The university’s spiritual life week included an exploration of “the call of God”
“God’s Calling” was explored during Bluffton University’s Spring 2022 Spiritual Life Week, held March 14-18, 2022. Students examined their vocations in a Christian vocation context with Kathy Dickson ’03, Spiritual Life Week Guest Speaker and Director of Vocational Discernment and Community Engagement at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. To guide them, students reflected on the scripture 1 Samuel 3:10b “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening,” which was chosen by a student planning committee.
Dickson’s goal for the week was to help students see the unique talents and patterns in their lives that connect to the idea of vocation and to consider the ways the call is not usually answered in isolation. . “God’s calling and calling is not just reduced to certain roles and titles or projects. We are called to more than that, and we are also called as a community,” Dickson said. purpose align with many different sectors of society, and it is good for them to understand, as liberal arts students, that these ideas have biblical roots.”
During his Forum presentation, “That Phone Still Rings (And Other Ways to Imagine God’s Call),” Dickson offered reflections on vocation from a wide range of voices, including: Martin Luther: “Vocation is the specific call to love your neighbour” from “The Fabric of the World” by Lee Hardy.Frederick Buechner, writer, theologian and Presbyterian minister: “Vocation: the place where God calls you is the place where your deep joy and the deep hunger of the world meet.” Howard Thurman, author, Baptist minister and civil rights leader: “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you alive, and go do it …because what the world needs are people brought to life. A 16th century Anabaptist: “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is my calling. I earn my living as a cobbler.
Like the Anabaptist shoemaker, Dickson emphasized that the Christian calling is more than a job description, not just “what” you do, but how you do it. “Our calling is how we live out our faith wherever we are, whatever the occupation,” Dickson said. “It doesn’t have to be something you get paid for. Your vocation can materialize through voluntary commitments, service or family roles. She also provided tools for students ready to engage in the discernment process, such as spiritual practices like reading scriptures, reflective journaling, community conversation, and caring for self. Dickson also shared examples of questions to listen for in discernment, such as:
What are the dreams in you (even the quiet ones)?
Which values are decisive factors for you?
What comes naturally to you?
When did you feel like saying “yes” to an opportunity or “no”?
Which courses leave you curious or eager to learn more?
Dickson’s sermon during chapel focused on calling in community and the idea that we often don’t discover a calling or experience it in isolation.
With registration for Fall 2021 classes beginning at the end of March, the discussions were timely for students. Elizabeth Rockwell, a member of the Spiritual Life Week planning committee, said she took the week’s messages into her council meeting before registration. “I really thought about some things before this meeting,” Rockwell said. “A lot of us are in a weird middle stage in college, and we’re trying to figure out, is this what I’m supposed to do? This week has helped me listen and recognize my strengths. I know what I want to do in the future, but Spiritual Life Week has affirmed where I’m going.
Spiritual Life Week at Bluffton University takes place twice a year. Students play a major role in planning activities that build growth and faithfulness in their relationship with God. The week includes guest speakers and special worship times. Previous Spiritual Life Week themes have explored the power of storytelling and trouble.