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hospitality and vocation

What is my vocation? I am 28 and still don’t quite know what I want to be when I grow up. Inside the confines of myself I feel as though I am past due in figuring this out. Outside my confines I realize that I am still young. And so I am restless, never quite sure if I am in the right job. But then again do I really want to be stuck in one job/career for the rest of my life? Yet am I even doing things that I want to do? Am I even following my vocation? I was at a friend’s house the other day and skimmed through a book on the Enneagram that she had. I am a 5 with a 4 wing. The writers of this book label me as an iconoclast. One who destroys images and cherished beliefs or institutions. The lineage of my personality type runs through Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Peul Sartre, Vincent Van Gogh, Franz Kafka and Kurt Cobain. I guess if I am okay with having the Holocaust blamed one me, cutting my ear off, being a gay Jewish man, or suicide but all the while revolutionizing or creating new art and philosophy, then I can be okay with my personality type. In the authors’ description of my personality, they pin-pointed my self-limiting behavior: I avoid following or pursuing what I really want in life and choose cheap substitutes. This is probably due to the fact that I tend to avoid any risk of being hurt or emotionally involved in anything. I end up with the cheaper, easier, “safer” route. But all the while sacrificing what I really want. So what is it that I really want? And I think an almost identical question for me is: What is my vocation?

I think my vocation falls somewhere between a teacher/philosopher/theologian/writer. To begin with, my vocation will constantly keep me in the tension of becoming. If I ever become a philosopher, then I have ceased to be a philosopher. One can only remain in a state of becoming a philosopher. Second, I want to live into this vocation within the context of my church-community. Again a difficulty. Our modern church culture has been very receptive of the entrepreneur leader, the counselor, the relationship builder, the networker, the teacher and the servant. All these vocation are needed and are useful and good, but I just don’t fit in. I can do the teacher, but what about the philosopher/theologian/writer/ part of my vocation? I have to create new ways of being in and with the church-community. And again I struggle. More often than not, I choose not to follow what I really want, my vocation.

So on to the question that sparked these thoughts. On Sunday, my church-community was challenged to think of ways that we have experienced hospitality. Rustin and the Vox Dei Community have extended me the hospitality for my vocation. I have felt the space to screw things up, succeed and grow. The space to figure out how my vocation can benefit the church-community and how to listen and receive form those whom I gather with every Sunday.

This I believe is a great model of church leadership: hospitality. Letting people remain who they are and giving them the space to explore, fail, succeed and grow. Is this not the way of Jesus, the way of the kingdom? The triune God makes space for the other, to enter into his life. The reign of God does not advance through conquest, doing violence to the other. The reign of God creates possibilities, opportunities and hope allowing the other to retain their alterity and participate in the reconciliation of all things.

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About david b. clark

a husband and father || a student of philosophy, theology, history, literature, music, art, computer science

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