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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book Review: The Monkey and the Fish


The Monkey & the Fish is part of Leadership Network's innovation series and I'm really not sure what to make of it. The subtitle is Liquid Leadership for a third culture church and I have to confess even after reading it I'm not entirely sure what that means.

On the back cover it pronounces this to be a book that is a mandate for change and a manifesto for how and I have to say I'm not sure it's either of those things.

Dave Gibbons is another American mega-church pastor, this time of Newsong which has a site in London and several other nations so this shouldn't be a book simply for 'over there.'

Let me explain third-culture. If I was born in Britain, that's my first culture. Then I go and live and in Sweden and raise children there. Sweden is the second culture. Noah then grows up with some Britain and some Sweden, he can live in both and create a new culture, that's third culture. So as they say on the website it is, "having the mindset and the will to love, learn, and serve in any culture, even in the midst of pain and discomfort." Apparently God is third culture, which is a bit daft really. God is love, his 'culture' is love and so of course he can love anyone, anywhere at anytime. That makes Him God not third culture. Anyway.

In essence it seems this book is about creating leaders and churches that really, actually and truly love people then it would really change the world. Now I'm not sure what churches they have in America but come on now, that should be in church leadership 101. Love God, love people. I mean, that is what Jesus said right?

To be fair though it does seem that he is practising what he preaches and engages with the poor, realises that a having a big church isn't IT (although it does help in getting your book published), realises and affirms the importance of the world of business in mission and the importance of multi-generational ethnically diverse leadership and the importance of community in a global fragmented world.

On the whole the illustrations were average and there isn't a lot of theology or scripture here although there are some good ideas and some good examples from their story. It's kind of a strange love child of emerging church and mega church. So you could read it and if you're a church leader you might find it interesting if you're thinking of reinventing the wheel.

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