During my first year of teaching, I learned the hazards of asking college seniors their postgraduation plans. I had mistakenly thought that a good way of getting to know the senior students in my spring seminar would be to ask them about their future. Instead of hearing about plans, I received anxious and concerned looks combined with tentatively spoken hopes and uncertainties.
The life of Moses is so large and significant that it's hard to imagine that we have anything in common with him—until he opens his mouth. As soon as he starts to talk he sounds just like us. When he starts offering excuses, he's not saying anything that we haven't used as reasons for not surrendering our lives to God.
Jul 28, 2011
| An interview with Katherine Willis Pershey
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this
mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."
The language of vocation confirms that at no time in our lives are we
exempt from responsibility for others. We never stop being called
to share in the creative and redemptive activity of God through lives
I have learned over the years that students, wearily carrying out a writing assignment, often have recourse to the dictionary. Assigned to write on a specific topic, they will begin with a dictionary definition. Let it never be said that I have learned nothing from reading their papers all these years.
The reflection on vocation in this issue by Gilbert Meilaender takes us from Vergil’s epic, the Aeneid, to the Reformation era to the 20th century, with many stops in between. He prodded me, as I’m sure he will others, to think more deeply about their own sense of vocation.
Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary, by Carl H. Klaus
Are you old?” a little boy asked as he popped up in the pool beside me. Hoping that his vision merely had been blurred by the spray and not wanting to admit my age, I tossed off his question by replying, “I didn’t think my backstroke was that bad.” He paddled away muttering, “You must be crazy.”
Reviewing Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings (Pantheon) in the New York Review of Books (January 20), Larry McMurtry concentrates on the act of saying good-bye. Raban, a skilled writer of travelogues and an adventurous traveler, tells his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Julia that he is leaving for 21 days.