The Narcissistic, Yet Well-Balanced, World Changer

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of the Red Letter Book Club. It is a review of Sarah Cunningham’s new book, “The Well-Balanced World Changer: A Field Guide for Staying Sane While Doing Good.”

I once asked my therapist, “Do you think I’m a narcissist?” “Well, let’s put it this way,” she said, “I don’t wake up every morning thinking I’ll write a book telling people what to think and how to live.”

She went on to explain that just about any author, preacher, lecturer, etc., is somewhat narcissistic. Those of us who want to change the world to look more like we think it should look are inherently confident of our position, and we’re out to convince others of the way that things should be.

Maintaining balance in this is the tricky part. That’s where Sarah Cunningham comes in.

I’ve known Sarah for a few years now, and we’ve been working closely on some projects. We’re both Enneagram 8s, so we understand how the other ticks. And what Sarah is — more than me, for sure — is careful. Not cautious. She doesn’t hold back, but she does think things through, and this characteristic of hers has been a great blessing to me. And, at times, it has curbed me, which I need.

This book of hers — this breezy, readable book — comes with those same characteristics. It’s bold, but care-ful. In other words, it’s well-balanced.

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Someone once told me: When you’re leading people, don’t get so far out front that they mistake you for the enemy and shoot you. I’ve made that mistake more than once. I bet Tony Campolo has, too.

A lot want to change the world. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be reading Red Letter Christians if you didn’t. You want it to be a better, more just, more equitable place. A lot of people have gone down in flames with just this notion in mind. They’ve lost sight of their loved ones and ended up with broken relationships; they’ve lost connection with their own health and suffered ailments uncurable; they’ve justified putting their hand in the till, “just this once…” To all of us who want to change the world but are also sinful — that’s all of us — The Well-Balanced World Changer is a devotion. And I recommend it.

This post is a review of Sarah Cunningham’s new book, “The Well-Balanced World Changer: A Field Guide for Staying Sane While Doing Good,” currently featured on the Red Letter Book Club.




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About the Author

Tony Jones

Tony JonesTony Jones, M.Div., Ph.D., is the author of a dozen books. He blogs daily at Theoblogy. Tony is the theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch, has developed an iPhone app (Ordain Thyself), teaches at several seminaries, co-owns a social media and event company, speaks regularly at conferences around the world, and is the senior acquisitions editor at sparkhouse. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and children.View all posts by Tony Jones →

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