Archives For Adam McHugh


Opening Ourselves to Surprise

A Feature Review of

The Listening Life:
Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction
Adam McHugh

Paperback: IVP Books, 2015.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Andrew Camp


The American life will never be remembered as a life that listened well, especially in the second millennium. More talking and less listening is our default when it comes to our ideas of leadership and being taken seriously. The technological advances of the past 15 years have also produced a culture that has moved passed being polyphonic to being harshly cacophonic.

Sadly, this disease has infiltrated the American evangelical church to a large degree. We firmly believe it is our duty to tell people what to do, and as the church’s influence wans in America, our solution seems not to listen more, but to pound the pulpit louder and harder. We are a people anxious of what might happen if we shut up long enough to truly hear, not only the voice of God (which is of utmost importance), but also the cries of people both inside and outside the church.

In situations like these, God seems to raise up men and women to call the church back to its task to embody kingdom politics, part of which is learning to listen well. This is exactly what Adam McHugh calls the church to in his new book The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction. This is not a book outlining seven easy steps to becoming a better listener; this book is an invitation into a spiritual life marked by deep listening in all components of the Christian life. Listening is foundational to what it means to be a human, both physically and spiritually.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction

By Adam McHugh

Read an excerpt from this book (via Google Books)


Continue Reading…


A Brief Review of


Introverts in the Church:
Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.
Adam McHugh.

Paperback: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.


Adam McHugh has tackled a little considered question in his new book Introverts in the Church: how can introverts exist in church cultures where they are often marginalized?  As an introvert myself, albeit one feels a deep need to live life in community, I was intrigued by the idea of McHugh’s book.    Introverts in the Church is a powerful reminder of the diversity of personalities with which God has gifted us.  McHugh, an introvert himself, longs for the healing of introverts from the scars of being marginalized in church cultures that tend to favor extroverts.  One of the book’s finest chapters is McHugh’s examination of how the church tends toward extroversion, and even in some cases Christian thinkers have painted introversion as a sin (One that he quotes says: “The extrovert God of John 3:16 does not beget an introvert people.  There is a terrible tendency to make the gospel serve us, to use it as a protection against the realities of life as though Christ died to preserve the status quo” 29).  McHugh – although he clearly recognizes community as a “given” – is frank about his own struggles with community, struggles that I imagine many of us introverts have faced.   He offers much valuable advice grounded in his own experiences about how introverts can become more connected in their church communities, and also names specific areas that will be of challenge to introverts. The latter half of the book focuses on introverts in church leadership and McHugh makes a strong case that introverts offer a balanced perspective on faithfulness in the way of Jesus that is needed in many church communities.  This is an excellent book that is destined to be the primary work on introversion in the church for many years to come.  McHugh concludes this book with this well-crafted piece of wisdom that should be taken to heart by all in the church, and especially those of us who are introverts:


In order to find our place in the church we must make two movements.  We go into the desert, into the depths and riches of solitude, to listen for the whispers of God who created us as introverts and to discover the gifts we have been given.  Through Christ we die to false identities and put away inauthentic behaviors.  We honor the rhythms and practice the disciplines that give us life, energy and joy.  …   The inward movement is not the end of the journey, though we will come back to it again and again.  The other movement is toward others, toward community.  We are not ultimately called to a life of self-fulfillment and comfort but to a life of love.  We seek to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, knowing that genuine love comes out of who we are in Christ.  We are to pass on the gifts we have been given.  Sometimes we will use our words and other times we will model prayerful silence, reflective rest and compassionate listening.  As we make this movement into community, we will find that it’s not merely about us finding a place for ourselves, but it’s about God showing us where we belong and the gifts we are to others.