The Most Interesting Thing: Strong and Weak

The Most Interesting Thing I Read *Recently:

Big Idea: “Flourishing comes from being both strong and weak.”

Source: “Strong and Weak” by Andy Crouch

More: We flourish – fully live within our divine purpose – when we have strength (authority – capacity for meaningful action) and weakness (true vulnerability to risk). This is a paradox. It holds two seemingly contradictory ideas in creative tension as illustrated below.

Crouch labels strength/authority without vulnerability “exploiting.” In this quadrant, we move all the vulnerability inherent in the world to others and close ourselves off from suffering. He labels vulnerability without the capacity for meaningful action “suffering.” In this quadrant, we are victims of the exploitative power of others – a reality for too many people. Crouch labels the quadrant lacking both strength and weakness “withdrawing.” (think: replacing real action/risk with the escapist world of simulated action/risk in the digital world).

Flourishing – embracing both strength and weakness – follows the pattern of Jesus. Jesus exercised authority (healing, preaching, etc.) and weakness (suffering and dying on the cross) in a life of true flourishing. He called his disciples to the same, passing along to them authority and a life of vulnerability and risk.

Why this is interesting to me: I love paradoxes! 2×2 diagrams are one of my new favorite things.

Critique: This makes sense in a fallen world where real risk is necessary, but I wonder if this idea of flourishing fits with life after the resurrection? Either way, this is a good book.

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

*I have to change this column from “this week” to “recently” because sometimes the “big idea” is something I read a few weeks ago.