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The Way of Life: A Theology of Christian Vocation [Paperback]

By Gary D. Badcock (Author)
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Item description for The Way of Life: A Theology of Christian Vocation by Gary D. Badcock...

The concept of vocation is often at the heart of religious experience, yet suprisingly few serious theological studies have been written about it. The Way of Life seeks to remedy this oversight and to outline a sane alternative to the more questionable versions of the idea of vocation found at the popular level. Beginning with the Bible, and drawing on theological sources both Protestant and Catholic, Gary Badcock develops a constructive theology of Christian vocation, rescuing it from both secular and sacred distortions. Badcock argues that Christian vocation is essentially the call to love God and neighbor. Through a consideration of several theologians, including in particular Martin Luther and Hans Urs von Balthasar, Badcock links this theme to another ruling idea of Christian spirituality - discipleship in the way of the cross. Viewed theologically, Christian vocation finally comes to be seen as a sharing in the reconciling mission of Jesus. Vocation should be seen as a way of life - indeed, as the way of life, the way which follows Jesus himself. A Christian's vocation is not, therefore, to be confused with with an occupation. Even though work itself is of great significance, vocation is fundamentally less about what one does than about what one is. For those struggling to discover a proper sense of vocation in a society obsessed with prestige and financial gain, this volume provides a solid, readable, and theologically informed account of what it truly means to be "called of God."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Pages   147
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 5.93" Height: 0.46"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 10, 1998
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802844901  
ISBN13  9780802844903  

Availability  135 units.
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More About Gary D. Badcock

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Professor of Theology at Huron College in London, Ontario, Canada.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Way of Life?

Theology of the call...  Jul 21, 2004
Gary Badcock's book on vocation and theology is the kind of book I wish I'd written. It involves the personal and professional, the experiential and the theoretical, the practical and the spiritual. Few people address the issue of vocation as a theological one - I recall at my seminary a great number of students who seemed to feel that theology (that is, philosophical and systematic theology) was of little or no use to them, and that it had nothing to do with day-to-day ministry, much less Christian life. However, there was one particular professor who held quite determinedly that this kind of theology in and of itself can be a spiritual practice, for it was so to him. I was inspired by this example, and Badcock served to reinforce much of this idea to me.

Vocation derives from the Latin word 'vocare', meaning 'to call'. Call in the biblical sense can be collective or individual; but what is it that we are called to do? Badcock develops a brief theology of work and faith. Badcock is suspicious of postmodern attempts to render meaning devoid of any kind of universal or absolute elements; he looks at the idea of work and labour through the many centuries of Christendom (patristic period, early medieval, etc.), concluding that any theology that does not explore the human response to God (and much of this is through our daily work) is problematic at best.

Badcock explores what has come to be termed 'the priesthood of all believers', beginning with Luther and forward through the later developments; this is done in connection with an idea of ordination as an embodiment of the priesthood of the congregation and acting on their behalf in ways very different from the medieval idea of ontological shifts and changes between clerics and lay persons. Badcock explores the difference in world-views today with various career-options, making the distinction between a career and a vocation (one that is subtle but distinct, and often trips people up in conversation if they aren't working from the same definitions), as well as the incorporation of vocation into the question of identity.

Badcock addresses the kinds of ministry that one can participate in, as well as the broader theological points underpinning these ministries. Ministry is not just doing things in church or wearing clerical collars; in fact, many of the most effective ministries are done outside of church and without the trappings. We live in an age of relative freedom, freedom to choose our own path, and as often as not freedom to engage in the kinds of education and career choice, so that there aren?t many options beyond possibility, as might have been the case only a generation or two ago.

In the end, Badcock sees vocation as a lifelong call, and one that doesn't always become clear even as it is being pursued. He uses his own life, and the varying strands and competing directions that, even as he demonstrates that the call to minister was available in different ways in all of these. It is the same for all of us.

This is an important book that I re-read on occasion to reinforce my own sense of call and profession.

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