Monday, August 03, 2009


Working Like A Christian

Justin Taylor recently used the republication of a a book on Luther's theology of vocation to tout a book based on that book by Gene Veith. Taylor quotes Veith:
Vocation isn't so much about what I do, but about what God does through me. Vocation is nothing less than the theology of the Christian life. God calls us to live out our faith in the world, in the ordinary-seeming realms of the family, the workplace, and the culture. The purpose of every vocation is to love and serve our neighbors, whom God brings to us in our everyday callings. Wingren shows that vocation is also about God's presence in the world--which He providentially cares for through ordinary people, believers and non-believers alike--and about Christ's presence in our neighbor. Luther's exposition of vocation is imminently practical, offering a framework for how Christians can work out their problems in their various callings. It is the key to successful marriages and effective parenting. It also solves that much-vexed question for evangelicals today of how they are to interact with the culture.

Reading Wingren's book was one of those paradigm-shifting moments for me. It turned my life and how I see my life--its meaning, value, and purpose--upside down. It brought spiritual significance into the realm of the ordinary, where I live most of the time. I am convinced that recovering the Reformation doctrine of vocation--specifically, Luther's version--is a key not only in bringing Christianity back to the culture but bringing Christianity back into the everyday lives of contemporary Christians.
[emphasis added]
To me it seems that somewhere something is broken in how we do Christianity if it is necessary to bring "spiritual significance into the realm of the ordinary." If faith, religion, spirituality does not sink deeply into my everyday life, then what good is it? - It is just more crap to fill up my existence.

And yet, we work so hard to design our ministries to be just that - more stuff to put into an already crowded life.

One of the reasons this happens is because we have not discovered this deep spiritual reality for ourselves. The church in America has grown so much to be about reproduction that it has forgotten the rest of its natural functions. We cannot teach what we do not know.

There have been many stories lately about how self-identifying Christians are on the decline. "Sprituality" yes, "Church" no - seems to be the buzz word. Could that be because we have been found out? Have the finally figured out that its all just window dressing?

The question is how will we respond? Will we run around in a panic looking for the next big thing to get the pews full again, or will we take a moment and try to figure this whole thing out? Maybe discover how to make faith relevant to common existence.

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