Praying at Burger King

Richard Mouw is the professor of Christian philosophy and president of Fuller Theological Seminary. He has written a number of books that we have recommended to our readers. I like to read Mouw not because I always agree, but because he is a thinker and he challenges me to think, even a bit outside the box. This can be both challenging and risky. I have said many times, tongue in cheek, “if we only think what we always have thought, then what we think is what we have thought.” My point is that we need to think beyond what we always have.

Having said that, I debated about commenting on Praying at Burger King because there are some things Mouw says that cause me some concern, like praying to Mary, as do the Roman Catholics. But what I like about this book, as with his other writings, such as Calvinism at the Las Vegas Airport reviewed in January/February of 2005, is that he wants to communicate biblical truth in the Reformed tradition but also in a way that communicates with his audience today. As I was debating whether to include this review in this edition, I read a review in Modern Reformation magazine and was encouraged by the reviewers’ comments, for example: “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.

Praying at Burger King is a collection of brief, thought-provoking essays that are written for the purpose of challenging us to think how we can apply our Christian faith and witness in everyday situations. What he actually does is challenge us to think about our Christianity within the Kingdom perspective of everyday life 24/7.You will find these essays challenging, some a bit amusing, and others definitely thought-provoking. Here are some highlights:

“This [grace] is important to keep in mind as we attempt to understand what it means to have a Christian character that can sustain us in good times and in bad times. If I had to choose one word that captures the essence of Christian character it would be integrity. To have integrity is to be whole, in the sense that all of your parts-all of the elements that make you up-are properly in place and working together in a harmonious fashion.”

“Work is an important part of what the Creator meant for us to be and do. But we weren’t designed to have it permeate all of our lives. Play, sleep, relaxed conversation, courtship, the marital bedroom, cultivating friendships, simply ‘wasting time’-all of these are important elements in the rhythms of healthy living. This emphasis on integrated living is actually at the heart of ‘the Protestant ethic’….”

“Jesus is Lord over books, term papers, quizzes, laptops, dissertations, and class discussions. He is Lord over all of the other ‘stuff’ in our lives as well. He is the Lord of these things even when his Lordship is not acknowledged. When a group of professed atheists write learned papers about topics in molecular biology, they are dealing with ‘the things of the Lord’…”

One other quote addresses another important topic that you will need to read the book to see how this quote fits: “We are probably safe to let the operators of bowling alleys worry about all the folks who are bowling alone these days. But the habit of eating alone ought to concern us all.”

These examples underscore Mouw’s desire that we think Christianly about all of life. So read this little book and use it for yourself and to help you encourage others to live a connected Christian life.

Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to his present position as Coordinator for the PCA of Christian Education and Publications (CEP).

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