Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Change is Hard, But Possible!

Written by: on November 3, 2023

Through this program we are transformed into well differentiated leaders. We no longer are reactive emotionally but respond in a professional precise way. To be apart of the solution and not add to the problem. I am a little challenged by Peterson. I have great respect for his education, and to be willing to ask the hard why questions. He willingly puts himself on a platform time and time again willing to accept the scrutiny of people and their comments. I am reminded of our early books and training in this program, especially Schultz book “On Being Wrong.” Therefore I press into Peterson and research. I dig for the gold in Peterson.

This week we look at Jordan B. Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief.[1] Dr. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and on faculty at the University of Toronto. Many of his work is accepted, published, and referred to in major universities around the world. His art of story telling can be used in many seminary schools to help pastors/teachers capture and communicate to their audience. However, with how esteemed Peterson is, there is something missing. In many interviews Peterson expresses his appreciation for Christianity, however it seems to still be head knowledge and has not come alive in his heart.

Peterson recently finished a tour in 2022 where he captivated audiences. Peterson is very thorough and does an excellent job mapping out his work and bringing everyone along for the journey. One of our focuses in this program is mapping and providing a map for others to follow. When the end destination becomes known, often people on the journey have less fear and buy in. Therefore we experience less resistance and sabotage.

I find this fascinating that Peterson ends his book in a similar way.

Looking at Peterson’s Work

Peterson dives into the psychology of tribalism, “that together we can defeat the unfamiliar and unknown.” Peterson’s philosophical and cognitive research challenges how we examine why we believe what we believe, how those beliefs were formed, and how it affects how we see life. We see his correlation to Joseph Campbell’s work “The Hero’s Journey.” We see that religion provides the culture maps for beliefs, behavior and the human desire for belonging. Most of all the examples of heroes and the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11).

Connecting the Dots

I found many connections with Peterson’s work; with prior work we have experienced together in this program.

  • Schultz- On Being Wrong – Often we are wrong when we think we are right.
  • Campbell- The Hero’s Journey – Culture maps through religion and belonging.
  • Augustine- Asking the why questions.
  • Meyer- The historical and current culture implications.
  • Miller- Religious traditions and how we engage in them individually and as a society.
  • Fukuyama- Identity – Gaining recognition for belonging to a group/society.
  • Kahneman- Thinking Fast and Slow – Which parts of the brain engage in our beliefs and how.

Where I Lost Interest

As Peterson is a great intellect and example of having unbiased outlook towards other religions and ideologies, I felt myself being a little biased towards him and some of his questions and statements. I did not agree with many of his statements, especially where it came to the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount.

Peterson’s outlook towards God is very pragmatic and a little orthodoxy to see and state that Jesus’ teachings is a blueprint for living a most optimal life of self-improvement. Also, that love is self-serving. The Christian life is more of surrendering ourselves to gain more of Christ in us. It seems Peterson’s research on the bible aligns with behavioral modification rather than spiritual transformation.


In conclusion, Peterson’s book and work reminds me of Friedman’s Failure of Nerve, to be that self-differentiated leader and to not allow people to triangle you. My takeaway through this book and leading in a time of crises through Covid, is leading change is hard. Reducing the fear of change is possible but complex. I am reminded of the 23 Psalm and as a shepherd provides a place of peace and refuge, so the sheep can eat and our well-nourished.


[1] Peterson, J. (1999). Maps of Meaning: the architecture of belief. London: Routledge.

[2] Schulz, K. (2010). Being Wrong. Harper Collins.

[3] Campbell, J., Cousineau, P. and Brown, S.L. (2003). The Hero’s Journey Joseph Campbell on his life and work. Novato, Calif. New World Library.

[4] Of, A., Zema, D.B., Walsh, G.G., Etienne Gilson, Monahan, G. and Honan, D.J. (2008). The City of God. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press.

[5] Meyer, E. (2014). The Culture Map: Breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business. 1st ed. New York: Publicaffairs.

[6] Vincent Jude Miller (2013). Consuming religion: Christian faith and practice in a consumer culture. New York; London: Bloomsbury.

[7] Fukuyama, F. (2018). Identity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

[8] Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, Fast and Slow. London: Penguin



About the Author


Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

2 responses to “Change is Hard, But Possible!”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Greg,

    Can you clarify for me what you would argue is the difference between behavior modification and spiritual transformation? I might agree with you, but also I would argue spiritual transformation involves behavior modification. It is an inward transformation that is expressed externally – behavior – in addition to external practices (spiritual disciplines) that shape our character from the outside in.

  2. David,
    Thank you for reading my post and asking for clarification. You always bring insight and good questions. You have been such a good friend and colleague through the program (thank you).

    Behavior modification- is learning and applying new techniques. Even though there is outward change, there is no inner change to the spirit or soul.

    Spiritual transformation- is where there is inner-change to a person’s soul and spirit where they are forever changed. There is an outward change that follows.

    In Pentecostal Theology, this would be referred to as sanctification. The work of the Holy Spirit helping us overcome the power of sin in us.

    The apostle Paul really battles this with the Corinthians. Even though they had spiritual gifts, they struggled greatly in their character with God and with one another.

    I hope this helps explain. Please let me know if it did not clarify. Bless you.


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