Our interview for this issue was with Ellen Loudon, author of 12 Rules for Christian Activism: A Toolkit for Massive Change and Director of Social Justice for Liverpool Diocese. Here’s what she had to say about vocation, our theme for this issue – for the full interview, head to Movement Issue 163!
You say in the conclusion of the book that ‘massive change happens for us when we start to take seriously the call of God and begin to be moulded into the person God has called us to be.’ What advice do you have for people who are trying to discern that call, and trying to work out what kind of activism or work they’re being called to in the world?
Finding out who you’ve been called to be by God is one of the most beautiful things about our faith, and it’s not static, so who we are in our authentic selves and who we are in relationship with God is always in movement. This is something that the 12 rules can help with because there is balance and movement there. If these 12 rules help you, please use them, but if it helps you to find your own rules to explore what God is calling you to – do that!
For me, writing a book was a process of change and an acknowledgement that my relationship with God is not static. For most of us faith is a journey, and maturing in capacity and depth and breadth of faith is what we’re called to do. So if you do participate in one piece of social action, or one part of deepening your heart and your soul in faith, that isn’t the end but potentially a stepping stone to even more. Everyone’s journey is different, and everyone will recall their journey in a different way; life isn’t like a novel or a film, it’s far more complex and interesting than that.
A lot of people seem to see vocation as a lightning bolt call moment, then following that for the rest of your life, but I love the idea that it’s dynamic.
We tend to think: ‘Once I know what job I’m supposed to have, once I get ordained or become a teacher or become a poet or whatever, once I know that then that’s it, that’s what I’ll be,’ and actually there’s no reason you couldn’t be a teacher who’s a poet who’s a priest. It’s not static at all.
And no one’s just one thing are they.
No, and life makes other things happen. So if you think ‘I’ve got this wonderful job’ and then either something tragic or something amazingly beautiful happens in your life that changes that, it’s being prepared to ‘roll with the punches.’ It’s more complex than that but it’s about being agile enough in your faith to embrace change.
|Read the full interview in Movement issue 163 - coming this Friday!|