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Christ at Work is a collection of papers written by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Melkite Catholics. It covers the topic of vocation (summons) from Orthodox perspective. Drawing on the Bible and the Fathers of the Church, this collection brings the concept of a proper vocation to our modern times. It is edited by Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, and she wrote the introduction (don't be disappointed if you find the obligatory introduction a little dull, the chapters that follow get much better). The common theme which runs through these chapters is that, while all vocations are lawful, not all are helpful. Seek first His Kingdom. To seek God's Kingdom is not a matter of knowing the will of God; one must also do His will. We do not become spiritual by isolating our professional or social life, but by making all of life contribute in the Sprit; we give witness in our activities and daily life, not separately from it.
Today we have a variety of jobs and careers to chose from, and most have the possibility of being transformed into a positive image of life in Christ (with obvious exceptions; gamblers, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers etc.) God has granted us gifts and talents, which we are obligated to use to God's glory, and we must use them wisely to gain our internal reward.
Perhaps the best chapters are the last two; Stanly Harakas on Vocation and Ethics, and Paul Meyendorff on the Priesthood of the Laity. Harakas makes a case that spiritually and ethically, the occupation or role is not as important as the way in which Orthodox Christians approach those occupations. Our "call" is a call to the life in Christ, and we are to lead a life worthy of the calling.Read more ›
Extremely well written... exceptional well referenced... addressing all the most important issues... actionable. Implementation of the conclusions and rationale of this book are exactly what is required for Orthodoxy in North America to finally set aside its too frequent expressions of clericalism, passivity among the laity, and phyletism and to fully celebrate Orthodoxy-in-practice. Although this book addresses career, it does so in passing. The authors recognize that career is only one expression of what one does. It is in that larger arena that the authors do their work; therefore, those who do the dishes, sit in an incapacitated state in nursing homes, are "unemployed," in prison, in school, and generally outside the powerhouse of the Church can benefit as much (or possibly more) than others. This book is like an unlocked door in a prison. It is the responsibility of those of us who have discovered this "door" to "translate" it into action for ourselves and those we love.
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