Saturday, 14 January 2012
Kingdom Calling - Part 3 ch 9-13
Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good
Amy L. Sherman
Part Three: Pathways of Vocational Stewardship
We often hear sermons on Joseph, Nehemiah and Daniel in church. Usually the theme is on leadership - and most often the hidden message is that it is leadership in church-related activities. What seems to be forgotten is that Joseph worked as second in command in Egypt, Daniel in the Babylonian court and Nehemiah built the city walls. The contemporary equivalents certainly wouldn't only be church leaders. Such an approach leaves those in the 'pew' feeling disenfranchised. No wonder many Christians think that to serve God in 'full-time Christian ministry' they have to go 'into the church'.
Sherman here provides us myriad of examples of contemporary Josephs, Nehemiahs and Daniels. All of them are local church based but kingdom oriented. The kingdom is so much more than the church.
In Part Three Sherman takes a look at 'Pathways of vocational stewardship'. She identifies four pathways: bloom, donate, invent and invest. Pathway 1 involves blooming where you are planted - promoting the kingdom in and through our daily work. Pathway 2 is donating - volunteering our talents and skills to projects outside of our daily work. Pathway 3, inventing, is to launch a new enterprise. And pathway 4 - investing - looks at participating in an intensive initiative.
Each of these approaches are examined. Excellent examples as well as possible temptations or weaknesses of the approaches come under scrutiny. As I've mentioned before one of the strengths of the book is the way it integrated theory with praxis, the stories of the wide range of projects help that. They provide an excellent source of inspiration and ideas. Lessons are drawn out from each of the projects described as well as some of the problems.
One appendix provides a list of fifty different vocations illustrated, everything from agriculture to veterinary medicine, through astrophysics and real estate development. This gives some idea of the range and scope of the book. Other appendices highglight twelve key theological themes undergirding vocational stewardship and another has a short discussionguide for small grpups. There are twenty-four pages of end notes, but sadly no bibliography.
I have a dream that one day the body of Christ will rise up and live its kingdom calling. Where vicar and vet are equally seen as full-time Christian ministers. Where pastor and pet food salesman are seen as equally vaild callings. Where dualism and false ideas of spirituality have been exposed. Where discipleship is seen as much more than what we do in our free time.
Books like Kingdom Calling can help make that dream a reality. It will be essential reading for all those in full-time Christian ministry - whether that is sweeping the road, designing and building housing, or running a congregation or a corporation.