Shelve Your Passions

Passion is a wonderful thing. But it should not be the sole means by which we discern calling.
Shelve Your Passions
Image: Flickr/Carsten Tolkmit

Having been unemployed for months at a time over the past few years, I have taken part in more than a few interviews for pastoral positions. In these interviews, there is always one question that flummoxes me more than any other, and that is when a search committee asks me what I'm passionate about, or what I feel called to, or have a heart for, or any Christian-ese variant of the question. And I totally understand what they are asking when they pose such a query, and I know what response I should give, that I am passionate about this aspect of faith or the other, that I feel called to serve a particular community. It's a standard question to ask any pastoral candidate.

My answer? "..." Confounded silence.

The easy answer would be to say that I have a heart for two things: to help the church reclaim a biblical theology of suffering, and encourage us also to embrace our calling to racial reconciliation. That is what I have found myself doing for the last four years, and is probably the kind of answer that the search committee is looking for. But there's a reason why I don't simply blurt such an answer.

You see, I never really had a passion for those who are suffering, nor for multi-ethnic ministry. That's not to say that I'm against either in any way, because they are incredibly important movements of faith. It's just that I didn't have any natural or personal inclination towards those ministries. I had no internships at inner city churches, never attended a multi-ethnic church conference, never scoured academic texts in search of the answer to the problem of pain. I always thought my passion and heart were in music and leading worship, more than anything else.

The reason ...

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Third Culture
Third Culture looks at matters of faith from the multicultural and minority perspective.
Peter Chin
Peter W. Chin is the pastor of Rainier Avenue Church and author of Blindsided By God. His advocacy work for racial reconciliation has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and the Washington Post.
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