In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Getting In a Calling

I've been a part of a lot of conversation lately about calling. That may seem really obvious, but after a few conversations, I think I've realized something.

Our calling doesn't always look like we think it should.

Obvious statement, right? I'm not sure. One of the conversations mentioned Catholic women who feel called to be ordained. When I heard of that, I thought of many friends who struggled to be ordained in the ELCA. That's when I realized that all of these people are called to be clergy, but perhaps not in the way that we think.

I'll go with the ELCA example, since I know that much better. Those clergy who have not been recognized or rostered by the ELCA have continued to follow their calling. However, they have taken a path with much more struggle than others. Their calling is not just where their deep gladness meets the world's deep need. Their calling has come in the face of an obvious roadblock.

Some leave...some persevere...some are ordained...and some still wait. But each is following a calling.


Blogger Michael Dodd said...

In his Rules for Discernment of Spirits, Ignatius of Loyola gives the example of a person having an intense spiritual experience that he (for Ignatius, it would have only been a male) interprets as a call to ordination. The experience itself, the saint points out, may well have been of God. The interpretation could well be human and mistaken.

If I follow your thought here, there is a call implicit in every such deep encounter with God. There is always an element of "Whom shall I send?" Yet the way in which we are sent may not be along the path we think. It may be along a path we cannot yet imagine.

Obstacles along the way are many, and sometimes we think they put us in an either-or situation. I used to tell the seminarians I worked with who came to an apparent fork in the road, that sometimes we don't have to take either fork. We can always step off the path and create a new one.

There are more ways to God -- more ways from God to us -- than we or any human authorities think. There are more ways to serve than have been discovered so far.

6:53 AM  

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