"I have written this book to reconstrue the role of religious leaders in management terms as they face what I consider to be the most critical aspect of their role, namely, the paradoxical nature of the religious environment. . . .The ones who succeed best are those who face the paradoxes in their environment and attempt to live with the double truths they represent."— H. Newton Malony, from the Preface
For every important truth about effective religious leadership, there is a seemingly opposite assertion that is also true. It is true, for example, that effective religious leaders must manage profitable organizations; but it is also true that they need to minister without concern for cost. And while it is true that effective religious leaders give comfort and nurture, it is also true that they challenge their followers to make uncomfortable choices in the service of doing Gods work in the world. Perhaps the central paradox is that religious organizations are based on otherworldly concerns and yet must function in this world.
The manner in which religious leaders deal with paradox can make or break a ministry. In this perceptive book, H. Newton Malony outlines the critical skills needed to identify and embrace paradox -- a key to effective leadership. He assures readers that living with paradox is a skill that can be learned. And he examines the various paradoxes one might encounter.
Religious leaders can be oppressed by thinking that they always have to choose between the two sides of a paradox. Malony asserts that there is genius in seeing both sides without becoming disoriented -- and in coming up with workable options that respect both. Living with paradox, he says,"requires double vision. It asks leaders to move beyond 'either/or to both/and." This both/and thinking accepts the contradictions of a paradox and affirms that each side contains truth.
While acknowledging the unique aspects of the religious enterprise, Malonys approach is grounded in sound management theory. And it is informed by his many decades of experience as a psychologist working in religious organizations. Filled with the stories, examples, and keen insights of a wise teacher, Living with Paradox promises to take leaders from "the tyranny of the or to the genius of the and."