Sunday, March 3, 2013

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work

Timothy Keller

In recent years, an astonishing number of books on faith and work have been published. The authors of these books are waking up to an obvious truth: many of us have gone beyond a healthy understanding of work and are now finding our identities in job titles, income and status. This book from Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf addresses this reality by explaining God's plan for work, our problems with work and the Gospel connection to work.
God intended us to work. He himself is a worker (Creator) and calls us to participate in his work. Our idol-making tendencies, greed and selfishness are not part of that model. Jesus, through his work of redemption, is restoring work to its rightful place in God's model. In chapters nine, ten and eleven (A New Story for Work, A New Conception for Work and A New Compass for Work) Keller lays out a magnificent picture of how work could and should be in light of the Gospel. These three chapters were absolutely the highlight of this book.
I highly recommend this book to everyone that is exploring faith and work and anyone whose work has lost meaning, has become drudgery or has taken over life itself. The book is full of truth that can - if you let it - transform the way you approach your work and life in the Kingdom of Christ.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Gospel of John Volume 3: Those Who Received Him (John 9-12)

James Montgomery Boice

This is the third volume of a five-book series on the Gospel of John. As noted in my reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2, James Boice is one of the great expositors of the last century. Boice spent eight years preparing this masterwork set. This volume consists of 51 sermons on chapters nine through twelve of John.

As an expositor, Boice addresses the text directly. This commentary is not overly academic and is very easy to read for daily study. In this particular commentary, following the text, Boice contrasts Jesus' words for those that have faith in him as the Christ and those that do not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Far As The Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption

Michael D. Williams

Many of us have the impression that the Bible is a series of disconnected stories, poems and letters. Using very clear language and easy to follow explanations, Williams shows that the Bible is actually one story. This story, The Covenant Story, is about God lovingly creating a people who repeatedly stray from him. As part of that story, God makes a way for them to return and restores them to a full relationship by sending his son, Jesus, to fulfill the requirements the people had failed to keep.

Williams does a great job of balancing the visible/historical aspects of the covenant story with the invisible/spiritual aspects. He highlights the deep love God has for the people he has made. Christ is the central character throughout.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Gospel of John Volume 2: Christ and Judaism (John 5-8)

James Montgomery Boice

This is the second volume of a five-book series on the Gospel of John. As noted in my review on Volume 1, James Boice is one of the great expositors of the last century. Boice spent eight years preparing this masterwork set. This volume consists of 56 sermons on chapters five through eight John.

As an expositor, Boice addresses the text directly. This commentary is not overly academic and is very easy to read for daily study. In this particular commentary, following the text, Boice contrasts Jesus' actions and teachings with those of the Pharisees.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How Then Should We Work: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work

Hugh Whelchel

Hugh Whelchel has been actively promoting a Reformed/Biblical view of work and calling for many years. He has been an instrumental leader in the formation and advancement of The Fellows Initiative. Most recently, he has become the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. This book is a wonderful collection of his thoughts and ideas on the subject of faith and work.

There are several books on faith and work, some of which I have reviewed here. For their merits, many of them lack a solid theology of vocation. This is a comprehensive, engaging, challenging book that addresses several areas of faith & work that I have not found in other books on this topic. For example, Whelchel explores the Covenantal notion of vocation by reflecting on our transition from the Garden to the City. Whelchel also explores the relationship between Common Grace and vocation in a way that I have not seen in any other book. His ideas about "Reweaving Shalom" (finding and even establishing peace through our work) are very helpful. This is a great read for everyone seeking to find the meaning of their work in a Kingdom context.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lonely Planet Discover Hawaii the Big Island (Full Color Regional Travel Guide)

Luci Yamamoto and Conner Gorry

We used this travel guide every day during our trip to the Big Island. It proved to be an indispensable companion. The tips on everything from sights to restaurants were extremely helpful. We visited several "off the beaten path" gems thanks to this book. The only downside of the book is that it is organized by region. At times this made it a little difficult to search the book while on the road. We used the Kindle edition, so it may be a little easier to use in paperback.

Oxford & Cambridge: An Uncommon History

Peter Sager

This is an uncommon book indeed, given to me by Jessica and Sarah. The book is actually a little difficult to categorize. In one hefty volume, Sager provides a walking guide of the two universities, an architectural history and review, a literary review and a variety of comments on historical figures, whether students, dons or benefactors. In general, the book was enjoyable for its breadth of coverage and the author's humorous comments. It was tedious in its detail at times, particularly in the Cambridge section. The book was originally written in German. The translation into English (by David H. Wilson) is magnificent. Thanks to Sarah and Jessica for the gift of this book.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Gospel of John Volume 1: The Coming of the Light (John 1-4)

James Montgomery Boice

James Boice is one of the great expositors of the last century. This wonderful commentary is the first of a five-book series on the Gospel of John. Boice spent eight years preparing this masterwork. This book consists of 56 sermons on the first four chapters of John.

Boice has an incredible way of writing and teaching that is rich and reassuring. In each sermon, he addresses the text directly, as you would expect from an expositor. His method, while not overly academic is incredibly thorough. He helps you to understand difficult passages and, when appropriate, the original language and cultural context. His down-to-earth writing style enables him to communicate great truths without using a seminary vocabulary. As a daily reading or devotional, you can't go wrong with this commentary from Boice.

One theological point that I think I should mention because it does come up in three or four of the sermons in this book. In every way, Boice teaches from the Reformed / Presbyterian perspective. Unlike most conservative pastors, however, Boice believes in the trichotomy of man. That is, he believes that man consists of three parts, body, soul and spirit. The more common view is that man is a dichotomy, consisting of body and soul. I personally did not find this to be a hindrance in reading the book or appreciating Boice's exposition of the passages. But, since he holds this somewhat uncommon view, I thought it only fair to mention it here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Eric Metaxas

This is a page-turning, inspirational work by a gifted writer. I found myself unable to put the book down, especially once Bonhoeffer was called into the spy business. The writing is magnificent, with an excellent blend of intrigue, romance and humor. While Metaxas is not an historian, his very successful book will hopefully open the eyes of the world to the remarkable young Bonhoeffer who truly was a pastor, martyr, prophet and spy.

Initially, I found that I didn't like Bonhoeffer all that much. He seemed like a spoiled son of privilege who lived in a bubble. As Metaxas explains, he tried to always keep all of his options open in life. It seemed to me that he did this just in case something better came along. And yet, little could we imagine at the outset of the book that this spoiled young man would give up his life for his faith and for the love of his country.

As the Third Reich, in all of its ugliness, becomes a greater presence in Europe, Bonhoeffer's ability to be a "normal" pastor was greatly diminished. The Hitler government was intent on controlling the church. There was no place in the official German church for independent minded Christians such as Bonhoeffer. So, through family connections, Bonhoeffer became a spy involved with several plots to assassinate Hitler. Metaxas does not delve deeply into Bonhoeffer's role as a spy, but his activities seemed to revolve around establishing international relationships that would be critical after the death of Hitler, as Germany would seek to re-establish itself. In the end, Bonhoeffer was found out shortly before the end of the war and was killed by the Third Reich.

How can we understand this today? Metaxas raises many important questions for us. For example, what role should Christians take in war? What role should Christians take in the intelligence world of deception and secret-keeping? What role should Christians take in acts of treason against an evil (or good) government? Who gets to decide whether or not a government is evil or not? These are challenging questions for our time, but no less so in Bonhoeffer's time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

Andy Crouch

We all live within the confines of culture – our work, our family structures, the artifacts that surround us. Culture is inescapable. Crouch argues that culture can only be changed by making new culture. In this thoughtful and thought-provoking work, Crouch carefully examines the meaning of culture, the truth of culture and our role in culture-making. Overall, this is a wonderful book that would be helpful to anyone who is thinking about the meaning of their work and vocational calling.

Crouch argues for the Cultural Mandate of Scripture, indicating that humanity is charged by God with the responsibility of creating culture. Some of the best parts of the book are in the chapter called The Garden and the City. Crouch explains that man was created in a garden (Genesis) but ends up in the city (Revelation). He further explains that the city represents the culmination of man’s cultural creativity. Crouch shares a lot of ideas with Tim Keller (Reason for God) on this point.

Individually, most of us will never change culture on a grand scale. We may influence our family lives and workplaces but, he argues, this does not constitute culture in the fullest sense. On this point, Crouch steps in the direction of James Davison Hunter (To Change the World) who argues that so few people can actually change culture that we should, rather than trying to change culture, instead focus on a personal ministry of “faithful presence”. While these two authors seem to agree on this point, I prefer Crouch because he is more encouraging to real people wondering about their place in the world.

Monday, January 30, 2012

On the Road

Jack Kerouac

On the Road is an American classic that has inspired countless other books, poems, movies and songs. It was the handbook of the Beat Generation. It is the tale of a restless young man who wanted to experience everything and thought the best way to do that was on the road.

The characters in this book are not very likable. They hurt people without remorse, they steal thing along the way, they take advantage of the kindness and hospitality of countless others. They cheat on their wives and girlfriends. And yet, in the characters, we see real people with complex personalities. The same guy, for example, that is married to two women (at the same time) and chasing after several others, loves jazz and is deeply moved by poetry and stories of the road. The main characters all possess a spontaneity, even impulsiveness, that drives them to restless wandering. At a moment's notice, as the inspiration strikes, they often drop everything, abandon everyone around them and head for the other coast. In its realness, this is an incredibly wonderful book. At the same time, it is a picture of humanity in its lowest, most selfish form.

In writing this book, Kerouac achieved a new level of success and acceptance for what he called "Spontaneous Prose." It's a form of writing that has some structure, but is very close to a stream of consciousness. The book is written as if a very fast talker spews every possible recollection he has about his travels - and he does this for many hours on end. There is no quiet period in this book. There is no rest. It just keeps moving. The engine just keeps humming.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Epistles of John: An Expositional Commentary

James Montgomery Boice

This is yet another wonderful, expositional commentary by Dr. Boice. His teaching is direct and easy to understand. As a collection of sermons, this commentary is perfect for daily devotions. The Epistles of John are small letters written to the early church as an encouragement to hold fast in the faith. Many had been lost to persecution and others had been lost to unorthodox teachings such as Gnosticism. In the same way, Dr. Boice's exposition of these epistles is an encouragement for contemporary Christians by applying these truths to our lives today. His encouragement would be especially helpful to those who are wrestling with doubts and lack of faith.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Oh, how we love the story of redemption. This Dickens masterwork is filled with all the elements of a great redemption story. The novel is set in Paris and London during the French Revolution, spanning from 1775 to 1792. Prior to the revolution, the French aristocrats abused and suppressed the poor at every opportunity. Rather than using their positions of power and wealth to care for the poor, they showed themselves to be animals. During and shortly after the revolution, the pendulum swings. The blood-thirsty peasants, drunk with the power of the guillotine, massacre anyone and everyone with the slightest link to the former aristocracy. There is daily bloodshed as people loose their heads, often the result of sham trials. The people sing and rejoice as the blood flows in the streets. In their lust for power and in the name of egalite, the peasants show themselves to be even more barbaric than the aristocrats.

Amid all of this bloodshed, malice and destruction, Dickens paints a marvelous picture of redemption. He shows it for what it truly is - brutally complicated and sickeningly messy. Just before the revolution, a young aristocrat named Charles Darnay denounced his aristocratic lineage and moved to London where he became a teacher of French language and literature. In his new, modest life, he married Lucie Manette, the daughter of a French medical doctor. Lucie and her father were also living in London. Dr. Manette had previously and wrongly been imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years. For various reasons, the three find themselves back in Paris in 1792 right in the middle of the post-revolution bloodbath. Darnay's family history is discovered and he is quickly imprisoned. He committed no crime. He was imprisoned simply because of who he was. Dr. Manette, beloved among the republicans because of his Bastille experience, offered testimony in Darnay's defense. Darnay was set free. In a sense, you could say that Darnay was redeemed by the pain suffered by Dr. Manette. But, the redemption was not a lasting redemption.

Before the family could leave Paris, a particularly evil person (referred to as the daughter of the Devil) brings a new set of charges against Darnay. This time, the good doctor's testimony is not sufficient to save him. No, in this case, the only way Darnay can escape his sentence is for a substitute to stand in for him - a Redeemer. In the end, Dickens masterfully tells this story of redemption and of the redeemer, an unexpected person who willingly stands in the accused's place at the guillotine and takes the punishment for him. It is a brutal and disturbing story. Man is shown at his best and worst. The reader is left in wonder at the power of redemption and shocked at the grand divide between good and evil.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Innocent

Ian McEwan

Eleven years after WWII ended, as the Cold War was escalating, Leonard, a British postal worker was assigned to a secret spy operation in Berlin. The operation was run jointly by the CIA and MI6. While in Berlin, he meets and falls in love with Maria, a beautiful German divorcee. This is a suspenseful book and also has marks of more serious fiction. As entertainment, the book delivers well and becomes quite a page-turner about half-way through.

The book is also an excellent allegorical work. There are multiple stories interwoven together: the narrative story involving Maria and Leonard, the hidden narrative involving the spy operation itself and the meta-narrative of relations between America, Britain and Germany. It is this meta-narrative that McEwan handles very well. Like Germany, Maria is strong and yet vulnerable. Several men are involved in her life in various ways and, as in post-war Germany, she is mostly powerless against them. Like Britain, Leonard is "The Innocent". His role in the new order is not well-defined, but is very much framed by his British-isms and unassuming manner. His true power, however, is revealed only when he has been backed into a corner. Leonard and Maria have an intense relationship that is sudden and uncomfortably intimate. Another character, Bob, is an American military officer, responsible for security. He is American in every stereotypical way - too loud, too forward - but also very competent and compassionate. Otto, a former German soldier, representing the former Germany is drunk, angry and, ultimately unable to control his rage. The interaction of these characters, as well as others, provide an allegorical meta-narrative that reveals McEwan's ability to write serious fiction.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homage to Catalonia

George Orwell

This is wonderful writing, pure and simple. Orwell was a master of language and this book is no exception. He spent part of 1936 and all of 1937 fighting for P.O.U.M., one of the communist factions in the Spanish Civil War. This is his personal account of the events of that time. He spent most of the time on the relatively quiet Aragon front. Orwell and his outfit lacked adequate food, clothes and weaponry - as did the Franco troops on the other side. Late in 1937, he was injured by a stray bullet through the neck.

Orwell was an idealist. For him, communism meant empowerment of the working class. He desired a true democracy and opposed facism and capitalism. But, he also opposed the Soviet model of communism, which he saw as just another way to oppress the working class. Ultimately, he left Spain disillusioned by the politics of war and the compromises made by the communists. He was dismayed by the incessant battles between the various communist factions.

Orwell tells many wonderful stories of his experiences in Spain. He gives an unvarnished view of a poor-man's war. The Spanish fighters - on both sides - were poorly trained, ill-equipped and generally lacking a will to fight. On the Franco side, most of the Spanish soldiers had been conscripted. On the communist side, the Spanish were just happy to have a paying job. Orwell's outstanding writing effortlessly combines many tales from the front with his political observations.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting The Poor and Yourself

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

This is a challenging book. It will challenge your ideas about missions and about helping poor people. Those who have seen second and third world conditions are often deeply moved by the scenes of poverty, disease and lack of education. This emotional experience often moves them to give money directly to the poor or to organize a building or medical project. The authors caution that we should not act too quickly. They suggest that by giving that money, building or medical care, we may actually be hurting the poor more than helping. In our haste to bring relief quickly, we can easily overlook the underlying spiritual situation and local relationship issues. The authors suggest that we often fail to see the needs in their rightful situation by confusing relief, rehabilitation and development. The authors offer a lot of excellent examples of success and failure. They also offer great advice for short-term missions efforts and long-term missions investments.

This is a great book and should be read by everyone involved with missions. I am, however, having trouble reconciling a conclusion one draws from the authors' argument. The authors say, "...when North American Christians do attempt to alleviate poverty, the methods often do considerable harm both to the materially poor and the materially non-poor." Perhaps the conclusion is that most of us should not get involved very much. Instead of spending money on short-term mission trips and ill-advised missions projects, perhaps the North American churches should just be collection centers for money and centers of prayer. Is there an underlying argument made by the authors that the majority of us should leave hands-on missions work to the trained professionals? Intellectually, I understand this. But, on another level it just doesn't seem right. Aren't we called by God to just go and, by implication, try to help? Doesn't God work through (and in spite of) our failures and brokenness in all aspects of our lives? Is, as the head of one large missions organization once told me, 90% of ministry just a matter of "showing up?" This book will not answer these questions, but it will help you to think them through.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and more) that Engage Customers and Ignite your Business

Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

Handley and Chapman argue that the modern marketing department needs to see itself as a publisher/media outlet. They propose a model for creating a lot of content and reusing that content in various ways to keep customers and prospects engaged. They rightly argue that interruption marketing is no longer sufficient, that customer behavior is changing and that everyone is part of the interconnected world. Building on this core concept, the authors walk through several do's, don'ts and examples. They focus on blogs, webinars, ebooks, white papers, success stories and FAQs as the core elements of the content engine. Overall, I found the book to be a good synopsis of what every marketing department should be doing today.

This book as well as others in this genre, however, raise an important question for marketing departments: When is enough enough? It is very easy for a marketing department to get sucked into a "more is better" management model. More messaging, more white papers, more diagrams, more videos. More, more, more. The need to create more content needs to be balanced with the critical need for marketing to stay lean and mean. The authors advocate for massive reuse and repackaging of content. This is some of the best advice they offer in this book. There are many, many tools out there to help you create and reuse content without the need to pay for a lot of software, equipment, consultants and additional staff.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kings Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus

Timothy Keller

This is Tim Keller's fifth book. It is a wonderful, expository commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He divides the book into two parts. In the first part, the King, Keller focuses on and establishes that Jesus is the rightful King of all people and all things. In the second part, the Cross, Keller explains how this King, although he has more power and majesty than any other person, gave up everything in order to redeem his people. Keller has an incredible ability to show the depth of Jesus' character - his wisdom, his love, his patience, his graciousness, his willingness to sacrifice himself. He clearly explains how the ugly yet beautiful, terrible yet wonderful, messy yet elegant death and resurrection of Jesus is the focal point of all history. You will not regret reading this one.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Does College Cost So Much?

Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman

Every parent in America is asking this question. The answer offered by the authors, while credible, is not very comforting. The rapid growth of college costs (price actually), they argue, is simply a function of the market value of the services provided by a highly educated workforce (the faculty). The authors show very plainly that the price of college tracks well with prices in other service industries with similar education levels. Even though they provide a clear, plausible explanation for the high price of an education, it is still a bitter pill. The authors don't offer a lot of ideas on what to do about the price of higher education. As a partial solution, at least in the case of public universities, they advocate replacing the current state subsidies received by schools with direct grants to students.

Overall, the book is well-written, accessible and logically consistent. Unlike other writers and politicians, the authors approach the issue from a purely economic standpoint. They don't rely on academic jargon to make their case. You don't need to be an economist to appreciate the argument they make. Parents, in particular, should read this book. You won't find it comforting at all. But, perhaps, it will inspire you to start saving for college now.

This authors of this book are faculty members at the College of William & Mary. My daughter, who is a student at William & Mary, gave me a signed copy of this book as a gift. I loved receiving it as a gift, but does anyone else see the humorous irony in it?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era

Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner

To engage or not to engage? That is the question for many Christians regarding politics. Are we to only submit to the authorities, but otherwise lead apolitical lives largely out of the public square? Or, are we to actively engage in the political process?

Gerson and Wehner, two former White House staffers, suggest the latter. In this book, they explain that it is our responsibility to engage in politics. But, then, how do we do it without compromising our integrity or without crossing the line between what is good for us personally and what is good for the Kingdom? In this short book, they give their ideas on our responsibility to engage and some approaches we might take. For example, they suggest that we maintain self-awareness, maintain a spiritual grounding, maintain perspective, maintain community and maintain a spirit of grace and reconciliation. I think we would all agree politics could use a lot more of that last one in particular.

City of Man is a short book at just 140 pages. There are six chapters and an Epilogue - Religion and Politics: Friends or Enemies, The Religious Right, A New Approach, The Morality of Human Rights, The Role and Purpose of the State, Persuasion and the Public Square. For me, by far, the most compelling chapter was The Morality of Human Rights. The authors eloquently explain that Christians have an obligation to work for and promote human rights because we are all made in the image of God and therefore have inherent worth. They point out that this concept is clearly part of America's founding documents. It is also consistent with Tim Keller's (who wrote the forward for City of Man) ideas on mercy and justice in his book, Generous Justice, which I also recommend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

James Boswell

I took this book on my recent trip to Scotland. What a treat! For years, Boswell, a Scot, tried to get Samuel Johnson to accompany him on a tour through Scotland. Johnson, who was English, harbored many of the typical prejudices against Scotland, believing it to be a wild country with bad terrain, bad weather, bad food and uneducated people. Finally, in 1773, he agreed to make the trip. The tour started in Edinburgh and ended in Auchinleck, the family home of Boswell. The pair stayed in many homes and met many people during their three month journey. They spent most of their time in the Hebridean Islands.

Boswell is an incredible journalist. He faithfully captured the details of their excursion, everything from food consumed and sleeping conditions to conversations and emotions. He wrote one to two hours per day and conferred with his companion and hosts to make sure that his account was accurate. Boswell's frank depiction of Johnson is striking. Boswell depicts Johnson as a snobbish know-it-all. At times, Boswell seems to be describing a fictional character rather than a real person. In fact, many times during the book, Johnson seemed to be very much like a male version of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the uppity and quite self-unaware character from Pride and Prejudice.

In the end, while he certainly found plenty to complain about, Johnson was genuinely impressed with what he saw in Scotland. Many of his prejudices gave way to appreciation for the hospitality and ingenuity of the people, not to mention the natural beauty of the country.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Benjamin Franklin in Ireland and Scotland

Bennett Nolan

Benjamin Franklin lived in England from 1757 to 1775, serving as the colonial representative for Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Georgia. He made two trips to Scotland, one in 1759 and the other in 1771. On the second trip, he also visited Ireland.

Nolan does an incredible job with this book. He pieced together many letters, journals, log books and other random bits to describe the two trips, which have largely been overlooked by other historians. Franklin was quite famous by the time he served in England, so many people wanted to meet him. Franklin stayed, met and dined with many of the great personalities, particularly of Scotland. Among others, he met David Hume, Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. He heard a lecture by a 26 year-old John Witherspoon, who would later sign the Declaration of Independence and serve as President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton). In fact, Nolan shows that Franklin may have met as many as four signers on his first trip. On his second trip to Scotland, Franklin also spent time with James Watt.

This is a nice piece of historical writing. It interweaves the facts and journal entries, with notes on the personalities and interests of the characters. If the book is 90% history, it's 10% travelogue, detailing what it would have been like to be on the road at that time. Unfortunately, this wonderful book is out of print now.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is Vocation?

Stephen J. Nichols

This is one of sixteen booklets called Basics of the Faith from P&R Publishing. In 31 short pages, Nichols gives a clear, helpful introduction to the Reformed doctrine of vocation. He explains that man was made to work and that, individually, we are equipped by God to do so. He also explains that we can find true meaning - and even pleasure - in our work by following the example of God who worked in Creation and Redemption and who continues to work in sustaining that Creation. If you find yourself just working for the weekend and in a constant battle with drudgery, this little booklet just might help you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God at Work

Gene Edward Veith

If, like me, you are on a quest to understand the relationship between Christian faith and vocation, then I highly recommend this book to you. Veith writes with an uncomplicated style, making this book very easy to digest. He borrows a lot from Martin Luther's theology of vocation, which posits that all believers (not just pastors and priests) have holy callings from God. Some are called to be doctors, some teachers and some construction workers. The fact that our vocational callings are from God, Veith explains, frees us to see our work differently. Regardless of our positions, we have all been equipped by God to serve God and our neighbors and therefore fulfill the Greatest Commandment in real, tangible, vocational ways. The first four chapters set the stage by introducing the basic ideas, exploring how God works through his people and explaining the true nature of vocation. In the following chapters, Veith then connects these ideas to our callings at work, in the family, as citizens and as church members. He concludes with excellent chapters on the ethics of vocation, cross-bearing in vocation and resting in vocation.