I'll be honest. In reading this book, it was a little difficult retaining an entirely open mind. It just feels...well...like product. Leadership books are sellers, and the 23rd Psalm is one of the few bits of the Psalter that are still well known in our culture. The agent's elevator pitch to the folks at Jossey Bass is just too easy to hear. "We take the 23rd Psalm, you know, the Lord is My Shepherd, yadda yadda, then we mix in some movie references, a few anecdotes about leaders, a Max Lucado endorsement on back, and bam, I'm telling you, we'll nail the 30-40 Christian business demographic with this baby."
This feeling, unfortunately, was coupled with the fact that the 23rd Psalm is not, at its core, about leadership. Not human leadership, anyway.
Pretty much the entire book, all 126 pages of it, are keying off off of the image of "shepherd." This just...well...it felt forced, in the way that one of those late 90's Saturday Night Live skit-movies felt forced. Five minutes building off of one premise can be funny. An hour and a half with one premise? Not so much. Adam Sandler still does not get this, unfortunately. I reached the point in the book when I actually found myself laughing at the sheer absurdity of it. Take this passage, where we hear about the affection a shepherd has for sheep:
"...shepherding was a high touch activity, and the good shepherd had a name for every one of his sheep...some names, like "Big Boy" or "Little One" referred to the size of the sheep. Other names like "Hop-Along" or "One Ear" were rooted in something abnormal about the sheep. Still others, like "Scruffy" or "Feisty" were rooted in the unique personality traits of the sheep."Beyond the silliness of the whole thing, I found myself wondering how this might work as a means of showing care for a congregation. I'm sure members of a church would feel the love behind being called "Scruffy" and "Hop-Along." It was at this point that I started getting the giggles imagining various different names one might also use. Those giggles were magnified a few pages later by the following graphic:
So I set it down, got a nice night's sleep, and started up again.