In keeping with the theology offered in my previous post about discernment and discipleship, I am beta testing” with communities of younger adults (18-27 year olds) a series of questions that I’ve found helpful in trying to get at the call to genuine, grounded discipleship for each of us – It may well be that they work for people beyond the church context, too, but I believe these, or related questions, are helpful for learning to listen for the presence of God, the “push” of the Holy Spirit, the call of Christ (whatever language works best with your experience of the holy). I’d appreciate feedback on these, especially from any folks in this age group or near it who may be lurking out there (though I think they also work for other age groups)!
1. (“PROFILE”) QUESTION: What is the identity I present, superficially, to the world, -- answers to questions like “What do you do?” “What is your major”?
2. (“PEOPLE”): Where is my community? (Or where are my communities?) When I say “We,” who do I mean? Who are the important people and relationships in my life? What about faith community, spiritual companions? What group(s) of people sustain me, affirm and challenge me in ways that I value?
3. (“PURPOSE”):What is the work or activity that makes me feel most whole and alive when I am engaged in it?
4. (“PASSION”) What MUST CHANGE: When I look at the world, either the commuity/organizations close to me or the world at large, what is it that makes me passionately desire change, so much that I might even be willing to suffer in some way to see that change happen. Where do I say “Something has GOT to be done about this”?
5. (“PRAYER and PRACTICE”): How do I pray? What are my spiritual practices (the things that I do because of what I believe or because of my sense of spiritual identity?)
6: “PLAY”: How do I take “Sabbath time” in my life – resting and relaxing for the sake of refreshing yourself and renewing energy. How do I play?
VOCATION, I would suggest, is what God is doing with the answers to ALL of these questions together. What insights come to you from the process of reflecting on these questions? What can you learn by discussing your answers to these questions with trusted friends?
- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.