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Who are your mentors?

July 23, 2011

I find myself still reflecting and riffing off Mike’s article as of late… perhaps his short article is the seed of a larger work (hint, hint Mike!). There is a lot here to chew on and many stories from Mike’s experience as well as scores of other practitioners that need to be told, mined, learned from and then past on…


Not that there aren’t some great young writers out there. I think of Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove for instance. But there is something to be said for the time tested, weathered wisdom of age. I heard one community leader say (and he may have actually been paraphrasing Dorothy Day -not sure) that we need more “old radicals.” In some ways its easy to be a young radical…. then time tests the ideals…. kids show up… bills hit… energy lags… bodies can no longer move as fast… people who you thought were with you move on… Does this sound familiar? If not you’re likely under 30! I do think this is a God ordained, normal experience. It’s not wrong to be young and idealistic. That’s certainly better than being young and jaded or under 30 & already washed up or burned out. And of course there’s all kinds of precedent in scripture and church history for the young doing great things for God and the world. However…

If I had to choose my list tends toward the old and dead as well. In fact Mike listed 5 of my favorite authors so I won’t repeat his list but add five others and ask you to do the same in the comments if you’re willing and able.

Here’s my 5 more:

1. Jean Vanier – founder of the L’Arche communities and author of Community and Growth.

2. St. Benedict – founder of Benedictine monasticism and writer of the Rule of St. Benedict. Two of the best modern interpreters of his Rule are Joan Chittester and Esther de Waal.

3. Dorothy Day – founder of Catholic Worker houses and a spry activist form the not too distant past

4. Dietrich Bonehoeffer – founder of an underground seminary and author of many works but my favorite is by far Life Together

5. Brother Lawrence – wrote Practicing the Presence of God, on my very short list of best writings of all time on prayer.

Bonus: On a completely different note I wanted to throw in a few business guys that I’ve been reading in recent years as well as I’ve had to quickly learn all kinds of things about running and growing a business and having no formal education in that arena. These guys have really been helpful: John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing and Seth Godin (many, many works but especially his Purple Cow stuff)

Now, the book that eludes me and I’d love your recommendations if there are any out there… a biography of someone who ran a thriving business (large or small) and simultaneously had a far reaching ministry (that went beyond generosity with their money)… someone who was able to integrate those 2 arenas into one cohesive whole. ….Hmmmm, maybe I’m reaching again for What’s next for myself… integration….

Who are your 5?



3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2011 2:22 pm

    Maybe that’s the book you’re gonna write! 😉

  2. July 23, 2011 2:23 pm

    PS: Isn’t that Cartagena in the header photo?! 🙂

    • July 23, 2011 2:42 pm

      YES! That is Cartagena… one of my favorite places on this wide earth…. and if this is the “KS” i think it is then you were there with me and the family when I took this…

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