Shirley Mullen

Claiming the Courageous Middle
Baker Academic, 2024
By Shirley Mullen

WHO: Shirley Mullen, former president of Houghton College. 

SHE SAYS: “What role will religion—and Christianity in particular—play in American self-identity of the future?” 

THE BIG IDEA: This book looks at what it means to be caught in the middle at this particular moment in history, as Christianity is seemingly pitted against the press, the culture and the intelligentsia. 

THE PROGRESSION: In Chapter 1, the author shares her journey of coming to see the possibilities of residing in a middle space. Chapter 2 defines the terms used, including middle and middling, and how being in the middle can be a place of courage.
Chapter 3 explores a biblical foundation for the redemptive possibilities of middle space. The author discusses the risks and the opportunities of the courageous middle in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 takes on the practical preparation for the work of hosting productive conversations in middle space that point communities beyond polarization. The book concludes by summarizing the case for the claim that ambassadorial work of the courageous middle is one of faithful witness.

“Because of your middling status, you are distinctly and perhaps even uniquely qualified to play a convening, reconciling and ambassadorial role in society at this time.”    

Shirley Mullen
Shirley Mullen

Shirley Mullen is former president of Houghton College.