Listen To Article
I’m in awe of the scholarly and thoughtful work by my colleagues Theresa Latini and Debra Rienstra. I feel grateful for the vibrant conversation that many of you have participated in with your comments. I have learned a lot from my colleagues and you. I am swimming in reflection wondering, what is God moving me/us to/from as we wonder about vocation?
Currently vocation carries a lot of energy for me as I am surrounded by boxes waiting for the moving company to pick up, so that the JKK household can relocate to New York City. The Holland Classis will be ordaining me as a Minister of Word and Sacrament this Sunday as I have accepted my first call as the Associate Pastor at West End Collegiate Church. As I mentioned in my last post, this is what I’ve been called to/lead to since the days of my first stuffed animal congregation when I was a little girl.
A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.
In my first post on vocation I raised the question if the conversation of vocation was only for the privileged. Those who are fortunate enough to have the means to get the right education and know the right people in order to land the right job have experienced privilege. It is for that reason I will ofer three personal reflections of how I understand my privilege in this vocation.
- For the Christian, privilege always translates into responsbility.
- As an almost ordained woman in ministry I carry a huge weight on my shoulders to make sure the women who come after me know they have a place in seminary and in ordained ministry. I watch my spouse, who is even more privileged as a male in ministry, and I’m in awe of how responsible he is with his gender
- I have a responsibility because of my privilege as a white woman in a heterosexual marriage, to partner with people whose voices are not always welcomed in church. This includes the voices of children, the elderly, the LGBT community, people of color, immigrants, and the economically disadvantaged. I must be listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the correction/wisdom/encouragement from these communities as I help shape and lead the ecclesiological world.
But Latini’s and Rienstra’s post have got me thinking. What if vocation, as we talk about it in our colleges, is not about landing the right job but it is instead “the work of love” that is both personal and communal as Latini reminds us. Vocation is about love that chooses to stand “where the Lord stands, against injustice and the wronged” as the Belhar Confession reminds us. Rienstra proposes that we “use the words vocation and calling in only one sense: discipleship. We are called to be disciples of Jesus. That is our vocation. Period.” At which I say, Amen!
This weekend I added to the artwork on my body and got the word pilgrim tattooed on my foot. Pilgrim means one who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. Since I believe that this world is enchanted with the Spirit of God I happen to believe that each step I take is a holy place because God was there even before my foot touched the ground. To live into our vocation as disciples of Jesus we are called to uncover/discover/call forth/recognize the Holy One in each step and in all communities around us.
So maybe vocation is not solely focused on our occupation but it is instead about the type of people we are going to be in this world. The type of people who call themselve disciples of Jesus. As disciples we choose forgiveness over and over again, we choose to stand in solidarity with those who are not privileged, and we choose to be a pilgrim people always testifying to God’s presence in this world. This is our vocation.