My “current reads” make their home on my nightstand. Like residents of a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan, they are piled high and constantly in transition. Sometimes a book has a one-night stand, like Amy Julia Becker’s Small Talk, which I finished in just six hours. Other times one stays for a few months, like Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, through which I’m still slogging.
No matter how long a book stays on my nightstand, though, it always ends up on my bookshelf—except for one, my Bible. It’s a “current read” with permanent residency. I don’t move it to my bookshelf because I don’t want its spine to be a mere reminder of once having been read. Of course, there have been times when I’ve reached past the Word of God to pick up the words of J. K. Rowling or David McCullough. But Rowling and McCullough are gathering dust on my bookshelf now, while my Bible is still on my nightstand.
The Bible: Faith and Work Edition
The constant and everyday relevance of the Bible is why David Kim, Executive Director of the Center for Faith & Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and I—along with the editors of Christianity Today and Zondervan—are working on a new Bible. We want something with staying power.
The Bible: Faith and Work Edition will be a unique and engaging combination of doctrine, application, and community that can find its home not only on your nightstand at home, but also on your desktop at work. Its goal is to equip Christians to meaningfully engage various aspects of their work—even those we might not even think could be relevant—with a renewed sense of the power and relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
With over 20 years of experience pastoring people in communities that wrestle with questions about faith and work, Kim says,
What you will learn in the pages of this Bible is not a list of do’s and don’ts at work, but a theology that will hopefully rewire the way you understand the gospel and how it has everything to do with your work. Once you see the connection between faith and work, the work of Christ will become more beautiful, comprehensive, and necessary. I hope this Bible will bring to you an excitement to engage not only your work, but also the world around you, with a renewed sense of purpose grounded in the unique hope of the gospel.
Storytelling and Meaning
This Bible will include both doctrine and story, because we believe that reaching the mind with truth is just as important as reaching the heart with meaning. “For me,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” Stories have a way of implanting truth deep in our hearts.
We also believe, though, that one of the most beautiful and unique aspects of the gospel is that it can be lived out by all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Unlike other faith traditions that narrowly define faithful observance to prescribed behavioral rules that necessarily flatten creative contextualization, the gospel is broad in its application because it is founded on a person, not principles. When we tell stories, then, we seek to illuminate meaning, not instruct particular behavior. As Hannah Arendt said, “Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”
We Need Your Help
To that end, we are including more than 50 stories of people aiming to live out the gospel in their particular contexts through their vocations. These stories will come from practitioners in a wide variety of industries—carpentry, education, healthcare, government, music, and more.
And we need your help.
If you want to share your story—or if you are a writer and want to share one of your friend’s stories—in The Bible: Faith and Work Edition, we invite you to submit a 750-word or less reflection that considers the following three questions: What do you do every day? How do you feel about what you do? When have you found your work particularly meaningful?
All accepted stories will be printed anonymously. Everyone whose story is selected through this process will receive a one-year complimentary subscription to Christianity Today as well as one copy of The Bible: Faith and Work Edition when it releases in 2016. Submissions are due here by midnight on Monday, December 15.
If your story is selected, not only will you have a part in expanding Christians' vision of their vocation—you may have a lasting presence on a nightstand, too.