„Influence with Respect“ by Carsten Hjorth Pedersen
Review by Matthias Kaegi, Former Chair of EurECA
Western society has changed from Christian to secular. Under secularism – a faith without God – talking about God has become a taboo, a violoation of „neutrality“.
In this context, Christian educators and leaders have become insecure and often too hesitant about passing on their values, as they are easily accused of indoctrination. But education is impossible without passing on values.
Pedersen’s book addresses this dilemma and brings clarity for educators. It shows that influence is inevitable in any human encounter and is even a responsibility of the educator. He introduces a very helpful tool (applicable for leaders of all faiths and none) to determine whether influence is positive or negative, saying that influence operates on four levels of intensity, two of which are desirable and two are not: „Confrontation“ is positive influence, respecting the freedom and integrity of the recipient . „Intimization“ stands for negative, intrusive influence, disrespecting the freedom of the individual. „Withdrawal“ is a positive, intentional and temporal withholding of influence in order for the individual to make own decisions and experiences. „Desertion“ is the negative, irresponsible and long-term withdrawal which leaves the individual without direction – in western society often the result of the above-mentioned misconception of neutrality.
The book „Influence with Respect“ lays out this concept and makes it come alive and practical by telling many exemplary stories. I believe it serves a great need in western society and deserves to be read by millions.
The author is director of the Danish Christian Institute for Education since 1999, father of three grown-up children, teacher and preacher.
By Carsten Hjorth Pedersen
Resource Publications / Wipf and Stock, 2020