The Calling

How does one dial into God’s calling?  Every major theistic religion offers an answer to this perplexing question, and recently PBS ran a special that documented the process of call among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

I am fascinated by the stories of people seeking to discern God’s direction , but what really caught me in the PBS special was the honest depiction of the influence of community in that search.  Each person’s story was told within the wider context of community.  The journey of each person was not depicted as a private matter of solo person on a solitary road.  Instead, the nuclear family and the family of faith of those seven people helped frame, forge and fortify the emerging faith of the seeking person.

“The Calling” caught the social dimension of faith formation.  But it missed a critical dimension.  It missed the existence and the experience of God.

Question: does God really extend invitations to people to take part in what God wants to carry out?  Or, as PBS assumed, is the discernment of call merely and matter of what the community of faith needs to self-perpetuate?

Like many depictions of faith, the PBS special presupposed a closed universe in which faith is merely a human experience of projection.  But the Bible offers another presupposition: the world is not a closed universe, but it is open to the God who created it, and this God is both invested and involved in a project of world reclamation.

In my experience, the discernment of God’s call does involve the affirmation of a faith community.  But the origin of that call, I believe, comes from a personal, God who reveals his will and invites participation.  That’s the side of the story that PBS ignored.   And that’s why is always wise to assume that there is more to the story than meets the eye.


About chris breuninger

I love life, my family, and Jesus. I enjoy live music, rigorous exercise, thoughtful movies, and strong coffee. I study scripture, wine, and people. I get frustrated with narrow minds, Christian stereotypes, and gardening. My vocation is pastor, but I’m hesitant to admit that, and I’m happy when people are surprised by that.
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2 Responses to The Calling

  1. Joan Davis says:

    Great point! And yes! I believe that God openly and actively invites us to take part His plan! He gives us certain gifts and abilities which can and will be used in our “calling”, should we be open to His invitation. Some abilities are with us at birth, but others are developed by His hand throughout our lives. I think God uses life-events and circumstances in order to prepare and shape us for His calling for our lives. Sometimes we can easily see where we fit into His plan. But at other times, it can be confusing. We may not even be aware of the gifts we have. That is where faith and good counsel comes in. Often God uses the encouragement of others to point us in the direction He desires. But most important, I think, it first takes a step of faith. Once we take that one step forward, He will direct us how and where to take the next step…and our calling will be discovered.

  2. Doug Richardson says:

    Like no other time in my life I’ve been appreciating community including: family, Redwood Covenant and friends around town (believing and yet-to-believe) who are a part of the re-focusing process I’m experiencing right now with respect to my “calling”. And yes, it would be sheer craziness for me if I didn’t carry the imprint of belief in my heart that the God who created me for good works has also promised to actively direct my very steps into the next expression of what those good works look like at this present moment in time. Thanks Chris….loved this post!

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