The Seamless Life
IVP Books
 

The Seamless Life

A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work

by Steven Garber

The Seamless Life
hardcover
  • Length: 128 pages
  • Published: January 14, 2020
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4595-8
  • Item Code: 4595
  • Case Quantity: 32

We all want to make sense of life, of who we are and why we are, and to know that what we do—day in and day out—matters. But the daily demands—work, eat, sleep, repeat—often lead to a life that feels void of meaning and disjointed from our deepest beliefs about faith, hope, and love.

Steven Garber challenges us to move beyond our fragmented sense of reality and began to see all we are and all we do—our work, our play, our relationships, our worship, our loves—as significant to God and to what God is doing in the world. Once we discover that there is no chasm between heaven and earth, and begin to see the truest truths of the universe woven into the very meaning of life, labor, learning and liturgy, we are able to understand the coherence of the work of God and of our lives in the world.

This is the seamless life—to recognize the hand of God and the handiwork of God right in the middle of our ordinary lives. To see all of life as sacred. And to understand that it all matters.

"The Seamless Life is a scrumptious feast for mind and heart, meticulously prepared in bite-size pieces of timeless wisdom, transforming truth, and life-giving grace. The depth and beauty of the poetic words as well as each breathtaking photograph point longing hearts to a God well loved and a life well lived. Steve Garber is a remarkably good man with a rare gift of storytelling. This may be his finest work. I highly recommend it."

Tom Nelson, senior pastor of Christ Community Church, Leawood, Kansas, and author of The Economics of Neighborly Love

"Steven Garber takes us on a personal journey—with many stops, and in many dimensions, transcending time and geography—to see life as he sees it: seamlessly. His collection of essays guides us in understanding the meaning of vocation and affirms our humanness; made in the very image of God, we cannot but care about the way the world is. Refreshing and challenging."

Philip Ng, chairman and CEO of Far East Organization

"Steven Garber takes the complex subjects of who we are as human beings and why our work matters and makes them come alive through captivating personal stories and photography. Reading The Seamless Life is a journey through profound essays and stunning images that provoke the reader to stop and contemplate the deepest questions of our generation. The book is a feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart, and Garber's best work yet."

Uli H. Chi, chairman of Computer Human Interaction, LLC, senior fellow at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership

"In The Seamless Life, Steven Garber culls a lifetime of observation, reflection, and writing into what can only be called a masterpiece on vocation. With gentle, persuasive, artful language, Steven gives the reader a true picture of a faithful life. It is a seamless vision of word and work based in love, lived for the benefit of all and the glory of God. I cannot recommend this manual of meaning and mission more strongly. This book contains the truest truths, the deepest wisdom, and love that knows no limits."

Charlie Peacock, Grammy Award–winning music producer and cofounder of The Writer & The Husband blog

"Steven Garber's delightful prose reminds us once again of the importance of reflecting deeply upon that which is most meaningful: our very purpose. By embracing our vocation, we can each move the needle a bit from how things are to how they ought to be, showing us that we are all implicated in the way the world turns out. Well done, good and faithful servant! Well done."

Jay Jakub, senior director of external research, Mars, Incorporated, and coauthor of Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to the Heal the World

"This modern life often feels fragmented. Steve Garber's new collection of words and writings, The Seamless Life, gently weaves coherence and grace from the far corners of vocation, friendship, and spirituality. A skillful storyteller, Garber puts himself forward effortlessly. The Seamless Life is like good conversation, and it reads as if you are sitting with an old friend across the table. These chapters can be savored daily, as each page is filled with sacred questioning, wisdom, and hope."

Sandra McCracken, singer-songwriter and recording artist

"I do not think I can name another author whose books are so intensely esteemed and indeed treasured by a cadre of followers, readers who in many cases have become friends of the author, than Steven Garber. His transforming words are always given flesh in his books as he moves deftly from big ideas to daily consequences, between hearing and doing, principles and practice. But in this new collection of essays, stories, anecdotes, and reflections, he allows us deeper into his life, his work, and his marriage. The Seamless Life is a kingdom-sized glimpse of a good life lived with coherence and commitments, animated sometimes with rather ordinary days and then with astonishing episodes of extraordinary experiences. This is one of the best collections of essays I have ever read and is perhaps Garber's finest achievement yet. Don't miss this wise, achingly beautiful book."

Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds bookstore, Dallastown, Pennsylvania

"The Seamless Life is a compilation of Steven Garber's serious reflections on living and loving in a wounded world. Each essay is accompanied by a striking and provocative image, the words and photos drawing us in, becoming a balm to our weary souls in the midst of the beautiful and the broken nature of life in this world. A labor of his heart, this book is a gift born of love for all of us who stumble along with him in a world hungry for shalom."

Lisa Pratt Slayton, the Tamim Partners, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"I frequently meet people who are engaged in fruitful work for the life of the world, and in most cases I discover that those people are just a few degrees of separation from someone who has had a life-altering conversation with Steven Garber. This book gives you the sense that you are sitting with him, sipping coffee, and gleaning from his wisdom. As your eyes move across its pages, you will notice that you are able to see with greater clarity the world beyond this book, the world as it really is, full of beauty to be cultivated and brokenness to be mended—seeing yourself as you are, and seeing yourself as implicated to steward some aspect of God's world, giving you a glimpse of the God who weaves our stories together into his ultimate story of redemption. The depth of wisdom, compelling stories, and honest questions make The Seamless Life a unique gift to those who seek to pursue the common good in this complex world."

Jim Mullins, pastor of vocational and theological formation, Redemption Church, Tempe, Arizona, and coauthor of A Symphony of Mission: Playing Your Part in God's Work in the World

"The Seamless Life is wise, warm, and winning. Steven Garber generously offers a lifetime of thoughtful engagement with work, vocation, and worship (and many other topics) in photos and short vignettes that are poetic, full of good stories, and a joy to read. This is a nourishing feast in bite-size portions. I sat down to savor it and found I did not want to put it down. If you've ever wondered how your ordinary work—and ordinary life—matter to God or in the big, wide world, this book will encourage and inspire."

Tish Harrison Warren, Anglican priest and author of Liturgy of the Ordinary

"Down deep I think all of us were made to live a seamless life . . . one of coherence, connectedness, and deep meaning. The problem is sometimes the 'down deep' is so deep down that I lose my awareness of that longing and find myself living scattered, hurried, and a bit adrift. Steven's book is a map of how to live well in this world. I was moved to tears, mentally challenged, and soulfully stirred to navigate my life my by this truest of North Stars."

Nancy Ortberg, CEO of Transforming the Bay with Christ

"One good question is better than a thousand wrong answers. The Seamless Life is full of good questions—excellent, profound, meaningful, surprising, deep, life-challenging, sensible questions, or simply, truthful questions. Very human, very ordinary, very special, I have known Steven Garber for many years. When you read him, you feel how much he cares for your life. His words have given me space to think about my own place in this world. Why I am here, what am I doing here, and why does it matter? And who am I in relation to all of these questions? I grew up in a very dualistic society, the communistic totality of Czechoslovakia. It was clear who was right and wrong. Living a seamless, truthful life, a life of integrity, is maybe even more difficult today, thirty years after the Velvet Revolution. And that is why I recommend this book, hoping that you will see it as an open window, an invitation to a more seamless life."

Jozef Luptak, cellist and founder of Convergencie, Bratislava, Slovakia

"The Seamless Life is an accurate analysis of the crisis facing society today—a longing for wholeness. The book addresses the need for coherence between the state of our being and the act of our doing. It is unique and refreshing to read."

Eliud Wabukala, archbishop emeritus, chairman of the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission of Kenya

"In this fallen world, our eyes are well fed with brokenness and fragmented pictures, often paralyzing our imagination of what our lives were supposed to be. Through his collection of essays, Steve Garber helps us catch a glorious vision of our hope in Christ, a coherent life, a seamless life. Without denying the complexities of the already-but-not-yet world, this work enriches our perspective of the hope we have for the world to experience wholeness in various contexts: family, educational practice, economics, daily work and prayer, and many others. And The Seamless Life extends the compelling invitation to love and participate in God's work to heal this broken world."

Sutrisna Harjanto, president, Bandung Theological Seminary, Indonesia, and author of The Development of Vocational Stewardship Among Indonesian Christian Professionals

"The Seamless Life is at once deeply philosophical and at the same time folksy and welcoming—like Steve himself. This book is the fruit of a lifetime of work-in-love, stitched in a beautiful pattern for the pleasure our Creator and the ennobling of his readers. And this is at the heart of all his work: to please the Creator is to fully live into our own vocation. Our Maker truly loves and desires for us the very best and highest we can become: made in God's image, we are makers ourselves, and our hearts are restless until we make something—something beautiful. Steven Garber has done just that—he has made a beautiful book, a book worth seeing."

Bruce Herman, Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts, Gordon College

"The Seamless Life is a creative, beautiful, and winsome lens for better understanding what it is to live and love faithfully in a broken world. Steve Garber brings the rare insight that comes from years of paying close attention and listening well to the deepest longings of the human heart. This book is a gift."

Kate Harris, author of Wonder Women: Navigating the Challenges of Motherhood, Career, and Identity

"In this unique book, Steven Garber gives us the chance to see the world with him, through the eyes of his mind and heart—and his deft use of a camera. These stunning photographs and written vignettes also disclose Garber's own vocation exercised in the daily struggle to see the world truthfully, to know it in its heartache and pain, and to keep loving it still. His spying heart invites us to see our own corner of the world better, honor its complicated goodness and beauty, and love our places and people with creativity, courage, and above all, hope."

Laura M. Fabrycky, author of Keys to Bonhoeffer's Haus: Exploring the World and Wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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CONTENTS

At Work in the World
Madison Avenue, Mad Men, and Much More
On Good Business
Repairing the World
Scrooge's Question Is Our Question
Seek the Flourishing of the City, Again and Again
The Way the World Is Supposed to Be
Vocation as Sacramental and Seamless
Work Matters

Vocation and Occupation
Cult. Cultivate. Culture
Is There a Vocation in Seeing?
Learning About Vocation
Of What We Do and Why We Do It
Making Sense of Life and Labor
Ora et Labora
Seeing Seamlessly
Vocations as Sacramental Signposts
When a Dream Becomes a Life

Making Sense of Life
A Disposition to Dualism
A Hard Question
Assuming Coherence
What Makes a Good Life?
Caritas and the Common Good
De Profundis
Laughing with the Devil, Laughing with God
On Duty and Desire
Unbroken and Broken
A Wonderful Life
A Longing for Grace

Life as Autobiography
Stumbling Along, Longing for Grace
Being Implicated
Friendship Isn’t Second Best
Remarkable Joy, Remarkable Sorrow
On Mere Christianity
The Sangre de Cristos
Uncommon Grace, Uncommon Heroism
Waking to the Morning Light
Who Are We and Why Does It Matter?
Whole Hearts, Broken Hearts
Conclusion (Always Winter, Never Christmas)

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Steven Garber

Steven Garber is professor of marketplace theology and director of the program in leadership, theology, and society at Regent College, Vancouver, BC. Through his many years as a professor, he has become a teacher of many people in many places, serving as a consultant to foundations, corporations, and universities. His books include Visions of Vocation and The Fabric of Faithfulness, and he is a contributor to the books Faith Goes to Work: Reflections from the Marketplace and Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalogue. Married to Meg, they have five children and several grandchildren.

BY Steven Garber

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