Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Serious Times: A Review

Originally uploaded by Phil Steiger.
One of the waves of Christian authorship in popular level non-fiction right now deals with what a worldview is and how it gets worked out in a believer’s life. Among what is out there right now, there are a lot of relatively simple and shallow works, and then there are well researched and documented books that are wonderful in their own right. A few span the gap of popular appeal and readability and solid scholarship well, and Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter In An Urgent Day is one of those.

The book itself is fairly short and can be read easily in a few days or a week if one chooses. And due to the fair sized splash the book has made, there are a few resources and aids available to help in the study and application of the book’s topic matter. The accompanying website,, is a good source for further reading and study for the Christian life.

The first three chapters, “The Second Fall”, “The World That Lives In Us”, and “The City of Dreadful Delight” set the cultural stage for the believer. What I appreciated most about this section of White’s work is that he deals honestly (though admittedly briefly) with a few of the major cultural shifts the West has seen. Specifically he deals well with the Enlightenment and its effects on culture. It seems that the Enlightenment has become a popular whipping boy in current church thought, and too often what is whipped is a straw-man or simply a caricature so distorted that it is simply false.

The second set of chapters are well organized around the topics of “Deepening our Souls”, “Developing Our Minds”, “Answering the Call”, and “Aligning With The Church.” Each chapter is worth the book not only in the concepts White puts across, but in the endnotes and resources for further study.

After each chapter there is a short, one to two page biography highlighting the point of the chapter. Often these biographies take over the substance and ideas of a book, but he has kept them brief enough and too the point so that they serve the broader purpose of the book quite well.

As a pastor, this is the kind of book that I would choose for a small group of believers who are serious about the call on their lives and/or interested in leadership within the church. Contrary to the books typically chosen for those kinds of leadership groups, this work is not specifically interested in leadership techniques. Instead, and to its great credit, it is interested in helping each and every believer live lives of significance, and in my opinion, it goes a long way toward reaching that goal.


Steve said...

Hey Phil-

Good to see some post from you again! Hope you are doing well. Thanks for pointing this book out. Sounds great.

Grace and peace,

Phil Steiger said...

Steve-thanks and it is good to hear from you, too. Getting used to my new schedule and responsibilities has been a bit of a job, but I am looking forward to posting more as I get accustomed to it all.

Hope all is well!

rev-ed said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Phil. I'll check out the book when I get a chance.

Joshua_Duncan said...

I've read Serious Times. It was a bit of a galvanizing moment for me. Not as seminal as Desiring God or Love Your God With All Your Mind, but it helped to awaken me to what it takes to live a life that is worthwhile.