This guest article was written by Jerome Daley, author of Gravitas: The Monastic Rhythms of Healthy Leadership
One of the ways in which I’ve tried to make sense of the trajectory of my life has been, for years now, keeping a list of the books (and recording artists too) who have changed my life or contributed to my formation in pivotal ways. These have been the “mentors” who have given me new words for old thoughts…and new thoughts for old words. I have painfully reduced that list to share five with you.
Formative nonfiction is a matter of timing, and this book entered my life in the midst of great upheaval. That internal and external tumult opened my soul to a level of longing I had not encountered before: longing for intimacy with God and with my own heart. Curtis and Eldridge fanned that dull ember into a consuming flame, for which I will always be grateful. I continue to daily fan the flame of this holy longing that blossomed in new intensity from this provocative book.
When the word “postmodern” first appeared on the Christian scene, to the chagrin of many, it resonated with a deep place in me: an unnamed dissociation with, not faith, but the faith container I had inherited. McLaren was the first to name it for me with a perspective that explained this fundamental shift in the world and how I could find my own story in it. He helped me understand that none of us see things as they are; we see things as we are!
From day one, well maybe day two, my wife Kellie and I did not fit into the familiar gender stereotypes of our faith acculturation, so it was a stunning revelation to find a whole tribe of academically astute, passionate Christ-followers who had unearthed a radically different story in the Bible on women, roles, and leadership. It was an awakening. The shock wave of biblical equality in the church and in the home continues to ripple through Christian culture, breaking the chains that have entangled many.
On vacation each year in Ontario, my in-laws would frequent the expansive bookstore of The Madonna House. One summer they returned and gave me a book by its founder…which I gratefully accepted, placed on my bookshelf, and promptly forgot about. Fifteen years later the book exploded into my soul as Doherty offered me a historical context from the Russian tradition that has become a metaphor for my life: the monk who lives and ministers from the edge of the community. Allow me to whet your appetite for this life-altering paradigm!
I’ve learned something about myself—I’m always on the lookout for a freshly-articulated paradigm that explains the way I experience myself and the world around me in honest, Godward ways. Rohr’s insights here accomplished this for me, explaining the necessary goal in the first segment of life—creating the dualistic ego with which we understand ourselves within a tribal identity—followed by the equally necessary, but less frequently traveled, second half where the mission is to dismantle that same ego in order to foment unitive consciousness within the body of Christ.
And as an added bonus, I’ve added the next three books that are in the process of changing my life! Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality, by Alan Jones; Tensions: Necessary Conflicts in Life and Love, by H. A. Williams; and Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love, by John Welwood. Blessings on your formation journey! May we meet on the other side.
Jerome Daley is an executive coach and author of the recent book release, Gravitas: The Monastic Rhythms of Healthy Leadership. More about Jerome at www.Thrive9Solutions.com.