A Grander Story: An Invitation to Christian Professors
- Product Review (submitted on March 26, 2017):
Rick Hove and Heather Holleman have written a gem of a book on a topic of vital importance - how Christian professors can integrate their faith in Christ with their academic pursuits and campus life in way that honors God and blesses others around them. As an ex-professsor and campus minister I've been looking for materials to share with professors, and can now enthusiastically recommend A Grander Story. It's a must-read for Christian faculty, grad students and staff, and for pastors and campus ministers seeking to encourage Kingdom impact at the university.
A Grander Story has three parts. The first starts with a broad overview of the challenge and potential impact of living out your faith as a Christian Professor. The authors know and discuss the very real challenges faced, and do not shy away from asking faculty to consider their unique calling. The chapters on Grander Being and Grander Doing are very practical, wise, encouraging and biblically sound. The second part is a novel and distinctive addition which sets it apart from from other books in this area: it presents short stories told by six professors in divergent disciplines, backgrounds, and academic settings. Each shares from the heart and from the mind with clarity and often vulnerability. These profs "get it." The third part shares a compelling vision of a future where many professors and many campuses are transformed as faculty members live our their academic calling in the power and presence of the Spirit. The books ends with some really practical appendices covering a number of FAQ's and legal questions which professors often face, or which scare them from being more forthright about their identity in Christ. (Those interested in related books which couple a biblical vision with practical advice for professors might also check out The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor by Paul Gould.)
As the authors reflect on the stories shared and their own experiences, they share some great insights in the form of best practices for living the grander story: grow in Christ, find others to join you, identify as a Christian, find what works for you, and love & forgive well. Overall, the book is very well written, chock full of practice ideas born out of experience, and biblical wisdom about what it means to live as a follower of Jesus. The tone is humble and encouraging, presenting thoughts and examples rather than commands or one-sized-fits-all advice. If you are a Christian professor, please do yourself, your students, and your colleagues a favor, and read this book.