Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Outliers" is Outstanding

Every once in a while I come across a book that is written for a secular audience, but which is more Christian than anything I am reading in the religious sphere.  The current book I am reading is more Presbyterian than anything John Knox himself could have written.  The book I am reading now is called; Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

The main premise of "Outliers" is that success is not a solo event.  Success is not just about an individual, but it is a about a composition of factors that contribute to the individual's success. Success is the result of the right people in our lives at the right time.  Success is about certain conditions being right for change.  Success is not really about intelligence or IQ.  In fact, those with the highest IQ's are statistically often the least successful.  Success, to coin a political cliche, on this election Tuesday in which I am writing this blog post, "takes a village".

Gladwell describes a tall red wood tree in a forest.  Why is it the tallest tree?  Well, it had a good pine cone (genetic code).  Several other factors contributed to the tree's success, however. No other tree around the red wood tree is crowding out it's sunlight.  The tree had just enough rain, sun, space.  A lumberjack did not come along and cut the tree down as it was in it's infancy.  The tallest redwood tree in the forest required an entire set of factors.

Reformed Theology (Presbyterian Theology), is founded on the same principle.  Our two main sacraments, Baptism and Communion, must be done in a group setting (congregation).  It is the power of the group, in addition to the presence of God, we believe, that makes communion holy.  At Highlands, when we baptize people, we ask anyone who wants to support the person being baptized to stand.  It is the group, community, which helps to make the baptism a success.  

So, three cheers for Gladwell.  

Now, I will send this blog out to the "group" for your comments or contributions,

All for now,

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