The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism

by Robert Coles | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0395710847 Global Overview for this book
Registered by robert-n-kate of Baltimore, Maryland USA on 10/6/2002
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Journal Entry 1 by robert-n-kate from Baltimore, Maryland USA on Sunday, October 06, 2002
In this book, perhaps his most personal, Robert Coles explores the role of service in the world as both a way of contributing the the greater social good and developing one's own inner life. From the introduction:

"I am writing this book to explore the 'service' we offer to others and, not incidentally, to ourselves. I am hoping to document the subjectivity, the phenomenology of service: the many ways such activity is rendered; the many rationales, impulses, and values served in the implementation of a particular effort; the achievements that take place, along with the missteps and failures; the personal opportunities and hazards; and the consequences -- how this kind of work fits into a life. I am hoping as well to discuss the connections between community service and intellectual reflection--how a story or poem can prompt a special kind of clarifying wonder for someone who has made himself or herself available in some form of service." (pg. xxiv)

The title is taken from a quote by Dorothy Day (shown below), founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a newspaper by the same name; it is to her memory that Coles' book is dedicated.

"There is a call to us, a call of service -- that we join with others to try to make things better in this world."

Coles has a related book dealing specifically with the Catholic Worker movement ('A Spectacle Unto the World'), co-authored with Jon Erickson. Likewise, his 'The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination' may be of interest. Oh yes, and he also wrote a couple others... :-)

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