One of this month’s best new books
(and one of January’s best audiobooks) is:
“I have a serious proposal to make. We should work until we die.” So begins Part One of Aging Matters by R. Paul Stevens (11). This thesis may startle or even anger folks who are looking forward to retirement or those who are enjoying newly gained leisure to travel or play more or just run after grandchildren. But it may comfort others who fear retirement as a loss of self, those who are asking, “When I’m no longer a [pastor/lawyer/corporate officer — fill in the blank] who will I be?” Their only question is How can I keep working?
A Review of
I didn’t actually expect to love Katelyn Beaty’s book, A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, The Home, and the World. You see, my own relationship to work is complicated. I’m a stay-at-home mom (at least from the outside) living in the middle of suburbia, helping my husband plant a church in a neighborhood miles from where we each grew up. It doesn’t look like I’ve done much with my life. Sure, I can point to my Ph.D. from a prestigious university in Scotland, my few years lived overseas, our years of ministry in Salt Lake City, as things that make me interesting — evidence that I’ve worked, I’ve made my mark on the world. I squeeze writing a book into the wee hours. But since my weekly routine involves grocery shopping, caring for four little children, and managing homework, I thought I’d find more mommy guilt. I was expecting to either feel shame for the form my mothering takes (“Why aren’t you using your Ph.D.? We need more women in the academy!”) or feel that the portfolio life I’m living (balancing life as a writer, pastor’s wife, mother, volunteer) was somehow less consequential than a 9-5 job.
The Various Disciplines
of a Well-Ordered Life
A Feature Review of
Paperback: Angelico Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Tyler Campbell
No shortage of ink has been spilled surrounding the spiritual ramifications of our culture’s need for constant entertainment. Often times these didactic moments begin by addressing the material things that we spend considerable amounts of time with, and conclude with a call to disregard this type of lifestyle and return to a more disciplined religious life. But what of our metaphysical makeup implies the tension between discipline and lethargy? In his latest book, Acedia and its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire, R.J. Snell uses a variety of sources to create a modern definition of the Latin word acedia, which is generally translated as the noun sloth. Through his investigation Snell establishes that defining acedia as mere laziness misses out on the true character of the term, as seen within historical theology and scripture. By looking at acedia through a metaphysical lens and applying examples of contemporary distraction, Snell shows that the antithesis of acedia is found in a deeper understanding of the ways in which the Divine’s self-communicative love permeates into the mundane work of our life, making all that we do beautiful and important.
A Review of
Paperback: Kalos Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by David Clark
Nancy Nordenson’s most recent book, Finding Livelihood: A Progress of Work and Leisure, contains a collection of elegant lyric essays. Nordenson’s brooding but engaging meditations explore the character of faithful work through an exposition of numerous disquieting questions, questions that fail to admit to easy answers. Author and critic John Berger once compared the successful essay to an outstanding drawing. “The artist attempts to render what is before him by imagining what is behind, drawing what can’t be seen.” Finding Livelihood seeks to understand what is “behind” the human task of earning one’s daily bread.
(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)
See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.
By Jeff Goins
A Review of
Reviewed by Micheal Hickerson
This book, the first of T.S. Poetry Press’s Masters in Fine Living series, is intended to be read slowly and reflectively. Poetry at Work consists of 20 short, practically poetic chapters, each offering a few pages of thoughts about a specific area of work, along with a poetic exercise and, in many chapters, a few lines of Young’s own poetry about his work. The chapters largely deal with Young’s own experiences with turning to poetry for encouragement, inspiration, and comfort during his career in speechwriting, public relations, and social media. He wants readers to share his discovery that poetry can be used to discover beauty and purpose in the everyday.
Key to the book is this passage: