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Man With an Attitude: A Handbook of Life Challenges from the Jesus Story: A Personal Growth and Parenting Guide

 
This book provides the opportunity to consider and examine one’s life choices by becoming familiar with the attitudes of a famous leader. Any accomplished and admired leader could have been chosen, but the author chose the first century man Jesus, using the work of contemporary historians and scholars. The book is formatted so that the attitudes may be studied individually or in a group education setting. Additionally, there are questions for each chapter to provoke thoughtful reflection and/or dialogue.
 

 
Reviews
 
Greg Jenks, Dean Christ Church Cathedral Grafton, NSW: “Stecher gives us a helpful way to approach the life of Jesus. Paying attention to attitudes which Jesus advocated and practiced offers a fresh entry point for people seeking to draw on his legacy for their own lives today. A useful handbook for both religious and non-religious alike.”
 
Paul Inglis:
“Gene recently sent this book to me and I enjoyed two days of intense reading what is a very interesting and practical guide for anyone wanting to learn about and/or adopt the life changing attitudes and teaching of Jesus as their raison d’être.

Following the great work of the Westar Institute’s Jesus Seminar and the development of the Scholar’s Version of the Bible, Stecher has focused on eight attitudes of Jesus:

* Make your life count
* Practice goal-oriented passion
* Be other-centred in relationships
* Encourage the powerless
* Use your money for unselfish purposes
* Be flexible in the use of tradition
* Replace anxiety with trust
* Take on outreach responsibility

He uses the authentic historical teachings and events compiled by biblical scholars of the Jesus seminar looking at 1500 sayings. The primary sources are the canonical Gospels as well as the Gospel of Thomas discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945. Stecher has assigned this material to an attitude complex according to the degree of reliability for clear interpretation. Some verses are assigned by ‘educated guess’ because of limited comparing evidence; others verses have reasonable contextual evidence to make the discernment of an attitude more reasonable; and other verses have copious length and consequently interpretations are more transparent.

Amateur scholars, like myself — as well as qualified and experienced practitioners will gain a lot from Stecher’s work. In the words of the author:

“Rather than having information about the Jesus of history overwhelmed by the Christ eternal life story, maybe we would get more balance in the form of hearing more sermons and Christian education lessons on the essential Jesus and have more interest in adapting Jesus’ attitudes to our own lives.”

This is a workbook for everyone – the general populace, laity and pastors including those who have committed their lives to following Jesus and want their lives to have the integrity of an authentic understanding of the attitudes of Jesus, the greatest teacher.
 
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Gene Stecher began his career in ministry as a United Methodist pastor; he also eventually assumed responsibility for training those who answered the phones of a community telephone Helpline. In time he entered the field of Clinical Counseling Psychology, specializing in family counseling and custody evaluations. He is currently retired from the practice of licensed psychology in Pennsylvania.

Review & Commentary