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Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation
PAPERBACK; Published: 7/26/2005
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2927-6
Price: $ 36.99
468 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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What am I going to do with my life? is a question that young people commonly face, while many not-so-young people continue to wonder about finding direction and purpose in their lives. Whether such purpose has to do with what job to take, whether to get married, or how to incorporate religious faith into the texture of their lives, Christians down the centuries have believed that God has plans for them.

This unprecedented anthology gathers select passages on work and vocation from the greatest writers in Christian history. William Placher has written insightful introductions to accompany the selections -- an introduction to each of the four main historical sections and a brief introduction to each reading. While the vocational questions faced by Christians have changed through the centuries, this book demonstrates how the distilled wisdom of these saints, preachers, theologians, and teachers remains relevant to Christians today.

This rich resource is to be followed by a companion volume, edited by Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass, featuring texts drawn mainly from fiction, memoir, poetry, and other forms of literature.

A study guide is available from Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) on their website: www.ptev.org

Preaching Magazine, Books Every Preacher Should Read (2006)
Stephen J. Pope
"William Placher's anthology on Christian views of vocation could not be more timely. In an age that increasingly regards work in terms of market preferences, instrumental productivity, and career ambition, his anthology provides the most important Christian resources for those who would consider the deeper religious and moral dimensions captured in the notion of 'callings.' This work helpfully incorporates the writings of Catholic, Orthodox, and classic Protestant thinkers on vocation. The rich historical background that Placher makes available will educate our generation on the wisdom of the past as we struggle to make sense of work in the future."
Mark U. Edwards Jr.
"Callings shows how variously Christians have sought meaning and purpose in life, from the call to Christian commitment or religious vocation to callings that encompass jobs, parenting, citizenship, voluntary service, friendship, and much more. Drawn from the sweep of the Christian tradition, the selections are admirably long enough to give readers a true sense of the contours of each argument. Placher's introductions ably help the reader see how and why the quest for a meaningful Christian life has taken different forms over time. Highly recommended as a basis for courses, informal discussions, and individual reflection."
John Witte Jr.
"Faith without works is dead,' the letter of James reminds us. But what works are part of living faith and faithful living — and what work can properly be pursued as a Christian vocation or calling? A whole library of Christian teaching has emerged over the past two millennia to respond to these timeless questions. This volume provides a judicious sampling of the most enduring teachings on the meaning of vocation. Included are writings from the honor roll of Christian luminaries — Augustine and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin, Ignatius and Teresa, Herbert and Wesley, Bonhoeffer and Barth — but also from dozens of lesser-known writers whose insights prove equally provocative. This text will serve at once as a commuter's companion, a devotional primer, a classroom text, and a scholarly resource."
James E. Carter
"For those interested in understanding and appreciating the call of God to Christian service, this book is an essential collection of materials covering the full range of Christian history. The introductions to both the sections and the selections are concise but complete. The historical introductions to the four sections are also clear, interesting, and informative."
Bibliotheca Sacra
"The combination of original source material and Placher's introductions make Callings a significant tool in the current conversation on vocation. . . Interesting reading for both students and pastors."