Vocation as the foundation of culture

I learned some things at the Two Kingdoms conference I spoke at, sponsored by Jordan Cooper at Just and Sinner.  Jordan commented that our vocations–in the family, the economy, the church, and the state–are no less than the foundations of culture.

He studied the first chapters of Genesis and concluded that the so-called “cultural mandate” (by which human beings are given the authority and the ability to rule the earth), should more properly be called the “vocational mandate.”

UPDATE:  You can hear Jordan’s complete presentation here.

[Read more…]

Men who won’t work

Nearly a third of American men aren’t working.  These include the unemployed, men who can’t find jobs.  But there are two-and-half times more men who aren’t even trying to find a job.  Because their lack of work is voluntary, they aren’t counted in the unemployment rate.  But the number of men between 25 to 54 who are “economically inactive” is soaring.

This has nothing to do with educational attainment, the business cycle, or the availability of jobs.  Many men just don’t feel that traditional masculine impulse to work for a living.  Instead they are living off of government benefits, family members, and girl friends.  (Women, by contrast, are working in vast numbers.  But the men who don’t work tend not to be the marrying kind.)

After the jump, an excerpt and link to George Will’s review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s book on the subject, Men Without Work:  America’s Invisible Crisis.

[Read more…]

Family Vocation, revisted

It’s very gratifying for a writer to hear from a reader who “gets” what the writer was trying to say.  So I would like to humbly commend to you Heather Judd’s review of Family Vocation, excerpted and linked after the jump.

Which reminds me that you have through Friday to sign up to win a free copy of that book from GoodReads.  Just click on the widget after the jump. [Read more…]

Death of a vocation warrior

I’ve been in Texas quite a bit this summer and was introduced to the HEB grocery stores.  They aren’t just supermarkets; they are megamarkets–but they are also clean, spacious, well-laid out, and they carry everything you could possibly need.

Now I know where the stores got their name (pronounced “H,” “E,” “B”):  They were started by a man named Howard E. Butt.  His son, Howard E. Butt, Jr., who took over the company, just died at the age of 89.

He ran the company after his father died, but after awhile he turned the management over to other members of his family and used his wealth for Christian philanthropy, from supporting Billy Graham’s ministry to funding church camps.  But his biggest cause was living out the Christian faith in the workplace.

For years, he did a 60-second spot on Christian radio entitled “The High Calling of Our Daily Work.”

I have never heard any of these spots.  (Have you?  If so, please report.)  I’m not sure of his specific theology of vocation (he was a Baptist), but he deserves credit for reminding Christians of this crucial teaching. [Read more…]

“Sully” screenwriter on vocation

The screenwriter for Clint Eastwood’s movie Sully, about the pilot who saved his passengers by landing in the Hudson River, is a devout Christian.

In talking about his faith and his movie, Todd Komarnicki discusses vocation, though he doesn’t use the term.  But he gets the concept:  God works through people. [Read more…]

Why we have cookouts and don’t work on Vocation Day

Our efforts to turn Labor Day into a Christian feast commemorating the doctrine of Vocation may be catching on.  I am reading and hearing more and more posts and sermons that are making the connection.

Moving from “labor” to “vocation” helps to explain the central question that always comes up about Labor Day.  If “labor” is so great, why do we celebrate it by not working?

If you think in terms of vocation, you realize that how we make a living is only one facet of our God-given callings.  In addition to the workplace, we also have vocations in the family, in the church, and in the society.  Each of our many vocations has its own “labor.”  And each has its own “neighbors” whom we are to love and serve.

So celebrating Vocation Day by spending time with our families and friends is perfectly appropriate.  What we do in the workplace day after day is, in part, to provide for our families.  They and our friends, as well as the general public, are our “neighbors.”

Loving and serving our neighbors is the purpose of every vocation.  Even Christians do not always realize this fact, so our posts are going to delve into this teaching a little today.  But having a cookout, doing summertime stuff, having a last mini-vacation before the busyness of the Fall–these are good ways to celebrate Vocation Day.