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FLV Reading Group
Spring 2013

When Callings Challenge

Often we look at vocation as a life-giving experience of identifying our gifts and passions and sharing them generously in the world. Such a view does not deny that our callings can ask us to make difficult choices – to question the ground we stand on, or to move to new ground. These three memoirs, each accessible and engaging, invite us to hear three distinct voices on the theme “When Callings Challenge.”

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
(Tuesday, February 5 4:00-5:30 in TWH M44)

In this memoir Barbara Brown Taylor shares the journey of leaving her long-time ministry as pastor in an Episcopal church, and moving into a new world of work. “These days I earn my living teaching school, not leading worship, and while I still dream of opening a small restaurant in Clarkesville or volunteering at an eye clinic in Nepal, there is no guarantee that I will not run off with the circus before I am through. This is not the life I planned, or the life I recommend to others. But it is the life that has turned out to be mine, and the central revelation in it for me -- that the call to serve God is first and last the call to be fully human -- seems important enough to witness to on paper. This book is my attempt to do that.”

In Good Company by James Martin, SJ
(Tuesday, March 26 4:00-5:30 in TWH M44)

In this memoir Martin, whose prose is consistently praised as engaging and enlightening, shares his move from the world of business to his ordination and ministry as a Jesuit priest. In the book’s final chapter he writes, “I never intended to become a Jesuit. My background prepared me to be something completely different from what I had become…I expected to have lots of money and healthy bank account, credit cards, a car, and maybe even a mortgage…In just two years, almost despite myself, my life had changed entirely. And completely for the better.”

Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
(Tuesday, April 16 4:00-5:30 in TWH M44)

From Chittister’s Prologue: “If there is one thing that we have all been taught to fear, it is surely questions. There are some things, we learn early, that are never to be challenged. They simply are. They are absolute. They come out of a fountain of eternal truth. And they are true because someone else said they are true. So we live with someone else’s answers for a long time. Until the answers run dry. I know that because I myself have been caught in the desert of doubt and found the answers to be worse than the questions could ever be.”

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