The Age of the Unthinkable

Kara Powell | May 10, 2010

During a recent webinar on our College Transition Project findings, my good buddy and colleague, Chap Clark, recommended The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It by Joshua Cooper Ramo. I spent some time last week reading it and I’ll be blogging on it for the next few days.

According to the back of the book cover, Ramo “is managing director at Kissinger Associates, one of the world’s leading geostrategic advisory firms.” I don’t exactly know what “geostrategic” means but I’m guessing it means using the world’s resources strategically. The book is endorsed by Fareed Zakaria, and I’m a big fan of Fareed’s.

Ramo analyzes what makes for an effective “revolution” today. His examples span everything from the Wii to the Hizb’allah (which I’ve often seen spelled Hezbollah).

I love this quote from page 37 when talking about the people in power who don’t support change: “Why change a system that’s working well for you?”

Good question. If a system is working well for your students, or your senior pastor, why would they want to change it? People in power, whether it be in government or your church’s leadership team, often have an inherent disinterest in bringing about change. Why? They usually have the most to lose.

How do we nudge them? I think the best way is to give them a vision for what the change would mean—for how many more people would be served by what you’re suggesting. If their lives get better/easier, point that out. But if not, then invite them to lay down their life for others—many of us follow a leader who was famous for that.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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