When I was a minister in an institutional church, I was shocked at how often God seemed to only “call to ministry” those who were willing to sign off on what the institution proclaimed.
It was remarkably consistent.
God must REALLY like what the Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Pentacostals, and Presbyterians have to say… even though they all disagree on rather important points.
Those groups use the idea of being “called” to keep the institution propped up.
Now, I have friends who are ministers and feel God led them to that place. I don’t have any problem with that. Everyone’s relationship with God is different.
But that’s the point.
It appears that we all have our own understanding of and relationship with God. Yet most institutions would have us believe there is some standard for what actually constitutes a legitimate relationship, and (SURPRISE) it’s their way.
I understand that a person’s theology and relationship with God should be expressed communally. In community, we can challenge and edify one another, preventing any more “Jonestown” situations. A blend of private and social religion is best for the common good.
A problem arises, however, when a person feels moved by God to act on their faith in a positive way only to be shut down by a group of self-proclaimed “gate keepers.” All of us are created of God, the Light abides in us all, and every single one of us is gifted with the authority to pursue whatever path will lead us to better loving God, ourselves, and our neighbors. This path can be discerned with help from our leaders, but they don’t have any right or “special connection” that allows them to dictate your experience of God. Behind every collar, robe, pulipt, or altar is a human that answered the right set of questions correctly. They may be wise and helpful… or not.
The truth is we are all equal, and we are all stumbling this path together.
You have power. You have agency. Your thoughts, voice, and experiences matter. Remember that, and relentlessly pursue whatever it is God has placed in your heart.
If a path leads you to love God, love yourself, and love others, it is worthwhile. So let’s get busy, as all of us are indeed “called.”
Peace be with you!