Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Preaching Life - Barbara Brown Taylor

Excerpt from the book I am reading right now. I thought I would share. This if from Chapter 2 "Call"
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"Do anything that pleases you," the voice in my head said again, "and belong to me."

That simplified things considerably. I could pump gas in Idaho or dig latrines in Pago Pago, as far as God was concerned, as long as I remembered whose I was. With no further distress, I decided that it would please me to become a priest, and to spend the rest of my life with a community willing to help me figure out what that meant. It did not strike me as an exalted idea at the time, nor does it seem so now, almost ten years later. The one true turning point in a person's life is when he or she joins the body of Christ, however that comes about - sprinkling or by immersion, by proxy or by confession. That is the moment we join ranks with God.  That is when we become the flesh and blood of God in the world. The decision to become ordained does not supersede that moment; it is simply one way of acting it out, one among very many others.

If my own experience can be trusted, then God does not call us once but many times. There are calls to faith and calls to ordination, but in between there are calls to particular communities and calls to particular tasks within them - calls into and out of relationships as well as calls to seek God wherever God may be found. Sometimes those calls ring clear as bells and sometimes they are barely audible, but in any case we are not meant to hear them all by ourselves. It is part of God's genius to incorporate us as one body, so that our ears have other ears, other eyes, minds, hearts and voices to help us interpret what we have heard. Together we can hear our calls, and together we can answer them, if only we will listen for the still, small voice that continues to speak to us in the language of our lives.
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I have seen and experience the range of callings she mentions.  The clear voice calling me toward being a pastor. I have had a gentle nudging to do something simple as turning around to help someone.

I enjoyed the freedom she described. It reminded me of other conversations about how God really desires us to be fully human. Fully who we were created to be.  Enjoying him and the gifts he gave us whether that is the gift of being a painter, pastor, or postman.

1 comment:

belruze said...

I have purchased the book online and am eager to read it when it arrives. May I please know which page this particular excerpt was taken from?
I would appreciate your quick reply. Thank you very much.