By Alistair Mackenzie (see our interview with Alistair here) Previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 There were a number of specifically faith-related responses that surfaced frequently in my survey work, including: All Christians equal, but some more equal. Regularly I heard comments that amounted to something about all Christians being equal, but those involved in “full-time…
Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship: A Video from the 2016 Faith at Work Dallas Summit
The purpose of the Faith@Work Summit is to gather active participants and leaders in the faith at work movement from every industry sector to learn from each other and work together to extend Christ’s transforming presence in workplaces around the world. The next Summit will be in Chicago on Oct. 11-13, 2018. Go to fwsummit.org to sign up for updates and to learn more about the Summit. Register for the Summit here!
Vocational faithfulness is not only about individual character but also about applying a biblical-theological lens to the work of the institution in which one labors. (“Institution” here refers to the social sector in which the organization where one works is situated.) We are called to image-bearing in our vocational sectors, which involves practices of both personal discipleship (e.g., prayer, functional dependency on the Spirit) and public discipleship (in love, advancing justice and shalom for the common good).
The public expression of vocational image-bearing is at least threefold:
- Cultivating within the vocational sector all its creational intent and possibilities; aligning it with what it “was meant to be” in God’s original design
- Restoring the sector to righteousness (“set-right-ness”) where it has been corrupted
- Imagining the work of this sector in “the age to come” and offering a foretaste of those future Kingdom realities now
REFLECT & RESPOND
1. Most vocational expressions of public discipleship have focused on white-collar professionals. In what ways can/do blue-collar workers bear Christ’s image for the common good?
2. One way of “going deeper” in vocational faithfulness is the progression from individual to institutional thinking. What other shifts or progressions mark a “2.0” understanding of “faithful presence” in various vocational sectors?
Dr. Amy L. Sherman, a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute, was named by Christianity Today in 2012 as one of the 50 evangelical women most influencing the American church and culture. She’s the author of six books and over 80 articles in periodicals including First Things, The Public Interest, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Books & Culture. Her most recent book is Kingdom Calling. You can read a reflection on her talk at TGR here.
Two New Karam Forum Talks
As reported at the Oikonomia Network:
Check out these talks on money in Proverbs and the Great Commission as a mission for all of life; consider using them in future classes; then register to join us to discuss them with the speakers at Karam Forum in LA this Jan. 4-5. (Check out the first two talks as well!)
In this highly focused exploration of biblical text and context, Deborah Gill of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary explores the Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20. Covering grammatical analysis, historical/cultural background and contemporary application, Gill shows that the Great Commission is a calling for all Christians in all of life.
Gill shares that as she grew up, she got the impression that the Great Commission was for missionaries. The emphasis seemed to be strongly on the “go” in “go and make disciples.” The high calling of the commission was to the hard work of learning new languages and cultures, and leaving behind one’s own world to travel to a new one.
When she became a New Testament scholar, she gained a new perspective on the passage. As she explains, the grammar of the Greek places “make disciples” at the center. The high calling is to become, and help others to become, disciples of Jesus wherever we are and whatever we do!
The appeal of this talk is not only in applications like spiritual transformation through our daily vocation, and compelling stories like the tale of the Harvard Ph.D. student in ethics who was stealing from the university. It’s a great illustration to show students in biblical studies classes how careful grammatical and contextual analysis can upend our assumptions about a text.
Everyone remembers playing Monopoly – but few remember it fondly. Most people’s childhood memories of Monopoly are surprisingly unpleasant given that it’s supposed to be a game.
Eric Tully of Trinity International University suggests that the book of Proverbs points to the reason. The idea of Monopoly is to forget your ethics for a while and just let yourself go, seizing other people’s money shamelessly until they have nothing and you have it all. It’s all in good fun, right? But it turns out it’s not so fun to act like there’s no God.
Using this entry point, Tully unpacks the major lessons of the book of Proverbs on the essential subject of money. How we use money affects nearly every area of our lives, and it simultaneously reflects and reinforces our worldview. The overarching idea of Proverbs, Tully explains, is that people who follow God act one way, while people who don’t follow God act the opposite way – and it makes all the difference.
Tully walks through a number of specific proverbs, drawing out lessons for how we gain and use money. These issues connect directly to our relationship with God and our neighbors: those who fear the Lord value righteousness over wealth, and practice justice and generosity. Tully connects with current events and with complex issues like effective ways to help the poor, as well as commenting on textual issues like the book’s structural features.
My Faith and Work Journey (Part 3)
By Alistair Mackenzie (see our interview with Alistair here) Previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2 In my continuing series of lessons gleaned from study and work in the faith and work movement, I want to talk today about two things: dangers in emphasizing a theology of work and opportunities worth pursuing. When you start to elevate the significance of…
Gospel DNA #3: Proclaim the Gospel in Everyday Life
By Tim Chester, reprinted from his blog under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Christians in the West today increasingly finds ourselves living on the margins. It was the same for the readers of 1 Peter. In a series of posts I’m identifying principles from 1 Peter for developing a gospel and missional DNA in our churches. Here are the four principles: Proclaim the…
Work as Holy War: What’s Right?
By Greg Forster; part five of a series. We have been looking at how spiritual formation in daily work and resistance to the world’s injustice are deeply and extensively interdependent. Last time we began unpacking two amazing sentences about how we should do our daily work, drawn from Dallas Willard’s Divine Conspiracy in a section titled “The Glory of My Job.” The…
Gospel DNA #2: Proclaim the Gospel to Create a Missional Identity
By Tim Chester, reprinted from his blog under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Christians in the West today increasingly find ourselves living on the margins. It was the same for the readers of 1 Peter. In a series of posts I’m identifying principles from 1 Peter for developing a gospel and missional DNA in our churches. The first principle was to proclaim the…
Gospel DNA #1: Proclaim the Gospel to One Another
By Tim Chester, reprinted from his blog under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Christians in the West today increasingly finds ourselves living on the margins. It was the same for the readers of 1 Peter. In a series of posts I’m identifying principles from 1 Peter for developing a gospel and missional DNA in our churches. The first principle is to proclaim the…
Professional Integrity In Uncertain Times
By Sarah Conrad Sours Professional integrity seems a straightforward matter, but it isn’t always. Many professions, organizations, and industries are currently in the midst of a period of–let us put it as mildly as possible–uncertainty. As a new administration attempts to seize the moment, enacting sweeping and sometimes confusing policies, people may suddenly find themselves confused about or needing to…
On Advent, Calling, and Millenial Malaise
Image via Pixabay CC I’m prepared to contend that the primary location for spiritual formation is the workplace. – Eugene H. Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places I’ve had multiple jobs over the last several years. I don’t live on my own. And if Facebook could list an employment status, mine might often read “It’s Complicated.” Yes, I’m a…