Labor Day bibliography

Although it is a day to commemorate labor, I feel like working. Yesterday in church our pastor noted that one of the great sadnesses of the Gulf Coast tragedy is that so many people’s workplaces were demolished. Folks have no where to work, no way to excercise their professional gifts, cannot now serve the community in their employment, cannot earn a paycheck.
And so, we are struck by yet another layer of grief for the victims of Katrina. And are resolved to, among the more obvious relief efforts, hold up a high regard for meaningful labor, affirm that that, too, is part of any fully human and rich culture, and to, at least, try not to grumble about the stresses of my job.
You may know that providing a place to talk about integrating faith and work and encouraging what some call “marketplace ministry” was one of the earliest visions Beth and I had for Hearts & Minds. Although we have a huge theology section, emphasize Biblical studies and are known for our shelves full of diverse spiritual formation books, we are especially excited to offer books for the working person, aiding them in recalling the “cultural mandate” of Genesis 1 and 2 and the implications of Biblical themes for their particular workplaces. Our human calling to work is wired into who we are–and where we are– and, in this fallen, hurting world, it is important to be intentional about “thinking Christianly” about what constitutes a “Christian perspective” on callings, vocations, careers and jobs. For the sake of the glory of God and for the love of neighbor (not to mention our own self-fulfillment) we must make this a central topic of Christian discipleship. It is our experience here, that it isn’t.
Over at the website, we have compiled a beginners guide to titles that might help profesionals, especially (or students) live into their careers out of their deepest convictions. It is a listing we are proud of and those that discover it find that they want to cut and paste sections of it–the part for businesses, or artists, or psychologists or engineers, say—to people they know in those jobs. Or to students who ought to be developing resources for integrating faith and learning in their disciplines. We cannot tell you how pleased we are when we hear of this happening and we invite you, this Labor Day of our Lord 2005, to send a part of this list to some college student you know. Or a pastor who did (or didn’t) preach a good labor day sermon yesterday.
So, for this project to help get the word out that these kind of books exist, we offer you our somewhat dated, entry-level bibliography, a little-known feature of the Hearts & Minds website*. Please, let us know if it is helpful in your career area.
Click here for “Books by Vocation.”
*I say little known not only because our sad little website isn’t that well known, but more because of this (hold on to your hat): I have been told numerous times that people think that that moniker on the website button—“Books by Vocation”—is for people thinking about becoming a clergy person or entering the vocation of church work. Makes me want to spit, of course, since this is the heart of the problem, a damned dualism that dishonors God by the implication that some aspects of His good world are “religious” and therefore people can be “called” into “vocations” in those holy arenas and other parts, are, well, second-class options for we secular folks who have to choose the necessary evil of working in the real world. If this irks you–grieves you, if you are like Jeremiah–as much as it does me, go back a few postings and re-look at the list of books about vocation and think what church library or fellowship group or campus ministry you can get these kind of books into. If you have no idea what I am talking about—thinking Christianly about engineering? developing a Christian viewpoint on work? serving God in popular culture and media? rejecting dualism that suggests only some jobs are holy? then please consider getting a few of these books for yourself. It is one of the most significant cutting edges of Christian faith in the 21st century.
And it is one of our greatest passions, and yet weeks go by without getting to talk about such things, at all, even surrounded by books like this, as we are here at the shop. Where are Max Lucado and Marcus Borg (just to name a characteristically popular author in the evangelical and liberal theological tradition) when you need them? Hardly anybody speaks on this topic much, and hardly anybody buys these kind of books. Why?