Called to a community

"Called to a community" Continued...

Issue: "Biblical callings," Dec. 4, 2010

As college students my friends and I regarded our vocation as something that would begin in earnest in later years-but the call of Christ is always now. It's ironic that Christian inmates at a maximum security prison found it easier to live their calling than members of a college fellowship at Stanford University 15 years ago. Confined to a single location, hidden from the world, trapped in a kind of endless present, the brothers within those walls had no choice but to live their calling as a community, then and there, in thousands of everyday acts that the world would never see. By answering the call, they made their exile into the Promised Land. They found in the prison, as Thomas Merton found at a Trappist abbey, "the four walls of my new freedom."

In a culture that tells us to "go where the jobs are," some evangelicals are reexamining what it means to follow their calling. A vocation is both greater and more intimate than a call to a career. Paul is not renowned for his tents, nor Luke for his skill as a physician, but God employed these skills to serve a greater purpose. Perhaps we too can rediscover our freedom as we answer the call to root ourselves in a community that labors together, here and now, in deeds great and small, to give witness to the love of God.

-Columnist and blogger Timothy Dalrymple manages the Evangelical Portal (evangelical.patheos.com) at Patheos.com.

Readers who enjoyed Gene Edward Veith's article on calling in WORLD's first special section on the subject ("Arenas of service," Aug. 28, 2010) can go to www.acton.org/veith to hear a lecture on "Vocation: The Doctrine of the Christian Life" that Veith gave last month at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Timothy Dalrymple
Timothy Dalrymple


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