A year ago, to celebrate Labor Day, as I sometimes do here at BookNotes,
I tried to make an appeal for you to read books about work. I think it was a good column, and I’ll give you the link to it below, in a moment.
And a free book offer, a small book, but a good one.
this has always been a central aspect of our bookstore’s vision, and we’ve long been keen
on the idea that the ordinary people of God serve their neighbors and
consequently advance God’s Kingdom best while at their particular post
in the work-world. Of course, not everyone has paid employment, and the
theological vision of calling and vocation surely includes all kinds of
“offices” where we take up our tasks for God’s glory. But the point is the same; we are missionally minded, thinking about how to practice our jobs and callings in ways that are inspired by the Biblical narrative, imagined in light of the God the Creator, Worker, Restorer.
(I was glad, by the way, that during the “March on Washington/I Have a Dream Speech” anniversary
commemoration some folks cited that famous Martin Luther King Jr. bit about
sweeping streets to the best of your ability, if you are a street
sweeper. We do our menial tasks, however seemingly humble, as
Michelangelo did his art, King preached. What a good reminder for all of us this very
education, must come from Christian trade unionists and Christian
schoolmasters; just as Christian literature comes from Christian
novelists and dramatists–not from the bench of bishops getting together
and trying to write plays and novels in their spare time.”
Perhaps that best book I’ve seen about a pastor who caught this vision, and starting talking and teaching it in his church, and all that subsequently happened is the delightful and inspiring Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship and Monday Work by Tom Nelson (Crossway; $15.99) It is, of course, on the big list and you can read about it there. It’s a good one.
As I’ve suggested, in that column a year ago I created a very extensive annotated list of books about
calling and vocation, and work and jobs and it is for both ordinary folks and pastors. I am glad that this list has
gotten some attention, and hope that this Labor Day you might forward it
on to your own friends and pastoral staff (if you are a church-going
person.) There are more extensive lists out there, perhaps, but this is the best
of the best, and still pretty diverse, for nearly any sort of reader.
It is one of the more important lists I’ve created in the years of our
work here, and we pray it somehow helps.
You see, we can’t
really fully do our work here without others spreading the news and buying the
books. So, thanks for being a part, our co-workers, part of our team, helping us get some of these books off our shelves and into the mail.
And say a prayer of thanks for the writers and publishing industry folks, our UPS and FedEx drivers, and the hard-working USPS staff. Not to mention our own staff here at the Dallastown shop, Amy, Patti, Kimberly, Diana, and Robin, who serve so diligently alongside Beth and I.
Not long after that Labor Day one, I did another BookNotes piece, highlighting Rev. Timothy Keller’s very good book on this topic Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work telling of our role in the book launch of it in New York, last November. It was written by Keller with an associate of his who has spent much time in the corporate world, Katherine Leary Alsdorf, who has thought about this as much as anybody I know, so it is excellent. (EGE was published by Dutton in hardback, regularly selling for $26.95. Our sale price for that one is $19.95.)
In that November 2012 BookNotes post, I offered some links
to other organizations that do good work in this arena of helping people
of faith relate faith and work (such as Redeemer Center for Faith and Work, The High Calling blog, the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, and our good friends in Pittsburgh at Serving Leaders. (By the way, check out their upcoming September event, Faith&Work2.0 here. Wow!) I embedded a James Taylor song called Millworker that really moves me. I told a story or two about my own
checkered job history, such as it is. That BookNotes piece was fun to write and I hope fun for you to read.
I INVITE YOU TO READ AGAIN
This Labor Day holiday, I invite you to read those Hearts & Minds columns afresh, ponder
those books, consider who to talk to about them. If you are a pastor or para-church worker, you have people who need to know about this liberating, game-changing message.
If you are a new hire or a seasoned manager, it will pay you to think about this stuff. If you are a student, please, check it out. Professional or blue-collar worker, self-employed or serving in a complex bureaucracy, retired or unemployed, happy at work or mad as hell, God bless you.
This is your day, and we want to be at least one bookstore that helps you in this most central calling of your life, learning to be faithful in the job site, office, shop floor or studio. Allow us to help you figure it out, deeper in and further along, by suggesting these kinds of books.
Maybe watching this tremendous video will inspire you to click over to that column and read that list. I’ve used this with students and adults in several settings, and it is a great little video, created by RightNow Ministries.
HERE IS THE FREE BOOK BONUS:
you buy any book from those lists — at the BookNotes 20% off discount
— before Tuesday (September 3rd) we will also send you a free copy of
a great little book about a Christian view of work, an excellent primer
on the topic written by Stephen J. Nichols.
The free one is called What Is Vocation (published
by P&R) and although brief, we think it will really help you, or
someone you give it to, get clearer about this whole complicated matter
— serving God in the work-world by living into a sense of vocation.
Again, the offer expires at the end of day Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013. The book is free with any purchase from the list to which we linked. Use the links to the secure website, offered below.
ANY ITEM MENTIONED
What Is Vocation?
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know
Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street Dallastown, PA 17313 717-246-3333