11.14.2008

Calling and Convictions

I'm in this on-line church planting class called Missio which approaches things from a "missional" perspective. (yes that over-used word again, I know)

Here are my answers to a recent assignment.

1) What is your best understanding to date of what you sense God is asking you to 'be' and 'do?'

I feel called to create communities that worship Christ, love each other, and make the world a better place through tangible acts of service. I still wonder about the extent to which I should do this vocationally. I'm glad my current calling allows me to "work" part time in a way that is highly integrated. I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now, but will I always be a "pastor"? I don't know.

2) What are your top 3-5 conviction statements (Zer0 page 9 worksheet)?
  • The world as we know it is not acceptable!
    • We need to calibrate our actions for change. We need to operate in a sustainable emergency mode.
  • Knowing Christ is paramount.
  • Sustainability is paramount
  • No one lives in a bubble, our actions are interrelated.
  • The autonomy and conscience of individuals must be respected.
    • In other words, disagree with out being disagreeable. We need to have convictions, but we need to learn to see things from other peoples perspective as well. In theology and politics, people somehow impute "sin" on people that don't see things their way. Pastors in particular have the potential to do great harm in this respect. I want to create a community where people are free to question the status-quo, including my personal convictions, but in a loving and respectful way. No doubt this is a reaction to dogmatic leaders, a problem I see in the missional community as much as anywhere.
  • An improved Christian understanding of calling, particularly as it concerns vocation, has the potential to radically change the world for the better.
    • From a macro perspective, I see governments and non-profits (including the organized "church") as givens when it comes to eradicating suffering. (that's not entirely true, but bear with me.) Google's motto: "Don't be evil", the philanthropy of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, these are examples of a force that if radically multiplied, could substantially improve the quality of life for millions. Therefore, empowering Christians to take ownership of their vocation, and see it as more than just a way to pay the bills, is something I am very passionate about.
  • Sin warps the ability of individuals to completely know "the truth". Therefore we ought to operate with a great deal of humility.
  • Critical thinking is paramount.
3) How does your understanding of your calling connect or disconnect from your primary convictions (from question 2 above)?

For the most part it connects. I'm very comfortable with where I'm at right now as it relates to my sense of calling. However sometimes I wonder if I couldn't do more good if I was involved in a for-profit (i.e. sustainable) enterprise that also uniquely contributed to making the world a better place, and then sought to join with others in a faith community, possibly taking on some leadership roles, but without the pros and cons of a salary.

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