I have a new book that I wrote with my daughter, Deaconness Mary Moerbe, with the support of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, that has just been released from Crossway Books. It’s entitled Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood.
Today when we hear “vocation” we mainly think of “job,” but for Luther and the early Reformers “vocation” referred above all to the estate of the family. (Work as a calling was itself seen as part of the larger estate of the household; that is, the family and what you do to support your family.) So Mary and I applied the doctrine of vocation to the specific offices of the family: Husband and wife; father and mother; child. We also have some things to say about brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and ancestors.
And I have to say that vocation provides a way of thinking about all of our family relationships that makes them more precious than ever. And it’s all so practical, giving us down-to-earth guidance that can help us through our everyday lives, including the problems that come up in marriage, parenting, and being a child. Our book turned into a comprehensive study of the what the Bible says about all of these offices. We show how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are literally present and at work in marriage (which images Christ and the Church), parenthood (the Fatherhood of God), and childhood (the Son of God). We deal with bearing the Cross in these vocations, frankly discussing the problems that people wrestle with in these different callings and what difference the Cross of Jesus can make with these problems. I even think our book illuminates things like sex and other topics that have been hard for Christians to talk about.
We do all of this without just laying down laws and rules, like most Christian books on the family. We don’t get bogged down in “who has to obey whom,” though I think we completely resolve the issues in those debates, which take on a completely different light when seen in terms of vocation. Throughout our focus is on the Gospel. It’s the Gospel that looms in God’s design behind marriage and parenting and even being a child.
I am not bragging about our book, since we did not invent the teachings that it puts forward, but I am just saying that I myself was greatly benefited by putting this book together. Mary, with her Deaconness training, brought to bear a depth of Scriptural application that I never thought of before. I have been studying vocation for a long time, since my book God at Work to which this is something of a sequel, but I really think we have broken new ground in apprehending God’s callings and how we can live out our faith in ordinary life.
When we made our proposal to Crossway, the editors said that they had thought they had seen every approach to family issues that was possible, and yet they had never seen anything like this. Which is sad, since the doctrine of vocation is the theology of the Christian life and the Biblical teaching on the family. If Christians can bring back from long disuse the doctrine of vocation, we can stop the breakdown of the family–at least in our own divorce rates, dysfunctional relationships, and counterproductive parenting–and become culturally influential again, like we used to be.
The Amazon site has a “Look Inside” feature, which will let you get a taste of it. And, yes, it’s also available on Kindle. So please forgive me for urging you to buy our book. And let other people know about it, including those having problems in their marriages, with their children, and with their parents. It would also be helpful to couples contemplating marriage or having just entered that estate. And for new parents. And for those who currently belong to a family, which includes everyone.
I would be embarrassed to be so crassly commercial if I didn’t think that you would be blessed by reading it, as Mary and I were blessed in writing it.