It is that time again. It is time to engage in the best/worst practice of these Touchstone courses: re-articulating my understanding of God’s call on my life. I have come to appreciate this constant reexamination that is part of these courses. The Touchstone class specifically, and attending seminary in general, is changing me, growing me, presenting me with new challenges and ideas. The encouragement to look again and state again my understanding of God’s call on my life invites me to deliberately absorb what I am learning. It keeps me from simply acquiring fascinating knowledge in a nebulous manner. It forces me to hold up what I am learning and to ask “So what?” What does this have to do with life and relationships and community and worship? What does this have to do with living and participating in God’s kingdom come? It is the best part of this class.
And it has been the worst. Perhaps worst is not the proper word. It has presented the greatest challenge for me. It has brought me to the most unexpected places. This is now the fourth time I am deliberately facing the question “how do you envision your call to God's mission in the world” in the past year. The first time I answered this question, it was easy. I knew exactly what God had called me to, and had great certainty of what it would look like. However, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was unaware how my understanding of my call was limited because of ignorance or fear. I had crafted my first response carefully, unaware I was afraid of what God may be actually calling me into. So, rather than growing into this expected but limited call, I find I now have less clarity and certainty. Yet, truly this has been the gift of this assignment and course. While there has been a loss in clarity and certainty, there has been a corresponding gain in breadth of hope and depth of faith. And I am thus brought to a place of willing waiting.