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Hinge Moments

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A help for the transitions in your life
D. Michael Lindsay presents his book "Hinge Moments. Making the Most of Life's Transitions" which was published by InterVarsity Press. She uses the picture of going through a door for his seven chapters: 1) Approaching the Doors in Our Lives, 2) Standing Outside, 3) Straddling the Threshold, 4) The Welcome Mat, 5) The Deadbolt, 6) The Hinge, and 7) Passages. He starts the chapters with a bible verse or a quote from another author. Lindsay defines hinge moments as "opportunities to open (or to close) doors to various pathways of our lives. Such moments are axial by nature, representing a fixed time, place, or event with consequences for the rest of our days. Getting them right can change our lives for the better. Getting them wrong can pose problems for years to come. Each of us is given a finite number of these hinge moments in life" (p. 3/4). Furthermore, Lindsay states: "The challenge with life is that we have to live it moving forward, but we really only understand it looking back. Every day offers the promise of preparing us to best respond to the next hinge moment of our lives" (p. 7). I appreciate very much that Lindsay shows how hinge moments define us and explains the stages of transition. He presents seven stages: 1) Discernment, 2) Anticipation, 3) Intersection, 4) Landing, 5) Integration, 6) Inspiration, and 7) Realization. He uses the book to walk readers through this seven stages using stories of people who have navigated them and offers suggestions how they can make the most of each stage that God brings them through (p. 14).
The book is presented with a great design and graphics. Lindsay also includes his own personal experience (e.g., p. 147-150). One has to note that he used US-American data and background to write his book and that the examples from the lives of others are mainly from US-Americans. Nevertheless, I am recommending this book to readers who face their own hinge moments and want help with dealing with them. The notes ate the end of the book can help with further study and research.
The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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College paths. Career choices. Marital options. Life-changing moments. Even moving addresses. Some moments are exhilarating while others are plain tragic. Some call it a fork in the road. Others call it a choice among many. Christians often describe it as discerning one's calling. Historians call it turning points. Still, many would call it transition moments. For author Michael Lindsay, he calls it "hinge moments." After recalling his own hinge moments, he shares his findings on leadership in America, based on a ten-year study of 550 top leaders in America. He calls these people "Platinum Leaders" and notices a common thread going through the lives of these people: they responded by converting crisis into opportunity. He shares about the early life of Oprah Winfrey, who rose from poverty to stardom. Along the way, she encountered isolation, rejection, even abuse. Prashan De Visser left his war-torn country in Sri Lanka, found a new passion for peacebuilding at Gordon College, and eventually started an organization for reconciliation called "Sri Lanka Unites." He interviewed Jamie Dimon, former CEO of JP Morgan Chase Bank on how he felt when he was fired involuntarily. Another successful CEO, Bruce Kennedy of Alaska Airlines voluntarily walked away from his job to transition toward spending more time at a non-profit. When Condoleezza Rice changed her major from Music to International Relations, her career soared. These stories and many more show us that hinge moments happen to people across all kinds of economic and social strata. 

Using these stories and many others, Lindsay walks us through the seven stages of transition. Pinned against a chart of Confidence (Y) vs Time (X) axis, the transition phases are:

1) Discernment: Sensing the moment of new orientation to new contexts, and learning to respond to both positive and negative sentiments to that change.
2) Anticipation: Being prepared at a major decision-making juncture.
3) Intersection: Waiting at the space between two spaces
4) Landing: Beginning the new phase and adjusting to the new reality.
5) Integration: Building a Sense of Belonging and Trustworthiness in the new relationships.
6) Inspiration: Four Hinge Virtues to anchor one in the midst of change
7) Realization: Leverage our new phase toward the greatest good possible.

My Thoughts
This book is incredibly inspiring for three reasons. First, it reminds us that failure in itself is not failure. It is the inability or refusal to get back up that makes it a failure. Being laid off is not a failure. Refusing to move on from circumstances beyond one's control will set one toward true washout. More failures are due to inner happenings rather than external circumstances. Many of the stories reveal how the humble, the poor, the marginalized could rise up from their unfortunate positions and carve out a newer and better future. Isn't that what the American Dream is all about? Life is never smooth going, even for those born with a silver spoon. We all need resilience and resilience comes from a sense of hope. This reminds me of the age-old wisdom of the desert fathers, that the spiritual life is basically learning to stand up every time one falls down. Resilience is about making sure we stand up more than we fall down. This calls for courage and determination, which leads to resilience.

Second, we need not fear for we all will have our hinge moments. So this book is widely applicable for a lot of people at many phases of their lives. Such moments could be life-changing or simply transitionary. In the seven transition phases, Lindsay gives us a lot of food for thought and deliberation to deal with any anxieties pertaining to such changes. The phases he describes could be quite intimidating at first. Honestly, even though the author backs it up with lots of real-life stories, the model itself looks more academic than reality. Practically, I think readers could adopt and adapt each phase slowly and deliberately. There is no need to try to fit oneself into all seven phases. Some phases might zip by quickly or not happen at all. When stuck with anything, take a step back and discern the contexts we are in. Use the book as a guide by the side. 

Finally, this book is a powerful resource for us to examine our personal calling in life. For Christians, it can also be a way to discern our specific callings. In a world where many are confused about their significance and purpose in life, Lindsay reminds us that hinge moments are not to be dismissed but discerned. Just like Mary in Luke 2, she treasured what she saw and heard about Jesus and kept it in her heart. We might not understand or even appreciate events or circumstances at first, but if we could bookmark or star that portion, over time, we will understand the Spirit's work in our hearts.

I enjoy this book. 

D. Michael Lindsay (Ph.D. Princeton University) is president of Gordon College, in Wenham, Massachusetts, and president-elect of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Earlier in his career, Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University, where he won multiple awards for both his teaching and scholarly research.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.

This book has been provided courtesy of InterVarsity Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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I went into this book figuring it would try to give a lot of sunny, optimistic thoughts about "calling," and found it actually gave the subject of change and how do we find new direction a lot more thought than expected. Very informative, honest about the struggle that goes along with change and yet is necessary for that change.
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Hinge Moments by D. Michael Lindsey
This is a genre I really enjoy reading and I love the idea of making the most of what can appear to be difficult times. Although the author doesn’t make this a purely biblical or spiritual book this is certainly true for someone who trusts in God. It’s about a mind change or change in perspective. Some of the material isn’t new to readers of this genre but the author shares some stories close to his own heart. It is good but not the most inspiring or powerful book on the topic.
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