Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Resurrection of Call

I went for a run this morning in the frost of Stony Point. Up a hill from the conference center is an old cemetery, and my route took me through it. I noticed, in particular, one large headstone with its back to the path I was on. I could see no details of dates of birth or death or even first name, just the all caps word "CALL." I wondered, "was this a request, as in, 'call me when I'm gone'? Or, was it a sign of an untimely demise of a central theological concept? Considering the latter possibility, as I ran I pondered the death of call. But, being part of a resurrection people, I also considered the rebirth of vocation.
Being in the midst of an intense 72 hour consultation on evangelism, I pondered the rebirth of the call to share the good news with a world that so desperately needs to hear a bene diction -- a good word, a word of good news.
It was a fascinating conversation with about 80 or so committed Presbyterian leaders from across the country and from across the spectrum of Presbyterian life and theology.
The conversation was by turns inspiring and frustrating. The inspiration came, as inspiration so often does, from the rich and compelling personal stories shared in groups, in worship, over food and drink. The frustrations arose, as frustrations often do, from the spinning of wheels when we either bogged down in process or couldn't quite get to the heart of the matter of what we variously mean by that slippery word "evangelism."
Nevertheless, despite the slipping and sliding and occasional sense of "stuckness," I think 80 leaders left Stony Point committed to act on what we learned from each other.
Whether or not the word "evangelism" can be restored, perhaps the practice can experience a revitalization if the experience of the past few days announces the resurrection of a common call.

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