Is being a tightrope walker a Christian vocation?

Nick Wallenda is the tightrope walker who recently walked on a wire–blindfolded–between two skyscrapers in Chicago.  He is a Christian and often talks about his faith, praying before his stunts (which have included walking across the Grand Canyon and the Niagra Falls) and calling on Christ for help.  So is being a tightrope walker a Christian vocation?

David Murray has an interesting discussion about this, concluding that, no, it is not, on the grounds that it does not follow four criteria that he says are necessary for a true Christian vocation.  I don’t think I agree.  I suppose part of it is that he is articulating a Reformed view of vocation, which is not quite the same as the Lutheran one, which I hold to.   And yet, though I’m not sure that these are the right criteria to evaluate a calling,  I’m thinking that Wallenda does, in fact, meet them.   At any rate, I tend to think that the origin of such a wild and strange and wonder-inspiring talent could only come from God.  When I see or hear about something so extraordinary and someone so fearless, I do glorify God.  A tightrope walker does love and serve his neighbors by filling them with awe.

What do you think? [Read more...]

Vocation and Epistemology

More and more Christians are discovering, or re-discovering, the doctrine of vocation, and the richness of that teaching means that vocation can illuminate countless dimensions of life.  Now the noted Christian philosopher John Stackhouse has written a book entitled Need to Know:  Vocation as the Heart of Christian Epistemology (that last word referring to the philosophy of knowledge–how we know what we know, how we know that we know, etc., etc.).   Excerpts from a review after the jump. [Read more...]

An evangelical pastor discovers vocation

We Lutherans don’t go in for “personal testimonies” very much, but after the jump is a “testimony” from a pastor who discovered the doctrine of vocation and tells about the difference that has meant in his ministry. [Read more...]

Effects of churches that teach vocation?

A Baylor study has found that people who attend churches that teach God’s presence in the workplace and the like have better job satisfaction, higher commitment to their work, and a stronger entrepreneurial spirit.  But is this really what the doctrine of vocation is all about? [Read more...]

The Faith & Work movement

The doctrine of vocation, in its different versions, seems to have come back to Christendom.  In fact, people are now speaking of a Faith and Work movement!   Recently, a whole channel on the topic was started here at Patheos.  You should check out the blogs on that channel that are devoted exclusively to this topic, though they approach vocation from different perspectives, not always as Lutherans would recognize the term.  (At some point, I might do some posting there  to bring in the Cranach perspective.)

A leader in the Faith and Work movement is Greg Forster, who has recently made the important point that those concerned with “Faith and Work” must keep it grounded in our justification by Christ. [Read more...]

The apostolic loser

Last Sunday, our pastor preached on the text about the apostles’ lottery for who would take Judas’s place among the Twelve (Acts 1:12-26).   Joseph-called-Barsabbas-called Justus was the apostolic loser.  Later, he couldn’t even get elected to be a Deacon!  But tradition said that he would die as a martyr to the faith, which was the same fate as that of the apostolic winner, Matthias.  The sermon turned into a profound exploration of vocation. [Read more...]


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