Remembering Tim Keller

More than 10 years ago, when I was exploring the Christian faith, my housemate got me to read ‘Counterfeit Gods’ by Timothy J Keller. It was a relatively easy but not quite comfortable to read. Tim Keller explained eloquently how we live diminished lives pursuing counterfeit gods who promise much but never delivers; and the deepest needs of our hearts are never satisfied by the things of this world. For me, it helped me desire more to explore the bible for myself and the gradually, as I delved into the riches of scriptures, I discovered more of how the gospel really changes our understanding of life and the world and is capable of shaping our response to it. I recognised the meaning of what good news it is for Jesus Christ to be my Saviour and God.

I went on to read the more difficult ‘Reason for God’ and went through a lot of Tim Keller’s sermons before I came to accept the faith. Of course, there was the help of my local church community, friends, not forgetting prayer and the scriptures. He came to be my favourite preacher and when I started dating my wife in college, the contents of ‘Meaning of Marriage’ both challenged and excited me as I come to appreciate more and more what God intends in the relationship between man and wife. As I learnt to navigate my work and career, I continued to draw upon the lessons from the scriptures with the help of Tim Keller’s preaching – which I would listen to during times when I did laundry, am alone running long distances or go on walks.

God had certainly reached out and enriched my understanding of His word greatly through the teaching by Tim Keller. Today, Tim Keller has gone to be with our great Saviour. And I want to remember his intellect, strength and wisdom enabled by God and used to do the good works that he has been prepared for. My heart is truly heavy at the loss of such a great teacher but I have full assurance that Tim is rejoicing with God. And I am challenged to grow and develop further my knowledge of God and my spiritual life, having seen how the richness in God works itself in the life of Tim Keller.

Trash & waste

About 81 years ago, Dorothy Sayer, a British writer penned these words:

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.

Dorothy Sayers (1942), Why Work

In the article, I’m amazed by the clarity which Dorothy Sayers foresaw the world post-war, with piercing critique of the economic system we have created. The economics that she was schooled in was one of observations of the market, of history and of human psyche itself.

The second world war has ended for more than 70 years now; and as predicted by Sayer, we had immediately jumped back into the business as usual, where work and labour was valued only by money. And this is why we churn out more waste our planet can scarcely handle (both in terms of carbon emissions and lots of material wastage).

Sayer’s remedy has to do with appreciating our work in a different way and valuing it more. And much of it certainly sounds like echoes of the messages around ESG, corporate social responsibility and sustainability these days. Yet she also points to something deeper, points revolving around values of work, of the things we do in society, and value that is created to serve lives and human beings, not abstracted by the market in the form of price signals.

Her full essay can be found here. I confess of course that my shared faith with Sayers help me appreciate the essay in a deep way. If you do care about sustainability and our world, even if you are not a Christian, surely some of the points she brought up should give us a deeper motivation to drive us to live in a manner that is a part and yet apart from this market system?