Summoned & Named

Len Sweet wrote a book a few years ago called Summoned to Lead. In it he proposes the idea that leaders are not born nor made but summoned. In my thoughts on vocation, I would like to expand this and say that "we are what we are called to!" Our identies are wrapped up in our calling.

Along with this is the idea of naming. I have been named by God. This name reveals my calling. Just as Jesus was called Christ, Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega, etc., we also receive names that reveal our calling.

In addition to this, I am finding that we too have the responsibility of calling and naming. Faith sharing is calling others to the task of bringing the kingdom. Faith sharing is naming the realities and possibilities we see in others.

It is in these two concepts that we find our true selves in the dance of the Trinity. Such a thing occurs in the midst of a faith community that views life through such lenses. Without such lenses, a community inevitably puts on the tinted glasses of another view that will, more often than not, create commodities out of people.


Church & Cosmology 2.1

So I got railroaded a bit in my postings from the book The Church and Contemporary Cosmology, but I am back to the task and ready to post some more. In my last post on the topic, I implied that humanity has a greater responsibility in this technological and global world. We possess the ability to create and destroy-- as we always have-- but now we have the ability to do it on a grand scale. As the author of chapter two, Eric Chaisson, states:

We have become smart enought to reflect back upon the material contents
that gave life to us. Life now contemplates life. It contemplates
matter. It probes our origin and our destiny.
I would argue that not only was this made possible by a global system and technological advances, but that we have a greater responsibility due to the amount of choice that we have. Democracy placed a new stewardship task and vocational duty on humanity-- we must now take responsibility for how we govern. Capitalism also created a new stewardship task and vocational duty-- we must now take responsibility for what we choose, what we buy, where we buy, and how we consume. Corporatism created similar responsibilities-- as shareholders we now must take responsibility for the products we produce, the services we create, and the policies that we enact. Most of these responsibilities have developed slowly over the past 500 years reaching the masses of western society (and increasingly in emerging places) over the past 50 years. Such a world creates new possibilities and challenges.

A new cosmology is emerging and will emerge. As with every new cosmology that comes about (approximately a new type every 500 years), Christianity adapts and even transforms itself to have a prominent voice. In this new age, how will the church address stewardship and vocation? Will it truly ordain all of its adherents as priests in all of the realms of life? Let's hope!

Ritual and The Everyday

We live in a ritualized world. To me that seems very basic; however, I do not think we consider this that often. When I walk into a restaurant, I can generally anticipate what will occur. I can do this because of ritual. My world is thrown out of whack when the ritual is not followed. A good example of this is when you call a business and the receptionist picks up and just says, "Hello." Although such a statement would be normal calling a person, we all know that such a remark in a business call would not work-- not just inappropriate, but actually mess up the normal modes of communications. Ritual. It's the stuff life is made of. Every culture (and subculture) creates its own rituals.

Religion and spirituality is about ritual. These rituals distinguish, separate, create, identify, and even destroy (destruction of former friendships, identities, rituals, etc.). In this way, religion creates the sacred, or more accurately names what is sacred and what is mundane or ordinary or profane. Over the past 500 years, much of what western religion deems sacred revolves around what I call moralisms. In other eras (and in other cultures here in the present), religion often revolved around other aspects of life (such as food, crops, government, military, etc.).

What I find most interesting is that in my current privatised, individualised western culture religion and its ritulas can often be relegated to just a section of life rather than a holistic system of everyday existence. In our dualist culture, singing "religious" songs is considered holy or sacred whereas dining together is considered common/mundane. Baptism is considered a spiritual act but a drink with a friend at a coffee shop or pub is considered ordinary, even profane. However, if all of life is a set of rituals perhaps all of life can be sacred. Mowing the lawn might possibly be a "spiritual act" if the proper rituals are assigned to it by a community/culture.

How do we make the ordinary sacred? The usual answers will not suffice: praying over a meal does not make it sacred for the meal itself should be sacred itself-- at least in my opinion. The prayer is another ritual that occurs in the midst of the ritual of the meal. I think that something else must distinguish a sacred meal from a profane meal (probably much more than just one thing). What are these things?