Tag Archives: Discipleship | Spirituality

Vocative Vocation

Abraham bends down before Holy Trinity (angeli...
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About the not-famous artists in New York: “…their identity was vocational, a calling, not a job description.” (Eugene Peterson, The Pastor: A Memoir.)

He continues: “A job is an assignment to do work that can be quantified and evaluated. …but a vocation is not a job in that sense. …I can’t be hired to be a pastor, for my primary responsibility is not to the people I serve but to the God I serve. …How do I stay attentive to and listening to the call that got me started in this way of life – not a call to make the church attractive and useful in the American scene, not a call to use my considerable gifts and fulfill myself, but a call like Abraham’s, ‘to set out for a place… not knowing where he was going,’ a call to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus, a call like Jonah’s to ‘go at once to Nineveh,’ a city he detested, a call like Paul’s to ‘get up and enter the city and you will be told what to do?'” (p.165)

I agree with the rest of Peterson’s chapter also. He says that we seem to have a hard time in our culture knowing and living the difference between a job and a vocation. We have a hard time being like the artists he knew in New York, the not-famous ones, who were janitors, secretaries, and waitresses, but who were really painters, dancers, and musicians. It’s all a blur as to where we draw a bit of our identity, an answer to the questions, “Who are you and what has God wired within you?”

Some friends I and head over to Kansas City’s Crossroads district on First Fridays when we can. We meander most aimlessly through the art and the “not-art” as our friend Luke critiques. We surf the crowds, taking a moment to be curious when we see something that catches our attention. We wonder what made this art happen, what inspired the shapes and gashes, light and dark. We also, perhaps with a tinge of envy at the freedom of a vocation lived out, wonder what these people do for work because, “I’m sure not going to pay that for whatever this art seems to be.” I think the answer is that they’re artists, painters, singers and dancers. That seems to be all that matters to them – that no matter where else they’ll go or what they’ll do, they will be artists.

What’s my art, my vocation? What’s yours? Then again, I think this is plural: what are my vocations, my arts, my inner-wirings?

(I feel that speaking about vocation in this sense brings life to a word that seems to have been smudged together with “task-list,” as in, my vocations are a collection of these tasks and roles I am supposed to do instead of live out.)


Vocative Synonyms:

Synonyms: artfularticulateeasyeloquentfacile, fast-talking, flipfluentgarrulous, hot-air, insincere,loquaciousplausiblequickready, silver-tongued, slippery*, smooth operator, smooth-spoken, smooth-tongued, suavetalkative,urbane, vocal, vocative , voluble


A Sevenfold Prayer for the Baptismal Life | Sacramental Life (Book Review)

This post comes from a book called Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation through the Book of Common Prayer by David DeSilva.

First of all, I have to be honest that there’s something about the Anglican community that I find myself quite enamored with. I haven’t been able to pin it down, but there have been a few authors I’ve read and an experience with the Book of Common Prayer that have just made a mark. *

Here’s the prayer: (p.60)

Deliver me, Lord, from the way of sin and death.

Open my heart to your grace and truth.

Fill me with your holy and life-giving Spirit.

Keep me in the faith and communion of your holy church.

Teach me to love others in the power of the Spirit.

Send me into the world in witness to your love.

Bring me to the fullness of your peace and glory.


…Definitely tattoo-worthy status, if you’re into that kind of thing.

* (Granted, DeSilva grew up Episcopal and is now Methodist, yet his book is about the Anglican/Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.)



The word "discipleship" sounds a bit overused to me – I guess we call that a cliché. I can’t get around it. I mean, it’s a great word, but I think it’s been drug through too many potholes against its own desire.

I feel this way because the word now carries too much baggage — so much baggage that just misses the intent of the word, I think.

Discipleship: it’s the same thing as apprenticeship, except that instead of one area of apprenticeship (like an intern learning a work style) it’s an emulation of a complete lifestyle. Everything.

One of the unfortunate mud pits "discipleship" has been drug through is the Sunday school hour. Many of these hours have it right on! I mean, they’re designed to be a conversation on how to live (i.e., to be a disciple or all-of-life apprentice to Jesus). Some though get caught up in information-only where souls and minds become an unfortunate repository for collecting information (like today’s online Wikipedia). Information alone is cute, but doesn’t help us live. Trying to live without guidance or information is like trying to do calculus with wooden blocks with numbers and letters on them.

Discipleship. I think we can remember the words of Jesus at the end of the Gospel Matthew wrote: "Go and make disciples of people from all over the world – teaching them the way of life and baptizing them into this lifestyle in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Now the question remains: how? How do we "make disciples?" What and how do we teach? What’s the point? The aim?

The aim: people who are learning how to live life to the fullest, really. And this is something that needs to be redefined because is doesn’t have much to do with income, prestige, etc. Well, take that back, it really doesn’t have anything to do with those things.

To end: the point of the church’s existence is to be a place where people come together to live life in apprenticeship to Jesus – to remember that because of Jesus God holds no barrier to life for us. …to learn to walk life as Jesus did because he is the Author of all that is and now all things hold together in him. I mean, if someone knows how to really live, this is the guy!

May we all come together and express thankfulness and absolute, attentive gratitude to this God who grows life within us because of the love he has for us.