Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian – Review


James W. Fowler describes the vocation of Christian men and women in his book, Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian. This social commentary walks through the theological and psychological development of Jesus followers. Fowler opens his book by describing the modern day crisis of vocation.  He argues that our life’s driving purpose, vocation, needs to be rekindled through several key steps. These include:

1. The provision and instantiation of a shared core story 2. A participation in and life-prioritizing identification with the passion of the shared core narrative. 3. A formation of the affections – a person’s deep and guiding emotions, the wellsprings of his or her motivation – in accordance with the community’s identification with its central passion. 4. The generation of virtues – moral strengths and actional skills that become consistent, constituent dimensions f personal and corporate action. 5. The practical and particular shape of worldly vocation in each life in the community, and their interrelatedness in mission and mutual support as unified but highly carried ecology of vocation.

If this five step process seems a bit complicated to you then good: you are human. Fowler packs each chapter with specific terms and usages that must be traced carefully throughout the book. His writing fills the sum of 120 pages but contains the intellectual content of encyclopedic proportions. Becoming Christian is a dense work that assumes a high level of background knowledge and high capacity for abstract ideas.

I recommend reading this book for those who have been digging deeper into spiritual formation. Those interested in the intersection of social, psychological and theological crossroads must read this book. For the average devotee or curious reader I recommend that you stay away and save Fowler for a later date.

Brent ColbyComment