxiety will not make a decision unless a positive outcome is almost a guaranteed outcome. He then addresses the idea that success requires bold and adventurous ideas: ideas that do not have guaranteed outcomes. He speaks to the idea that failures are unimportant if the individual/group is on an adventure rather than seeking a guaranteed outcome. He uses many examples of Columbus, Magellan, and other navigators. They were seeking a way to the Far East that avoided going through Moor territory and instead that found something much greater: The New World, America. They sailed even though the belief of the day was that the world ended at the equator and they would fall off the edge of the world. They sailed even though every scientific belief said not only would they fail but they would die.
There are many more chapters to read but what if we applied that kind of thinking to the Kingdom of God? What if we saw "failures" as unimportant? What if we believed that God wanted the church to be adventurous instead of cautious? Would God bless that kind of thinking? What would the church be: what would the Kingdom of God look like at 801 W Vandament Ave. if we had hearts for adventure? I will continue reading and you think about that?
The Hidden Face of God by Richard Elliot Friedman
I am currently reading The Hidden Face of God by Richard Elloitt Friedman. It is a fascinating book and I would highly recommend it. Friedman is a Jewish scholar speaking about the Hebrew Scriptures (what we call The Old Testament). He begins by noting that in the beginning God walked with and spoke with the people, i.e. Adam and Eve. God was visible and close. As time progresses God is seen and heard less. Finally, God speaks from Mt Sinai to the Hebrew people ( Exodus 20:19) and the people are terrified and say to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” From that point on God never spoke to a group of people again only to individuals. As time passes God speaks less and less until finally the last time God speaks directly to a human is Elijah on the mountain top. After speaking to Elijah God only speaks in visions and dreams.
Friedman's premise is that as God steps back and is heard and seen less and less humans must step forward. It uses the analogy of parents watching a child grow: as the child matures the parents must let the child make more and more of his/her own decisions and become responsible for one's self.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the book even though I have not yet finished reading it and highly recommend it. The Hidden Face of God was written in 1996. I do not think Amazon has new copies to sell but a used copy can be bought for $.01 + $3.99 shipping.
if you read The Hidden Face of God let me know what you think of it.