When it comes to fierce theological debate—excommunicating,
eternity-in-the-balance doctrinal warfare—neither the ecumenical
councils nor those unpleasant doings in Geneva have anything on my local
They didn’t ask questions. That’s what always astonishes and terrifies me about this story from Mark. Jesus shows up by the Sea of Galilee, calls out to Simon Peter and Andrew, tells them he’s going to upend their lives and give them a new vocation, then commands them to follow him without a backward glance or a thought for the family fishing business.
Many human encounters with the divine word are fraught with irony: Balaam's talking ass; the promise of a patriarchal heir so long overdue that the child is named for the ensuing hilarity; the messianic Savior born in a hovel and killed like a common criminal. The mutant ministry of the prophet Jonah is another case in point.
I remember the day I received my call—follow me and I will make you fish for people. In my case it was a call to ordained ministry. Although my call was more like a slow culmination of events and experiences, there was one dramatic moment in my senior year in high school. It was 1973, just three years after my denomination officially allowed the ordination of women.