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Lyle Schaller wrote in The Change Agent: "Anyone seriously interested in planned social change would be well advised to recognize two facts of life. First, despite the claims of many, relatively little is known about how to achieve predictable change. Second, much of what is known will not work."

That was 27 years ago. He's still at it—quixotically tilting the windmill of change, and obviously enjoying it, too, in his latest book, Discontinuity and Hope: Radical Change and the Path to the Future (Abingdon, 1999).

Society, history, and church life have changed, not in a predictable, orderly, continuous way, but in rapid, disconcerting, discontinuous ways—more like a quantum leap than a logical next step.

That's the discontinuity from the title. The church leader averse to change will see this discontinuity as a tidal wave crashing over the church and long for the good old days of simplicity and predictability.

Schaller, on the other hand, experienced enough to be a crusty curmudgeon ...

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