This is not a book review; it’s an observation and a quest for answers.
In Chapter 3 Keller makes the point that Christianity isn’t the confining straightjacket that some like to call it (you really need to read the chapter and the book to fully understand his context). But on page 47 he writes: “In our society many people have worked extremely hard to pursue careers that pay well rather than fit their talents and interests. Such careers are straightjackets that in the long run stifle and dehumanize us.”
Earlier today I received notice that I had failed, for the fourth time, the last section of a state exam I need to pass in order to become a school teacher. Let’s just say this news is causing me to seriously consider my options. Then, in God’s ironic timing, I decided to finish reading chapter 3.
I know that my talents and interests are much more with writing and photography, and not in teaching middle school or high school English, yet a couple years ago I decided to move in this direction because of the financial stability that such a career would offer. Here I am two years later, two years older and in the same place I was two years ago. The words of Albert Einstein ring in my head: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” For me the insanity has been in believing that maybe things would be different the fourth time I took this state exam when the first three times I took this short-essay test that had me writing two-paragraphs answers to four different questions or prompts I obviously did not answer to the satisfaction of tenured state bureaucrats.
While the tenets of my faith are still there it’s nonetheless frustrating to try to move forward, only to realize that, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” every day is the same as before and nothing seems to be changing for the better.
Meanwhile, I highly recommend this book.