This past week we hosted a group of DMin students who are studying “Faith, Vocation & Culture”—a surprisingly good name for focused learning and life –talking, thinking, eating, and praying from Monday through Friday. It is the long fruit of our hopes, traveling across the country many times over many years, talking to colleges and seminaries, always engaging one more institution over the meaning of vocation and the missio Dei.
One seminary said “yes.” And so two years ago we committed to Covenant Theological Seminary to be the co-sponsor of a new degree. One of my longest friends, Don Guthrie– for many years their academic dean and a professor as well –is teaching this along with me. We began last May in St. Louis, and our second week was here in Washington this week.
Much to say about it, but for here I want to note two books that are the heart of our vision: Work Matters by Tom Nelson and Kingdom Callings by Amy Sherman. We have focused on both in our articles on the website the last few months; a review and interview with Tom, and the afterward of Amy’s book. Two weeks ago I was with Tom in LA at Fuller Seminary, hosted by Gideon Strauss of the Max DePree Center there; and this week Amy joined us for Wednesday, with her committed passions about “vocational stewardship and the common good.”
We are very excited about both people and their books. Good friends to us, we have watched their books be born. Tom asked me to write a recommendation now on the back cover, and Amy asked me to write the afterward to her book. In their own unique and different ways they have argued with wisdom and passion the conviction that is ours, viz. vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei.
Almost always I am aware of the reality that there is much good work to be done, working as we are at the thesis that faith shapes vocation shapes culture. Having the gifts of Tom’s and Amy’s new books continue this conversation, making it one with consequences that will ripple out into the church and the world.
Dr. Steven Garber is Founder and Principal of the Washington Institute and author of The Fabric of Faithfulness.