Friday, March 23, 2012

Veith on Vocation

Over at the Gospel Coalition Gene Veith has posted a very helpful article on the doctrine of "vocation".  His article is a response to New York Times columnist, David Brooks, who has suggested that Christians should not participate in professional sports.  He argues that the "ethos" of sports which is rooted in competition which has as its goal supremacy and victory, is at odds with Christianity.  He adds...

The sports hero tries to perform great deeds in order to win glory and fame. It doesn’t really matter whether he has good intentions. His job is to beat his opponents and avoid the oblivion that goes with defeat.
The modern sports hero is competitive and ambitious. (Let’s say he’s a man, though these traits apply to female athletes as well). He is theatrical. He puts himself on display.
He is assertive, proud and intimidating. He makes himself the center of attention when the game is on the line. His identity is built around his prowess. His achievement is measured by how much he can elicit the admiration of other people — the roar of the crowd and the respect of ESPN.
His primary virtue is courage — the ability to withstand pain, remain calm under pressure and rise from nowhere to topple the greats.

Veith takes issue with that perspective, in an irenic manner, of course.  In his post What Vocations Should be Off-Limits to Christians? Veith explores the nature of vocation both historically and theologically.  At times the church barred Christians from certain vocations - Roman gladiator games - is a prime example.  But Veith shows that this question is not easily answered in every situation.

Read Veith's column.  It is a wonderful primer for those wanting to know about vocation.

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