Review of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)

The pandemic has afforded many of us an extended opportunity to think and re-think our jobs: Am I in the right one? Can I live out my values at work? Am I doing what I’m good at? Is my work environment a healthy one? How can I best contribute to the world?

We don’t answer these questions in isolation—even those of us who are solo staff or who work remotely. Work is inevitably work with others. So what to do when those others are hard to work with?

Last fall Harvard Business Review Press published Amy Gallo’s Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People). It offers strategies for how we work with challenging others. And it looks at how interpersonal stressors can affect one’s own mental health. Gallo suggests numerous practical ways for us workers to care well for ourselves in tough settings.

Gallo wrote the book “to provide a more nuanced, practical, evidence-based approach, one that acknowledges the complexity of unhealthy relationships at work and the immense discomfort they can create“ (7). She wants to help readers develop “interpersonal resilience” (9). She makes a big promise, on which she delivers:

With the advice in this book, you’ll be able to put work conflict in its place, freeing up valuable time and mental capacity for the things that really matter to you. (9)

Gallo lists “eight archetypes,” eight categories of difficult people we might expect to face in the workplace:

  • the insecure boss
  • the pessimist
  • the victim
  • the passive-aggressive peer
  • the know-it-all
  • the tormentor
  • the biased coworker
  • the political operator

Each of these archetypes gets a chapter, with Gallo admitting there can be overlap between archetypes. She gives background to each archetype, names some “costs” to working with such a person, lists “questions to ask yourself” (this inward turn is hard but needed), and ends with “tactics to try.” For those working with “the pessimist,” for example, she suggests you “reframe cynicism as a gift” (77) and “give them a role to play” (78), but that you also “help them understand when their pessimism helps and when it hurts” (80). Toward the end of each chapter Gallo gives a list of “phrases to use,” which I think was one of the best parts of the book.

As practical as Gallo is, I benefited from the time she spent in the first two chapters laying the groundwork for navigating difficult relationships. I agree it is true, after all, that “you’re better off trying to create a workable situation with your colleague now than hoping things will improve if they leave” (238). So how to make it workable? Why bother? Gallo’s early chapters talk not only about why work relationships are worth investing in; she also suggests the idea of actually making friends with your co-workers! And she details how relational stress impacts the brain in a way that really motivated me to keep reading.

The final chapters are great, too. Having run through the archetypes, there are still lingering questions. Gallo addresses them all, and well: Should I just quit? How can I stay in a sustainable way? Is there someone I can escalate this to? How do I take care of myself? Gallo suggests these two powerful mantras: “It’s OK to feel hurt” and, “Who I am is not shaped by this person’s beliefs” (247). I found the last one especially affirming.

I really appreciated this book. It comes at a great time for a lot of us, and Gallo’s years of experience and passion show. Getting Along is accessible and practical, as well as backed up by research and lots of interpersonal interactions across industries.

I also thought Gallo does a good job of thinking inclusively. Early on she notes, “Not everyone experiences the workplace in the same way—and particular groups are often the targets of incivility to a disproportionate degree” (8). Throughout the archetypes she uses lenses of racism and sexism and other -isms to analyze difficult interactions. It feels like this level of analysis is often missing in self-help or workplace productivity books.

If I have a critique or two of this book, it’s that—based on the title and book description—I expected to see more writing on how to address a co-worker who has a distinct mental health issue. This would probably make the book much longer, but what if your boss actually is a narcissist? Gallo jumps right in on this possibility in the “know-it-all” chapter (starting on p. 118), but I worry she might have too quickly dismissed a reality some folks face, even if she’s right that we shouldn’t be armchair psychologists and even if “pathological narcissism” is rare. Or, to take another archetype, what if your “pessimistic” co-worker is (also) clinically depressed or has an anxiety disorder? Should that shape how you interact with them? If so, how? Are you on the hook to try to get them help? Do you need to be more careful about how you word things? Or not?

Finally, I wonder if readers who are in a persistently (or even occasionally) abusive work environment might need to look elsewhere for help on how to navigate their toxic environment. Gallo does much to help readers work toward health, and I think (I hope!) what she offers will cover the vast majority of workplace personality difficulties. But I can call to mind settings where something like a more trauma-based lens might be needed to help the worker navigate their setting. How to respond, in other words, when you believe you are being abused at work—physically, emotionally, sexually, or psychologically? To be fair, Gallo’s chapter on “the biased co-worker” offers an in-depth response to discrimination and microaggressions in the workplace, although I think the chapter on “the tormentor” could have covered abuse dynamics more fully.

I don’t mean these final comments to take away from how truly affirming, helpful, and empowering Getting Along is. I appreciate how an author of a book like this may be putting themselves out there. And it seemed clear to me that Gallo has heard about, coached people through, and lived through more than a fair share of workplace conflict and difficulty. That she shares her hard-earned wisdom in such an engaging book is a gift to anyone who would read it.

You can find Amy Gallo’s Getting Along here. Her own Website is here (where I have just signed up for her monthly newsletter).

Thanks to Harvard Business Review Press for sending the review copy, which did not (at least not consciously) affect how I reviewed the book.

Why Didn’t Paul Use Parables?

As much as I have sought to meditate on the words of Jesus and the apostle Paul, one significant thought had never occurred to me:

“Interestingly, Jesus’s mode of parabolic discourse was generally not emulated in the early Christian tradition.”

That’s from Richard Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. It comes from an essay in his remarkable book Reading with the Grain of Scripture.

In other words, why didn’t Paul and James and Peter and John and Jude and Priscilla/Barnabas/Luke/Clement use parables?

Intent as they all were on imitating Jesus and carrying on his teaching, why did they not also imitate Jesus by carrying on his teaching method of using parables?

(As I’ve begun to reflect on this, I think James may come the closest to using parable-like discourse.)

As best as I can tell, it might just come down to this: the rest of the New Testament writers seemed to understand their calling and giftedness as teachers/writers differently.

Still, even if they’re not going to use parables themselves, why don’t Paul and the others at least reflect more on the parables of Jesus?

The Autobiography of Omar

The first time I saw Michael K. Williams’s memoir in the bookstore, I devoured the main chapter on his character Omar from The Wire. I thought that was most of what I’d want to read.

But then I started reading from the beginning. And kept reading. And reading.

Mike tells his powerful story in a compelling, humbling, and vulnerable way. From childhood to adulthood, he wrestles in view of the reader with his family, identity, joys, insecurities, ambition, addiction, and what it means to come back home and give back to one’s community.

There are gems throughout the book. For example:

What most people don’t realize about addiction is that it is in you before the drug even shows up. That’s because the drug itself is not the problem; it is a symptom of the problem. The drug is the culmination, the final step—not the first.

And:

If you push something down, it’ll find its way out. You can’t run from it. Jay-Z says we can’t heal what we never reveal. And it’s true. You can’t heal what you never reveal.

In talking about a powerful encounter with Reverend Ron, who showed him God’s love:

It didn’t happen right away, took years in fact, but Reverend Ron was the beginning. I started to see myself as worthy of his love, of that congregation’s love, of God’s love. It all started there in that New Jersey church.

But:

It’s not like boom I was saved and clean all at once. There’s not an addict on the planet who it’s like that for. Being an addict means forward and back constantly. It means saying no again and again. That’s why someone who is clean for thirty years can still call himself an addict. They’re always one choice away.

Especially poignant is Mike’s description of the ebbs and flows of his addiction throughout the five seasons of The Wire, including his emotional response to the show’s conclusion:

It was like in Forrest Gump when he decides to stop running across the country and everyone following him just kind of stops too and wanders away. I felt like one of those people. Like, What do I do now? It wasn’t even about the next job. It was Where do I get this feeling again? How am I going to reach in and get that feeling? That drug, that Omar drug, that shit was powerful, and I didn’t have any legs to stand on. I didn’t know who I was because I had stopped doing work on myself.

The reader does see how much progress Mike made in his life in loving himself and loving others. His self-love is an amazing counterpoint to this truth he articulates: “Every addict, every alcoholic has a self-loathing; we bathe ourselves in that.”

Having learned to love himself—even in a society that in many ways still does not love young black males well—Mike gave back to overlooked communities.

We have to get back to the idea of the village, figure out how to mend our struggling families in the community. Give them culture, respect, connection, the experience of dreaming and hoping. The permission to dream is so important. The permission to love yourself is so important. You don’t have to get scarred up in your face and go through endless rehabs and almost die and overdose to finally understand that you’re worth something.

Scenes from My Life is a heartbreaking and inspiring read. Rest in peace, Mike.

 


 

Thanks to Crown Publicity for the review copy, given with no expectation as to the content of my review.

Book Note: Stained Glass Ceilings: How Evangelicals Do Gender and Practice Power

I learned from Scot McKnight’s Substack about a new book, the Introduction to which is riveting. It’s called Stained Glass Ceilings: How Evangelicals Do Gender and Practice Power, by Lisa Weaver Swartz, a sociologist at Asbury University in Kentucky.

In it she profiles two seminary communities in Kentucky: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary. Southern has a “complementarian insistence on male headship,” whereas Asbury “rejects overtly gendered hierarchies.” This comparative study already piques my interest. I expected it to be a takedown of Southern that held Asbury up as a shining example of how to “do gender and practice power.” Indeed, McKnight writes here about Weaver Swartz and “Southern Seminary’s ‘Godly’ Man.” McKnight calls it “faux masculinity” where “the power dynamic becomes asymmetrical, which itself is fertile ground for abuse.”

But Weaver Swartz notes in the introduction, “Asbury, however, has struggled to achieve the demographic equity it prescribes.” Even this seminary with a so-called egalitarian theology has a narrative that “limits women much more subtly.” There is at Asbury Seminary an “individualistic genderblindness” that “limits gender equity.” And so, “Combining theology, culture, rhetoric, and embodied practice, both seminaries narrate powerful institutional stories that center men and limit women’s agency.”

Phew! That’s all from the first few pages. And the title, Stained Glass Ceilings, is really clever. Not to mention a beautifully designed cover.

Check out the book here at the publisher’s site. I’m eager to read it.

What Does It Mean to Call the Bible “Inspired”?

“St. Paul Writing His Epistles,” by Valentin de Boulogne (17th Cent.)

 

I preach from the Bible whenever I preach. God spoke through and to humanity by the Word. My primary goal as a preacher is to create a space where we can hear God speaking to us today again through that Scripture that is “living and active.” And that we would respond faithfully.

Rare, however, is the full sermon I preach about the Bible: what it is, how we got it, what it does, and how we can respond. I had that privilege this last Sunday, as I preached on the first of five parts of our church’s vision: Scripture guides us. To say Scripture guides us invites reflection on at least two questions: (1) what is Scripture and (2) why should that be what guides us? (Not to mention: how would we know, months and years from now, if Scripture actually were guiding us?)

Despite 40+ years of my life steeped in the Bible, despite memorizing whole books of the New Testament as a kid, despite reading the Bible through multiple times, and despite reading it in Hebrew and Greek… I found it surprisingly challenging to concisely share about, “What is the Bible?” and the follow-on question: “So what?”

In the end I broke it down broadly into two -ations: Revelation and Invitation. God’s Word is revelation. God’s word is an invitation.

To call the Bible revelation means that it is a received word. It is a given word. It is not something we went looking for and figured out by pure reason or emotion or will—in contrast to starting points in other disciplines, like philosophy. All the world’s Pulitzer Prize winners combined couldn’t conjure up God’s Word if they tried. Scripture is God’s self-revelation, and we have it, available to us. Deuteronomy 30:11-14 says:

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Notice who is doing the work, so to speak, in finding “the message”—not you! Not me! God says the people of Israel already have it—on their lips and in their heart. Not because they set it there, but because God put it there. In the 21st century, we might add that we have God’s Word at our very fingertips—just a search string and a click away.

The more specific word Scripture uses for revelation is inspiration. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Maybe a better English word (or at least a more literal one) for “God-breathed” would be theo-spired. God breathed his words into the Bible. Just as he breathed life into Adam and Eve and created them in his image, he breathed himself into Scripture, showing us even more of his image. Scripture is not just humans guessing at who God is; it’s God himself telling us who he is.

Millard Erickson, in his wonderful Christian Theology, puts it this way:

By inspiration of Scripture we mean that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Scripture writers that rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or that resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God.

Just how does inspiration work? If the Bible was both written by God and written by humans, what percentage of each author is at play in each passage, or across the whole Bible? Or is that the wrong way to think about it? Is it more like the incarnation: fully divine, fully human, both at once?

I think the best answer to this question is: we just don’t know. Erickson says it more articulately:

It is our contention here that inspiration involved God’s directing the thoughts of the writers, so that those thoughts were precisely the ones that he wished expressed. At times these thoughts were very specific; at other times they were more general. When they were more general, God wanted that particular degree of specificity recorded, and no more.

I suppose Erickson’s claim could be seen as a case of post hoc ergo propter hoc , where someone infers causation (or intent) just because one thing chronologically follows the other. In other words, “We have it how we have it, so God must have wanted it that way.” But I believe he’s right, and so do millennia of interpreters.

Speaking of philosophy, Erickson tells this story about Edmund Husserl:

Edmund Husserl, the phenomenologist, had a devoted disciple and assistant, Eugen Fink. Fink wrote an interpretation of Husserl’s philosophy upon which the master placed his approval. It is reported that when Husserl read Fink’s article, he exclaimed, “It is as if I had written it myself!””

So, too, God’s relationship to Scripture.

That’s all revelation. But this revelation of God calls for a response: it’s also an invitation. I’ll write more about this in a future post.

Learning to Love God’s Wrath?

“But when we continued to sin against your ways, you were angry. How then can we be saved?” — Isaiah 64:5

Passages about God’s anger might not be the best worn pages in our Bibles. Our great and merciful God, a God of wrath also?

A few months into the pandemic I read an excellent book called, But What About God’s Wrath?: The Compelling Love Story of Divine Anger, by Kevin Kinghorn, with Stephen Travis. The sub-title drew me right in: “The Compelling Love Story of Divine Anger.” Love story? It might be enough for me to make peace with God’s wrath. Or be saved from it somehow! But could I learn to love God’s wrath, too?

For Kinghorn, God’s wrath is “God pressing the truth on us.” We need the truth, but sometimes we’re more motivated to hide than seek it. As Scott Sunquist says, “It’s not loving to hide the truth, and the truth is we’re not healthy…; we need to be restored, even revived.” Or if you prefer Jay-Z, by way of Omar: “You cannot heal what you don’t reveal.”

God’s wrath, then, illuminates the truth, even “pressing” it “on us.” In his wrath, God is restoring us, reviving us, and seeking to free us from the deceptions we too often tolerate or wink at or—worse—embrace.

Isaiah 64, cited at the top of this post, goes on:

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.

Isaiah remembers how “all of us” have failed to call on God’s name; we have not strived to lay hold of God. So God in his loving wrath has given over his people to the consequences of their sins. At times we see these just as natural consequences, but ones that are imbued with the intended goal of restoration, of returning to the Lord.

In this way Kinghorn successfully makes the point that God’s wrath does not stand in contrast to God’s love; rather, God’s wrath is perfect and in fact is “entirely an expression of God’s love, in specific contexts.” Everything God does is motivated by love and is loving, because God is love.

This is not just a neat apologetic trick to avoid some kind of epic, Star Wars-like Wrath vs. Love saga. Kinghorn makes the compelling case from Scripture that “the starting point” is God’s love, and that wrath is a sub-trait of God’s love. Is it loving, after all, to simply leave someone to their own folly, without at least first attempting to press the truth upon them? “If there is one kind of truth that we humans are adept at avoiding, it is the thought that we have been acting in a morally defective way,” writes Kinghorn. Chapter 6 (“Truth as God’s Response to Sin and Self-Deception”) is especially powerful in developing these thoughts. We need God’s wrath, because it saves us from ourselves.

The Psalms, especially the Psalms of vengeance, virtually require God’s wrath for God to be just, loving, faithful to his promises. Will this God right wrongs, or won’t he? Kinghorn puts it like this:

God is not like a judge in a courthouse, suspending his personal feelings in order to act objectively. He is more like a partner who feels affronted when her daughter is bullied in school and who takes steps to confront the offender.

This confrontation, by the way, is a kindness to both offended and offender. This is true even when the offender and offended are the same person, as in the case of “self-destructive behavior.” Hurting oneself angers God, too. Kinghorn cites Jeremiah 7:18-19:

“They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. But am I the one they are provoking?” declares the LORD. “Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?”

“A God who cares about us would naturally be troubled,” Kinghorn concludes, “for our sake, at our sins against him.”

God’s wrath is “more than an emotion,” though. It seeks to lead people to repentance, which leads to fullness of life.

In the end, there’s a sense in which “wrath” is in the eye of the beholder: “Whether we experience God pressing the truth as God’s wrath or as God’s faithful care is, in the end, up to us.” How will we respond to God’s overtures, even when they are uncomfortable?

When I read the book two years ago, it profoundly affected me. It encouraged and strengthened me in my ministry practice. The blend of philosophy and biblical studies (assisting author Stephen Travis) is like enjoying delicious, freshly baked tortilla chips, only to have homemade guac come out a minute later to dip the chips in.

It’s no exaggeration to say I loved this book. It both fired up my theological/philosophical synapses and ministered to me, heart and soul. Never would I have expected that about a book on God’s wrath! But that may just speak to how anemic my understanding of God can be. Kinghorn and Travis will help any willing reader grow in their understanding (and love) of God.

I highly recommend the book. Check it out here.

 


Thanks to IVP Academic for sending the review copy, which did not (at least not consciously) affect how I reviewed the book.

Great short read: “Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out”

Someone refill this poor man’s coffee cup. Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash
 
I found this article really helpful for my practice of leadership: Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out, by Dr. Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg.
 
It’s not written from a religious perspective, but I thought it applies especially well in the body of Christ. Summary:
Earlier in our careers, speed and energy are important components. But there comes a point where you actually can’t speed up any more. You need to rely less on what you can personally achieve (your “ego-drive”) and more on what you can achieve with others (your “co-drive”). Instead of being energetic, you need to become energizing. Instead of setting the pace, you need to teach others to self-propel. Instead of delegating, you need to allow people to congregate. As you shift from proving yourself to helping others perform, your key question is not “How can I push harder?” but “Where can I let go?”
I read it in this excellent little book I’ve been benefiting from lately.

François Fénelon on Not Knowing What to Pray

Quite some time ago I purchased this little book by François Fénelon from a used theological bookstore:

 

Meditations and Devotions by François Fénelon (book cover)

 

The first section of the book has meditations on some sentences of Scripture. Here is one I appreciated reading yesterday:

 

Image from text is reproduced below

 

Here is the text from the image above:

Teach us to pray.–ST. LUKE 11:1.

LORD, I know not what to ask of Thee. Thou only knowest what I need. Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to Thy child what he knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either crosses or consolations. I stand before Thee. I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs that I know not of; behold and do Thou according to Thy mercy. Smite me or heal me, depress me or lift me up: I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them. I am silent. I offer myself to Thee. I yield to Thee. I no longer have any desire but to do Thy Will. Teach me to pray. Pray Thou Thyself in me.

 

Mental Toughness: A Review

First, a three-sentence review of the idea of “mental toughness”:

  1. I want it, I work toward it, and I want my kids to have it—especially given the global and local challenges facing us in 2022.
  2. As a practicing Christian, I wonder what “mental toughness” looks like in light of 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’”
  3. Those lines come from the Apostle Paul, who was as mentally tough a person as I know of, and yet he rejoiced in his weakness, because—perhaps counterintuitively—his weakness was the site of God’s strength made perfect.

Even with that re-framing in mind, “mental toughness” is a desideratum for me. So I read in its entirety HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Mental Toughness, from Harvard Business Review Press. At 160 pages—and with compact trim size—it’s one of the shorter volumes in the 10 Must Reads series, but it’s full of powerful and inspiring ideas.

Here’s the list of 10 (actually 11, counting the “bonus” article) articles in the book:

  1. “How the Best of the Best Get Better and Better,” by Graham Jones
  2. “Crucibles of Leadership,” by Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas
  3. “Building Resilience,” by Martin E.P. Seligman
  4. “Cognitive Fitness,” by Roderick Gilkey and Clint Kilts
  5. “The Making of a Corporate Athlete,” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
  6. “Stress Can Be a Good Thing If You Know How to Use It,” by Alla Crum and Thomas Crum
  7. “How to Bounce Back from Adversity,” by Joshua D. Margolis and Paul G. Stoltz
  8. “Rebounding from Career Setbacks,” by Mitchell Lee Marks, Philip Mirvis, and Ron Ashkenas
  9. “Realizing What You’re Made Of,” by Glenn E. Mangurian
  10. “Extreme Negotiations,” by Jeff Weiss, Aram Donigian, and Jonathan Hughes
  11. “Post-Traumatic Growth and Building Resilience,” by Martin Seligman and Sarah Green Carmichael

Every article has good ideas worthy of implementation. And across the 160 pages there are a handful of ideas I could probably do without. Here are some highlights:

  • In Martin Seligman’s “Building Resilience,” he talks about “post-traumatic growth” (my emphasis), a phrase I’d never heard before reading this book. He mentions post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and then asks: what about the growth that can ensue after traumatic events? The best sentence in the whole book describes people who have post-traumatic growth: “They, too, first experience depression and anxiety, often exhibiting full-blown PTSD, but within a year they are better off than they were before the trauma” (29). Better off than they were before the trauma!

  • Similarly, “Crucibles of Leadership” (Bennis and Thomas) is encouraging, as it tells stories of leaders who “emerged from the crucible stronger and more sure of themselves and their purpose” (11).

  • “Cognitive Fitness” (Gilkey and Kilts) offers a two-page spread (48-49) titled, “Exercising Your Brain: A Personal Program.” Many of the ideas they offer are common sense but easy to forget (“ready funny books,” “play games,” “try new technologies,” “learn a new language or instrument,” etc.).

  • “Stress Can Be Good Thing If You Know How to Use It” (Crum and Crum) was such a good article, I emailed a link to it (with my own reflection) to my church’s elders right away. Best line: “[W]hat did you expect—that climbing Everest would be a walk in the park?” (73) The authors recommend “reframing anxiety as excitement” (74).

  • Scattered throughout some articles are pep-talky ideas I’m ambivalent about. On the first page of the first article (“How the Best of the Best Get Better and Better”), for example, there is, “[I]n sports as in business, the main obstacle to achieving ‘the impossible’ may be a self-limiting mind-set” (1). Yeah, may be. But for some things “mind over matter” may itself be a limiting approach, since it may fail to take into account external factors.

  • “How to Bounce Back from Adversity” (Margolis and Stoltz) is excellent, although I disagree with the authors’ conclusion that when analyzing setbacks, we need to stop thinking about their causes and focus instead on our response. Why not both? Interestingly, another article (“Rebounding from Career Setbacks”) has a section called “Figure Out Why You Lost” (90). On the upside, Margolis and Stoltz’s “resilience regimen” offers a series of practical and empowering questions that almost ensure forward movement. For example:

       “Visualizing: What do I want life to look like on the other side of this adversity?

       “Specifying: What can I do in the next few minutes, or hours, to move in that direction?

       “Collaborating: What sequence of steps can we put together as a team, and what processes can we develop and adopt, to see us through to the other side of this hardship?” (86)

  • Glenn E. Mangurian’s “Realizing What You’re Made Of” is the most inspirational of the articles. It begins with the provocative (ridiculous?) claim: “Those who have survived a traumatic, life-altering event often convey a curious sentiment: They wouldn’t have it any other way” (97). He then talks about working through (and with, not against) his own experience of paralysis. It’s a moving read. “In my new life,” he says, “I am able to use all of my assets, including my paralysis, to be a new kind of leader” (106).

  • There is some overlap between this and other published HBR collections. As HBR continues to publish its 10 Must Read series, and multiple other best-of collections, they’ll want to keep an eye on not overusing certain articles.

I’ll refer back to this volume again, and it took me about a year to work through it, because I kept savoring/procrastinating working through the ideas and exercises.

Find the book here, and thanks to HBR Press for sending the review copy, which did not (at least not consciously) affect how I reviewed the book.

Treasure Trove of a Website for Bible Translation (or just richer Bible reading)

 

I just learned about this fascinating Website intended for Bible translators, which is also useful for preachers or anyone who wants to better understand the Bible. It’s called TIPs, which stands for “Translation Insights and Perspectives.” Here’s the site description:

God’s communication with humanity was intended from the beginning for “every nation, tribe, and language.” While all languages are equally competent in expressing the message of the Bible, each language has particular and sometimes unique capacities to communicate certain biblical messages in exceptionally enriching ways that other languages cannot. The Translation Insights and Perspectives (TIPs) tool collects these outstanding translation insights in the form of stories so they can be made available to everyone in the church as well as researchers and other interested parties.

There’s a great explainer video here.

You can search the site by word or phrase or even language.

Here’s just one of many insights at the TIPs site. Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (NIV). Searching the TIPs site yields this translation anecdote:

For the translation of this verse into Maasina Fulfulde Doug Higby tells this story:

“[We] had the word for ‘door’ and also a word for knocking or ‘hitting’ a door. But as I thought about it, Jesus was coming to visit! The Fulani don’t even have doors on their traditional huts, and they certainly don’t bang on the reed coverings used to keep the dust out of the doorway. If Jesus came, he would go to the entrance of the courtyard and say, ‘Salaam Alaikum.’ This would announce his presence in the same way that knocking on a door would in Western contexts. But I was concerned… the Greek text says ‘door’ and I wanted to be faithful to the original. Yet, I felt the Fulani customary greeting was exactly what Jesus would do in this context, so I continued. To my great surprise, the next part of the verse went: ‘Anyone who hears my voice and opens the door…’ Voice?! Who said anything about Jesus speaking, I thought he was knocking… So now the Fulani greeting makes even more sense with the cultural version which goes like this: ‘I stand at the entrance (to your courtyard) and greet (in peace). Whoever hears my voice and lets me in, I will enter and eat together with him.’ (Hettina, miɗo nii darii e damal miɗo salmina. Neɗɗo fuu nanɗo daande am so udditi, mi naatan galle mum, mi ɲaamda e mum.).”

You can access the site here.