“To you, O Lord, I will make music”

More aesthetics in the Bible, from passages that I had never noticed before:  Psalm 101, identified as “a Psalm of David,” reflects specifically on singing and making music.  It begins:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.

Elsewhere, David also refers to singing and making melody “to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6; see these other places).  So the Lord is the audience of the music.  The artist is addressing not other human beings but God Himself.

[Read more…]

Sample from my new book on vocation

The Acton Institute has put together a sample from my new book Working for Our Neighbor:  A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.  It doesn’t include the new things I get into in this particular publication–much of what is excerpted here is developed in more detail in God at Work–but this gives a summary of Luther’s neighbor-centered ethic and the purpose of every vocation (namely, to love and serve our neighbors). [Read more…]

More on my new book on vocation

Again, I have just published a third book on vocation:   Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.
I thought I should give you the publisher’s description and some of the blurbs to give you a better idea of what it goes into. [Read more…]

My new book on vocation is out

I have a new book on vocation that has just come out: Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.

The Acton Institute is interested, among other things, in the interplay between faith, work, and economics.  Towards that end, the think tank has been publishing a series of books looking at those issues from the perspective of various religious traditions.  Acton has published “primers,” really monographs (short books), from the Reformed, Wesleyan, Baptist, and Pentecostal point of view.  They needed someone to write a Lutheran primer on the subject, so they asked me.

Lutheran theology and spirituality has a great deal to say about such things, centering in the doctrine of vocation, which I have been writing about (see this and this).  In researching and writing this book, I got into some other facets of vocation that I hadn’t explored before.   [Read more…]

“Common grace”? 

Steven Peterson sent me a link to an article by the Reformed theologian Richard J. Louw.  It deals with vocation and the Two Kingdoms, but he comes at it from a completely different perspective than Lutherans do.  He uses the concept of “common grace,” as well as Kuyper’s “sphere sovereignty.”

In the early days of my Lutheranism, I referred to “common grace” and was chastized for it by a colleague in Concordia’s theology department, who explained that Lutherans reserve “grace” to refer to God’s unmerited favor by which He justifies sinners.  For God’s blessings that He bestows on entire His creation, Lutherans use other terms, such as “God’s First Article gifts,” a term referring to the exposition of the Creation article of the creed in the Small Catechism.  (But aren’t those gifts unmerited, and thus proceeding from a kind of grace?)

Read the article by Prof. Louw, linked after the jump.  Does he arrive at the same place that Lutherans do, arriving at an objective truth from a different angle?  Or is there a difference, however subtle, between the Lutheran and the Reformed view on these issues, one that comes from their different approaches and terminology?

[Read more…]

Chaplains in the workplace

A number of companies in the United States and other countries are providing chaplains for their employees.

Is that an appropriate application of vocation, or a confusion of vocation?  I’m not sure myself!

Read about this phenomenon after the jump.

[Read more…]


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