Abandon The Ordinary (book review)

Ordinary. Plain. Generic. Non-descript. Boring. According to Richard S. Lytle in Abandon The Ordinary, these words should never be the descriptors for those who want to create a distinctive brand of leadership for their business, family, or church. And they should never, ever be used to describe Christians.

Dr. Lytle is a business professor, so he comes at this topic from a distinctly business paradigm. But make no mistake: this is not a dry academic treatise. Abandon The Ordinary is an exciting and practical way to develop a distinct, unique brand for your life. In the opening chapter, Dr. Lytle quotes:

“To make ordinary that which God calls life and use your gifts and capacities for nothing is to prostitute great potential. Jesus Christ came into the world to convict us not so much of our transgressions but of our possibilities and to deliver us from an empty way of life. …God must become ill at times when He sees us so trivial, so paltry, thinking such little things, when such great and honorable and glorious things are there in front of us.” — Jim McGuiggan

This is such a refreshing viewpoint for so many people who have bought-in to the “cookie cutter” mentality that says every business should operate like this, or every family should look this way, or every Christian must behave like such-and-such.

To help aide the reader in developing a distinctive, far-from-the-ordinary brand, Dr. Lytle has included several worksheets at the back of the book, which will help you apply the methods about which he teaches. I’m looking forward to utilizing this helpful tool.

If you’re tired of ordinary, Abandon The Ordinary will be a welcomed book for your library.

I am an ACU Press book reviewer.

Dichotomy & Ricky Gervais

Dichotomy is a big word that means two parts that are opposed to each other. But it also means that they were once joined together—they were once in unity. Much like the first Christians: when people looked at them they saw Jesus; when they heard them speak they heard Jesus; when they watched their lives they saw the life of Jesus.

Christ and Christian were the same unified picture.

Today this is, sadly, far from the truth. People have a lot of wonderful things to say about Jesus, and a lot of nasty things to say about Christians. An unfortunate, and unnecessary, dichotomy exists.

I read an editorial from Ricky Gervais, a self-proclaimed atheist, entitled “Why I’m A Good Christian.” You can read his full editorial in the Wall Street Journal here, but for me this was the key passage:

I am of course not a good Christian in the sense that I believe that Jesus was half man, half God, but I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians.

It’s not that I don’t believe that the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t make this a better world if they were followed. It’s just that they are rarely followed.

Gandhi summed it up really. He said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I have always felt this way, even when I believed in God, and in a weird way I feel I am still a pretty good “Christian” who doesn’t believe in God.

I think the way back from this dichotomy is two-fold:

(1) Christ-followers need to make an intentional effort to act more Christ-like.

(2) We Christians need to be more thoughtful in our responses to people like Ricky Gervais. I like the pattern Peter recommends

Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life [our motivation for action]. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope [“hope,” not theology, not bad behavior]. Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear [there is zero justification for a Christian to give a crass, disrespectful, or sarcastic answer]. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ [good conduct = we live, talk, and act like Jesus].

C’mon, followers of Christ, let’s close this dichotomy between us and Jesus!

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