Restlessness & Shame (Tim Keller Goes Walker Percy on Me!)

By consulting my “GoodReads” sidebar widget to the right you will notice that one of the books I am currently working my way through is Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor. If you’re not familiar with Keller all I can say is that you should be! The combination of depth and accessibility in his work is unrivaled in my opinion and I rarely come away from a piece of his writing without being thankful that I took the time to read it. Every Good Endeavor has been a similar experience for me.

As I was reading over this past weekend I came across a passage that reminded me of all the Walker Percy I read my last semester of undergrad. Walker Percy is a mid 20th century American author with a flair for southern existential Catholicism (quite the combination I know!). Percy is best known for his work The Moviegoer and I would recommend the piece of fiction to anyone. In his works Percy displays an acute understanding of the human dilemma and highlights a restlessness that all humans face and usually try to suppress. Percy calls this restlessness the malaise. Keller, in more theological terms highlighted this reality in Every Good Endeavor.

Contemporary Western culture tries to account for this restlessness without recourse to the biblical doctrine of sin. Psychologists help us understand the part our early childhood has played in creating unnecessary shame or a sense of being unloved. Entertainment distracts us from our discomfort. And doing good helps bolster our identity as a good person. But the Bible locates the root issue as our separation from God. (pg. 86-87)

Considering the amount of time I (necessarily) invested in Percy my last semester of undergraduate studies I can’t help but write about wider connections in my current reading endeavors!

Food for thought.

Michael

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