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Wisdom from Babylon
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Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Part I: Reading and Understanding the Times
1. Secularity: An Interdisciplinary Consideration
2. Four Contemporary Responses to Secularity, Part 1
3. Wisdom from Babylon: Attending to the Exilic and Postexilic Prophets
4. Perspective and Wisdom from the Early Church
5. Learning from Historic Minority Churches
6. Christian Voices from Secular Europe
7. Four Contemporary Responses to Secularity, Part 2: The Options Reconsidered

Part II: Forming the Alternative Community: Competencies and Dispositions
8. Cultivating the Capacity for Liturgical Leadership
9. Cultivating the Capacity for Catechetical Leadership
10. Cultivating the Capacity for Missional Leadership
11. Ecumenism in a Secular Age: A Theological Conviction, a Practical Necessity
12. Cultivating Interiority: Spiritual Practice in a Secular Age
Conclusion: Hospitality, the Gospel, and Leadership in a Secular Age

Essential Reading List for Leading the Church in a Secular Age
Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index

About the Author

Gordon T. Smith (PhD, Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University) is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Institutional Intelligence, Called to Be Saints, and Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal.

Reviews

Wisdom from Babylon is a masterful guide for Christian leadership amid the upheavals of our secular age. Global in reach, thick with scholarship, Gordon Smith's work gives us the wherewithal to gain a footing for the journey that besets us. He offers not retreat but presence. This book is hope for anyone asking, 'How can we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?' (Psalm 137:4).

--David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, Chicago, author of Faithful Presence

Wisdom from Babylon is the book of wisdom that is needed for every leader in a Western context. In a moment when people listen to comedians and laugh at politicians, when they are unwavering in their commitment to political ideologies but skeptical of their faith, leaders need a radical reframing of what it means to lead the people of God. Gordon Smith gives us just that: a framework of ancient wisdom translated through practices that every leader can adopt for the present moment. If you're a leader who is feeling lost and reactive, this book serves as a compass pointing us toward the King and the kingdom.

--Rick McKinley, lead pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon, and author of Faith for This Moment

God is calling the church to a new reality. Of course, the reality of a spiritual community that cuts against the grain of secular liturgy has always existed. We just need to draw upon this ancient wisdom that speaks to us with new intensity. Gordon Smith proposes that we are not merely the church gathered but the church dispersed and present in the world, in particular as lived out in business, education, and the arts. Wisdom from Babylon reminds us that we can and should lead from the margins, even as we live as a nonanxious presence in a world full of anxiety. Don't look to this book for techniques and prescriptions. Whether in Babylon or our twenty-first-century world, it's always been about encountering Christ in real time--a reality that is at once deeply profound and highly practical.

--Stan Jantz, president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association

I just love how Gordon Smith does theology. His views are evangelical, ecumenical, catholic, orthodox, and justice-hungry, with that wild concoction all put in service to a small but scrappy university in Alberta. We need more leadership like his, informed by theology like his, expressed as lovingly and wisely as this.

--Jason Byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermeneutics at Vancouver School of Theology, author of Surprised by Jesus Again

This is a timely book for an age increasing in information yet lacking in wisdom. By exploring diverse streams of Christian thinking, Gordon Smith reveals a deep need to revisit our emerging secular age with fresh eyes. In addition to historical insights, Smith's underlining emphasis reveals that all future leaders will require wisdom shaped by the Scriptures, awakening our courage to lovingly engage with a changing world.

--Domenic Ruso, founding church planter of The180 Church in Quebec and a faculty member at diverse theological schools across Canada

To be in but not of the world. Drawing on a lifetime of careful study, Gordon T. Smith brings together spiritual theology, sociological analysis, church history, and cultural critique in his new book, Wisdom from Babylon. Having apprenticed himself to the church's most trusted teachers whose wisdom still shapes the life and labor of faithful people centuries later, he is at the same time attentive to the contemporary complexity of this task, thoughtfully engaging the tensions of being the church in the globalizing, pluralizing, and secularizing world that is ours. A master teacher whose thinking is marked by unusual clarity and depth, this book is for all who long to make sense of honest faith in the twenty-first century.

--Steven Garber, professor of marketplace theology at Regent College and author of The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work

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