Do you feel called?
Two things prompt this question:
1) As I've talked with both clergy and everyday Christians (my preferred term to lay people), I've been struck by a deep divide over the issue of vocation. Not about whether vocation is a great idea - who could argue that all Christians are called by God in Baptism to participate with God in caring for the world. Rather, the divide is two-fold. First, most pastors feel called by God to what they do, while most everyday Christians do not. Second, most pastors assume their people feel called, in part because they preach and teach about vocation, while most everyday Christians nevertheless do not identify the things they do with most of their time as a calling. (I will write more next week on why, in part, I think this is. For now, I just want to note it.)
2) In a recent conversation with some colleagues at different institutions about vocation, one colleague mentioned that she has been both surprised and delighted by how hungry people are to talk about vocation (particularly in terms of finding meaning and purpose in the activities of their daily life). Having led numerous workshops on vocation, she also said that she has learned that participants - largely everyday Christians - learn the most from each other, rather than an expert presenter. They are the experts on their lives but sometimes don't have language to talk about these experiences in light of their faith.
So there it is. Pastors feel they're called (and overestimate the degree to which their people feel the same way), while most everyday Christians do not. Yet given an opportunity, these same folks are eager to talk about their calling in terms of trying to find meaning and purpose and live faithful lives.
There's more to say, of course. Lot's more. And I hope to, but I want to get back to the original question: Do you feel called by God? If you'd be willing to answer in the comments, I'd be grateful. Thank you.