Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us & Them

A Christian of Jewish origins and the founding pastor of a thriving new church that intentionally resurrected itself from the wounded remnants of a previous congregation that tore itself apart over issues of human sexuality, Ken Howard brings a unique perspective and unusual sensitivity to the challenge of creating Christian community whose sense of “US” doesn’t require a “THEM.”  Adroitly avoiding both oversimplification and academic jargon, Howard examines the many ways the Church currently finds itsef stuck, explains how we got here, and lays out seven Biblically-grounded principles that church leaders can employ to lead their congregations and their denominations into the future into which God is calling them.

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You’re in for something better with this book.
– Brian McLaren


Selected Reviews

Again this year, literally tons of new books will be published – shelves, libraries, trucks, dumpsters full – and most among them won’t carry a fraction of the substance this book holds. A bunch of them will become big sellers too, even though they don’t hold a candle – in terms of content or readability – to this one. There are many reasons for this paradox, including this: too many people want simple, easy, quick, and formulaic answers to the problems they face, and those books deliver what the customer wants:  information that is simple, easy, quick, and formulaic. But those readers will eventually discover that formulaic answers don’t serve. They don’t match the complexities and unpredictabilities of the real world like this book does. That’s why I know you’re in for something better with this book.
— Brian McLaren, author & speaker


With a Foreword by Brian McLaren and an Afterword by Paul Zahl, Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them, has all the bona fides any book could want, and both of them are richly deserved. Howard offers both a sharp-eyed analysis of how the Church has arrived at its present permutation followed by a very accessible and kindly-inclined diagnosis of what Her condition presently is. More importantly, Howard gives us one of the clearest and most concise commentaries presently available about where the Church may reasonably be seen as going in this time of paradigmatic shift.  Additionally, each chapter concludes with penetrating questions about the implications of what has just been presented, a boon not only to individual readers, but also to leaders of small-groups.
— Phyllis Tickle, author & lecturer


I am so all about Ken’s vision. It contains real hope. I will be interested to see if we can buck the trend, and attempt to embrace this unconditional program. Like Fox Mulder of The X-Files, I Want to Believe…
— Paul F. M. Zahl, dean & president emeritus – Trinity School for Ministry


This book is a sign of hope: It is possible to be church and live with difference. It is elegantly written, compelling, faithful, and full of hope. This is an important book to pick up and an impossible book to put down.
— Ian Markham, dean & president – Virginia Theological Seminary


Paradoxy offers the best “way forward” that I’ve seen for engaging the divisions that repeatedly bedevil the Church. I use it in my work with churches, clergy and larger denominational groups. Ken is a synthetic thinker, an empathetic pastor and ultimately a leader with deep faith who inspires others (like me) to hang in there when it looks like there are no alternatives to polarization.
— Bob Stains, Sr. VP – The Public Conversations Project


I have used Ken’s book in classrooms and consulting, and find his work to be engaging, informative, and very practical. I give high marks for Ken’s writing, which in truth is an extension of his own leadership skills.
— C. K. Robertson, denominational leader


Paradoxy is a book that conservatives and progressives can read together with mind and heart, grappling with issues of pluralism and inclusion on the one hand and the integrity of our faith and conviction on the other hand. It is an excellent meditation on our quest for a generous orthodoxy that is, indeed, both generous and orthodox.
— Michael Morrell, author, futurist & blogger


Howard brings a new eye to old church issues beginning with the insight that the only answer to the question “Who’s right and who’s wrong?” is “Jesus.” The Left vs. Right/Conservative vs. Liberal wars are not worth fighting because there are no winners. A great message for a time of church schism. It’s only about relationship.
— Paul Andreson, pastor


If you have wrestled with issues of theology and practice with the Church, then you need to read this book. Itprovides a great “3rd Way” to think about how the wider Body of Christ might come to common ground. I can’t recommend this book more!
— Pastor Chris, church planter, pastor & blogger


The good thing about Howard is that he would allow the discussion and debate that I would bring to the table. After all, he asked me to write this review AFTER he and I disagreed on some things. If nothing else, I would encourage people to purchase and read this book to support a man who is consistent with what he believes. Such men are rare and when we find one, even if we disagree with him, we should support him and befriend him. So agree or disagree with my review, you owe it to yourself to read the book; even if you disagree with some aspects of the book, there is still much truth to be had in its pages.
— Joel Borofsky, blogger


An important book for all of us Christians of every branch of the faith. It seeks to describe the current divisions in the church and then to point to a way forward that will respect our differences but unite us because of the common ground we share.
— Bill Tammeus, author & columnist


Paradoxy is really unique, because it seeks to make theological sense of what is happening in the Church today. Howard’s vision is of a faith path that steers a middle way between the propositional and the merely ethical. What he describes is a style of believing focused on the Incarnation. His emphasis on the centrality of a personal relationship with Jesus will be enough to make liberals uncomfortable. The theological open-endedness of Paradoxy will give conservatives pause too. Each group will find things that are compelling in Paradoxy as well as things that are troubling. It’s hard to imagine a book that could have a more profound impact on our understanding of church today. It’s an especially rewarding challenge for a church group to tackle, particularly one that includes people from each of the two traditional streams who are struggling to live together faithfully.
— Andy MacBeth, pastor & blogger


With grace, power, and refreshingly accessibility and conciseness, Paradoxy explores wildly diverse streams within European and American Christianity from the first to the 21st century, takes up many of the issues that they found (and we often still find) most confusing or even contentious, and weaves an open-ended story of how God’s people find room in their hearts for one another and discover that they have found room for God’s Spirit and energy to press further the adventure of Christian discipleship.
— Sarah Dylan Breuer, public theologian


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