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    Plough Quarterly No. 22: Vocation

    Autumn 2019


    Featured Articles

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    From the Editor

    Why We Work As a newcomer to Germany, I wasn’t prepared for the roofers’ guild uniform.


    The Unchosen Calling You don’t get to choose your vocation – or pick your father. A Love Stronger than Fear Amid disease, war, and religious fundamentalism in the Horn of Africa, what difference could one woman make? Now and at the Hour I never felt very priestly at Calvary. Mercenaries out of the Gate Were the mercenaries just a more honest version of what I was? Loneliness at College My need for community became confused with a quest for validation. An Economy for Anything Can visionary cryptocurrency wonks break the hold of conventional politics and economics? The Artist of Memory The story of an Iraqi Christian painter who conserves a world that war destroyed.


    A Life beyond Self Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa? Oh, to Weld! As a boy, I admired my Uncle Danni’s ability to weld. Something about permanently bonding two pieces of metal together intrigued me: Poetry and Prophecy, Dust and Ashes After you’ve read Alter, the NRSV or the NIV read like the work of a subcommittee of deans. Valor


    To-Do List One accommodates, / as when the cheap handyman laid / a crooked floor Sometimes I Wince at the Weight of your Hand Three Poems about Calling

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    the front cover of Plough Quarterly Autumn 2019 Issue 22: Vocation

    About this issue

    Everyone hungers for work that has meaning and purpose. But what gives work meaning? Vocation, or “calling,” is the answer Protestant Christianity offers: each person is called by God to serve the common good in a particular line of work. Your vocation, evidently, might be almost anything: as a nurse, a wilderness guide, a calligrapher, a missionary, an activist, a venture capitalist, a politician, an executioner… Yet, as Will Willimon writes in this issue, the New Testament knows only one form of vocation: discipleship. And discipleship is far more likely to mean leaving father and mother, houses and land, than it is to mean embracing one’s identity as a fisherman or tax collector.

    This issue of Plough focuses on people who lived their lives with that sense of vocation. Such a life demands self-sacrifice and a willingness to recognize one’s own supposed strengths as weaknesses, as it did for the Canadian philosopher Jean Vanier. It involves a lifelong commitment to a flesh-and-blood church, as Coptic Archbishop Angaelos describes. It may even require a readiness to give up one’s life, as it did for Annalena Tonelli, an Italian humanitarian who pioneered the treatment of tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa. But as these stories also testify, it brings a gladness deeper than any self-chosen path.