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christian vocation coursework

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(a)(i) Describe how a Christian may follow the call to discipleship through daily life and work

        Vocation is the idea that people get a call from god to do a certain job this can also be said about being called into Christianity by god, it may not be an actual call or a big flash of light but just s feeling that you have created by god. ‘Vocation’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘to be called’. Some Christians may say that they were called to Christianity and so were all Christians. For example Jesus was called by god,  he heard his voice when he was baptised by John.

        Discipleship is another term used my Christians used to mean following Jesus like his disciples did, living a Christian lifestyle and helping others also apply to discipleship. Christians follow Jesus by following his examples like his love, service and compassion towards others. Someone who has chosen to follow Jesus should be living a caring helpful life, possibly in a caring profession such as a doctor, nurse or teacher.

        Any job can be a vocation, some Christians say god has a plan for everyone and he may call you to a job that isn’t related to Christianity at all. St. Paul said in Colossians 3:23 “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the lord, not for men.” Possibly meaning that god has called everyone to their jobs because he knows its right for them so work for him and do the job well.

        A Christian may choose his or her job just simply because they want to do the job although this want or urge to do a job could be put down to god. I don’t think there are any jobs unsuitable for Christians, Jesus loved everyone anyway even if they were a sinner he did not commend what they did but he still loved them. I do not think your religion should constrain your job opportunities. A Christian may serve god in an ordinary job by obeying the 10 commandments in their job and generally being caring and helpful.

        Christians can put Christian teachings into their family lives by following Paul’s teachings and the 10 commandments. Paul’s teachings say, “A wife, must put her husband first. This is her duty as a follower of the lord. A husband must love his wife and not abuse her. Children must always obey their parents. This pleases the lord. Parents, don’t be hard on your children. If you are, they might give up.

(a)(ii) Explain why some Christians join communities and take vows or poverty, chastity and obedience.

        Christian communities are a group of Christians who live together. A convent is where a group of female Christians would live also known as nuns and male Christians or monks would live in a monastery.

         A contemplative order is focusing your life on god, in prayer and everyday life. An example of a contemplative community is the poor clares. The normal day in the poor clares community may consist of many things, gardening, housework, cooking, cleaning, helping the elderly and sick, praying or working in the shop; making candles, encaustic wax cards, as well as cards created and printed on a computer, turning wood and knitting garment on their knitting machine. The nuns do this type of work involving their hands because it leaves their minds free to focus on god and pray. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 how “no one can serve two masters”, “you cannot serve both god any money” so the nuns in the poor clare community decide to “serve god” and his people and help them rather than work for money.

        An active order is doing something about what you believe in, for example if you want to be one of Jesus’ disciples you would follow in his footsteps and his examples and help people maybe by helping out at a hospital or a school.

        People or monasteries and convents today are living like the first Christians as recorded in the book of acts because the first Christians lived out alone in the desert, Christians live in s slightly similar way today. They have no possessions, they cannot have sex and they dedicate their time to thinking if they are contemplative, as you would alone in a desert, or doing things to help others. Living in a Christian community would help a Christian to follow their call to discipleship because of the vows they take when they join, they have to do things in a similar way to Jesus therefore helping to follow their call to discipleship.

        Some Christians may say joining a Christian community is a vocation because whatever they do as a job or joining a community is a vocation. God has a plan for them and they follow it via vocation. Some Christians believe that god want them to live in a religious community rather than an ordinary one because its better for them and other who they would be helping.

        A vow is an oath or promise you make. Nuns and monks take vows when they join a religious community; they take a vow of poverty so they are not tied down by possessions and money and can focus on god. Christ was poor to make us rich so they follow in his footsteps and enforce discipleship. They also take a vow of chastity, which means they must remain celibate so they can devote themselves to god as Jesus did. Also a relationship with someone from the opposite sex will get in the way of god and praying; St. Paul advises Christians to be celibate so they can “be devoted to the lord”. Obedience is the third vow they take, by this vow they give to God their freewill. They must be obedient to their abbot or abbess. Again showing their discipleship, because Jesus was obedient until the point of death on the cross for god.

        It is important for Christians to make these vows in front of a community because then there is witnesses so you cant get out of the commitment and also if you are doubtful they can remind you about them.

(a)(iii) Explain the purpose and practice of one particular religious community.

The poor Clares are a religious community for women who want to dedicate their lives to god. They originated in 1212 by St Francis and St Clare in Assisi in Italy. The poor clares are a contemplative community.  The contemplative community of nuns started as a way of being united with god and to follow Jesus.

        The aims of the poor Clare community are mostly “to pray for the world and the Church”, to live a life through their prayers, dedicated to god and “to live out the Gospel command of love” which means to live their lives as god wanted helping others and loving them.

        The normal day in the poor clares community may consist of many things, gardening, housework, cooking, cleaning, helping the elderly and sick, praying or working in the shop; making candles, encaustic wax cards, as well as cards created and printed on a computer, turning wood and knitting garment on their knitting machine. The nuns do this type of work involving their hands because it leaves their minds free to focus on god and pray. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 how “no one can serve two masters”, “you cannot serve both god any money” so the nuns in the poor clare community decide to “serve god” and his people and help them rather than work for money.

Their timetable is shown below

5.00         Rise

5.45         Readings – a morning invitation to prayer composed of some psalms and two  readings, one from Scripture and one from a Christian teacher or saint. These nourish our spirits for the day ahead. A quick breakfast followed by time for personal prayer, reading, study until 7.30

7.30         Morning Prayer, the Prayer of Praise to God followed by Spiritual reading

8.30         Holy Mass followed by a short Office and then work until 11.50

11.50        A short Prayer written by Francis of Assisi and Scripture reading

12.30         Dinner; some free time until 2.15

2.15         back to work with a tea break at 3.30 and a short prayer together in the refectory at 4.00 to sanctify our work

5.50        Evening prayer

6.30         Supper followed by an hour of personal prayer time until 8.15

8.15         Compline or Night Prayer, which closes the day.

        The poor clares take three vows as a sign of their commitment and consecration to God. The vow of chastity allows the nuns to focus their love on god, they give god their bodies and souls and their right to marry. They also take the vow of poverty so they are not tied down by possessions and money and can focus on god. Christ was poor to make us rich so they follow in his footsteps and enforce discipleship. Obedience is the third vow they take, by this vow they give to God their freewill. Again showing their discipleship, because Jesus was obedient until the point of death on the cross for god.

(b) “Christians should lead active rather than contemplative lives.”

        Contemplative means to life your life dedicated to god through prayer, to live a contemplative life. An example of a contemplative community is the poor clares. a day in the poor clares community may consist of  things such as , gardening, housework, cooking, cleaning, helping the elderly and sick, praying or working in the shop; making candles, encaustic wax cards, as well as cards created and printed on a computer, turning wood and knitting garment on their knitting machine. The nuns do this type of work involving their hands because it leaves their minds free to focus on god and pray. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 how “no one can serve two masters”, “you cannot serve both god any money” so the nuns in the poor clare community decide to “serve god” and his people and help them rather than work for money.

        Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk; he took a vow of silence amongst other vows his writings have had a big influence on many Christians. He took part in many social protests even though he had to be silent; he took part in such protests as the struggle for racial equality in the USA and the struggle against nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War.

        An active life for a Christian is doing something about what you believe in, for example a Christian can help follow their path to discipleship by following Jesus and helping others by helping people at hospitals, nursing homes, schools etc. ‘ordinary’ Christians can lead active lives by living in a Christian lifestyle and helping others also apply to discipleship. Christians follow Jesus by following his examples like his love, service and compassion towards others so do this in your everyday life and work and you will be living an active life.

        ‘Extra-ordinary’ Christian could do many great things for example Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement he was a Baptist minister, and had a huge impact on the people of America. his most influential and well-known speech is the "I Have A Dream" speech. In 1964, he became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. he spoke out against injustices against black people of america, they were not allowed to vote, not allowed in the same places as white people and got half the pay. Martin luther king changed this

        Another example of a ‘extra-ordinary’ active christian was Mother Teresa (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997), she was born a roman catholic nun, she won the nobel peace prize in 1979. she was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service. By the early 1970s, Mother Teresa had become an international celebrity. Her fame can be partly attributed to the 1969 documentary ‘Something Beautiful for God’. In 1982, at the height of the siege in Beirut, Mother Teresa rescued 37 children trapped in a front line hospital by negotioating a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerillas. Mother Teresa inspired a wide variety of commemorations. Besides receiving numerous honors during her lifetime, she has also been memorialized through museums, been named patroness of various churches, and had various structures and roads named after her.

        In conclusion living an active life is far more beneficial to others and is more noticeable, living a contemplative life is good if you believe prayers work and they really were helping. Christians serve god in many different ways some more subtle than others. However it is to be taken into consideration that active Christians do pray and contemplate and contemplative Christians do work and help others. In my opinion active Christians are making a more valuable contribution to the world because I do not believe that prayers do anything and even if god doesn’t exist active Christians are still doing something good for the world

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