Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power

by Andy Crouch. InterVarsity Press, 2013.
Large playing god

Religious leaders are often ambivalent about power. Andy Crouch wants such leaders to understand what is at stake regarding such ambivalence. The executive editor at Christianity Today, Crouch is an author (Culture Making) and musician, as well as a former Inter Varsity campus minister at Harvard. In this book, Crouch helps us understand power as a tool for grace and redemption. Godly power is not always overt; it is sometimes hidden. It can reside in individuals, as well as institutions. Though power can corrupt, religious leaders who avoid proper use of power are also avoiding making lasting impact. Though power can lead to idolatry, when enforced appropriately, it can feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Mixed feelings about power can be a good defense against the misuse of authority. However, this book provides careful thinking and trustworthy examples of disciplined power. Are we sometimes too collaborative? Are there limits to what business books call “soft leadership?” Is power a gift or a burden? A thoughtful read of the book would be helpful to clergy trying to make sense of leadership in this era where dynamism is not always seen as a virtue.

Reviewed by Tim Shapiro

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