Ouachita students, faculty and Arkadelphia community members gathered on Thursday, Nov. 1, at Ouachita Baptist University, where Dr. Steven Garber presented a guest lecture titled “Meaningful Work for the Common Good.” Ouachita hosted Garber as a continuation of the campus-wide focus on “Lives of Meaningful Work,” a phrase from the university mission statement.
Garber is the author of “Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good” and serves as professor of marketplace theology and leadership at Regent College in Vancouver. He also serves as director of Regent’s new graduate program, the Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology and Society.
“Dr. Garber seeks to harmonize how we live with what we love,” said Dr. Amy Sonheim, professor of English and leader of the grant project that brought Garber to Ouachita. “As a professional speaker and writer, Dr. Garber loves to connect with people all over the globe. He meets a stranger as if that person were a new country, and he himself a traveler absorbing local culture, paying attention to language and listening with an open heart and interest.”
Garber challenged audience members to battle dualism in their lives and to resist fragmenting their spiritual and vocational life but to see each as part of a whole. Additionally, Garber prompted students to see their college years as the beginning of their lives in meaningful vocation.
“The task as we leave here—tonight, this week, this semester, these years of your life—is to learn to pray and to work passionately,” Garber said.
“There are hardly any truer words that matter more to undergraduates now than these: seated at the very heart of your labor of love as students is to form lives that are given to praying and working at the very same time,” Garber said. “Vocation doesn’t begin when you leave here—it begins here. It began years ago. Your younger selves grew into your older selves and brought you here for one reason: to make first things first.”
Garber completed his Ph.D. in the philosophy of learning at Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation led to the publication of his first book, “The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior.” During his service as a faculty member of the American Studies Program in Washington, D.C., he contributed to the book, “Faith Goes to Work: Reflections from the Marketplace.” Garber’s work at the Washington Institute and years of thinking about the nature of calling and career inspired him to write “Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good.”
For more information about Dr. Garber, contact Dr. Amy Sonheim, professor of English, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rachel Bruton
November 30, 2018