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Redefining Radical. What ever happened to a theology of calling and vocation?

Read the full article from Skye Jethani at Christianity Today - Not sure how familiar you guys follow Christianity Today, but Skye Jethani is a senior editor at Leadership Journal and Christianity Today. He wrote a tremendous article that really embodies the Work as Worship idea. We're all called to make a difference, there is no spiritual hierarchy and that our work itself has the opportunity to be worship. Very encouraging and affirming to see this topic coming up more and more.

Here's a few excerpts ... 

"Here’s the problem--when we call people to radical Christian activism, we tend to define what qualifies as “radical” very narrowly. Radical is moving overseas to rescue orphans. Radical is not being an attorney for the EPA. Radical is leaving your medical practice to vaccinate refugees in Sudan. Radical is not taking care of young children at home in the suburbs. Radical is planting a church in Detroit. Radical is not working on an assembly line."

"What we communicate, either explicitly or implicitly, by this call to radical activism is that experiencing the fullness of the Christian life depends upon one’s circumstances and actions. Sure, the man working on an assembly line for 50 years can be a faithful Christian, but he’s not going to experience the same sense of fulfillment and significance as the one who does something extreme--who cashes in his 401k and relocates to Madagascar to rescue slaves. What I had neglected for too long, and what I feel is absent in many parts of the church today, is Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7. The believers in Corinth wanted to know what kind of life most honored God; what conditions and circumstances made a Christian life significant. Was it best to be married or unmarried? Circumcised or uncircumcised? Paul’s answer, which he calls his “rule in all the churches” and repeats three times, is for everyone to remain where they are “with God” (1 Cor. 7:24). That’s a message we don’t hear often at missions (or missional) conferences."

"Paul wanted to draw the Corinthians’ attention away from their circumstances and emphasize that the full Christian life could be lived anywhere by anyone if lived in deep communion with God. Do we really believe that? Really? Os Guinness reminds us that, “First and foremost we are called to Someone, not to something or to somewhere.” We should remember that the word radical is from Latin meaning “root.” If our lives are rooted in a continual communion with God, then every person’s life, no matter how mundane, is elevated to sacred heights--including a suburban mom’s, the office worker’s, and the EPA attorney’s. And it’s not just radical when they behave like a missionary or social activist in their free time. Even working the assembly line becomes a holy activity when done “with God.” 

... In ages past this meant the butcher’s calling was respected as a work given, ordained, and blessed by God for the benefit of others and fluorishing of the whole community. And, if God called the butcher to hang up his cleaver to be a pastor or missionary, he would obey. But one vocation was no more radical or holy than another. This was a significant corrective to the Roman Catholic hierarchy at the time that exalted clergy and demeaned the laity. But in some ways we have returned to a hierarchical view by labeling certain activities and circumstances “radical” and others “ordinary.” (This is no doubt the result of a very narrow eschatology that believes nothing in this world will endure, and therefore only rescuing souls off this sinking ship really matters. But that’s a discussion for another day.)"

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posted by Justin Forman | 4.14.2011 - 5:55 AM


a great article from Sky. I wonder if the next 'wave' of the spirit will surround this concept of redeeming the workplace?
commented by Blogger David Rupert, 6:44 AM  

Skye's challenge to all of us to view our work as sacred is true, but using the word "radical" to talk about a Christian's calling as a patent attorney sort of weakens the power of language. There's a sense in which doing something like cashing in the 401K IS more radical than getting up every monrning to do the same thing day after day. It's just not more godly to do one than the other.
commented by Anonymous Robb Hansen, 2:57 PM  

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