Too often, we get into a fundamentally unhealthy divide in our thinking about faith and life. We abstract our faith, putting it in the “spiritual” box, and consider our labor as separate. It goes in the “actual real life” box.
I’m thankful for a new book called Fruit at Work: Mixing Christian Virtues with Business (Lanphier, 2012) by Chris Evans. Evans is a talented entrepreneur who works with the cool-sounding Blackstone Entrepreneur Network. He’s also been involved with The Trinity Forum, associated with Os Guinness and others. I’ve enjoyed Fruit at Work, which draws off of Tim Keller and others to ground our daily labor in the gospel and in biblical virtue.
The text is readable and filled with personal reflection from Evans’s life. Here’s an example from his chapter on humility, a quality that not every leader–or Christian leader–has an easy time embodying:
A big way that I changed is that I feel I have a capacity for gentleness that just wasn’t there before I was broken. Having been deeply humbled, I can have compassion for others in tough situations. While part of me still wants to feel powerful and give orders, the Christ in me cares more about the people I’m relating to than my image (136).
Read this helpful book, which will help you to approach work first from the perspective of godly virtue, rather than primarily as a means to accomplishment, achievement, or as Charlie Sheen would say, “winning.”
Over at Patheos, I just blogged on who I’m voting for this presidential election season. This topic afforded me the chance to talk more broadly about how abortion is not simply a position, one among many that we could choose. It is instead a holistic theology. It is, specifically, a theology of death.
In my first piece over at ThoughtLife, I tackle this question. As I did on Thursday, I urge you to, in the words of Tina Fey, “go to there.” Subscribe to ThoughtLife, sign up for it in your RSS feed, and generally patronize this new blog, which is now the home of my “content blogging.”
Here’s a snippet:
Here’s what caught my attention in this segment, though: can anyone reasonably expect to “resurrect” liberal Protestantism? Forget the political issues involved here and the rather soft journalism at play in this piece. This is one of the more interesting questions one encounters in the study of modern American Christianity. Richard Wightman Fox, progressive Christian and author of a classic biography on Reinhold Niebuhr, once mused out loud in a fascinating essay that the dynamic of liberal Protestantism–specifically, its shaping by the culture–set it on a collision course with enlightened secular thought.
In other words, the liberal Protestants were so shaped by cultural mores that their project was essentially destined to merge with the culture. This is a brilliant insight, and it tells a great deal of the story of liberal Protestantism in the last 100 years.
I have some exciting news to share–at least, it’s exciting if the atomized world of overheated evangelical blogging matters greatly to you. Come Monday, October 22, 2012, I am beginning a new blog, ThoughtLife, on the Patheos Evangelical Portal. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this exploding corner of evangelical social media, but it’s led by Timothy Dalrymple, a Christian public intellectual and wizard of entrepreneurial cultural engagement.
To use locker room language, I am pumped up to blog for Patheos. I’ll join evangelical thought-leaders like Tommy Kidd (and the Anxious Bench crew), Joe Carter, David French, Adrian Warnock, Fred Sanders, and a host of others. I will continue to operate this humble little blog and will post regular content here (especially related to the ministry God has given me). But my heavy-duty public square engagement will take place over at Patheos.
A major part of what drew me to Patheos was the vision Tim laid out after beginning discussions about such a move. I am all about a big, bold vision. Here’s a slice of what Tim has said he wants the Evangelical Portal to be:
The center of gravity of the Evangelical Channel presently rests just left of center. While the Evangelical Channel will continue to support its current roster of writers fully, it will seek to fortify its offering in Reformed and Baptist writers, and in culturally-savvy center-right social commentators.
There is not now a single venue that attracts compelling commentary from young, conservative evangelical public intellectuals. While maintaining our strengths in center and center-left writers, then, we’re eager to extend our strength rightward on the spectrum. This is partly to represent American evangelicalism better, partly to give a new generation of conservative evangelicals a voice, and partly to form a more thoughtful approach to social and cultural engagement amongst conservative-leaning evangelicals.
You can read the whole thing here. I love this blueprint. Tim is right: there is currently no major go-to resource for conservative evangelicals on culture and public square issues. We have excellent media hubs for theology, spirituality, the gospel-driven Christian life, and news and issues affecting the church. But we very much need a home for evangelical public intellectuals. Patheos has drawn a number of gifted progressive Christians, but it’s clear that the Evangelical Portal is featuring and more recently has been featuring a treasure-trove of conservative evangelical cultural engagement. That’s just terrific to see.
Again, to be alongside outstanding evangelical scholars like the aforementioned Tommy Kidd and Fred Sanders is beyond exciting to me. I want ThoughtLife, and indeed much of my work, to be a kind of accessible David Wellsian take on culture and the public square. In other words, I want to bring all the megawatt scholarly power of the Bible, theology, and history to bear on modern issues (though I will probably have more to say about basketball and hip hop than Wells (!), a major intellectual influence on me–and fellow TEDS grad). The gospel remixes life.
So: get ready to add a new RSS feed and to “follow” a new blog. You don’t need to drop your association with this little site; I’m still going to be “here,” so to speak. But I hope you’ll join me at ThoughtLife and make my experience there as profitable, sharpening, and downright fun as things are here.