Saturday 20 August 2016

Every Square Inch, Every Waking Hour, Every Good Thing

I wrote the following mini reviews for EG, the quarterly magazine produced by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

Bruce Riley Ashford, Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians (Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2015), Benjamin T. Quinn & Walter R. Strickland II, Every Waking Hour: An Introduction to Work and Vocation for Christians (Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2016), and David W. Jones, Every Good Thing: An Introduction to the Material World and the Common Good for Christians (Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2016).

How far does the lordship of Christ extend? Answer: to every square inch. How much of our day can be spent glorifying God in our everyday callings, including work? Answer: every waking hour. How much of the material world are we to take care of as those entrusted by God to be his stewards? Answer: every good thing.

These three small-format books, individually and together, offer short primers on what it means to be a whole-life disciple of Jesus in God’s world. Every Square Inch briefly outlines a theology of culture and calling before exploring how we can engage with the arts, the sciences, politics and the public square, economics and wealth, scholarship and education. Every Waking Hour offers a concise perspective on work and vocation, looking at what the Bible says and in the light of the wisdom Christ brings and the kingdom he proclaims. Every Good Thing reminds us of the goodness of the material world and the significance of economics and stewardship, work and rest, and wealth and poverty in God’s design for human beings.

All three books tackle truncated views of Christianity which have been hindered by an adherence to a sacred-secular divide. All three understand that believing the gospel brings with it a comprehensive worldview which carries implications for every area of existence. All three root this perspective in the story told in the Bible, from creation to new creation. With action points and recommended reading at the end of each chapter, the format would work well for discussion in a small group, with the books being beneficial for those just starting out on the journey of discipleship as well as those further down the road.

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