UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

A Door Set Open

Book offers a clear-eyed look at the world in which we live invites readers to live out God's call in the 21st century

By Susan Tough

A Door Set Open: Grounding Change in Mission and Hope
By Peter L. Steinke
(The Alban Institute) $18


Change is hard. This is surely no surprise to any of us. We live in a rapidly changing world. We struggle to be the church while facing diminishing resources and relevance. A Door Set Open provides no magic answers. What it offers is a clear-eyed look at the world in which we live, coupled with an invitation to renew our hope in God’s plan to mend life.

Author Peter L. Steinke presents a combination of theological reflection on our mission as God’s people, an analysis of the emotionality of change, and a conviction that mature and motivated leaders are essential. Ultimately, this is a hopeful book, but one that does not shy away from the truth that transformational change requires patience, commitment to mission, mature leadership and grounding in biblically based hope.

Steinke begins with a presentation of our current context. He includes pithy descriptions of postmodernism, dogmatic atheism, supermodernity, science and religion, the neuro society, the ghost of Gnosticism and therapeutic dominance. But perhaps most eye-opening are his observations on the ways in which emotional processes block creative change — and our tendency to fail to take this into account.

In the second section of the book, Steinke argues that mission is the very purpose of the church. Therefore, clarifying our particular mission is key to moving forward. There are no shortcuts here; transformation is a process that demands patient, non-anxious, focused and non-reactive leadership.

In the final section of the book, we are challenged to understand ourselves as people of the way, deepening our sense of call to be participants in God’s mending of Creation. I found Steinke’s reframing of this “wilderness time” in the church to be very helpful and liberating. He acknowledges that exile is not comfortable but encourages us to trust God’s presence in this transitional time.

If you hunger for a reflective, analytical, challenging invitation to deepen your commitment to living out God’s call in this time, I recommend this book. It may make you feel less crazy in what you are experiencing. It will definitely place your experience within the vision of God’s coming kingdom while encouraging you to become a more mature, hopeful and attentive leader.



Rev. Susan Tough is a minister at St. Mary's Road United in Winnipeg.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image