God help us all
a number of my friends (including this guy that i shared a hall with and deeply respected during college, another guy that i was often an e.o.e.hole to and at least one more soybeaner i did not know during my stay) have been working though and writing about issues of vocation lately. i've thought a lot about this issue as well as the related issue of occupation throughout my six years of seminary and my understanding has evolved quite radically throughout this period. at this point i am tempted to bore you with the details, but instead i'll quickly stomp that satan underneath my feet (ugh!) and provide you with a quick synopsis.
here's the long and short of it: my understanding of vocation was once intricately tied to my understanding of profession, but now i tend to think of vocation as a practice.
concerning my former understanding: during my college years i fanatically studied the scriptures, theology and preaching in hopes that i would not be a good, but a great preacher. my ambitions resulted in a number of academic awards, a summa cum laude stamp on my diploma and an almost complete disregard for the interests and even the existence of my fellow students. in addition, during the first three years of my seminary education, i spent at least thirty hours a week working with people whom i often disregarded because they were merely associated with the means (i.e., money) that was enabling me to achieve my end (i.e., my pastoral union card and entree into my profession). thus, my close association of vocation with profession often resulted in me falling far short of being the extension of Christ's compassion and incarnation his goodness, beauty and truth that He has called me to be. thus, in a very real sense, my profession was keeping me from living out my vocation. as a result, the quality of my life and perhaps the lives of a few others was much poorer than it should have been.
concerning my current understanding: over the past year and a half, thanks in large part to the wisdom and love of the pixie, i have grown to see that my vocation is something i need to constantly practice, whether or not i ever have a legitimate profession. God has called me to be compassion and incarnation to the people i live, work and worship with. i have an opportunity to live out my vocation every time i enter the break room at lightway, sip a cup of e.o.e.tty coffee at michelle's diner or encounter with a friend or foe. if i fail to practice my vocation in those and any number of similarly mundane moments, then i will never be able to live out my vocation in the midst of my profession...assuming that i ever find one or settle for the one that finds me.
friends, our vocations should be practiced in every context and encounter of our lives. if we are focusing our understanding of vocation on a certain profession, geographical place or other distant object, then we might eventually find ourselves unable to respond to the call God placed upon our lives.
i acknowledge that my thoughts in this area are in process and as of yet underdeveloped. yet i would still like to share them. if you want a more nuanced narrative that focuses on this topic, read uncle freddy's now and then.
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