by Os Guinness
2003 / 292 pages
I picked up The Call because I had read a reference to it in another book I reviewed in this blog. I admit that I did not find Os Guinness an easy read (see Caution # 2 below), but he did get across the crucial distinction between our primary calling and our secondary calling. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to discern "God's will for my life," as if He is obligated to provide us with a road map showing our spouse and/or our ideal career, that we forget that God's first call on us is to follow Christ as Lord.
In a life lived following Christ, Guinness reminds us, we walk before "an audience of One," and so we are freed from concern about what others think of us. A life lived in Christ is also free from endless self-improvement, and instead focuses on the power of God to make us like Him. Finally, Guinness concludes over twenty chapters of reflection with his own inspiring call to follow Christ until we reach the final call that welcomes us into God's presence.
- At least one of the historical anecdotes mentions some disgusting behaviour by one famous but arrogant artist that makes this book not suitable for immature readers. The use of such anecdotes is another reason for limiting the reading of this book to discerning readers, since Guinness includes anecdotes about non-Christians that do not always condemn their failure to understand and respond to God's call.
- The book is set up more as a series of essays than as a single connected argument; it is also not a "how-to" book. It is intended to be read slowly, a chapter a day, to provoke reflection rather than giving you a list of steps to follow. I recommend that you read a chapter one day, then the study guide questions and recommended Bible passage the next day. Reading it this way makes it a fruitful source for Biblical self-reflection.