Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Personal Calling Statement

The theme of this evening's episode of Darkwood Brew is that of Calling.  I made a few comments about a Personal Calling Statement I wrote for myself in 1999, which I have used (as updated when needed) as a road map ever since.  Here is the statement, for those who might be interested:

My Personal Calling
is to accept love, to grow, and to love others into growing.

My mission in life is to accept myself as I am while striving to become a person of complete and mature love and to accept others as they are while simultaneously helping them to grow in love as they move toward their own life destinies.  I feel that I am most fully engaged in this while enjoying life with my loved ones and while engaged in the pursuit of integrating the life of the mind and the life of the spirit.  My spiritual roots are Christian, and for many years I have been nourished and nurtured by inclusive Protestantism.  I honor these roots by walking the way of love taught, practiced, and lived by Jesus, even as this love impels me beyond the bounds of Christian tradition as I seek goodness, truth, and beauty in every person and in the world’s wisdom as expressed in religion, literature, history, music, art, philosophy, and science.  I see these expressions of wisdom as gifts of the divine that liberate people from whatever binds them and that help people grow into their own life destinies.  Wherever it is found, I will study this wisdom appreciatively, critically, and with a postcritical naivete; I will teach it in ways that are appropriate to the development of those around me; and I will practice it in ways that are integral to who I am now and to who I hope to become.

My life is guided by these values:
  • Unconditional love:  My life is rooted in the lives of those who have loved me no matter what: my God, my wife Grace and son Keith, my best friends, and my mentors.  They empower me to share that love with more and more people.
  • Relationships:  As I seek proactively to establish new relationships, I will strengthen existing ones by returning people’s love and acceptance and by being there for them.
  • Growth:  As I grow, I pledge my love to others during their own life discoveries, their successes and their failures, by encouraging them to grow into their own life destinies, without pressuring them to be what I want them to be.
  • Justice:  My heart aches at systems that keep people from actualizing their God-given potential.
  • Joy (and Joy’s little brother Fun): I have come to experience God more fully when I lose myself by experiencing play, beauty, ecstasy, imagination, and wonder.

My vision is to become . . .
·        a whole soul, whom love has liberated and healed.
·        a loving person, who touches more and more people.
·        a spiritual teacher and leader, with both a large heart and skillful “hands” engaged in organizing and communicating ideas, creating processes, casting vision, inspiring passion, and mentoring leaders.

so that . . .
·        I
o   let God’s light shine in my life by actively seeking to see that light in others.
o   engage in spiritual practices, alone and with others, that penetrate to the depths of who we are so that we can be liberated from what binds us and lifted up to become the persons we were created to become.
o   have finished my dissertation.
·        my family and friends are strong and joyful, finding Spirit in the flow of love,
o   in particular, so that my son Keith, who has become an adult with an array of competencies for living, based on love, acceptance, and continued growth into his own destiny, will develop such a mutual relationship with his new wife Auburn,
o   and that my wife Grace and I are more in love than ever.
·        those around me experience the love and acceptance that gives strength to find and take their next steps of development toward fulfilling their own unique life calling,
o   particularly that my students learn spiritual wisdom and experience love, rooting them in their own faith traditions and exposing them to other life-giving traditions,
o   and particularly that Union College will have specific, functioning systems for helping students, faculty, and staff engage in the spiritual quest by walking the way of love in all its
§  breadth—intentional practices of love, hospitality, welcome, and inclusion so that people know that, no matter who they are, they are loved and welcome at Spiritual Life activities.
§  depth—practices of love that go all the way to the core of who we are, digging down deep in our spirituality, learning who we are by studying the Bible and other spiritual writings, by praying and worshiping together, and by serving others together.

§  height—practices of love that lift us up to become persons characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).


StLukeGELT said...

I feel guilty in that you bare your heart and soul, and all I come up with as a comment is something rather silly. Anyway, here it is: David, you gotta come up with a better acronym for your ethos. "URGJJ" just doesn't have the same "umph" as, say, TULIP. TULIP, while a horrid theological system (IMHO), is at least easy to remember and has a nice ring to it. URGJJ, sadly, doesn't.

Aside from the silliness, your ethos is very admirable, not the least for it being imitable.

David Miller said...

That is hilarious. I've used this statement (or some version of it) for almost fifteen years, and I never once thought of coming up with an acronym.

wbarnett55 said...

David, I don't know why my Id was listed as my church committee (GELT). In case you haven't figured it out, or Google does it to me again, it's Wendell. You're a UM, and you never thought to come up with an acronym? How's that possible? UMs can't do anything without acronyms!

David Miller said...

Ah, no, I didn't know that was you. How about JULEP?

Unconditional Love
Loving Relationships (Love twice because it's so important)
Exponential Growth

wbarnett55 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wbarnett55 said...

Made a huge typo. So will try again. JULEP works for me. Passes all the good acronym criteria.

David Miller said...

I had to make it rhyme with TULIP! :)