Book Review: Garden City

Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer was a great first book of the year! As you might can tell, once I find an author that I enjoy, I try to read as much of what they have written as possible…

This was also particularly good timing as Emma and I have kicked off a new Bible reading plan that started us in Genesis. This book was powerful to read and consider alongside the actual story of Creation and the narrative of the Garden of Eden and what God originally had in store for His creation. This book was helpful in shaping some rhythms heading into a new calendar year. I really appreciated what Comer had to say about Sabbath and marked several books that he referenced to come back and read very soon.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • What are you giving your life to? When you wake up every morning, what is it you do with your small ration of oxygen? Location: 150
  • In Genesis’s vision of humanness, we don’t work to live; we live to work. It flat out says we were created to rule — to make something of God’s world. Location: 206
  • You were made to do good— to mirror and mimic what God is like to the world. To stand at the interface between the Creator and his creation, implementing God’s creative, generous blessing over all the earth and giving voice to the creation’s worship. Location: 415
  • I love Tim Keller’s definition of work. He puts it this way: work is “rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish.” Location: 527
  • Because the Garden was never supposed to stay a garden; it was always supposed to become a garden city. Location: 565
  • You are a modern day Adam or Eve. This world is what’s left of the Garden. And your job is to take all the raw materials that are spread out in front of you, to work it, to take care of it, to rule, to subdue, to wrestle, to fight, to explore, and to take the creation project forward as an act of service and worship to the God who made you. Location: 598
  • so much of finding your calling is about finding out who you are and what you alone can contribute to the world. Location: 645
  • We need to learn to embrace our potential and our limitations. Because both of them are signposts, pointing us forward into God’s calling on our life. Location: 689
  • The novelist Frederick Buechner put it this way: Work is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”6 That’s what your looking for — the intersection between what you love and what your world needs. Location: 756
  • God is involved in your story to the degree that you open up your life to his authorship. Location: 781
  • Our job is to make the invisible God visible — to mirror and mimic what he is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it. Location: 1,144
  • We’re image bearers, created to rule, to partner with God in pushing and pulling the creation project forward, to work it, to draw out the earth’s potential and unleash it for human flourishing — to cooperate with God in building a civilization where his people can thrive in his presence. And in this cosmic agenda, each of us has a vocation, a calling from God, a way that God wired us, somebody to be and something to do — because the two merge in perfect symmetry. Location: 1,278
  • Do you see your work as an essential part of your discipleship to Jesus and as the primary way that you join him in his work of renewal? Location: 1,334
  • We rest because God rests. Location: 2,003
  • Sabbath is a way to say ENOUGH! Location: 2,115
  • Sabbath is a line in the sand. A shot across the bow. “This far you shall go and no further.” No more work, no more stuff, no more. Location: 2,130
  • “People who keep Sabbath live all seven days differently.” Walter Brueggemann Location: 2,310
  • Sabbath is a chance to take a long, hard look at our lives and to retune them to the right key. To make sure that our life is shaped around what really matters. And when we see stuff in our life that is out of whack, then we turn to Jesus, and he comes and does his healing Sabbath work. Location: 2,312
  • our eschatology shapes our ethics. Location: 2,486
  • It needs to be said that good work is worthwhile even if it’s just for this age, with no bearing on the age to come at all. Location: 2,523
  • Our work in this life is practice for our work in the coming life. Location: 2,530
  • Some of the good work we do will actually last into God’s new world. Location: 2,561
  • “The noble products of human ingenuity, whatever is beautiful, true and good in human cultures, will be cleansed from impurity, perfected, and transfigured to become a part of God’s new creation. They will form the ‘building materials,’ from which the glorified world will be made.” Miroslav Volf, the brilliant Croatian philosopher/theologian from Yale Location: 2,570
  • “What you do in the present — by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself — will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it). They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.” -N.T. Wright Location: 2,602
  • Know that all good work done in this age will be rewarded in the age to come. Location: 2,613
  • We are the people of the future in the present. Location: 2,664

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