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Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation

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What am I going to do with my life? is a question that young people commonly face, while many not-so-young people continue to wonder about finding direction and purpose in their lives. Whether such purpose has to do with what job to take, whether to get married, or how to incorporate religious faith into the texture of their lives, Christians down the centuries have believ What am I going to do with my life? is a question that young people commonly face, while many not-so-young people continue to wonder about finding direction and purpose in their lives. Whether such purpose has to do with what job to take, whether to get married, or how to incorporate religious faith into the texture of their lives, Christians down the centuries have believed that God has plans for them. This unprecedented anthology gathers select passages on work and vocation from the greatest writers in Christian history. William Placher has written insightful introductions to accompany the selections — an introduction to each of the four main historical sections and a brief introduction to each reading. While the vocational questions faced by Christians have changed through the centuries, this book demonstrates how the distilled wisdom of these saints, preachers, theologians, and teachers remains relevant to Christians today. This rich resource is to be followed by a companion volume, edited by Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass, featuring texts drawn mainly from fiction, memoir, poetry, and other forms of literature. A study guide is available from Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) on their website: www.ptev.org


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What am I going to do with my life? is a question that young people commonly face, while many not-so-young people continue to wonder about finding direction and purpose in their lives. Whether such purpose has to do with what job to take, whether to get married, or how to incorporate religious faith into the texture of their lives, Christians down the centuries have believ What am I going to do with my life? is a question that young people commonly face, while many not-so-young people continue to wonder about finding direction and purpose in their lives. Whether such purpose has to do with what job to take, whether to get married, or how to incorporate religious faith into the texture of their lives, Christians down the centuries have believed that God has plans for them. This unprecedented anthology gathers select passages on work and vocation from the greatest writers in Christian history. William Placher has written insightful introductions to accompany the selections — an introduction to each of the four main historical sections and a brief introduction to each reading. While the vocational questions faced by Christians have changed through the centuries, this book demonstrates how the distilled wisdom of these saints, preachers, theologians, and teachers remains relevant to Christians today. This rich resource is to be followed by a companion volume, edited by Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass, featuring texts drawn mainly from fiction, memoir, poetry, and other forms of literature. A study guide is available from Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) on their website: www.ptev.org

30 review for Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily Walker

    An excellently presented history of how God’s people have been called over centuries. This book both broadened and grounded my understanding of the way God works through his people. I’d particularly recommend this as a resource to accompany the Lenten season.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Craig Devereaux

    This is an interesting chronologically structured anthology of christian thinking on the topic of calling. There are four sections, each a particular time period in Christian history, with selected writings from some of the most influential voices in that period (this is worth buying the book alone), along with an opening introduction to each section outlining the contextual differences that attributed the development of thought on calling. There's also a small introduction to each particular se This is an interesting chronologically structured anthology of christian thinking on the topic of calling. There are four sections, each a particular time period in Christian history, with selected writings from some of the most influential voices in that period (this is worth buying the book alone), along with an opening introduction to each section outlining the contextual differences that attributed the development of thought on calling. There's also a small introduction to each particular selection explaining why it was written. The downside to this book, the particular selections of writing can lack specific contextual details that would help with understanding.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Abbott

    It took 445 pages to say that any work that is done well, no matter if it is "religious" or "secular," can be our calling. Also, that our callings are more than just the work we do for pay. But, from a Christian point of view, our calling is to be the Christian God wants us to be. The book shares essays from famous theologians over the last 2000 years. I had to read it for class. I guess I am not a fan of long essays written hundreds of years before. It was a tough read. It took 445 pages to say that any work that is done well, no matter if it is "religious" or "secular," can be our calling. Also, that our callings are more than just the work we do for pay. But, from a Christian point of view, our calling is to be the Christian God wants us to be. The book shares essays from famous theologians over the last 2000 years. I had to read it for class. I guess I am not a fan of long essays written hundreds of years before. It was a tough read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Gupta

    Very informative as an overview of Christian thought on vocation throughout history. It doesn't offer a conclusion on the subject, but rather, broadens the reader's perspective on the issue of vocation. Very informative as an overview of Christian thought on vocation throughout history. It doesn't offer a conclusion on the subject, but rather, broadens the reader's perspective on the issue of vocation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    julia

    Great collection of historical writings on vocation organized chronologically

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Summary: Placher creates an anthology of the last two thousand years of theologians who have written on the topic of vocation. His selections include the early church (e.g Ignatius of Antioch, Athenasius), the middle ages (Bonaventure, Aquinas), the Post- Reformation (Luther, Calvin, Loyola, Edwards), and Moderns (Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Barth). Some of the selections that Placher choose did not directly address calling as ones particular career or work vocations, but spiritual vocations. Thus, Summary: Placher creates an anthology of the last two thousand years of theologians who have written on the topic of vocation. His selections include the early church (e.g Ignatius of Antioch, Athenasius), the middle ages (Bonaventure, Aquinas), the Post- Reformation (Luther, Calvin, Loyola, Edwards), and Moderns (Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Barth). Some of the selections that Placher choose did not directly address calling as ones particular career or work vocations, but spiritual vocations. Thus, for my particular interest some selections were not relevant. Observations: Each era of thinkers deals with this topic in a very different way depending on the needs and presuppositions of that time period. However, it is interesting how authors from a certain time period took very similar stances as other authors of their time. In most cases Post-Reformation thinkers said roughly the same thing, just with their own minor correctives to previous authors. Two thinkers that stood out to me were Richard Baxter and Williams Law. Baxter emphasis’ that healthy minds need to work and exercise, not only at an intellectual level but at a physical level. When we exercise both our minds and bodies we “keep our thoughts from vanity and sin, and also keeps out vain words, and preserves the soul from many sins (281).” He also indirectly argues against Aquinas’ views of vocation, and by extension Aristotle, who states the highest vocation is the theoretical life. Baxter does this by stating that “if the body have not also its labor as well as the mind, it will ruin your health, and the body and mind will both grow useless (284).” William Law uses scripture to show that it is not the work that brings God glory; it is the heart of the worker. He presents a thought experiment of a man named Calidus [latin for “eager” or “hasty”:] who works for too many hours during the week that he never stops to consider Gods work in it. Calidus also fills his weekends with play and no contemplation on divine things. Law argues that people who live like this “can no more imagine that [they are:] born again of the Spirit; that [they are:] a new creature (308).” The only way to prevent this mindset is to consider ones trade “as something that they are abiliged to devote to the glory of God, something that they are to do only in such a manner as that they may make it a duty to Him (310).” Kierkegaard directly looks into the problem of ethics and calling as he looks at Genesis’ account of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Benedict

    This is an excellent resource for anyone thinking about their calling in life, or about what callings have meant through, as the title says, twenty centuries of Christian wisdom. I was impressed by the selections in the book; the names will be familiar to theologians, and represent a pretty strong sampling of the "traditional" canon of western theologians. It isn't the most diverse group, though they're good about including female voices for every time period they consider. The snippets made me w This is an excellent resource for anyone thinking about their calling in life, or about what callings have meant through, as the title says, twenty centuries of Christian wisdom. I was impressed by the selections in the book; the names will be familiar to theologians, and represent a pretty strong sampling of the "traditional" canon of western theologians. It isn't the most diverse group, though they're good about including female voices for every time period they consider. The snippets made me want to revisit the long versions of a lot of works. Four stars for being a well-executed project, and the fifth for being worth anyone's time to pick it up.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bob Wolniak

    I'm going to miss this book which I used as a daily reader/devotion since last November. There are a wide range of Christian readings concerning vocation/calling from all across history representing various denominations and religious traditions. This is a very fine ecumenical collection. Highly recommended reading. I'm going to miss this book which I used as a daily reader/devotion since last November. There are a wide range of Christian readings concerning vocation/calling from all across history representing various denominations and religious traditions. This is a very fine ecumenical collection. Highly recommended reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    This book was not what I was led to believe by the blurb! It was in fact much better. A historical chain of writings that show how the perspective on 'vocation' has changed over time. I found it very interesting and although it was dense, the short pieces were collated in such a manner that they were full of variety and interest. Not to be read quickly, but over time, interspersed with life. This book was not what I was led to believe by the blurb! It was in fact much better. A historical chain of writings that show how the perspective on 'vocation' has changed over time. I found it very interesting and although it was dense, the short pieces were collated in such a manner that they were full of variety and interest. Not to be read quickly, but over time, interspersed with life.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jay Simmons

    Excellent resource book on calling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anika Qing

    Anthologies (as I've said before) are hard to rate. Some excerpts can be good and some can be very bad.... Anthologies (as I've said before) are hard to rate. Some excerpts can be good and some can be very bad....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shavior

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert Williams

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Taylor M. Floyd

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mk

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Turner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Weber

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sam Schabel

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian K

  23. 5 out of 5

    Edward Bryant

  24. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Francis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony

  27. 4 out of 5

    kristine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Anderson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Moorea Kai

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