Calling in Your Life

The article, Does a Calling Have to Be Religious?, from the Huffington Post addresses something that has shaped my life – calling. For me it has primarily been God‘s call in my life and a call. Here is an excerpt from the article, that I just couldn’t break into pieces.

“In 1904, Rainer Maria Rilke, writing to a younger man who’d sought his advice, suggested that the authenticity of one’s calling can be found only inside oneself. “[A]sk yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And … if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, ‘I must,’ then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity.” Substitute work with the poor, forestry, law enforcement, the stage, the military, religion, painting, banking, coaching, law, politics, teaching, or another pursuit, and the answer remains the same: If you can live a full, satisfying life without doing it, it’s not “your necessity,” it’s not your calling. Not even if you’re really good at it. Not even if your parents, their friends, your friends, teachers and religious leaders all want you to do it and think you ought to do it and would be nuts not to do it, would it be wrong not to do it — not even if you think you should want to do it but in fact don’t. Rilke might agree that the presence of any language of obligation would be all the evidence you would need to differentiate the true calling from the false. To say I must because I shouldimplies an obligation, not a calling. I must because, if I don’t, I’ll die inside is quite another matter.”

This is a powerful description of calling. I believe that each one of us may be called by God in multiple ways throughout our life. It may be a career, relationship, an ethnic group, rural life or any number of things that can significantly shape one’s life.

At this time in my life, I feel called to serve as an ordained elder in a local United Methodist church. I pray that I will be attentive to God’s continued call.

McCain, Obama and Warren – One Week Later

I finally got around to watching the Civil Forum on the Presidency hosted by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. DVR is a great thing. I was looking forward to the interaction between Warren and each of the candidates, excited that the first time that they would be on the same stage after becoming presumptive nominees would be in a church, and interested to see if there would be anything unexpected or off the wall.

But, I was disappointed.

I only made it through Obama’s portion of the show before having to go to bed and I found myself having to fight to stay awake for what I did see. Maybe I was just tired last night or maybe the event was really not as good as I had anticipated.

One week later, instead of being a defining moment in the political season, I think that this event has passed quickly into the political drain of old news.

We the Purple

We the Purple by Marcia Ford is a look at independent voters in America with a Christian perspective. Ford has published several books with this latest addition taking her distinct perspective to the political arena.

We the Purple is both about and finds its primary audience in independent voters – those who do not claim a political party. Ford takes the reader through many aspects of the independent voter from the nuances of registration in states to the potential that the internet has for independent voters to organize. Included are many profiles of independent voters from across the country.

Ford writes in a very personal way and uses a mix of data, definitions and vignettes to draw attention to what she see as the plight of independent voters – lack of attention or respect. She often quotes others as a part of bringing the point home.

I enjoyed learning about independent voters and the political environment in various states in response to these voters. I find myself resonating with those who do not claim a particular political party, but did not find Ford’s description of the independent voter particularly compelling. I also found stereotypes of people of faith in response to politics that I do not believe are the case any longer. I recommend this book to those who are interested in learning more about independent voters.

Speedlinking – April 2, 2008

The Process of Politics

Nicole and I went to the democratic caucus tonight at Leawood Middle School. It was great to be a part of the political process.

We arrived around 6:50 with 7:00 PM the cutoff time to get in line. The parking lot was absolutely full and we had to park in a neighborhood five or six blocks away. We hustled over and got in a line that was about a block long. We filled out the paperwork to affiliate ourselves with the democratic party to be able to participate in the caucus.

When we got in the building, we signed in, turned in our paperwork and made our way into the cafeteria as the gym was already full. The Clinton supporters were on one side of the room and the Obama supporters were on the other side of the room. Once all of the registered democrats had signed in within the gym those supporting Obama moved to the gym and those supporting Clinton moved to the cafeteria.

Gathering at the caucus in Leawood Middle School

Kansas Democratic Caucus at Leawood Middle School

We heard a speech from a Clinton supporter and from an Obama supporter and then lined up to be counted. We were organized to stand into parallel lines and each line counted itself by starting on one end and turning to the person behind you for the count to continue. The results were gathered from each line and the results counted.

Obama supporters lining up to be counted

Obama Supporters at the Caucus - 2

The results in our precint:
Barack Obama – 1983
Hillary Clinton – 423

Then we transitioned to a time of electing the delegates that would represent this precinct in the third congressional district gathering in April. This was a much smaller group. We stayed until the end and really enjoyed the event.

Selecting delegates to represent the precinct

Selecting Delegates from the Caucus for the Third Congressional District - 1

A woman at the election of the delegates said that four years ago there were 30 people at the caucus in this precint. There were over 2300 people this year. That is amazing.

I do think that this is a historic year in politics. Things can change and we can be a part of it – yes we can.

Seeing Gray – Wrap Up (6 of 6)

At the beginning of 2008, we started a conversation around the sermon series Seeing Gray: Faith Morality and Politics in a Black and White World at Resurrection. You can see my video responses to each of the sermon themes at these links:

It has been an experiment in the new use of technology at Resurrection through the Seeing Gray You Tube Channel. I really did not know what to expect when the site was set up. The response was not overwhelming, but I think that it was an important step for the congregation in leveraging technology to build a Christian community where non and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

What did you think of the series overall? What were some of the strengths? What were some of the weaknesses? How about the use of YouTube? Good? Bad? Indifferent?