Monday, January 28, 2013

Keller’s Every Good Endeavor – Introduction

I’ll be facilitating a discussion on the introduction (pages 18-30) of Keller’s work this evening. Here are some questions I’ve pulled together for discussion.

1.       Keller, quoting Bellah, writes (18), “Americans had created a culture that elevated individual choice and expression to such a level that there was no longer any shared life, no commanding truths or values that tied us together…

To make a real difference… [there would have to be] a reappropriation of the idea of vocation or calling, a return in a new way to the idea of work as a contribution to the good of all and not merely as a means to one’s own advancement.

Is Bellah right? Have Americans erroneously elevated individual choice at the expense of any shared life? Can you think of examples? Is the trend getting better or worse?

Is this a uniquely American condition?

Is the idea of calling or vocation a common and popular idea? What about “contribution to the good of all?"

2.       Keller lists these examples of “Christian sentiments” when it comes to integrating faith and work (22):

a.       The way to serve God at work is to further social justice in the world.

b.      The way to serve God at work is to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues.

c.       The way to serve God at work is just to do skillful, excellent work.

d.      The way to serve God at work is to create beauty.

e.      The way to serve God at work is to work from a Christian motivation to glorify God, seeking to engage and influence culture to that end.

f.        The way to serve God at work is to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs.

g.       The way to serve God at work is to do whatever gives you the greatest joy and passion.

h.      The way to serve God at work is to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can.

Are there items missing from the list? Anything that should be stricken from the list?

If you had to limit the list to 2 or 3 of the most important, what would they be?

3.       Keller, reflecting on Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle, writes (29): “But really—everyone is Niggle. Everyone imagines things, and everyone finds him- or herself largely incapable of producing them. Everyone wants to be successful rather than forgotten, and everyone wants to make a difference in life.”

Does this resonate with you? Do you think of your life and work in these terms?

How do you put your “leaf” in perspective with the “branch” and the “trunk” and the “tree” and the Creation?

1 comment:

  1. The part of the introduction that keeps rolling around in my head is your point #3, the reflection on Tokien's Leaf by Niggle. It is true, we are all Niggle. Finding the balance between doing what we feel called to do, promoting ourselves (as it seems the world requires), and then being happy and content with our "leaf" and how it fits in with the whole tree can feel very complicated. I think Keller chose a perfect story to set us up for the rest of the book. Thanks for pulling these discussion points. Based on our lively discourse with the Leadership Council last night, it may take us a year to get through the whole book, and that's OK!!


Thanks for posting a comment. This is a moderated blog, so your post will be published as soon as it is reviewed.