A Plentiful Harvest: The Fruits of Lilly-Sponsored Programs on Vocation

David Cunningham of Hope College observes here that “over the past ten years, the very word vocation has been excavated from its location among the ruins of medieval- and Reformation-era theological concepts and has been granted new meaning and new life. Increasingly, it marks the various ways that church-related colleges and institutions are talking with their students about the future directions of their lives and talking with their faculty, administrators, and trustees about how such conversations might best be conducted. No longer relegated to a narrow range of religious occupations, the word vocation is now frequently used to describe the entire orientation of a person’s life, in ways that are truly holistic and deeply attentive to the entire spectrum of the human psyche. In this essay, Cunningham describes the literature that has spawned new perspectives on vocation and the role that the Lilly-funded Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation initiative has played in supporting this reflection.