Calling in Context
"I don't care for vocational books written in the United States; they're too American." When Susan Maros heard this comment from a Malaysian colleague, she was initially taken aback. Isn't the concept of calling universal? Why wouldn't resources with a biblical perspective on vocation apply to everyone?
The reality is that each of us encounters our questions of calling from within a particular context. In this path-breaking book, Maros explores how various dimensions of social location—including race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, and gender—shape our assumptions and experiences with vocation. Maros helps Christians in the United States in particular see how ideas about calling that emphasize certainty, career paths, and personal achievement arise from cultural priorities that shouldn't go unexamined, such as individualism, productivity, and meritocracy. She explains how unexamined "mental maps" can distort our perspective and refocuses our attention on biblical insights about calling as a lifelong journey. In the process, she helps us find both clarity and encouragement to explore the paths before us.
God calls all people, yes—but calling is not a monolithic concept. Filled with numerous stories from Christians in diverse communities, Calling in Context invites anyone exploring questions of calling to find fresh possibilities in their own identity and engagement with God's mission. Reflection questions and Bible study prompts are included throughout.
"In Calling in Context Susan Maros counters the popular notion of vocation as an individual's calling discovered outside of time and place with a fresh, communal understanding that is grounded in God's action in the world and discerned in the midst of personal intersections and diverse experiences. Claiming vocational discernment is contextual and lifelong, Maros seeks to deepen awareness and awakening unconscious assumptions by inviting readers into a reflective process. Well written with personal stories, rich connections to Scripture, and challenging reflection questions, this book is a great resource for Christian leaders as it recognizes the importance of social location and directly addresses the impact racial-ethnic-cultural identity, socioeconomic status, sex/gender, power, and privilege play in vocation."
"Before the end of the introduction you will discover why Dr. Susan Maros is one of Fuller Seminary's most respected and popular professors. By the end of the book, you will realize that almost all your assumptions about how God calls a person will be challenged. Filled with biblical reflections that will cause you to reconsider what you think you know, and stories and studies that will encourage you to rethink what you believe to be settled about the way vocation is formed, this book disturbs and deconstructs, and then provides wisdom and a way for reconstructing perhaps the most personal moments in a Christian's life. I heartily recommend it."
Part I: Maps, Theoretical Frameworks, and "You Are Here"
1. "What Is My Calling?" and Other Problematic Maps
2. In Search of a Biblical Map
3. The Journey of Calling
Part II: Social Location and Vocational Formation
4. The Gift of Particularity—Racial-Ethnic-Cultural Identity and Christian Vocation
5. Socioeconomic Status, Class, and Calling
6. On Being a Godly (Wo)Man—Sex, Gender, and Vocation
Part III: Examining Intersections
7. Privilege and Power
8. Practices for the Journey
9. Developing a Purposeful Life
Conclusion: Finish Well