Item description for Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do And Who We Should Be by Mark R. Schwen & Dorothy C. Bass...
Overview Leading Lives That Matter draws together a wide range of texts - including fiction, autobiography, and philosophy - offering challenge and insight to those who are thinking about what to do with their lives. Instead of giving prescriptive advice, Mark Schwehn and Dorothy Bass approach the subject of vocation as an ongoing conversation. They include in this conversation some of the Western tradition's best writings on human life - its meaning, purpose, and significance - ranging from ancient Greek poetry to contemporary fiction. Including Leo Tolstoy's novella The Death of Ivan Ilych as an extended epilogue, this volume will help readers clarify and deepen how they think about their own lives.
Publishers Description "Leading Lives that Matter" draws together a wide range of texts -- including fiction, autobiography, and philosophy -- that offer challenge and insight for those who are thinking about what to do with their lives.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.16" Width: 6.68" Height: 1.23" Weight: 1.85 lbs.
Release Date May 15, 2006
Publisher WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN 0802829317 ISBN13 9780802829313
Reviews - What do customers think about Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do And Who We Should Be?
A Worthy Discourse on Contemporary Voices on Calling Jul 3, 2009
Leading Lives that Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be, edited by the husband and wife team of Mark Schwehn and Dorothy Bass, is a follow-up companion volume to William Placher's Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom. Schwehn is Professor of Humanities at Christ College and Project Director of the Lily Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts at Valparaiso University. Bass is Director of the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People of Faith. Both books come out of a larger initiative with the Lilly Endowment's Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV), a network of undergraduate college across the United States examining how to assist students in their understanding of vocation in their lives. Where Placher's Callings looked at the concept of vocation from a historical, theological survey, Leading Lives that Matter tackles the question of vocation from a more "popular" or "secular" vein (using the editors' own wording). Readings from a wide variety of authors are included in this compilation, such as Albert Schweitzer, Aristotle, Theodore Roosevelt, Homer, Robert Frost, H.G. Wells, John Milton, Malcolm X, John Steinbeck, and even Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. While there are some specifically Christian works included in Leading Lives That Matter (such as the excellent selections from Lee Hardy, Gary Badcock, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and C.S. Lewis) and a few biblical passages for examination, it is assumed by the editors that a reader would consult Placher's treatment of vocation for a survey of historically Christian views of the concept of vocation.
The overall question asked by Leading Lives That Matter is how does a person define "significance" in his or her life and how does the modern Western worldview either contributes or deters from one's understanding of vocation. The basic framework for this collection is stated by the editors, noting, "This is not a self-help book that provides ready answers or prefabricated exercise. Instead, the book is designed to lead readers to know their own mind better by encountering the minds of others who have gone before them. To read this book is to become another pilgrim along life's way, as we travel in the company of other pilgrims who have left behind them records of their own journeys or the journeys of others. . . . Reading this book is therefore more like joining a conversation than it is like going to a paid consultant or therapist" (p. 5).
The bulk of the book revolves around various writers' examination of seven core questions of one's identity. First, are some lives more significant than others? Is the "short and splendid" life more virtuous than the "long but undistinguished" life? Second, must one's job be the primary source of one's identity? Is the American cliché "What do you do for a living?" questioning a fair assessment of a person's life? Third, is a balanced life possible and preferable to a life focused primarily on work? Fourth, should one follow his talents as he decides what to do to earn a living? Fifth, to whom should one listen to when seeking advice on life decisions? Sixth, can one control what she does and becomes in life? And finally, how does one tell the story of his or her life?
In looking at the various ways to answer each of these seven core identity questions, Schwehn and Bass pull from a variety of past and present writers in various genres (poems, biographies, essays, scripture, screenplays, and novels). Schwehn and Bass also try to present a wide variety of views, even intentionally selecting articles that contradict one another. So where Aristotle praises the virtue of the short but valiant life, C.S. Lewis praises the work of the scholar who stayed home during the war.
It is a fascinating book if given time, but at times the book reads more like a college English literature textbook or a sociology textbook than a theological reader. Some of the selections felt forced into their corresponding questions and some of the selections did not connect, but I do applaud the editors for their very ambitious project. There are some definite nuggets of gold if one is willing to dig past a surface reading.
While I would probably not recommend this book as a stand alone text, Leading Lives That Matter could be used in a college or seminary classroom as a sort of "casebook" for students to use as they worked through their own thoughts on vocation. The framework of the seven core identity questions in the book is important for confessing Christians to have a response to. That said, I would strongly recommend a complimenting book on Christian vocational understanding since Leading Lives That Matter asks plenty of questions but answers few of them. As a warning, some of the language in the book (especially the screenplay for Good Will Hunting) is very course. One would need to be sensitive to his or her setting in this regard.
Living Lives That Matter is a keeper! Apr 10, 2009
Living Lives That Matter is a Keeper! It provides a well balanced presentation of articles from throughout history to the present day of persons who have given serious thought to why we exist and the role of work in our lives. It helped clarify many of my own thoughts and beliefs; while stretching me to rethink and expand others.It's a book worth having, reading, and re-reading over time. CJSLeading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do And Who We Should Be
Making A Difference May 16, 2008
This is a quality book. I like reading it in chunks. The Spiritual overtone makes it even better.