Thursday, July 15, 2010

God and Guinness

The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield
And for our next book review... a book about beer.  And about God.  And vocation.  And the redemptive use of wealth.
For the record, I was given this book as a birthday gift.  That said, it was a great gift.
The book begins with some some Guinness facts.  Let me quote a few:
• More than ten million glasses of Guinness are consumed each day worldwide.  This is nearly two billion pints a year.
• Guinness is now sold in 150 countries.  It is brewed in 49 countries.
• In 2003, scientists at the University of Wisconsin reported that a pint of Guinness a day is good for the human heart.
• Arthur Guinness (who founded the brewery in 1759) founded the first Sunday schools in Ireland, fought against dueling, and chaired the board of a hospital for the poor.
• A Guinness worker during the 1920's enjoyed full medical and dental care, massage services, reading rooms, subsidized meals, a company-funded pension, subsidies for funeral expenses, educational benefits, sports facilities, free concerts, lectures and entertainment, and a guaranteed two pints of Guinness beer a day.
• During World War I, Guinness, guaranteed all of its employees who served in uniform that their job would be waiting for them when they came home.  Guinness also paid half salaries to the family of each man who served.
• A Guinness chief medical officer, Dr. John Lumsden, personally visited thousands of Dublin homes in 1900 and used what he learned to help the company fight disease, squalor, and ignorance.  These efforts also led to the establishment of the Irish version of the Red Cross, for which Dr. Lumsden was knighted by King George V.
• Guinness was known for its care of its employees.  One Guinness family member who headed the brewery said, "You cannot make money from people unless you are willing for people to make money from you."
• In the 1890's, Rupert Guinness, future head of the brewery, received five million pounds from his father on his wedding day.  Shortly after, he moved into a house in the slums and launched a series of programs that served the poor.
• Henry Gratten Guinness, grandson of brewery founder Arthur Guinness, was a Christian leader of such impact that he was ranked with Dwight L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon in his day.  He has been called the Billy Graham of the nineteenth century.

  This is a book about the famous Guinness stout, but even more a book about the stout Christian faith of a family and a company that sought to honor God in the faithful brewing of beer, the faithful care of it's employees, faithful service to the poor in Dublin, faithful Christian witness to the world.  The Guinness family had generations of brewers, businessmen, politicians, pastors.  And through it all ran a lineage of faith that began with the founder, Arthur Guinness.
  Here's what captured my imagination the most in this story--its beautiful, robust, biblical picture of pursuing a vocation with passion and excellence, of caring for the poor and oppressed, and of using the legitimate pursuit of wealth for ends much greater than just personal enrichment.

  May the world have more families, more legacies, more good beer like Guinness.