Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God and Guinness

I recently found out about a program where I can receive books from a Christian publisher in return for writing a review of each on my blog. To find out more, click here.

Browsing the list of available books, this one caught my eye immediately. I am often interested in books that relate faith to practical examples. I also married into an Irish family that is passionate about their roots; then again, aren't all Irish families like this? So, this was a perfect way to learn more about a great piece of recent Irish history.

The author begins by giving a brief history of beer. He provides a case for the morally acceptable consumption of beer; it seems like he is trying to at once appease and attract those opposed to all forms of drinking. I found it interesting to learn how the first beers were most definitely brewed accidentally in ancient times and how beer plays a role in stories ranging from the ancient Sumerians to the pilgrims to modern times.

Early after beginning it, I was struck that this was a history book. There are hundreds of names and dates littered throughout this story of the Guinness family. Stories chronicle lives of different family members throughout many generations. Because of its format, I did not find it effortless reading. I had to prod myself at times to continue reading. I'll hand it over to my history teacher husband next, and I'm sure he'll be immediately enthralled!

What is fascinating about these accounts is the passion that many of the Guinness family members and employees had for easing the suffering in their generations. The Guinness company blessed their workers with unheard of benefits. The medical care, educational opportunities, and recreational activities provided were beyond compare to those provided elsewhere. There are countless stories of benevolent programs formed as big-hearted men and women became troubled by rampant disease, inadequate housing, overwhelming alcoholism (interestingly), and godless living.

Mansfield ends the book with a summary of lessons learned from the Guinness history. By reviewing these, I was motivated to let the Guinness men and women be my mentors and to pursue integrity as well as passionately work on the count of the down-trodden.

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