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Archive for October, 2016

Begin With Why

This summer I had the privilege of listening to James KA Smith, keynote speaker at Christian Schools International’s Worldview Summit held in Grand Rapids, MI. He was speaking primarily from his recent book – You Are What You Love: the Spiritual Power of Habit.

You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.youarewhatyoulove

. . . author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom.

 More on this very important book will follow. For now, in reviewing my notes of Smith’s presentations, I was reminded of his reference to a Simon Sinek video. While addressing a different audience for a different purpose, Sinek contributes to the conversation by talking about how people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. What you do, he says, serves as proof of what you believe (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Sinek urges us to begin with ‘why’. Smith urges us to examine our practices, our habits to see if they indeed reveal that we love what we say we love – that our stated ‘why’ is the practiced ‘why’. Engaging with these ideas could lead to some very fruitful conversations in our educational communities.

Other Sinek TEDx talks:

After why comes: trust.

Restoring the Human in Humanity

Responsibility and Leadership




Andy Crouch, keynote speaker 2016 InspirED Convention

  • original, entertaining and impactful
  • amazing speaker
  • made me think about how I can create a flourishing classroom
  • filled with hopeandy
  • opened up some new dimensions for discussions about what it means to be vulnerable
  • thought-provoking, convicting, and encouraging
  • helped me think in a different way
  • great example of Christ filled leadership and use of power
  • The reminder that we are called to help all people flourish and especially those most vulnerable among us was wonderful.

These comments are representative of the responses to Andy Crouch, the keynote speaker at the recent InspirED Convention (formerly the CTABC/NWCSI Teachers Convention) – October 6-7, 2016 in Lynden, WA.

Many responses referenced the 2×2 chart that Andy used to talk about authority and vulnerability. For those of you who want to follow up, Andy makes extensive use of the 2×2 chart in his most recent book – Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing (strong-and-weak-cover22016)

“Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living—withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. True flourishing travels down an unexpected path: being both strong and weak. We see this unlikely mixture in the best leaders—people who use their authority for the benefit of others, while also showing extraordinary willingness to face and embrace suffering. We see it in Jesus, who wielded tremendous power yet also exposed himself to hunger, ridicule, torture and death. Rather than being opposites, strength and weakness are actually meant to be combined in every human life and community. Only when they come together do we find the flourishing for which we were made.”

For an article that also deals with the vulnerability paradox see – The Vulnerability Paradox – by Ed Noot, Executive Director of the Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia –

If you are engaging around these ideas with fellow educators, please share your conversations by commenting on this post.

Study guides of Andy’s previous books can be found at along with selected articles and speaking engagements.

elaine brouwer


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