Amy Sherman – Kingdom Calling [Feature Review]

May 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

 

Page 2 – Amy Sherman – Kingdom Calling

Excitement surges through readers as they encounter story after story after story about how believers are enacting their giftedness for the benefit of others.  Accounts of daily work for The King pulse through every chapter, every page.  “Christian architects, engineers, business owners, historians, entertainers, photographers, chemists, dancers, sales reps, lawyers and real estate appraisers” (91) have their stories told.

What the individuals and church leaders profiled in this book have accomplished is not outside the realm of possibility.  These are people like you; these are congregations like yours (224).



But Kingdom Calling supplies the reader with biblical-practical tools to engage any community.  Part 2 identifies how to disciple for vocational stewardship: the integration, inspiration, discovery, and formation of faith with work.  God’s intention for work has not changed since Genesis 1 and 2.  Sin’s corruption is overcome by salvation’s redemption.  Sherman offers the collaborative best of many vocational stewards as they enact their ‘dimensions of vocational power’ (120-26).  Seven facets of stewardship are much more than leadership lessons baptized with Bible verses; they comprise the thinking-being-doing of Christians dedicated to missio Dei per imago Dei.  We have been given a time and place to live with vocational giftings to be God’s hands in God’s world.

Sherman gives ‘four pathways’ empowering those hands to deploy their vocational power: blooming, donating, inventing, and investing.  The biblical concept of place is given short shrift in biblical theology until recently.[1] “Bloom where you’re planted” takes on its original meaning in a Christian context.  We should be who we are, where we are, with what we have.  “Volunteering” retains its others-centered focus with others-connected partnerships in the gospel.  “Inventing” sees peoples’ needs and seeks ways toward “investing” where intentionality cushions the poor instead of padding bank accounts.  Vocational stewardship, it must be warned, is no panacea.  There are pitfalls and temptations to be overcome.  Sherman’s honesty with each story’s difficulties reminds us that we enact our vocational intentions within a fallen culture.  Yet the joy of ‘the city’ resounds in each community where Sherman finds believers who engage their calling.

Since reading Kingdom Calling I’ve been texting and emailing church and academic leaders around the country to encourage the addition to reading lists and syllabi.  Indeed Sherman’s book has now been included seminal courses where I teach.  We can thank Amy Sherman for a book which demonstrates true biblical praxis: common grace for the common good.  And if you come by my office, I’ll give you a copy from the box full I ordered.  Kingdom Calling should be given to Christians so they can give themselves away.

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Mark Eckel is Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN.  He blogs at www.warpandwoof.org


[1] For instance, see my biblical-theological overview: http://warpandwoof.org/biblical-theological/this-world-is-my-home-a-theology-of-place/