Though it was published first, Living On Purpose is promoted as a complement to Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. Living On Purpose explores some of the implications of living with the values of God’s kingdom in view. It’s done against the backdrop of defining our purpose for living. With many, purpose is derived from work. Expectations of a community often define our purpose. And that is usually expressed in activities and things.
The Sine’s make a valiant attempt to get us to re-evaluate the culture of middle class America, which has basically been endorsed by the evangelical church. Tom is quoted as saying,
“I believe the hardest place to raise kids with Christian values is the affluent suburbs of America because in these communities the young are under relentless pressure to wear the same expensive designer brands, hit the resort ski slopes on the weekends and derive their sense of identity from deeply reinforced notions of style, image and status.”
It’s a challenge that needs to be taken seriously. However, consumer spending is the engine that keeps the United States’ economy running. It keeps people employed. If a large percentage of those who claim to be Christian began to live self-consciously with kingdom values it would have a negative affect on the most basic way this society functions. So apart from a revival-like spirit, the book’s message might take root in a life here or there. Not enough to begin to affect the Christian culture. The illustrations offered reinforce that and perhaps that’s enough. But if we are to go beyond the surface nature of much Christian commitment, the Sine’s thesis must be taken seriously.
The Sine’s note that the Enlightenment took the vertical value system of the Middle Ages and turned it on its side. So it’s not good enough to just do with less. Speaking of the American dream, they say, “We are called to biblically reinvent it. To create a more festive way of life where we not only cut back but also add celebration to our lives in a way that reflects some of the jubilation of God’s new order.” One illustration of the way that is fleshed out is a discussion of a celebration of the Sabbath. Another is community.
Each chapter has activities that could be used by groups studying the book. The suggestions are well thought out. I plan to use the book as the text for a Sunday school class. It could easily be used in a discipleship or home fellowship group. Perhaps with the encouragement and reinforcement of others, people in our churches will take more seriously the privileges and responsibilities of kingdom living.