*click on the links for questions and information that correspond with each section
Theology of Christian Vocation
Thinking about Vocation
- What is this passage saying? How do we implement it in our lives?
- How does Paul’s analogy of the body and many members compare today with the members of a sports team or orchestra?
- What does it mean for you to intersect your deep gladness with the needs of the world? What are the implications for discerning and living out Christian Vocation?
- What three experiences nudged Sittser to reconsider his conception of the will of God? (inability to predict the future, p.19-21; suffering loss, p. 21-22; the Bible, p.22)
- How does Sittser describe the conventional notion of the will of God? (22-23). What are the benefits of this approach? According to Sittser, what are 3 problems with the conventional approach to discovering the will of God? (23-28)
- Evaluate Sitter’s statement, “If we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, which is the will of God for our lives, then whatever choices we make concerning the future become the will of God for our lives. There are many pathways we could follow, many options we could pursue. As long as we are seeking God, all of them can be God’s will for our lives, although only one—the path we choose—actually becomes his will” (34-35). (Help students see the importance of “seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness” in this assertion).
- Do you agree there are several people you could marry or several careers you could pursue, not just “one” that God has for you? (35)
Discerning Vocation - Distinguishing Between Calling and Career (1)
- What is the difference between a calling and a career? Why is this distinction important?
- Sittser writes, “A calling is a way of seeing the world with the eyes of the heart” (167). Calling springs from a deep and intuitive sense of what is wrong in the world and how God wants to make it right through you. How does this compare to Buechner’s definition of vocation? When you look around, what do you see with the eyes of your heart?
- Why is life experience so valuable? What role have your experiences played in nudging you toward a calling?
- How has community played a role in helping you discover your own calling?
Core Convocation on Vocation
Tuesday, April 15 - 7:00 p.m. Grantham BIC Church
David Brandt - Head Men's Soccer Coach
Public Relations and National Visibility Representative
Discerning Vocation (2)
"We follow God's call because that call itself gives us the strength, will, and confidence to respond. God's call provides us with a sense of life so strong and true that it makes us feel alive to the core of our being."
- What is the nature of God’s voice? What is the purpose of God’s “call”?
- What are ways in which God speaks to us? How do the authors suggest we discern what God is supposedly telling us?
- What has God communicated to us through Jesus?
- What is “general revelation”? What is the difference between “special” revelation from God and “general” revelation?
Service Day - Thursday, April 17
Work as Vocation
Elements for a Spirituality of Work
- How do you understand the purpose of work?
- What aspects of Pope John Paul II’s spirituality of work resonate with you? Which surprise you?
Service: Living out Christian Vocation
"While outside the birds sang I reflected on this thought, and before I had gotten up I came to the conclusion that until I was thirty I could consider myself justified in devoting myself to scholarship and the arts, but after that I would devote myself directly to serving humanity."
- How does Schweitzer distinguish "evangelism with words" and "evangelism with deeds"?
- How does Schweitzer's family respond to his decision to enter medical school? What is their justification of their response? Have you experienced a divergence between your vision and that of your family/friends? How have/might you negotiate this divergence?
- How does Schweitzer justify his venture?
- Schweitzer plans to "live" until 30, meaning pursue what he enjoys [science and art], and then devote himself to direct service to humanity? What do you make of this distinction? Do you agree with/disagree with his use of talents and joys in service?
- What are authentic forms of Christian service? Can Christians serve through scholarship? Through the arts?
Justice and Reconciliation: Living out Christian Vocation (1)
"Since reconciliation embodies a lifestyle rather than merely a strain for human relations, we must embrace reconciliation as a spiritual discipline--a godly habit."
"If we claim to follow Jesus Christ and to have inherited the gospel of the first century church, we contend that our present-day congregations should exhibit the same vision for and characteristics of those first Christian communities of faith. Therefore we even go so far as to say that a Christian, by biblical definition, is a follower of Jesus Christ whose way of life is racial reconciliation."
- What does reconciliation mean to you? What does it mean to spread the message of reconciliation throughout the world?
(Hines and DeYoung)
- Hines noted that reconciliation means ,”bridging historical and traditional gaps between individuals, stimulating people to have mutual respect for each other and helping them to understand that we are all part of a “oneness” that we violate at our own risk” (166). How do the authors illustrate their definition of reconciliation?
- “Reconciliation brings about the restoration of right relationships between God and humankind and between individuals of both genders, all races, cultures, levels of society, nationalities, and denominational persuasions” (167). What do you think about these thoughts about reconciliation?
- Do you agree that reconciliation should be considered a spiritual discipline?
Justice and Reconciliation : Living out Christian Vocation (2)
- “Jesus’ first temptation was to be relevant.” Have you ever experienced this temptation in your own life?
- “It is Jesus who heals, not I; Jesus who speaks words of truth, not I; Jesus who is Lord, not I.” According to Nouwen, how is a Jesus-centered view of leadership different from the leadership exercised by a psychologist or doctor?
- Nouwen describes theology as “union with God in prayer” (44). How is theological reflection different from psychological or scientific investigation?
- Why does Nouwen say that Christian leaders should beware of the temptations to be relevant, spectacular, and powerful? Do you agree?
- Why does Nouwen say that it’s important for Christian leaders show their vulnerability and woundedness?
- Why does Nouwen say that the Christian leader should strive not for upward mobility, but downward mobility? (81-82)
- What does Nouwen mean when he writes that Christian leaders “have to say no to the secular world”? (87)
"This is a moral universe, which means that, despite all evidence that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word."
- "The principle of transformation says nothing, no one and no situation, is 'untransfigurable,'. . . "Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
- Tutu has witnessed incredible evil yet remains hopeful. How can we balance painful reality and hope?
- What is God's dream for humans according to Tutu?
- Describe the meaning of the African idiom, "A person is a person through other people.”
- Describe ubuntu.
- How does Tutu illustrate the relationship between prayerful contemplation and social transformation?
Suffering: A Vocation, Obstacle or Opportunity (1)
"As I look back on my forty-nine years, I see a pattern emerge. At various points along the way I thought I knew the pathway I was supposed to take, but I ended up doing something quite different. This different "something" turned out to be the will of God."
"There is one final problem with the conventional approach to discovering the will of God. Our preoccupation with what lies ahead betrays a desire to control a future that simply cannot be controlled. We want the security of knowing what the future will bring rather than risk trusting God as the unknown future gradually unfolds before us."
- In what sense is suffering not God’s will? In what sense is it God’s will?
- “Eventually… you will have to make peace with the sovereignty of God” (224). Why is God’s sovereignty so difficult to believe and accept? What are the benefits of making peace with God’s sovereignty?
- How is it possible to keep trusting God in our suffering? When have you trusted God in your suffering? When did you not? What were the outcomes?
- In what sense is faith practical? What does faith do for us when we suffer?
For the first time in this 11 years -- I have come to love the darkness -- for I believe now that it is a part a very, very small part of Jesus' darkness and pain on earth. You have taught me to accept it [as] a 'spiritual side of "your work,"' as you wrote."
"The darker the darkness, the sweeter will be my smile at God."
- Does it surprise you that Mother Theresa struggled with loneliness?
- How was Mother Theresa’s suffering transformed for good?
Spiritual Renewal: Faith Journey Narrative
"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to kown the place for the first time."
Compiled and Designed by Shelby White and Brittney Bailey