The event itself took place a few years ago. The place was Lakeside at Forest Home. The occasion was Spring Women's Retreat. One morning session, the speaker had us go out on our own and celebrate communion. I took my cup and bread and walked down to the horse corral near Creekside. It was winter, so the snow covered the bales of hay and the snow plow debris was piled up by the side of the road. As per the speaker’s instructions, I spent some time praying before taking the elements. During the prayer, the strangest words came out of my mouth: "Lord, help me pastor your people." These words were strange because I had no inclination at the time to be any sort of pastor. I planned to teach at a seminary. Yet the words came and the words were true. At the time, I had no definite idea of what God meant by this call, but I remain clear about the call. The nature and content are beginning to clarify. The definiteness that does exist is as follows.

God calls whole persons. Paul was called with his background as a Pharisee. Moses and David were called with their shepherding knowledge. That being the case, what type of undershepherd is God planning to make out of this blunt, mystical, brainy artist-musician? Over forty years of living have provided a few clues.

One clue has come from my work life. Nearly every job I have held since Junior College has been one in which my task was to help others do their jobs better. From the warehouse job at Abbey Medical to the Institutional Research job at Biola University, that has been the case. So, the vocation is to help other ministers to be more effective.

A second clue comes from my straightforward manner. As a child, one of my father's nicknames for me was “Frank Ernest Blunt”. I have a sometimes troublesome tendency to call things as I see them. This tendency has mellowed through the years, but it remains nonetheless. The task is to ask difficult questions and speak the truth without hesitation.

A third clue comes from my academic interests. Three areas interest me most: spiritual formation, anthropology, and ecclesiology. The content of my calling resides in the intersection of these three areas. This is the area where I am most unclear. Further study, especially in anthropology and ecclesiology should clarify. So, generally stated, the content is

As it stands today, I believe I am called as a local church theologian, providing pastors and ministers with the theological fodder they need to be healthy, biblical ministers nurturing healthy, biblical churches.

But now, as always, we shall see.

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