The idea of rethinking vocation must start with considering the sacred/secular divide, or what some people refer to as the problem of dualism. Dualism, simply put, is wrongly dividing something that should not be divided. The Greco-Roman thought was that the world is divided into two competing domains: the sacred (spiritual) and the secular (material). Such a worldview tends to assume that the spiritual is the higher realm, and the secular, or material world, is lacking of deep meaning. Dualism leads to multiple divisions in thinking; including the division between the clergy (spiritual) and the laity (secular), the church (spiritual) and the world (secular), and between so-called religious practices (Bible study, prayer, worship) and so-called secular practices (work, art, eating).

Where this form of dualism happens often, and actually becomes harmful to our understanding of bi-vocational ministry, is in our understanding of vocation. The word vocation comes from the Latin vocatio, meaning a call or summons. It is normally used to refer to a calling or occupation that a person is drawn to or is particularly suited for. The problem of work dualism goes back to the fourth century when Augustine compartmentalized the way people lived when he spoke of the contemplative life and the active life. For Augustine, the contemplative life was given to sacred things and was seen as a higher calling, while the active life was given to secular things and regarded as a lower calling. This kind of thinking helped to create a distorted view of work that continues today. 

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