Is it vocation?

Posted: January 8, 2023 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

It is interesting, I always thought of my furlough into post secondary teaching full-time was going to be a prolgue into my next book of life. That tranistion period of discernment, before hte next big aha.

What is that old colloquilism about while we make plans?

I am coming up on my 3 year anniversary since the vocational pivot, have some great colleagues some have become friends. Over 2022, with one friend/colleague, began discussing teaching as ministry. Some may say well duh, but then take a step back, as I am not talking about my teaching in churches, or Children’s, Youth & Young adult ministry discipleship, spiritual formation. Or even the teaching in the bible college (though that is an aspect of my pivot, teaching at a bible college). This is in regards to what some would call “secular” vocational or tech colleges. Those places of higher learning, that has a direct correlation to employment outcome from learning.

Some have asked why I do not currently puruse work in universities? And it is because there is something that resonates with working with these first, second, third or even fourth career folks as they discover and ignite their passions in their studies, and how it connects to the work they are called to do.

These thoughts come together, after a PD Dinner, where a colleague led us through a reflective practice workshop that raised questions out of Parker Palmer’s Courage to Teach (it has been years, if not a decade or so since I read this work, but have re-rdered from the Library to remiliarize myself with it, as both this evening and a staff orientation at anohter school I teach at mentioned it). The questions raised wre intriguing, and percolated some extra thoughts here from me.

The first was our call narrative to teach. I had to chuckle, as in my previous life book, teaching was the side hustle that supplemetned my non-profit ministry salary, I never really saw it as more thant that. Then as long time readers now, 6 years ago, a health crisis happened, and as I emerged into 2020 all that was known was I could not go back to what I used to (was not medically cleared). One PhD psychologist suggested teaching, and I stepped into a contract role half way through a term (always a tumultous time for learers to have a new instructore halfway through). Then 3 weeks in, a global pandemic. Talk about learning curve over load.

Was it a calling? I viewed it as a nother way to aid, and to continue to support mys family. There was no deep theological reflective thoughts around it when I jumped in, or really over the years since. But as we shared moments during the workshop of the blessings of teaching, those meoments when we thought why do I do this (and for me, the question popped upwhat caused me to go back after that moment?), the connection to the 2022 conversations wtih my colleague connected.

I was able to see connections unseen previously. Years ago when I was undergoing official discernment in a progressive denom for ordination, there was 3 tracks- Sacratement and Word (what one thinks of with a Reverand); Diaconal (Justice/service and teaching), or designated lay minister (which is where most of my ministries were regardless of denom). Many readers know the story of walking away before the final vows, as the sponsoring congregation had issues with my son and his exceptionalities. At dinner though, the connection between the two books of my life hit as a lightning bolt (like when Billy Batson or Teth Adam say Shazam if you will).

The discernment process was accurate, I had spent the majority of my life in justice-service work, and 3 yaears ago was formally told I could no longer, yet service continues in the second piece of the vocational calling- teaching. I could fully articulate this teaching as ministry.

Now onto securing full-time continual/tenured role, and re-reading Palmer’s work.

2023, a new chapter of our life books has opened, what new ministry or current aspect fo life has had hte fog lift to clearly see as ministry, are you in?


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