RECONNECTING VOCATION TO CHRISTIAN FAITH AND SPIRITUALITY CCSC NATIONAL MEETING, JULY 2017, WHEATON COLLEGE, IL I. THE PROBLEM WE FACE A dis-integrated approach to work and vocation INTEGRATION: THE OLD MODEL
Focus: evangelism, ethics, discipleship Ignored: the work and its products Missing: the material and social dimensions Result: a dis-integrated self THE OLD VOCATIONAL ADVICE
Work to support family Be ethical Be nice Give money to the real mission THE HARVEST OF THE OLD MODEL
Leaves the working world as secular Without meaning, the workers perish Gallup: we can see it happening Lindsey: Even many of those Christians who succeed, fail TWO QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What is a Christian vision for secular work? How can we help students develop a spirituality of vocation? II. DEFINITIONS Using a common, understood vocabulary is half the battle
WHAT IS WORK? Work may be understood to include all human activities that create value and promote the flourishing of others. This certainly includes unpaid work, such as work done in the raising of a family or in civic participation, volunteering, etc. But it excludes, for example, activities of consumption or leisure that create no value for others.
WHAT IS VOCATION? A historical Christian term that has become secularized In Christian tradition, it has meant a calling (from God) we thus use vocation and calling interchangeably The church has recognized two kinds of callings General callings Particular callings
GENERAL VOCATIONS Creation vocation: Be fruitful and multiply; cultivate and keep the earth (Gen 2:15); exercise dominion in the earth (Gen 1:26) Moral vocation: Keep the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:1-17 and Matt 5) Love vocation: Love God and neighbor (Matt 22:34-40);
serve others spiritually (Matt 28:16-20) and practically (Matt 25:31-46) PARTICULAR VOCATIONS Different people are called, gifted, and given opportunities to do different kinds of work Through these particular vocations, we love God and neighbor through specific kinds of work
Through them too, God meets the needs of many through the work of many A SUMMARY DEFINITION (1) a summons (2) to meaningful work (3) in service to others.
Dik and Duffy. Make Your Job a Calling. Page 11. III. STUDENTS BELIEFS ON VOCATION HINT: there are a lot of unhelpful ones HELPING STUDENTS GET FROM HERE TO THERE
Career -> Love Singular -> Plural Choice -> Calling Me -> Others
Determined -> Free Easy -> Hard Extraordinary -> Ordinary
Identity in Vocation -> Identity in God TO SUM UP: BAD THEOLOGY TOO OFTEN STUDENTS THINK VOCATION IS SINGULAR They will have only one vocation MYSTERIOUS Only God knows that vocation INFLEXIBLE If they miss it, they wont get a 2nd chance
DO THEY REALLY HAVE ONLY ONE, LIFE-LONG VOCATION? DO THEY REALLY HAVE ONLY ONE, LIFE-LONG VOCATION?
NO, EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SHOWS COMPLEXITY & FLUIDITY DO THEY REALLY HAVE ONLY ONE, LIFE-LONG VOCATION? NOR DOES PROTESTANT THEOLOGY SUPPORT ONEVOCATION BELIEF
MUST THEY REALLY WAIT FOR GODS MYSTERIOUS CALL? MUST THEY REALLY WAIT FOR GODS MYSTERIOUS CALL?
NO, CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE POINTS TO MORE ORDINARY SOURCES OF DISCERNMENT IS GODS VOCATIONAL WILL FOR US REALLY URGENT AND INFLEXIBLE?
IS GODS VOCATIONAL WILL FOR US REALLY URGENT AND INFLEXIBLE? NO, THIS SEEMS TO COME FROM SECULAR PRESSURES AND (AGAIN) TO BELY OUR EXPERIENCE
IS GODS VOCATIONAL WILL FOR US REALLY URGENT AND INFLEXIBLE? THIS VIEW ALSO SEEMS TO ASSUME AN INSCRUTABLE, HARSH GOD
RELATING VOCATION HELPFULLY TO CAREER We have seen that when students think of vocation, they typically think of preparing for a career. While this can introduce confusion of terms, it can also be used in teaching and mentoring to draw students into thinking about how
career can be one area of vocation in their lives. VOCATION BEYOND CAREER Christian vocation is not reducible to the acquisition of a career goal or to its realization in time. It is, rather, something
relating to the great issues of the spiritual life. It has to do with what one lives for rather than with what one does. Gary Badcock. The Way of Life: A Theology of Christian Vocation. P. 134. VOCATION AND CAREER: SCRIPTURAL CONNECTIONS
Matt 25:14-30 (parable of the talents) we are responsible to steward our careers as we grow in them Col 3:22-23 we can work as unto the Lord rather than as people-pleasers Prov 16:9 we can plan and prepare, but then also relax into the winding path: A mans heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps
THREE CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS 1. Vocation is not an academic specialty for our faculty 2. But: the bad theological ideas and confusions about vocation and career that many of our students carry are not hard to
correct 3. And: if we introduce them in our teaching and mentoring, it can bring tremendous good to our students IV. A THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK For thinking about work, career, and vocation
RECOVERING THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF WORK THROUGH THE FOUR-CHAPTER GOSPEL CREATION FALL REDEMPTION NEW CREATION
RECOVERING THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF ALL WORK THROUGH THE FOUR-CHAPTER GOSPEL CREATION FALL REDEMPTION
NEW CREATION RELATIONAL BROKENNESS IN WORK Vocation severed from god Vocation severed from the earth Vocation severed from neighbor
THAT RELATIONSHIP IS BROKEN ON SEVERAL LEVELS: Vocation severed from god Vocation severed from the earth Vocation severed from neighbor THAT RELATIONSHIP IS BROKEN ON SEVERAL
LEVELS: Vocation severed from god Vocation severed from the earth Vocation severed from neighbor RECOVERING THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF ALL WORK
THROUGH THE FOUR-CHAPTER GOSPEL CREATION FALL REDEMPTION NEW CREATION RECOVERING THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF ALL WORK
THROUGH THE FOUR-CHAPTER GOSPEL CREATION FALL REDEMPTION NEW CREATION
V. SOURCES TOWARD A SPIRITUALITY OF VOCATION A NEARBY GUIDE TO A FAR LAND
C S Lewis near at hand Still a spiritual mentor to many An intuitive medievalist Absorbed medieval incarnational and sacramental spirituality
THE DISCARDED IMAGE A spiritually animated cosmos A sacramental worldview MEDIEVAL INKLINGS TOWARD A SPIRITUALITY
OF WORK AND VOCATION What every schoolboy knew The mental heaven and earth The institutional results A HIGHER CALLING
Working as unto God Working for eternal creatures A bigger understanding of human flourishing A SPIRITUALITY FOR THE DARK SIDE OF
WORK Lewis on the fallenness of work The precision and practicality of medieval moral teaching The virtue tradition
VI. RESOURCES FROM OPUS www.wheaton.edu/opusnetvue2017
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