(Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies [CATS])
"Surrounding myself with those that Jesus would"
I have felt the call for years. It's been the most silently real yet consistent and palpable sensations of my soul. When I first experienced Jesus as an adult, I understood him differently than I do today. I heard him call me to be active in the church to bring more into the physical structures and religious strictures of Christendom. I worked in a Christian bookstore, I went to charismatic revivals, and I proselytized by going out into the world (and sometimes invited that world into my home to critique, to challenge, and to condemn).
But very early in my religious life, the words of Jesus began to resonate with my soul in new and challenging ways. The God of the Bible began to be revealed in new ways.
As I continued to listen, I heard God's voice call me into the ministry but not the one I had previously known. I was called to work out my faith in the kingdom as shown by the life of Christ and referenced through Matthew 25:31-46. I believe that "the poor you will always have with you" is a statement of proximity; as a Christian, I was called to surround myself with those that Jesus would.
So, I followed this calling and have spent the last five years working towards poverty relief in Bloomington, Indiana. I served on the board of directors at a local food pantry that emphasized whole foods, nutrition education, and gardening opportunities for low-income individuals and families. Currently, I work with the homeless and spend my time finding ways to better serve those that I believe Jesus would be with. Each of these roles has been a result of my understanding of the role of the Christian in the world: We are called to manifest the kingdom of God in the world and act as agents for good, justice, and peace.
Now, God is calling me to Bethany; for what, I am not sure, but I know I am supposed to be here. This calling is pulling me into unfamiliar and daunting new territories. I'm not sure what the end result will be, how I will make it happen, or what this will mean for my life.
This uncertainty makes me anxious but excited. I'm going because I know now that it is here that God's still, small voice has led me.