Calling in Context, Susan L. Maros. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2022.
Summary: A work on vocational discernment that recognizes that this process is shaped by our context, our social location.
In her work as a professor of leadership in a Christian seminary, Susan Maros came to a realization as she worked with students on discerning their callings. The ways that she had learned to discern calling in her White evangelical context were not necessarily the ways calling was discerned in other racial, ethnic, and cultural settings. This led to a process of examining her preconceptions about calling.
In this book she shares her learning. To begin with, she discovered that calling took different forms in scripture. The call of Abraham, Moses, and Nehemiah were each unique. Furthermore, calling unfolds over a lifetime, even when punctuated by particular calling moments.
Social location is a critical factor in how people experience calling. Social location includes racial, ethnic, and cultural background, socioeconomic status, and gender. These shape what opprtunities are most accessible and the ones considered “off-limits.” It also affects how we “hear” a call-an inner sense, a prophetic word, the counsel of community.
The last part of the book begins with understanding how we engage power, including understanding our own power and that of our community. Part of this is discerning how power works in social systems. The journey is a long one. Maros commends establishing sustainable rhythms of work and rest, community, companions, and lament. Underlying the discernment of calling is the recognition of and living out of purpose.
The principles and insights developed in this book are illustrated throughout by calling stories of a variety of ministry leaders representing various racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, gender, and age. Maros both illustrates from and draws insights from these stories, which form an integral part of the book. All of this comes together in a message of hope in the God who meets all of us in our social locations and bids us into lives of purpose under his grace.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.