For the past several years, a certain kind of conversation has been common for me with church leaders. Here’s a sample:
In the recent past, I was solely attentive to the slow but steady encroachment of restrictions from some elements of the ideological left. Now, I fear, we must guard against the possibility of tyranny emerging from segments of the political right. What saddens me the most is the degree to which numerous saints aid and abet such developments out of fear of the former.
When church leaders assume that they can only scan for attacks in one direction, they leave Christians vulnerable to different dangers. What the church needs, then, is what Trevin Wax calls multi-directional leadership—leaders who demonstrate faithful versatility. And that’s what Trevin Wax commends in his new book, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side (The Gospel Coalition). Wax applies multi-directional leadership to the most contentious issues facing churches right now, including race and politics and gender.
Unity and truth can still triumph in a divided age, and that’s what I talked with Trevin about in this episode of Gospelbound.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: For the past several years, a certain kind of conversation has been common for me with church leaders. Here’s a sample, the actual quote, “In the recent past, I was solely attentive to the slow, but steady encroachment of restrictions from some elements of the ideological left. Now, I fear, we must guard against the possibility of tyranny emerging from segments of the political right. What saddens me the most is the degree to which numerous saints aid and abet such developments out of fear of the former.”
When church leaders assume that they can only scan for attacks in one direction, they leave Christians vulnerable to different dangers. That’s what this friend is writing about here. What the church needs then is what Trevin Wax calls, multi-directional leadership, leaders who combine dexterity and discipline.
Leaders today must demonstrate faithful versatility. And that’s what Trevin Wax commends in his new book, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges From Every Side, published by The Gospel Coalition.
Wax applies multi-directional leadership to the most contentious issues facing the churches around the world, really right now, a bold man, Trevin, race, politics, and gender, as a sample, all those fun things to discuss with your friends.
Unity and truth, we believe can still triumph in a divided age. And that’s what I want to talk with Trevin about on Gospelbound. Trevin, thanks for joining me.
Trevin Wax: Collin, thank you for having me.
Collin Hansen: Trevin, what first attuned you to the need for multi-directional leadership?
Trevin Wax: Well, I think it’s something that’s been coming up over time in the last decade or so. As I’ve learned more about the history of evangelicalism and have watched the increasing tribalism and polarization of our time, one of the things that those of us, guys who love history, do is when you’re faced with a challenge in the contemporary moment, you look back to leaders in the past to see how they handled, if not the same issues, at least similar challenges and struggles.
And so, in looking back at the history of evangelicalism and also some of the stalwart evangelical leaders of the previous generations, I came to realize that there’s something of an instinct at play in some of these leaders, where they could sound in one room as if the most dangerous temptation or enemy is coming from one side. And then they could go to a different room of different people, with different temptations and tendencies and could sound a different alarm. And I just noticed that was increasingly rare in our day. And so, that’s what began to stir up some thoughts about, what does it look like for us to be pastors and church leaders, and thinkers, who are adept at recognizing dangers that come to the flock of God from different directions?
Collin Hansen: Let’s do some test cases right off the bat, Trevin. Okay. So, Billy Graham, John Stott, multi-directional leaders?
Trevin Wax: Yeah. And I would put Stott, more in that category than Billy Graham. Although, Billy Graham certainly was a neo-evangelical, so he recognized certain dangers of fundamentalism, and he also recognized dangerous of liberalism. In fact, most all of the neo-evangelical leaders from the middle part of the 20th century were in a way doing what Christian Smith talks about in his book American Evangelicalism, they were carving out a space between mainline Protestantism at the time, and the fundamentalist culture that many of them had grown up in.
So, in one sense, yeah, you would put Billy Graham in that category. John Stott, though, perhaps because of a global perspective that he had, John Stott, I mentioned in the book is really an exemplar in a lot of ways. To give a good example from his ministry, at one assembly of an ecumenical church assembly, he sounds like a fiery fundamentalist saying, “You guys, aren’t weeping for lost people. You’re wanting to resolve issues like world hunger and other social issues that are pressing and needed. And yes, Christian should be involved in.” One of his quotes is, “Jesus wept over Jerusalem. I see no tears in this assembly over the lostness of people.”
But then a few years later in a very different assembly, could be very strident in the case that he made for why the mission of the church should be conceived more broadly instead of narrowly about evangelism. It should be conceived more broadly, including the great commandment, including the social ministry that the church is called to do.
Now, I don’t agree with John Stott and all of the ways that he actually articulated the mission of the church. And I think there’s some good pushback even today from different people who have examined very closely his understanding of the church’s mission. But that instinct to be able to, on the one hand, sound the alarm against those who would water down the gospel into social ministry and social work. And on the other hand, in a different setting speak very boldly about the dangers of an obscure, an isolationist fundamentalism that he would see. I think that instinct is what we need more of in the church today and in leadership.
Collin Hansen: Let’s talk about Billy Graham a little bit there. I wonder if we could say that Billy Graham grew in that over time. Because I would say probably Trevin at first, his one-directional leadership was basically anticommunist, that’s why he becomes famous out of Los Angeles. That’s why Los and Time, and these places pick up on him. And of course, for conversion, but it was seen within that context. And from that era, Harold John Ockenga sounds fairly similar. That was seen as the threat there.
But I think you’re right, over time, then Graham begins, especially when you get to the New York crusade, 57, then the fundamentalists turn against him. And so then, he started Christianity Today, right before that. And so, he’s trying to carve out that space, “We’re not fundamentalists. We’re not mainline. We’re evangelical.”
And then by the time you get post-Nixon, which even there, the politics, the two presidents he was closest to, Johnson, Democrat, Nixon, Republican. And then later on, all of a sudden, then he’s coming out in the 1980s for nuclear disarmament. And so, he was somewhat unpredictable, which has I think a little bit of what you get out of multi-directional leaders, is that you can’t always size up exactly where they’re going to be on all these things.
Now, let me cite a non-Christian leader, but who seems to be maybe the most popular leader among Christian leaders, at least who I talked to, and that’s Churchill. Churchill, a multi-directional leader, or was he successful because he was not a multi-directional leader? He was so fixated on Nazi-ism and Hitler.
Trevin Wax: Yeah. No, I actually think Churchill would be a great example of a multi-directional leader. In fact, I quote in the book from a quote where he talks about, sometimes consistency of purpose will look different based on the moment you’re in. So, he uses the example of, if you’re in a boat and at one point you’re going to have to lean all your weight into one area, and then another, you’re going to have to lean all your weight into another area because of the waves and the tempest, and the way that the actual circumstances are surrounding you. But that movement of putting your weight here and then putting your way there is not actually contradictory. It’s not self-contradictory. It’s not the sign of an undisciplined mind. It’s actually the sign of a leader who exhibits dexterity. And is actually so relentlessly focused on a particular purpose, and that they can lean their weight in one way or another in order to achieve that purpose.
I wouldn’t say Churchill was necessarily perfectly multi-directional in all aspects. And there were times when… He definitely was that way in the sense of crossing political tribes. I mean, you read his biographies, and it’s almost, I mean, those of us in the USA, it’s different for us reading a UK biography, because we might not be as familiar with the way that the politics work and Parliament, and all of that. But the way that he would go from different party and cross certain tribal lines, is one of the examples, I think that a multi-directional leader often exhibit.
Collin Hansen: I was just going to bring that up, Trevin, he switched parties, certainly, Labour back to Conservative. Okay. Let’s stop, and just go back a step and say, this all sounds good. Who wouldn’t want to be like Churchill here, or like Stott, or like Graham? And yet this is not instinctive for most leaders today. So, why do so many leaders choose to push in only one direction?
Trevin Wax: Well, I think one-directional leadership, that is where you’re used to fighting off threats from a particular side. There are a lot of rewards that come with that, that style of leadership. Once you convince your followers that the threats to one side, say they’re to your right or to your left are real, and then you only fight off threats in that particular direction. A lot of the people who follow you will cheer you on for that, will actually come to love you for that, come to respect you for the way that you identify the common enemy that they see as well. And you are willing to go to battle for the sake of the gospel to fight the good fight in that area.
So, for example, if you are concerned about a slippery slope to the left, it makes total sense for you to focus your energies on avoiding that danger, whether by erecting other boundaries or putting fences along the lines of it. No one will go down that slippery slope. The problem though, is there are also slippery slopes to the right as well. Troubling trajectories can go in more than one direction.
And the challenge is that if someone is used to calling out of errors that they see from one side of the field that would lead people astray. And they also begin to notice that there are challenges and dangers coming from a different side of the field. Well, then the shepherd that wants to protect the flock from multiple dangers, when they begin to call out errors from the other side, they can lose influence with people that like them challenging or stepping on the toes of people outside of their church pews. They’re fine with fiery preaching, as long as it’s directed against the dangers that they have as the congregation have already identified and see. And they’ll amen you all day on that. But when you begin to speak to these dangers that are a little closer to home, or that begin to raise questions about your own tribal loyalty, that’s when it can become costly.
And so, the easier path is to be one-directional. The harder path is to have your mind like a radio tuned to more than one frequency, where you can pick up different dangers and then begin to issue warnings along those frequencies.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. I think one example, Trevin, that you and I would be familiar with, would be how you could come across in a certain era in the American South as being very bold, very biblical, very convicted as a leader. And calling out sin and alcohol is bad, dancing is bad, doctrinal compromise is bad, but you don’t touch racism. You don’t touch judgmentalism. You don’t touch gossip, those kinds of things. And there’s a reason why people don’t touch those things, because generally speaking, people don’t want to be told what they don’t want to hear, especially by preachers that they pay.
So, let’s anticipate this objection to multi-directional leadership. Then what’s the difference between what you’re commending here and a calculated triangulation to appease everyone?
Trevin Wax: Well, yeah, actually I think multi-directional leadership is not appeasing everyone. It’s more likely to offend everyone at some point. You just used the example of preachers in the South who were bold in addressing many sins, but not racism. I think there’s preachers today, many preachers who will boldly speak on issues related to race, and then never want to touch something as challenging as sexuality, for example.
The one directional impulse is very strong. What the multi-directional leader though is aiming for, is the good of the flock. It’s not an appeasement strategy. It’s not to find this perfect middle way. And in fact, the way that you know that it’s not, is that a multi-directional leader may not sound… The goal is not to sound alarms and perfect balance or equilibrium. That is not the goal, because not every congregation is facing the same challenges.
So, to be perfectly balanced here, would actually not be contextual. I think the point is not to find the right balance, it’s to understand, to come to know the people that you as a pastor or a church leader are most called to serve, and then to seek, to speak to the issues that are most, the biggest temptations are dangerous, that they themselves will face.
The point is not, let’s find this middle way, this triangulation, where we sound like we are issuing warnings all over the place, so that everyone will agree with us. The point is to speak to real, to clear and present dangers that your congregation or the people who follow you, or the organization that you lead as a Christian, that they will recognize, but then to also issue warnings, they might not expect, but that you as the leader foresee, dangerous temptations and tendencies that they need to be alert to.
You’re more likely to offend people than to appease people in that setting. But if you can do so with a winsomeness, a graciousness, and if they understand that underneath all of that is a care and concern for the good of their souls, the multi-directional leader can have a lot of influence and impact.
Collin Hansen: You helped me to see there, Trevin, as I was thinking about the congregations that I grew up in. It would be very odd to be preaching about a lot of the same things that my current church preaches about, because those issues just wouldn’t have come up in the same way. They just wouldn’t be as relevant.
So yeah, multi-directional leader, depending on the context may actually strongly emphasize one of those points, and not others. I appreciate that. Just for readers here, wanting to know more, are you really just talking to pastors here, or do you see this approach applying in the marketplace, small groups, youth ministry, what does this look like for them, or does it even apply?
Trevin Wax: Certainly, I mean, the focus of the book is primarily for pastors and church leaders, and those who have influence in a local congregation. But there are all sorts of areas in which this does apply. And a couple of them, I bring out in the book. I mean, in the business world, it’s certainly true that a business leader needs to be aware of threats coming from different directions.
I use the example of, there’s an economic crisis of some sort, the temptation for some leaders would be to, just to manage to the bottom line, and to begin to lead the business basically in an overly defensive posture. But that leads to particular challenges and dangers for an organization. Whereas other leaders in the organization may say, “This is the time to go big and go bold. And we need to innovate. We need to invest.” And that is a good response, a natural response, but also one that carries with it particular dangers that could threaten the overall viability of the organization.
So, it’s like that in the business world. It’s also like that in parenting. I mean, this is one of the things that as a parent you come to learn, is that there will be times when you will sound different emphases in the conversations that you have with your kids. There may be a time when you, maybe there’s a…. I use the example in the book of just conversations that I had about a year ago now with our oldest son and our daughter about the pandemic, and about what this means, what does it mean from a spiritual standpoint?
And to my daughter, who was immediately doing a one-to-one correlation, what sins are we suffering for as a culture that this would happen to us? I had to inject a bit of mystery and a bit of, like the story of Jesus and the man born blind and the story of Job. And to say, “We don’t always know God’s ways.”
My son, however, when in speaking about this, was basically taking a completely agnostic perspective of, “Well, we don’t know what God is up to. There’s no way for us to know if this is really from his hand, or how, or what not.” I had to take the more of the approach of, “Well, actually, the Bible does say that God sends calamities and plagues. And that God is in control even of this. And that God is calling us to repentance and faith, and teaching us through these things.”
Now, you would listen to those conversations and you think that as a parent, I’m contradicting myself, but in reality, I’m wanting to instill in my kids a certain instinct, a certain balance that you find in scripture, where we don’t know all the ways of God, but we do know some of the ways of God, to where we wouldn’t fall prey to a sort of agnostic, we can’t know anything that God is up to. Neither do we want a falling into a fatalism, where there’s a direct one-to-one correlation between all sin and suffering. This is the biblical approach. I think those are biblical truths that we want to hold in a proper tension with each other.
And so, in parenting as we raise our kids, at times your kid is going to need more comfort than challenge. And other times your kid is going to need more challenge than comfort. But it’s up to a multi-directional parent to recognize, “I can’t just parent in one particular way, because that doesn’t always work depending on the kid that I’m talking to at the moment or the circumstances that we’re in.” And I think that developing that instinct is actually really important for multiple spheres of life.
Collin Hansen: I love that because you’re exactly right, Trevin, all of us as parents know how different our kids are. And if you’re completely consistent in all those different ways and hit the same things with every kid, it can land totally differently on different kids, and at different times. I really liked that comparison a lot. You’ve been alluding several times here to Scripture. Where do we find evidence of this multi-directional leader commended in Scripture?
Trevin Wax: Well, I think you can see it if you look for it in, I mean, if we just stick with the New Testament, for example, I think you can see it in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus in the same sermon can say, “Let your light shine before others, so that they see your good works and give glory to God. Basically, you’re the light of the world, shine that light, don’t hide it under a bushel.” And then, in the same sermon, he can say, “Hey, be aware of practicing your righteousness before other people. Don’t sound trumpets. Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
And of course, Jesus is speaking on the one hand to… In both cases, the concern is the glory of God, right? So, it’s one consistent purpose in both of those commands. And on the one hand, he’s saying, “You ought to do good deeds, so that other people see and give glory to God.” On the other hand, he’s saying, “Don’t do good deeds with the wrong motivation, so that other people see and give glory to you.” These are not contradictory. These are, he’s speaking to and alerting to different dangers. You sometimes see it on display in the New Testament, among emphases from different leaders. And so, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that there’s any such thing as the perfect multi-directional leader.
Multi-directional leaders actually will lean on other multi-directional leaders in order to identify and maybe alert to threats that they wouldn’t otherwise see. So, for example, a lot of people love to pit James and Paul against each other when it comes to justification by faith. When in reality, we ought to see James and Paul as swordsmen who were standing back to back, fighting off opposing enemies. Paul opposing those who would water down the glorious gospel of grace that we see in justification being by faith alone. James fighting off those who would turn justification into license, or to see justification as meaning that this faith doesn’t stir up good works, that the faith that we’re saved by, we’re justified by faith alone, but as we say that faith never stands alone. It always is accompanied by good works.
And so, those who would deny the fruitfulness of the gospel are the target of James’s concern. And whereas, those who would add to the gospel are the target of Paul’s concern. They are not contradicting one another. They are opposing different enemies and issuing different warnings based on the circumstances that they find themselves in. And we need both of them in order to have a full-orbed view of Christianity.
Collin Hansen: We’ve talked about some biblical examples. We’ve talked about some historical examples. Give some other examples, Trevin, of people you think do this well as leaders and how.
Trevin Wax: Yeah. So, I think it’s more challenging for leaders than we recognize. And so, I don’t think that any leader would immediately want to raise their hand and say, “Oh, that’s me, I’m excelling at this.” Because I think this is a work in progress for anyone who wants to issue these calls and these challenges in the way that would identify different dangers from different sides.
I do lift up a number of examples in the book of people that I think, who even in our contemporary setting, do this well. One example would be Carl Ellis in matters of, right now, one of the chapters in the book is very briefly treating the ongoing conversations we’re having about racial justice and what the pursuit of racial justice should look like, what the role of the church is in that, what our particular ideologies that may be antithetical to the gospel, and yet have made inroads in secular society. What can be learned from secular sources, what needs to be dismissed from secular sources? All of those are questions and conversations that the churches is having currently.
I lift up Dr. Ellis, because he has been in these conversations for decades now. And because he is willing to issue warnings from more than one direction. He’s not simply going to speak out against racism. He will also speak out against un-biblical approaches to racism.
I think if someone like George Yancey, would be another example. I can think of people in the evangelical circles, who when it comes to hermeneutics, for example, will speak out against a certain naive Scottish Common Sense Realism when it comes to interpreting the biblical texts, that everything is right there on the surface, and that there’s really not a lot of need for depth and study when it comes to understanding the meaning of a text, versus those who would relativize all texts and say that there is no stable or inherent meaning in a text, and it’s all based just on a reader’s response.
There is an evangelical way that avoids both of those approaches. And there are people like Grant Osborne, and others who have shown that way, who have led the way, I think there in helping us think through those issues in a way that is faithful to Scripture, understanding of the contextual moment that we find ourselves in, and yet also is going to lead to some fruitful exegesis and exposition.
Collin Hansen: A few more questions here, Trevin. I’m worried, I’ve talked about this before. I’m worried that the evidence suggests we don’t actually want this kind of leadership in the church. What evidence do we have that anyone wants to be corrected or persuaded? We don’t see much of that attempted in politics or media, or fundraising. We know it’s easier as we talked about before, for pastors to praise the people who pay their bills and condemn the people who don’t. So, how do we incentivize multi-directional leadership, so that more people realize that this is, not only the faithful approach, but in fact, the only fruitful approach?
Trevin Wax: Yeah. There’s not a really good answer to that question, because everything in society is incentivizing the opposite, right? All the incentives generally are going toward the, to the one directional leader, as you just mentioned.
One of the reasons for this book is because I want leaders that believe this is a need and wants to develop this instinct, and want to push against some of the tribalism and polarization of our age, to know that they’re not alone, that these principles are real, that there are good examples of them in Scripture and throughout church history. And that we need to recognize, and if we’re going to be faithful, we need to cultivate this sensibility as best we can. So one thing, one way that I would love to incentivize multi-directional leadership is simply by introducing the concept and helping people to see it and to celebrate it where it’s at.
Another thing though, I would say is that I believe there are more Christians that are hungry for this kind of leader than who may… There are more Christians than we may think. I believe that even though the incentives seem to go in the other direction, and many of the loudest and most divisive voices can seem to rule the day, there are a number of believers, I believe who look at the current situation and recognize that we need people who will cross certain categories, and that will not stand within only the confines of whatever worldly, tribal category has been foisted upon them.
I believe there are Christians that are hungry for that kind of leadership. They’re just not as vocal and as loud as those who tend to rail against leaders who exhibit this kind of sensibility.
And so, there’s not a lot in society and in the current moment related to politics and the social media, and to just the ethos of our time, that gives me a lot of hope in this regard. But Scripture gives me hope and church history gives me hope that God has raised up leaders, who do this well. And the book points out multiple examples of that. Even in times, in some cases, worse than the moment that we’re currently in, there have been times throughout church history where it’s looked pretty bleak for a leader who’s seeking to be faithful to scripture. And yet God has raised up wonderful men and women of the faith, who have exhibited this sensibility and who have done so for the good of the church and who have left fruit for many decades, even following their deaths.
Collin Hansen: Lightning round bonus question, Trevin. Martin Luther, John Calvin, multi-directional, each one of them, one directional, how do you answer?
Trevin Wax: So, great question. I think Calvin is more multi-directional than Luther.
Collin Hansen: Because we’ve got Farel as the foil there.
Trevin Wax: Yes.
Collin Hansen: Farel was the quintessential one directional leader, especially after his time with Bucer, he becomes more multi-directional.
Trevin Wax: Yes. And there are aspects in which Luther is multi-directional too. He tends to be one-directional on the one note that he wants to hit constantly in everything. Okay? But he could be multi-directional in the sense of, well, he recognizes certain dangers in medieval Catholicism, but he also recognizes dangers-
Collin Hansen: Another good point.
Trevin Wax: … in the radical Anabaptist.
Collin Hansen: Radical Reformation. That’s a good point. I hadn’t thought about that.
Trevin Wax: So, I would say Calvin more than Luther. But Luther, he does demonstrate the sensibility in certain cases. He’s such a polemicist. It’s hard to see him in the same category as a John Stott, and others who would be very careful with the beliefs of the people that they’re arguing against. Luther doesn’t demonstrate the same kind of care, as maybe Calvin and other Reformers do.
Collin Hansen: Oh, I love that. No, you’re exactly right, that Luther was seeking to strike that balance between order and chaos in organized society, as he was trying to understand and work out the implications of the gospel of grace. But you’re right, that he also basically struck one polemical note, which is, “I’m right. And all of my opponents are terrible.” That was the challenge as well.
And I do think that it’s clear if we’re understanding Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that also God uses all kinds of different people with all kinds of different motivations. And we do know that at certain times, somebody with that one emphasis is going to be used by God in amazing ways.
But generally I think, I mean, obviously, I agree with you that the multi-directional approach is what’s commonly needed and commended. Last question, before we jump to the final three then, what would it look like to train rising leaders in this approach, Trevin?
Trevin Wax: Well, I think if we’re going to train the next generation to think this way or to want to develop this sensibility, we have to lift up heroes who have demonstrated it in the past, for one, so that we learn from them, that we clean insight from them. And then we also look to leaders in the past and see where they may have fallen short in this regard or that.
I don’t think there’s any point in idolizing the leaders who have come before us. I think they all have their flaws and struggles. And how we learn from them, I think is important. So, I think that’s one way that we go forward.
Another way would be to celebrate contemporary examples where this has done well. Leaders who respond very carefully to criticisms and concerns and who are not always predictable in the dangers that they sound the alarm about.
I think if we’re going to push against this one-directional all-the-time mentality, then we’re going to have to celebrate counterexamples of that. And people who are willing to cross worldly political categories and worldly tribalism in order to say what they think the church needs to hear. And so, we’ll need to do that.
And then finally though, I think it’s us wrestling and getting into the biblical text, and enjoying and loving, and celebrating different emphases that we find in scripture itself. I mean, at the end of the day, Scripture is not just constantly beating on only one theme. There are multiple themes. There are different emphases. There are different points of tension in the biblical texts that deserve to be explored. And we need to be faithful to everything we find in scripture, not just to the common themes that people most love hearing or that we most enjoy talking about. And so, I think Scripture itself is a source of renewal for us, if we’re going to develop that sensibility,
Collin Hansen: The norming norm Scripture. I think back to a decade plus ago, and a lot of the discussions about grace and the law, classic, of course, issue in the church. And where I saw things start to go wrong was when an emphasis turned from being highlighting certain texts to then all of a sudden becoming a canon within a canon, and then from there to being to the exclusion and pitted against other biblical teaching.
Trevin Wax: Right.
Collin Hansen: That was the progress. Started as an emphasis, moved to then an exclusive focus, then took that and pitted it against everything else inSscripture. That was what I watched progress in some of the leaders in that discussion. And again, the norming norm of Scripture would have helped to do that, bringing the whole counsel of God to bear.
Trevin Wax: Well, every heresy begins that way.
Trevin Wax: Heresy is always more narrow than orthodoxy. And that it’s generally seizing upon one truth and then wheeling it as a weapon against all others. And then it becomes the unassailable foundation for a new religion altogether. That’s what heresy is. Orthodoxy is always broader than heresy because it holds multiple truths. It’s Arius that wants to narrow our understanding of Jesus, that he can’t be both divine and human, it’s efficacious who holds both together.
Collin Hansen: Oh, I love that. Glad I pushed on that. That’s helpful Trevin. Okay. We’ve been talking with Trevin Wax. His new book, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side. We’re blessed to have Trevin as a columnist, and now a book author with The Gospel Coalition. Very grateful for that. Trevin, let’s close this off with the final three. How do you find calm in the storm?
Trevin Wax: How do I call find calm in the storm? Well, I love to read and reflect, and to continue a daily routine that includes exercise. And as much as I can keep to a routine, it helps me be able to keep the storm slotted in certain moments of the day, rather than it overtaking the day. And there’s nothing like unwinding, watching some classic sitcoms with your kids in the evenings.
Collin Hansen: All right. You’re going to give us a couple of examples. What are your classic sitcoms?
Trevin Wax: We’re big fans of the old like Nick at Nite Shows. So, I grew up on… WandaVision has been really fun for us this year, because the homage to Dick Van Dyke Show and to the Brady Bunch, like my kids know those, Mary Tyler Moore Show. I Love Lucy. These classics, they stand the test of time, do so these are pretty well.
Collin Hansen: Before Nick at Nite became Friends about 10 years ago.
Trevin Wax: That’s right.
Collin Hansen: Okay. Trevin, where do you find good news today?
Trevin Wax: I think the best place to find good news is, in the news, if you’re looking for it, if you’ll actually pick up magazines or frequent websites, and not only look at the headlines that come across your social media feed, which tend to be more negative, but actually look at good news. Some email newsletters have been some examples of this for me, where people are pointing to really good things that are happening in the world. I think that’s an important place to look.
And then also just looking locally at your local congregation, seeing people growing in the faith, seeing young people being discipled, seeing people that are marrying the fruit of the spirit. You got to look locally, not nationally sometimes to just see that the Spirit of God is still at work. And he is moving and changing people.
Collin Hansen: You have described better than I ever could, Trevin, the spirit of Gospelbound, this podcast, and of course, also the book that we’ve worked on related to that. I love it. Last question, Trevin. What’s the last great book you’ve read?
Trevin Wax: Yeah. I think one of the most recent great books that I’ve read would be, I probably have to give that to Mark Noll, America’s God, which traces the history of Christianity in America from the time of the founding and even before, from the 1700s, all the way to the Civil War. A lot of interesting information that I was unaware of in that book related to the religiosity of early Americans, and actually early America wasn’t quite as religious as we think it was. To also just the way that religion shaped America, but then also the way America shaped Christianity. So, that book by Mark Noll, certainly gives a good overview as to the impact of Christianity on America and how America has shaped Christianity, the Christianity we’ve inherited as well.
Collin Hansen: I love it, Trevin. Trevin Wax has been my guest on Gospelbound. Take a look at his new book, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side. Thank you, Trevin.
Trevin Wax: Thank you, Collin.