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Holy Discontent
Author: Bill Hybels
Publisher: Zondervan
Hardback, 153 pp.
This short and easy-to-read book was born from a question that had Hybels wondering for two years (thinking largely of motivated volunteers and givers): “What makes people do what they do?”
His answer comes care of Moses and Popeye, both of whom were driven to action after they found themselves angered by injustice and decided to stand by no longer.
Much of the early part of the book looks at people who have responded to a 'firestorm of frustration' and caused things to happen. His own reason for starting Willow Creek, one of American's largest churches, was that his own church put visitors off the faith rather than appealing to them. He also briefly tells the stories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Dr. Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, Billy Graham and a selection of innovators in his own church.
Hybels asks the reader to identify their 'one thing' about our broken world that provokes a reaction in them. He suggests moving closer to that situation, so that it feeds the frustration; fighting for the vision when things get tough; and responding when the vision calls for a change of direction.
In the shorter final part of the book, Hybels picks up on Professor Robert Quinn's theory that people live in a reactive, self-seeking 'normal state,' which denies the possibility of being and doing something better, unless they get fired up enough by a passion to reach 'fundamental state'. In this intentional mode they surrender their egos to the cause that energises them as they look for results with creativity, energy enthusiasm and persistence.
Along the way, Hybels offers important insights, almost as passing thoughts: God is constantly restoring – it's what he does; and people are 'in process', rather than finished articles.
The book is great at making the reader question the extent of their expectations and provoking them to think about possibilities. Because he moves in circles where he meets with other driven pioneers, he has a range of examples of how people have  used their lives to make radical differences to those of others.
But for those of us who don't get given concert tickets by Bono, there seems to be some middle ground missing – God can only have so many chiefs.
The value in this book would seem to be higher for those who are most driven, and who just need that igniting spark that Hybels' words can bring.

Derek Walker 8/18/2007 

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