Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Listening Heart: Vocation and the Crisis of Modern Culture

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Listening Heart: Vocation and the Crisis of Modern Culture

Article excerpt

THE LISTENING HEART: VOCATION AND THE CRISIS OF MODERN CULTURE by A.J. CONYERS Spence, 217 pages, $27.95

This deeply learned and thoughtful book, published after the death of A.J. Conyers, is less about what our contemporaries tend to think of as "vocation" and more about "the crisis of modern culture." When we think of vocation, we almost surely think first of work for pay-which means, also, following a life course that we have chosen and in which we hope to find fulfillment. What Conyers means by vocation, however, is what the word once meant: God's call to us, the divine summons to live our life in response to God and toward the goal of rest in God. It is "the call to hear our place in the universe and the meaning of our existence." In Conyers' view, however, this is not an individual quest. Rather, only as all members of our society begin to understand their life together as a response to God's gracious summons can "the possibilities of life together become more fully realized" and the crisis of modern culture-which alienates us from each other-be to some extent overcome. …

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