Vocation — big issue that emerges directly from your theory of the relationship of the Christian faith and culture or State. The realist perspective of John Stackhouse, which I find stimulating (even if I disagree at times) and which I think represents the view of most Christians I know. Chp 7 of his book (Making the Best of It) is concerned not only with vocation for All, but also for Christians. He makes one of his most provocative statements in this section:
The Christian mission bear witness and make disciples is the disctinctive Christian mission; it is a task only Christians can perform. But … and here it comes …
“That is not to say that mission is the sole activity of the church … To say so is to substitute what Christians distinctly are to do for all that Christians are to do. Again, the creation commandments have priority: we are humans first and last, and ‘Christians’ only temporarily” (234).
Here is a claim I’d like to which I’d like to hear your response.
The whole idea that the church is the one society that exists for others is “cute but not correct.”
Why? God wants the whole world back. And the church engages in mission:
1. As witness
2. As example
3. As agents of his mission.
We are called to do the hard thing: change people’s loves (239).
Then he has a section on vocation for “Some,” within which he forms a dialectical kind of ecumenism that recognizes different gifts and callings for different groups but the capacity to engage, learn from, and be changed by the giftedness of others. This is not a toleration form of ecumenism.
Then a section on individuals, then a section on time — always, sometime, now.