Here are the books I finished in the last month. Some I read in the last month but others I have been reading for a while and I have only just got around to finishing lately.
Why Business Matters to God: (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) By Jeff van Duzer
The Resolved weekend away in 2015 is on work so I am reading everything I can get my hands on about work. When he wrote this book, Van Duzer was the Dean of the Seattle Pacific Universities Business School (he is now the Provost of the University). Van Duzer writes from a reformed perspective where he takes the 4 movements in scripture (creation, fall, redemption and consummation) and applies them to business. From this perspective he says that the two first order purposes of business are: Firstly, “to provide the community with goods and services that will enable it to flourish” and secondly, “to provide opportunities for meaningful work that will allow employees to express their God-given creativity” (42). With care and skill he then traces out the implications of the theology he has established and purposes of business he has suggested in real life examples. This book helped me appreciate the complex world of business a little bit more and it also helped me think through how I am going to apply the gospel to those in my church who are in the business world.
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller
As with all Keller’s stuff this book is extremely stimulating. I do disagree with him about whether Christians are called to reform the culture which he talks about a bit in this book and seems to be lurking in the background of of many parts of this book. The strength of this book is helping us explore the assumptions and the worldviews we bring to work and how that shapes the way we work and also how we view work. Which is vital for helping us look at work properly.
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton
De Botton is an atheist philosopher whose work is very engaging. In this book he explores a number of different industries and while exploring them gives commentary on the way we think about work and why. This is a very provocative and insightful book which, due to de Botton’s engaging writing and humour is a a joy to read.
The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
This is a book which took me a fair while to read. It’s prose and argument are dense and yet it is book which I hope that all pastors and bible college students read. Edwards seeks to explore the marks of a true Christian. He first of all spends a bunch of time showing that some of the evidences that we use to distinguish a true christian (i.e. knowing a lot of scripture) don’t tell us anything about a persons spiritual state. In the end, the true Christian loves the beauty of God’s holiness. There are affections that come out of this great affection but if there is no love for the true character of God then, as Edwards argues, that person is not a christian.
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
In this short and very accessible book Keller takes us slowly through the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Keller says that we all fall into one of two categories, we are either rebels like the younger brother or we are religious like the older brother. Either way we have decided to seek righteousness and life on our terms not on the terms of God our heavenly father. Keller explores how grace breaks through these identities and helps us come to God who loves us more than we can imagine.
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