Thursday, March 22, 2007

Praying at Burger King - Book Review

Praying at Burger King

Praying at Burger KingAuthor: Richard J. Mouw

Publisher: Eerdmans

ISBN: 0802840469

134 pages, paperback

A number of years ago I was at a chain restaurant with my pastor and fellow elders. Our special guest for the evening was the pastor’s uncle, who had been a lifelong Southern Baptist evangelist. After we placed our orders the uncle asked us if we minded if he gave thanks for the food. Of course we were delighted to have this venerable preacher of the sawdust trail pray for us and insisted that he take the privilege. To our shock—and I’ll confess on my part at least horror—he stood up and in a loud voice asked the entire restaurant to join him in “saying grace.”

Moments like that tend to make one think about Jesus’ warning that he will be ashamed of those ashamed of him (Luke 9:26). Is being embarrassed when a country preacher calls a prayer meeting at Applebee’s being ashamed of Jesus, or is it just being ashamed of rudeness in his name?

Richard Mouw (author of Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport) thinks a lot about the public face of Christians. His latest book, Praying at Burger King, is a collection of short essays centered on the theme of how we live our lives before an unbelieving world. Mouw’s concern is with discipleship in the everyday little things: choosing to bow one’s head to pray (silently!) at Burger King, making eye contact with teenage store clerks, or assessing the proper level of dignity one owes a roasting chicken. He is working in the biblical category of wisdom, seeking to apply biblical teaching in areas where there is no law to fall back on.

Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, Mouw provides excellent examples of how we might attempt to think God’s thoughts after him in the everyday things. You will probably not agree with all of his conclusions, but then who is to say that every one of us will work out wisdom in the same way? At the very least, most of his essays will get you thinking about what you would do in the situation, and in the process you find that you too are “doing wisdom.” - Mark Traphagen, Westminster Bookstore Staff, March 2007

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