Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good
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Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good

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Product Description

Is it possible to know the world and still love the world?

Of all the questions we ask about our calling, this is the most difficult. From marriages to international relations, the more we know, the harder it is to love. We become cynics or stoics, protecting our hearts from the implications of what we know. But what if the vision of vocation can be recovered-allowing us to step into the wounds of the world and for love's sake take up our responsibility for the way the world turns out?

For decades Steve Garber has come alongside a wide range of people as they seek to make sense of the world and their lives. In Visions of Vocation, Garber invites the reader into a meaningful dialogue where they can see themselves, the world, and God more clearly.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830836667
ISBN-13: 9780830836666

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Publisher's Description

Foreword Review's 17th Annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist (Religion) 12th Annual Outreach Resource of the Year (Culture) 2015 Christianity Today Award of Merit (Christian Living) 2014 Leadership Journal Best Books for Church Leaders (The Leader's Outer Life) 2014 Book of the Year from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore Is it possible to know the world and still love the world? Of all the questions we ask about our calling, this is the most difficult. From marriages to international relations, the more we know, the harder it is to love. We become cynics or stoics, protecting our hearts from the implications of what we know. But what if the vision of vocation can be recovered—allowing us to step into the wounds of the world and for love’s sake take up our responsibility for the way the world turns out? For decades Steve Garber has come alongside a wide range of people as they seek to make sense of the world and their lives. With him we meet leaders from the Tiananmen Square protest who want a good reason to still care about China. We also meet with many ordinary people in ordinary places who long for their lives to matter:
  • Jonathan who learned he would rather build houses than study history
  • Todd and Maria who adopted creative schedules so they could parent better and practice medicine
  • D.J. who helped Congress move into the Internet Age
  • Robin who spends her life on behalf of urban justice
  • Hans who makes hamburgers the way they are meant to be made
  • Susan who built a home business of hand-printing stationary using a letterpress
  • Santiago who works with majority-world nations in need of capital
  • George who has given years to teaching students to learn things that matter most
  • Claudius and Deirdre whose openhearted home has always been a place for people
  • Dan who loves Wyoming, the place, its people and its cows
Vocation is when we come to know the world in all its joy and pain and still love it. Vocation is following our calling to seek the welfare of the world we live in. And in helping the world to flourish, strangely, mysteriously, we find that we flourish too. Garber offers a book for everyone everywhere—for students, for parents, for those in the arts, in the academy, in public service, in the trades and in commerce—for all who want to discover the virtue of vocation.

Author Bio

Steven Garber is the principal of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, which is focused on reframing the way people understand life, especially the meaning of vocation and the common good. A consultant to foundations, corporations and schools, he is a teacher of many people in many places. The author of he is also a contributor to the books and He lives with his wife, Meg, in Virginia.

Editorial Reviews

"Many Christians struggle with envisioning what it is to be and to work in the world. Garber offers stories and wisdom that affirm the goodness and rightness of Christians pursuing callings in areas not traditionally considered ministry but that may be missional nonetheless."
" Visions of Vocation is one of those rare books that manage to strike the right balance for readers. . . . The book will not only act as a wise guide as you reflect on the desires of your heart in light of the reality of life in a broken world, it will enrich your imagination and mind, and invite you to further reading and thinking."
" Visions of Vocation calls its readers to make a commitment to a journey, one of calling and courage that will challenge not just your mind but also your heart and your soul. This remarkable book will cause you to desire a whole new way of knowing and seeing. Steve Garber is a scholar, a teacher, and a man who thinks and speaks with rich visual imagery. In the last fifteen years the conversation on calling has been animated by many voices, and never far from these important dialogues you will find Dr. Garber, asking the questions that have shaped and informed the trajectory of his work: What does it mean to be human? How are we to live? What truly matters? God calls us to engage this world, in all its brokenness. Visions of Vocation is a gracious and faithful companion for this journey, much like its author."
"We are known by the questions we ask, the lives we lead, and the company we keep. In this wise and wonderful book, Steve Garber engages us with important and big questions, narrates stories of remarkable people, and keeps great company. And along the way, we see God and the world--and ourselves--more clearly and deeply."
"[Garber] picks up where the late Francis Schaeffer left off in Schaeffer's unusual ability to bring Christian faith to bear in critical thinking about contemporary culture. . . . Through his first book, Fabric of Faithfulness, Garber has helped many university faculty and administrators learn how to connect with students as human beings, not just as academic machines. This book has assigned him to another very useful calling—heir to the legacy of a pioneer in modern Christian thinking, Francis Schaeffer."
"Garber challenges Christians to embrace realism and 'make peace with the proximate,' even while working toward elusive goals. We cannot do everything or achieve all we might desire, but we can do something and achieve some measure of success. And in the striving, God's people find fulfillment."
" Visions of Vocation is a thoughtful meditation on human brokenness and our failure to be honest in recognizing Thoreau's insight that most of us live lives of quiet desperation. Rather than preach despair, Garber points us to Scripture, literature, music and film to illustrate the simple truth that the examined life is the only one worth living. There is no better evidence of this than the stories he tells about his own life and his community of friends who have been thoughtful and intentional about asking the big questions over the years of their lives. How fitting that in a book about vocation, Steven Garber has winsomely achieved his life's greatest work."
"In Visions of Vocation, Garber has given great encouragement to all who yearn for such a life well-lived. Those entrusted with the proclamation of the gospel will find here penetrating illustrations and a refreshing way of thinking about the call to 'equip the saints for the work of ministry.' Those whose lives and livelihoods bring them closer to the brokenness and banality of the world will find here fresh inspiration to live as those who both know the world and still love it."
"When considering all the problems and complexities of today's world, Garber suggests Christians ponder the question, 'Knowing what I know, what am I to do?' His challenge resonates with people of every vocation—from farmer to homemaker to doctor."
"For everyone who wants to learn more about the virtue of vocation, Visions of Vocation by Steve Garber shows how our relationships and responsibilities are woven into God's work. Garber draws insights from literature, music, current events and stories of people around the world to frame a paradigm about following our calling."
"As I read Visions of Vocation, I felt deeply encouraged to 'know the world and still love it.' This book informed and captivated my mind with its wide range of theological, cultural, literary and personal conversations. But, more than any book I have read in a long time, Visions of Vocation touched my heart. It helped me recover my longing for God’s justice. It renewed my commitment to making a difference where God has placed me. It inspired me to live out my own vocation faithfully, trusting God with the results of my labors. How thankful I am for the godly wisdom of Steve Garber, shared so generously in Visions of Vocation."
"American Christians regularly emphasize the roles of faith and piety in our personal interactions over the actions of care and love we can perform for the cities and towns in which we do our daily work. When Garber quotes Jeremiah 29:7, 'Seek the well-being of the city—when it flourishes, you will flourish,' he advocates a position that will likely prove counter-cultural and unpopular—and thought-worthy—in such times of division as these."
"Reading Steve Garber on the subject of vocation and the mission of God is essential for anyone attempting to see what God is saying to the church in our day. Too many of us give lip service to the concept of the ministry of all believers, but few have truly pondered this notion as has Steve. I have found this book to be not just helpful and challenging but compelling and riveting."
"Steve Garber is a sensitive, passionate, thoughtful and wise man. This book accurately captures his concerns and hopes as he battles to make sense of a world that is simultaneously ugly and glorious. You're happy to make the journey with him because of the love and vulnerability that exude from every page."
"Good books tell the truest truths about the human condition, and this is truly a great book. Artfully weaving together stories, literature and his own experience, Steve has shaped the best book on vocation we have ever read. He has beautifully articulated a vision of work that we think is a must-read for everyone who wants to live with eyes wide open to the Kingdom of God and the common good. This book will help you 'crush it' for the glory of God!"
"It has been said that one way you can discern something is valuable is whether you will want to share it with those you love. This book passes that test, as Garber asks the big questions in the context of today's world, artfully and compellingly opening into a conversation that moves beyond cynicism and explores more life-bearing ways of being and doing in the vast, soul-stretching space between is and ought, knowing and yet still loving."
"Steve Garber embodies the finest integration of heart and mind I know of any teacher-writer living. Whenever you get a chance to read anything of his work—do so—but particularly read Visions of Vocation. After decades of soulful listening, he again turns his hand to craft the freeing ideas and tell the enlivening stories that will help us make our way. His mastery of storytelling and ideation combine beautifully here to provide worthwhile organizing principles with heart activating authentic stories. Steve understands the power of narrative and how to use others' lives to enflame our own. This long-awaited follow-up to The Fabric of Faithfulness deserves its place in your hands, on your shelf and most importantly on your gift list to those you love. For all who hope to make a meaningful and honest gift of their vocation, this is a must-read."
"Though Visions of Vocation is written from a Christian perspective, people from different faiths and those of no particular faith but with an interest in justice and social action will find examples and encouragement. . . . Recommended for anyone interested in promoting 'grace for the common good.'"
"Garber's breadth of knowledge, his ability to integrate ideas, and his beautiful and engaging writing make this book well worth reading, but his honesty and his concrete evidence of every person's ability to love the world and take responsibility for it hold the reader accountable. The book should come with a warning: You won't walk away unchanged."
" Visions of Vocation asks the most compelling and human questions about how to love the world once you come to truly know it. These pages are packed with stories of wisdom and grace, serving as a vocational compass for anyone seeking true guidance in the midst of a complex world. I am grateful for the mentorship of Steve Garber's words, and I know you will be too."
"If you have ever heard Garber speak in public, you know that he does so with a soothing, lyrical style that tips his audience to his fondness for music and poetry. He often notes that 'the artists get there first,' and his writing reflects this inclination, weaving in stories that begin as seemingly separate strands. Yet in Garber's chapters they are woven together to form a tapestry that reveals how vocation is integral to the mission of God. "This book is not for the faint of heart. Despite Garber's poetic style, his words pack a punch, challenging the reader to consider what it means to be 'implicated.'. . . Living with a full understanding of vocation means choosing to see the wounds of the world and responding with a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone. It means choosing the better but not the easier. . . . " Visions of Vocation invites readers into what feels like a fireside chat with poets, musicians, and artists of all kinds on living a life of significance. It is a chat that feels preliminary but substantive; the kind of conversation you leave looking forward to the next one. . . . "If angst-filled young adults are looking for a formula to discern their future, it cannot be found in this book. Likewise, if theologians are looking for a systematic treatise on vocation, they too will soon be disappointed. However, what they will find is probably more valuable: a book that causes readers to think about their lives in new and challenging ways, exploring questions which, when answered in good conscience, comprise a fabric of faithfulness."
"Steve Garber is one of the few consistent sources of wisdom that I rely on personally for my journey as an artist and as a Christ-follower. Like Magi's stars to the weary travelers in faith and culture, Visions of Vocation is a clear manifestation in the dark skies of our complex times that points to an integrated source of wisdom, delight and hope."
"In Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, Steven Garber writes eloquently of the challenge 'to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn't' without succumbing to cynicism."

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