Goleman, Daniel. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence (Florence, MA: More Than Sound, 2011). This essay collection by emotional intelligence (EI) expert Daniel Goleman brings together two decades of the author’s research and insight on the factors that drive effective leadership. Beginning with explanations of EI’s building blocks—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relational management—Goleman reflects on the elements of leadership, the “social brain,” group IQ, and ways to apply and develop emotional intelligence in leadership roles.

Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2012). Jonathan Haidt chose the title of this book to express how “human nature is not just intrinsically moral; it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental.” Understanding the psychology of “moralism,” however, can help us understand moralistic tendencies in ourselves and others—and help us to respond in fruitful ways.

Herring, Hayim. Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today: Creating Vibrant Centers of Jewish Life (Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2012). By providing different scenarios of what synagogues and the rabbinate could become, Hayim Herring stimulates Jewish congregations to discover their own paths to revitalization. He also examines synagogue opportunities for collaboration and argues for the need to invest in synagogue leadership, continuing rabbinic education, and teaching synagogues.

Johansen, Bob. Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2012). Bob Johansen presents new information and insights on future trends and the leadership skills necessary for meeting them. Among the future-shaping forces most relevant for congregations are cloud computing (which makes possible new forms of collaboration and communication) and the emergence of digital natives (who have lived all of their lives with the Internet and most of their lives with social media).

Jordan, River. Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2012). River Jordon relays the story of how she kept her 2009 New Year’s resolution to pray for a stranger every day. She prayed for those she saw—in parks, in grocery stores, on the street. And she often told the person for whom she prayed what she was doing. Surprisingly, the response was gratitude. Jordan discovered that “the longer you pray for someone, the more you lose that crust of ambivalence, that twinge of not liking them.”

Morrison, Toni. Home: A Novel (New York, NY: Random House, 2012). Novelist Toni Morrison offers a disturbing but moving tale of Korean War veteran Frank Money and his return to the 1950s town of Lotus, Georgia. Money is tortured by memories of both the war and his life as an African-American in the small town of his childhood. The publisher comments that this novel dramatizes small-town Southern racism, as well as the impact of war and “the meaning of both leaving and coming home.”

Piazza, Micheal S. and Cameron B. Trimble. Liberating Hope!: Daring to Renew the Mainline Church (Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2011). Michael Piazza and Cameron Trimble present their vision of the transformational community that is possible for mainline churches. Along with this vision, the authors offer a strong sense of hope and optimism—grounded not only in their theological understanding of resurrection, but also in their experiences with church renewal.

Pohl, Christine. Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us(Eerdmans Publishing, 2012). While griping, betraying, deceiving, envying, and excluding happen in every congregation, these actions can wreak havoc if they become ongoing and habitual. Fortunately, there are practices that Christine Pohl believes can serve as alternatives to such actions. Living into Community explores four of these Christian practices—gratitude, promise-keeping, truth-telling, and hospitality—and guides congregations in adopting and integrating them into community life.

Prothero, Stephen. The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2012). The author invites readers to examine American texts that we often consider sacred—such as The Declaration of IndependenceThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” While these works are often passively revered, they need to be read and pondered. Only through active engagement with such texts can we be sufficiently informed to consider current issues.



Congregations magazine, 2012-09-11
2012 Issue 3, Number 3