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The Wilderness of the Candidate

A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will in which the called person has to serve God in the way and in the places to which Almighty God has called him.
Francis de Sales
Once the decision has been made to move, the external call becomes more preoccupying than the secret call, at least for a short time. Perhaps because of this intrusion, many pitfalls lurk within the candidating process. It's easy to become cynical. Ben Patterson, pastor of Irvine (California) Presbyterian Church, remembers: "The contrast between my ordination and some of my early candidating was marked. My ordination was an incredible experience. I had been a student who got either A's or F's. I would do something very well, build up everyone's expectations, and then turn around to do something totally irresponsible. Even the people I knew best, who really believed I was called to ministry, were totally befuddled by the way I behaved sometimes. So my ordination was a time for a collective sigh of relief from them—and ...
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