Church Write-Up: Finding One’s Calling

The pastor at one of the churches that I attended last Sunday was talking about finding one’s calling.  He said that we should be who God made us today rather than trying to be somebody else.  The pastor appealed to the “David and Goliath” story in the Bible and how David defeated Goliath in his own way, rather than by wearing Saul’s heavy armor, as King Saul recommended.  The pastor said that we should pursue our passions (good ones, of course) and hopefully channel them into a calling, even if our passions seem unusual; the pastor shared that his passion is tea, which is unusual in Oregon.

The pastor also highlighted the importance of receiving counsel, since our own vision can sometimes get blurry, and we make excuses for not pursuing our calling: past failure, apathy, etc.  Mordecai gave Esther counsel when he exhorted her to have a conversion with the King of Persia that could save the Jewish people from annihilation.  Yet, the pastor also made points that indicate that other people can be unhelpful, in that they discourage our dreams.  He told the story of Michael Jordan, who was but from his high school basketball team but still felt deep-down that he was meant to play basketball.

Moreover, the pastor encouraged us to try out service opportunities, which can perhaps help us to discover talents that are unknown to us.  He said that the church has service opportunities for introverts, extroverts, and even non-believers and people unsure about what they believe.

The pastor also remarked that, in some cases, work may be a drudgery to people because they have not found their true calling.  At the same time, he also said that our past work experiences can equip us for our calling by giving us skills.

Here are some personal reactions:

—-I was thinking of the point about unpopular (yet good, or not necessarily bad) passions earlier this past week.  I was reflecting about how I love the TV show Touched by an Angel, but many academic types—-including evangelical academic types—-would probably deem me unsophisticated or naïve for so doing.  There are some episodes that I used to like but did not like as much in my most recent viewing.  Still, I am enjoying some of the episodes, including ones that I used to dislike.

—-I question whether all good passions can be channeled into some profound calling.  I enjoy watching Touched by an Angel, but I do not feel called to the entertainment industry.  A lot of sweat, pain, and toil go into the production of shows and movies.  Perhaps one way that I can channel my interest into a calling is by blogging about episodes that are meaningful to me, as I have done with shows in the past.  For a variety of reasons, though, my passion for blogging has waned over the years.  Nowadays, I obligate myself to write a weekly Church Write-Up about the church services that I attend (and, to be honest, I am tempted to write these reflections in a personal journal rather than on my blogs), and to review the books that are sent to me to review, and other books that I have read.  I am required to write reviews on my blog about the books that are sent to me, and I write about the other books on my blogs to make a personal record of what I have read and learned from books.

—-Drudgery may not indicate that one has not found one’s calling.  I think that life often entails doing work that one does not want to do.  The pastor in a past sermon referred to doing chores that we would rather not do as “adulting.”  There are many mornings in which I have to drag myself out of bed because I do not feel like working on my dissertation.  But it is the task in front of me at this stage of my life, and I want to finish what I started.

—-Should I be the way that I am, or the way society says I should be?  I have Asperger’s, and I feel that I need at least to try to be like others to get anywhere in life.  And my impression is that many Christians look down on people who are abnormal or lack talent in certain areas, rather than truly believing that God can use them, too.

—-That said, I appreciated how the pastor recommended the service programs.  I may pick up the brochure that the pastor recommended.  I did not check the box asking to be assigned a service project, since I do not drive and what if it is at a place that I cannot access?

—-The pastor said that many Christians leave church or the faith due to broken relationships.  I can identify with that.  I have been disillusioned with many Christians (which is not to say that I think I am perfect, or even better than them), and with God’s command (as I understand it) that I have some affection for them.  The pastor recommended a seminar on conflict resolution.  I may attend that to learn some social skills.

—-I hand-wrote this before typing it.  I have not felt like typing on a computer that much lately.  Even with my dissertation, I am spending a lot of time handwriting, as of late.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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