Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch is was one of the best books I read in 2016. It was also one of the last books I read in 2016. I worked my way through this short little book in a couple of days between Christmas and New Years which probably led to a more introspective view on the material Crouch puts forward in “Strong and Weak”. The book certainly jolts leaders into serious self-examination and points us to our minute-by-minute need for Jesus and His grace. The chapter on withdrawing was exceptionally helpful and worth the price of the book alone. Needless to say, “Strong and Weak” is a tour de force of Gospel-soaked truth and will dramatically alter your understandings of authority and vulnerability.
The book attempts to answer two questions:
- What are we meant to be?
- Why are we so far from what we’re meant to be?
“To flourish is to be fully alive…”(p.10) “Every paradox requires that we embrace two things that seem like opposites. The paradox of flourishing is that true flourishing requires two things that at first do not seem to go together at all. But in fact, if you do not have both, you do not have flourishing and you do not create it for others. Here’s the paradox: flourishing comes from being both strong and weak“. (p. 11) “What we truly admire in human beings is not authority or vulnerability alone – we seek both together”. (p. 47)
7 Great Quotes:
- “The world is littered with false choices”. (p. 13)
- “Authority, like flourishing is a shared reality, not a private possession”. (p. 37)
- “The unsettling truth is that just as human beings have more authority than any other creature, we also have more vulnerability than any other creature.” (p. 43)
- “Suffering is the human choice, at the very origins of the species, to pursue exploiting – to seek authority without vulnerability, godlike power without godlike character”. (p. 60)
- “The real temptation for most of us is not complete apathy but activities that simulate meaningful action and meaningful risk without actually asking much of us or transforming much in us. So if you really want to see what withdrawing looks like in affluent, technological America, you don’t have to visit a port of call. You just have to turn on the Playstation in your living room”. (p. 82)
- “Leadership does not begin with a title or position. It begins the moment you are concerned more about other’s flourishing that you are on your own. It begins when you start to ask how you might help create and sustain the conditions for others to increase their authority and vulnerability together.” (p. 111)
- “Our true story is not really about us – it is about our Rescuer”. (p. 181)