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A Calling We Must Bear

African American news from Pasadena - Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins on Oz GuinnessAs I reflect upon life, observing global events that seem to be playing themselves out in the popular media (the Hatian earthquake devastation, the economic crisis that has lead to many losing their jobs, homes and even their sanity at times), I realize that we all as individuals must bear witness to a certain calling in life: a call must answer.

In some way, these events indeed have an impact on each of us, challenging us to reexamine our life's calling. Oz Guinness in his book simply entitled, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (Nelson Publishing) describes calling in the following way:

"Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service. (Guinness, 4)

"This call is general to everyone, yet so personal. Considering our calling, oft times we may search for the meaning of life: meaning in our own personal lives. Again, Guinness notes the following with regard to this search throughout the stages and variant circumstances in life:

"But finding and fulfilling the purpose of our lives comes up in myriad ways and in all the seasons of our lives: Teenagers feel it as the world of freedom beyond home and secondary school beckons with a dizzying range of choices.

"Graduate students confront it when the excitement of "the world is my oyster" is chilled by the thought that opening up one choice means closing down others.

"Those in their early thirties know it when their daily work assumes its own brute reality beyond their earlier considerations of the wishes of their parents, the fashions of their peers, and the allure of salary and career prospects.

"People in midlife face it when a mismatch between their gifts and their work reminds them daily that they are square pegs in round holes. . .

"Mothers feel it when their children grow up, and they wonder which high purpose will fill the void in the next stage of their lives.

"People in their forties and fifties with enormous success suddenly come up against it when their accomplishments raise questions concerning the social responsibility of their success and, deeper still, the purpose of their lives.

"People confront it in all the varying transitions of life-from moving home to switching jobs to breakdowns in marriage to crises of health. (Guinness, 2-3)"

These and others, planed and unplanned realities, stare us down everyday. Alongside those already mentioned, another major challenge that occurs in life is dealing with loss; loss of a loved one, loss of a friend, loss of certain creature comforts. These losses force us to adjust and re-examine life's calling. How will we respond and what will we do? As I face down nearly half of the abovementioned challenges and realities in my life, even though I am not solely responsible for creating them, I find that I must participate in my call and not merely watch it play itself out without my active engagement.

Essentially, we all must answer the call, the calling we must bear.

[Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins is Director of J.D.Institute and is a Professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. He is the author of "Ecclesiastes" in the African Bible: Reading Israel's Scriptures through Africa and the African Diaspora (Fortress Press), 2009, and "Duty or Responsibility? The African American Evangelical's Identity" in the Journal of African American Christian Thought 1 (2009). Hopkins is available for preaching, lecturing, speaking or conducting workshops or seminars. You may contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]

 

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