Flourishing people are strong and weak.
Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living—withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. True flourishing, says Andy Crouch, travels down an unexpected path—being both strong and weak.
We see this unlikely mixture in the best leaders—people who use their authority for the benefit of others, while also showing extraordinary willingness to face and embrace suffering. We see it in Jesus, who wielded tremendous power yet also exposed himself to hunger, ridicule, torture and death. Rather than being opposites, strength and weakness are actually meant to be combined in every human life and community. Only when they come together do we find the flourishing for which we were made.
With the characteristic insight, memorable stories and hopeful realism he is known for, Andy Crouch shows us how to walk this path so that the image of God can shine through us. Not just for our own good, but for the sake of others.
If you want to become the kind of person whose influence leads to healthy communities, someone with the strength to be compassionate and generous, this is the book for you. Regardless of your stage or role in life, whether or not you have a position of leadership, here is a way to love and risk so that we all, even the most vulnerable, can flourish.
Crouch (Culture Making and Playing God), executive editor of Christianity Today, follows his previous studies with an eloquent and accessible study on the meaning of human flourishing. From a Christian point of view, he asks "What does it mean for human beings to be fully alive?" For Crouch, the answer lies in "the paradox of flourishing," the idea that being fully alive and, indeed, fully human depends upon our being able to hold together the apparently opposed qualities of strength and weakness as well as authority and vulnerability, which, he demonstrates, are all exemplified in the life of Christ. Timely, well-chosen stories incidents of racism, tales of a family's suffering, thoughts on the phenomenon of faux vulnerability illustrate his thesis. This brief book examines how vulnerability without authority and authority without vulnerability limit and distort human flourishing and connection, and offers both sophisticated theory and practical thoughts on ways that individual Christians can live spiritually balanced lives by embracing both strength and weakness.