Vocation and the Church in a Fallen World

Dan has suggested that vocation (as I have defined it) is not the goal of most workers. In fact, some workers must choose between vocation and something more pragmatic. This choice forces communities to break. Either workers must leave their families or families must leave their communities. I think that this opens up another general issue besides that of vocation. These situations only appear because we live in a fallen world. There are many other such situations as well.

Consider the case of war. Unless you are a particular kind of pacifist, you believe that there have been at least some just wars in the past, or that there could have been such wars. If you need examples, consider the Israelites when God commanded that they practice holy war against the Canaanites. Consider World War 2 when the Allies attacked the Axis powers in part because of the crimes of the Nazi’s. Now ask a few questions. Was it possible for someone to have a vocation of soldier? If the preconditions for just war are a result of sin (as all Christians agree on), how does the church and the gospel reach this area? How does a theology of place affect war?

Consider the case of crime. Unless you are a particularly odd pacifist, you will admit that police officers are necessary. As in the case of war, much of the same questions apply. We must ask about the vocation of police officer, the agency of the church and the gospel and the theology of place. I am sure that one is able to supply concrete examples to both of these situations.

Consider the case of the poor. Unless you believe that all poor people are poor because of moral faults, you will admit that some people are poor through no fault of their own. They must seek the necessities of life in any way that they can. Surely there are vocations that seek to address these issues.  But what are they? How is the church and the gospel to address these issues?

I could consider many other cases as well. What about the homeless, the widows and orphans, the divorced, the elderly, those in non-vocational jobs? What about involvement in politics or the university? In each and every one of these cases, something has gone wrong and there are those who are called to help.  The church and the gospel must have some way of addressing these issues. Yet all of these issues arise only because we live in a fallen world. We already know that the world is broken. Isn’t it wise to ask how it might be fixed?