Summer Book Suggestion: Every Job a Parable by John Van Sloten

As we anticipate summer rhythms, ESN wants to offer book suggestions from our readers. Our hope is that this will provide great conversation starters for ESN members as you engage with each other online and at events like the upcoming InterVarsity faculty retreats and the American Scientific Affiliation conference. We also hope you find some great summer reading. The format is simple: Give us the title, a quotation from the book if desired (150 words or less), and a paragraph on why this book is worth reading (for Christian scholars in general or for you individually). The book can be related to your academic work and life, or related to theology and living the Christian life, or recreational reading that helps you rest and enjoy the summer. Hannah Eagleson began Summer Book Suggestions 2018 with Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan. Please send us your suggestions in a similar format. Thank-you.

Summer Book Suggestion: Every Job a Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses, and Astronauts Tell Us about God, by John Van Sloten


Each [job] is a kind of parable—a lived out story within which and through which God speaks in multiple ways. Parables were a key aspect of Jesus’ teachings—he depicted God’s Kingdom through stories about laborers, farmers, jewel merchants, kings, judges, managers, builders, general-store keepers, landlords, and vineyard owners. He used these stories, the Bible tells us, as a kind of advanced class for his most responsive audiences: “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them” (Matthew 13:12, nlt) (x).

The purpose of this book is to help kindle a new kind of vocational imagination, to help you experience God at work more, and to help you read the parable that is your job (xii).

Van Sloten, John. Every Job a Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses, and Astronauts Tell Us about God. NavPress.

Why it’s worth reading

Every Job a Parable not only encourages the big view (such as the earth being seen from the moon, quotations from the Psalms, the narrative of Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Earth), but also the reality that God is with us in our particular vocation each step of the way. Let us engage work as a

real-time knowing and experiencing of God . . . Our good work . . . a grateful response to a grace-filled encounter with God . . . ” (xviii).

Not losing sight of the reality:

Work concretizes your faith; it puts God’s words into action. We need to be doing both at the same time—loving God and loving our neighbor—to be fully alive. And it all starts with a loving, knowing experience of God (xix).

This summer join me in asking the Lord to slow us down, open our eyes, and enable us as the people of God to see / live / articulate a grateful, joyful and intentional lectio vocatio on campus, in our neighborhood, wherever the Lord leads.

To learn more read / share / discuss download a PDF of the Introduction: Finding God at Work and Chapter 1: All Work Matters: What a Flyer Delivery Person, a Walmart Greeter, a Forensic Psychologist, and a Residential Landlord Teach Us about the Value of All Work. To God be the glory!

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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