The Search for God and Guinness is about God and beer. Some might find combining these two things offensive. But the way author Steven Mansfield brings these two topics together is refreshing, much like a cold beverage on a warm day.
Tracing the roots of the founding and ongoing life of the Guinness beer brand and company, the book looks at how Arthur Guinness’ faith enabled him to be a great brewer and a great humanitarian. At its core, this book is about joining faith and work together into a biblical bond.
The first chapter on the history of beer is fascinating in itself. While some historical guesswork goes on, this does not take away from some of the more certain aspects of the history of beer. It has been around for ages and the author postulates that beer is responsible for bringing about the first cities. Brew plays a big role in ancient civilizations, modern ones, and even biblical ones.
Mansfield’s introduction to his personal story of beer is helpful. He dispels the myth that drinking is bad and that one must drink to get drunk. Rather he shares how he didn’t like the taste of beer but looked in on the beer culture like a kid looks into a candy store. He saw his father share beers with friends, at weddings, funerals, and various other life functions. He says beer is the marker of life and denotes a sharing of friendship and joy with others.
The story of Arthur Guinness and his successors should be read by businesses, especially Christians in business. They were men who understood how to take care of employees and utilize a righteous use of wealth. One of Arthur’s descendants was given 5 million pounds as a wedding gift in the early 20th century. He promptly moved himself and his wife into the slums of Dublin, Ireland where they lived for 7 years. This was a shock to the nobility of Dublin and a welcome gesture by the poor. Mansfield is keen to point out this can be traced to the faith and life of Arthur.
The manner in which Arthur Guinness and those who followed him took care of their employees and sought to make a quality product is something to be emulated. They provided doctors, further education, wartime pay, above average pay, and many more benefits that only grew with time.
This book is a quick and enjoyable read and yet is sturdy enough to challenge all. Business people should read this book to glean the moral side of business and the righteous use of wealth. Beer lovers should read this book for the history of beer and the story of how one man made quite possibly the most famous beer in the world. Christians should read this book to understand how work is holy and how faith and work ought to be integrated. Basically, everyone should read this book – and I might recommend doing it with a pint of Guinness in hand.