[hat tip to Mrs Gerbil *grin*] I was offered up a whole range of books as suggested reading fodder. And oh, my goodness, did you know that there are multitudinous numbers of books on the subject of vocational calling? I'm not sure whether this is alarming, affirming, or quite what it says about attitudes within various Christian commmunities about models of working/ ministry. But I digress. I read many of these and yet, somehow, they never quite seemed to fit or ring a little bell inside my head.
Don't get me wrong, there was some very useful reflecting on some very helpful bits 'n pieces... and yet. I was frustrated by a lot of them and I really couldn't work out why until I was handed Peterson's Under the Unpredictable Plant.
Bells rang a-plenty.
The thoughts wrapped around me snugly like a warm, woolly fleece on a cold winter's day.
It spoke my language- and felt as if it could have been written just for me.
After long reflection, I realise that while the other books where fine, they were written within an Anglican theological understanding of priesthood. It is a very different theological kettle of fish to a Reformed understanding of ministry. Not saying one is better than the other, they are just quite different theologically and because of this, a different praxis emerges. Of course, I began to wonder just why there were so very many Anglican 'discerning your call' books as per Reformed viewpoints on this topic and why they were all on the list of Ministries Council - but that for another day!
I love the way Peterson challenges the system, especially what he would perceive to be the creeping idolatry of 'careerism' within the church: very hard-hitting stuff and which he likens to Jonah buying a ticket to Tarshish, rather than doing the thankless, possibly less glory-filled job over in Ninevah.
The book cautions against pride, abuse of power, and hiding behind the detachment of a 'professional pastor' veneer. It urges authenticity at nearly every sentence. And it works for me.
I keep coming back to this book - indeed - I'm just about to re-read it to see where I may have moved, or what continues to feel affirmed, or where I'm still uncomfortable/ challenged. No doubt, I'll blog about that at a later point.