This book surveys the theological and cultural appropriations of the Protestant concept of vocation in order to argue for a vocation that has political traction in modern workplaces. It uniquely brings together insights from recent works in political theology and consumer culture studies along with analyses of self-help literature to accomplish this task.
During the last few decades there has been an increasing interest in the connection between our faith and our work, along with the growth of resources and organizations to bring the two into dialogue. Despite this, most Christians continue to feel that their daily work is less valuable than that of pastors, missionaries, or full-time workers in a religious organization. In a fresh and practical way, this book sets out the biblical, historical, and theological grounds for challenging this commonly felt view. It includes a range of engaging personal case studies that demonstrate the profound effect integrating one's work up into one's faith can have--relationally, institutionally, and societally as well as evangelistically, pastorally, and missionally. Attention is also given to the increasingly addictive, fragmented, and precarious nature of work today, and to how we can spiritually find our way to discerning and expressing our unique God-given vocation. The final section of the book considers whether any of our work has eternal value, and retells a compelling parable of what this might look like.
There has been an explosion of publishing in the faith-work movement in the last twenty years. Work is increasingly seen as the new frontier for Christian mission. However, the church and theological colleges have failed to keep up with the interest among, and needs of, workplace Christians. This book is the urgent corrective that is needed, moving past Theology of Work 101 to much deeper encounters with God's word as it relates to daily work. These twelve academic papers look at work through three different lenses: the workplace, the church, and theological education. It is prefaced by Mark Greene from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, reflecting on what work, church, and theological education would look like if there was no sacred-secular divide. In the concluding remarks, the editors imagine a future where each domain is transformed by the gospel, working dynamically together for the life of the world. While academic in terms of depth of thinking, quality of research, and referencing of crucial sources for further exploration, this book is never dry. Rather, it's life-giving and provocative for every vocation, asking fundamental questions of the reader: What is the work that God is calling you to do? How can the gospel transform your work? And how well-positioned are churches and colleges to be at the forefront of transforming vocation? With contributions from: Mark Greene James Pietsch Peter White Peter Docherty Gordon Preece Keith Mitchell David Fagg Ian Hussey Colin Noble Andrew Matthews Sarah Bacaller Samuel Curkpatrick Maggie Kappelhoff
Weber made many significant interpretations of both academic and political vocations in his two lectures on Science as a Vocation (Wissenschaft als Beruf, 1917) and Politics as a Vocation (Politik als Beruf) 1919), as well as in a series of newspaper articles written between 1908 and 1920. Since these writings are of more than historical interest, there was a need to bring them all together in a single volume. Newly translated and annotated, this collection comprises both lectures plus 32 articles which Weber wrote on academia. Most of these have not been translated before. In the introduction, Prof. Dreijmanis relates the academic and political vocations to each other conceptually, showing that there is considerable overlap and some convergence: the need for passion, an inward calling, as well as career insecurity in both vocations. Dreijmanis then examines the person of Weber and provides a new view of him, in part through the lens of Carl C. Jung's theory of psychological types as further developed by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As an extravert with a powerful thinking function and intellect, he was driven to take an interest in events outside himself and to speak his mind.
The divide between the sacred and the secular life has dogged Christians for centuries. Even today, many Christians and church leaders still assume that the workplace is inferior to pastoring, Bible study, mission trips, and the like. This volume provides a different approach: it surveys the persistence of the sacred-secular divide in Christian history to develop a more robust theology of vocation while engaging with both the Old and New Testament. Charles offers a vision for numerous ways Christians are called to live faithfully in the so-called secular world.
The Protestant doctrine of vocation has had a profound influence on American culture, but in recent years central tenets of this doctrine have come under assault. Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life explores current responses to the classic view of vocation and offers a revised statement and application of this doctrine for contemporary North American Christians. According to Douglas Schuurman, many Christians today find it both strange and difficult to interpret their social, economic, political, and cultural lives as responses to God's calling. To renew this biblical perspective, Schuurman argues, Christians must recover the language, meaning, and reality of life as vocation, and his book helps do just that. Developed in dialogue with audiences as diverse as college students, industrial workers, business leaders, church leaders, and professional theologians and ethicists, the book examines the theological and ethical dimensions of vocation as these have been understood historically and in relation to our modern social setting.
German sociologist Max Weber’s 1919 lecture Politics as a Vocation is widely regarded as a masterpiece of political theory and sociology. Its central strength lies in Weber’s deployment of masterful interpretative skills to power his discussion of modern politics. Interpretation involves understanding both the meaning of evidence and the meaning of terms – questioning definitions, clarifying terms and processes, and supplying good, clear definitions of the author’s own. As a sociologist accustomed to working with historical evidence, Weber based his own work on precisely these skills, solidly backed up by analytical acuity. Politics as a Vocation, written in a Germany shocked by its crippling defeat in World War I, saw Weber turn his eye to an examination of how the modern nation state emerged, and the different ways in which it can be run – interpreting and defining the different types of rule that are possible. It is testament to Weber’s interpretative skills that Politics is famous above all in sociological circles for its clear definition of a state as an institution that claims “the monopoly of legitimate physical violence” in a given territory.
A new translation of two celebrated lectures on politics, academia, and the disenchantment of the world. The German sociologist Max Weber is one of the most venturesome, stimulating, and influential theorists of the modern condition. Among his most significant works are the so-called vocation lectures, published shortly after the end of World War I and delivered at the invitation of a group of student activists. The question the students asked Weber to address was simple and haunting: In a modern world characterized by the division of labor, economic expansion, and unrelenting change, was it still possible to consider an academic or political career as a genuine calling? In response Weber offered his famous diagnosis of “the disenchantment of the world,” along with a challenging account of the place of morality in the classroom and in research. In his second lecture he introduced the notion of political charisma, assigning it a central role in the modern state, even as he recognized that politics is more than anything “a slow and difficult drilling of holes into hard boards.” Damion Searls’s new translation brings out the power and nuance of these celebrated lectures. Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon’s introduction describes their historical and biographical background, reception, and influence. Weber’s effort to rethink the idea of a public calling at the start of the tumultuous twentieth century is revealed to be as timely and stirring as ever.
Illustrating the different ways in which Weber's category of Beruf can be interpreted, and how it can be studied from various perspectives and with different methods, this book demonstrates how "vocation" continues to be a fertile concept for contemporary sociology.
Lived Vocation is a collection of short reflective essays based on stories of contemporary work. Together these reflections offer a window into the struggle to find meaning at work today. These stories explore how we come to our work and jobs, the hardship and "toil" of our working lives, and the surprisingly small but powerful ways in which God may nonetheless be at work in these stories. Author Tim Snyder asks: What if vocation were less about being certain that you're following God's master plan for your life and more about noticing the presence of God as we tell our stories from everyday life? The book challenges congregational leaders to listen to the stories of actual Christians putting their faith into action. It offers ordinary Christians the assurance that they are not alone in their struggle to make sense of faith in everyday life. The book provides congregational leaders with an accessible window into the lives of ordinary Christians trying to put their faith into action at work. It helps such leaders empathize with the difficulties of integrating faith in everyday life today and inspires them to listen to and tell more stories of their own.
"The language of vocation and calling can encourage faculty and students to venture out of their academic silos and to reflect on larger questions of meaning and purpose. With contributors from across the disciplines, the book demonstrates that vocation can reframe current debates about the role of higher education today"--