Friday, 5 September 2014

Christian History Magazine on Callings

The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is devoted to Callings: Work and Vocation in the History of the Church’, exploring ‘how Christians have looked at vocation (secular and sacred occupations) throughout history’.

Here are some paragraphs from the Editorial:

‘Our subject is the myriad ways that Christian ”vocation” or “calling” has been understood throughout Christian history. The words are really the same – “vocation” has a Latin root; “calling” an Anglo-Saxon one – and both have been used from Bible times to our own to describe the summoning of Christians. But that summoning has raised many questions over the years.

‘Can one have a vocation to “secular” work, or is the word limited to the ordained and the consecrated? How can you tell what God is calling you to do with your life, your job, and your relationships? Does calling mean abandoning those things or fulfilling them differently? Is “vocation” synonymous with “occupation”? What does calling look like in a largely Christian world? And what does it look like in a largely un-Christian world?

‘The questions have been many, and the answers have been varied. At times Christians have emphasized the call to religious work over the call to work in the world, and at times they have risen up against that assumption. At times they have claimed that there are some professions a Christian cannot hold and still  be a Christian – and at times those professions have changed. At times they have understood their calling as building up the social order, and at times they have understood it as undermining the social order or tearing it down.

‘At their best, they have always remembered that the primary call on the life of all Christians is the call to follow Christ...’

The whole magazine is available as a 6.5 MB pdf here.

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