Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good


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$20.00  $18.60
Publish Date
5.76 X 8.24 X 0.71 inches | 0.69 pounds

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About the Author

Steven Garber is professor of marketplace theology and leadership at Regent College, Vancouver, and the principal of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture. A consultant to foundations, corporations, and schools, he is a teacher of many people in many places. His books include Visions of Vocation and The Fabric of Faithfulness, and he is a contributor to the books Faith Goes to Work: Reflections from the Marketplace and Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalogue. He is married to Meg. They have five grown children and several grandchildren.


"Every generation wonders at its place in the world. Every adolescent agonizes over the 'purpose of my life.' But in such a time as ours--with the world at our fingertips and seemingly endless opportunities to choose from--such questions are particularly fraught. Into these questions of calling and vocation, Steven Garber steps with characteristic grace. Part prophet, part pastor and part teacher, Garber reminds the reader that to be alive on this earth is to be called--to be implicated in the common good of your time and place. Now that you know what you know, what will you do? he asks. Garber helps Christians--young and old--press into their vocation as a response to the wounds and burdens of their particular context. This compelling and convicting book does not give easy answers but instead offers a robust definition of vocation to which Christians can cling no matter their age, location or circumstance."

--Roxanne Stone, vice president of publishing at Barna Group, Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year, March/April 2015

"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."

--Rachel Marie Stone, Christianity Today 2015 Book Awards, January/February 2015

"Garber fills in the fuzzy ideas about vocation and calling with stories of friends who have thoroughly and thoughtfully discerned how loving God's world plays out in real life. As a preacher I benefited from this vision of vocation that extends to every person in the pew."

--David Swanson, Leadership Journal 2015 Book Awards, Winter 2015

"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."

--Daniel de Roulet, The Covenant Companion, May 2014

"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."

--Carolyn Dirksen, CCCU Advance, Fall 2014

"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."

--Drew Moser, Jess Fankhauser and Jeff Aupperle, Books Culture, September 2014

"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."

--Sojourners, July 2014

"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."

--Critique, 2014:4

"[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."

--Russ Pulliam, World Magazine, April 26, 2014

"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."

--Ken Camp, Baptist Standard, March 30, 2014

"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."

--Don Meeks, Presbyterian Outlook, June 9, 2014

"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."

--Jeff Friend, Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2014

"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."

--CBA Retailers + Resources, April 2014

"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.'"

--Carolyn Egolf, Congregational Libraries Today, First Issue 2015