Students blog about their experience with Fuller’s new emphasis on holistic formation—starting with the Touchstone course on vocation and continuing through courses on spiritual and missional practices.
One of the questions included on the Fuller application asks: “At this point in your Christian journey, how do you envision your call to God’s mission in the world?” On my own application, I wrote that I wanted to further Christ’s redemptive work in his broken creation, to embody his compassion to others by offering greater depth of spiritual care, particularly to the sick and emotionally wounded.
In the last scene of Finding Nemo, Gill and the rest of the tank crew finally manage to escape the confines of the dentist office fish tank and make it to the “Big Blue,” the ocean, as one of the fishes from the tank dreamingly described it. Once every character makes it to the ocean, the camera zooms out to get the whole crew in the frame.
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.
Time flies! Seven weeks past! The Touchstone class has been so far the most heart-touching class in this quarter! God often speaks through the class. Professor Cormode is good at leading us to deal with deep and complicated human issues that we encounter in our respective lives.
Lament. Not likely the first thing that comes to mind when considering vocation, or a seminary at that… “I love working out my sense of call because I get to cry a lot!” This week in the Touchstone class, we actually did focus on lament, what it means, how it’s expressed, what it looks like to lament one’s own pain and to come alongside others in theirs.
Last week we were assigned to write a lament in the style of the laments in the Book of Psalms. My initial gut reaction to this assignment was anger. How could you *assign* a lament to someone as if at any we could produce grief and righteous indignation?
To me, the Touchstone class is like a spiritual formation class. Firstly, it helps me to look at my past as to how God has been working in my life. The great achievements of my five years’ full-time ministry in China from 2011-2015 were highly based on God’s five years of cultivation/formation in me through tremendous hardship and suffering from 2006-2010.
I like to be alone. I’m good at it. Solitude and silence are familiar friends, necessary to me. Unfortunately, this means I am also good at isolation. These past few weeks I have been pondering—when does solitude become isolation? I am acutely aware that when pain or sadness becomes layered over my days or weeks, I begin to unconsciously rearrange my existence to contain fewer and fewer interactions with humans.
In the last two weeks, the Touchstone class has afforded much opportunity to reflect more deeply and specifically regarding my call and natural talents. Two interview assignments and that of taking a reflective look at my results from the Strengths Finder assessment and Core Clarity packet proved challenging yet effective in allowing me to see how God is at work in my soul as I consider my sense of call to his mission in the world...
Last week we were told to begin our Lectio Divina assignment which has us reading, praying, and journaling through spiritual texts for thirty days. "YES!" I thought to myself. For once my devotional time will not conflict with my homework, and the "achiever" in me can rest content knowing that I will be doing two things at once.