A New Way to Think About Vocation

Recently I’ve been watching quite a few of the videos from The Work of the People. They’re a wonderful community of artists, storytellers, people of faith who gather from all corners of the religious spectrum to share stories and communicate in very meaningful ways. You should definitely check them out when you get a chance. But there was one in particular that really stuck out to me.

Miroslav Volf always seems to have some good bits of wisdom or some interesting questions to reflect on. In the video that I found, he answers a critical question that I think we, as people of faith, must answer if we are still going to matter to future generations. That question is, “What breaks your heart?”

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/37749858]

I think we could look at this question as a new and different way of defining vocation. Theologian Frederick Buechner said that vocation is where “your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” It’s not a bad definition. But what if we spoke of vocation by asking “What breaks your heart?” And then the ever-important follow up — “What can you do about it?”

So what breaks my heart? The idea that people can be treated as less-than-human, second or third class citizens, because of how they were born. It absolutely breaks my heart. Sickens me beyond all belief. Things like sex-trafficking, acts of racism, sexism, classism, and all the other “isms” out there are so far gone from how we ought to be treating each other that it absolutely breaks my heart. I can’t believe that some people have the opinion that it is their God-given entitlement to have more than everyone else. It sickens me.

So what can I do about it? Well. That’s what I’m trying to figure out. As of right now…

  • I’m a pastor in a church and seeking to lead a community in ways that try to identify injustice and disservice in our communities (and in Arizona, there are a lot), and then try to do what I/we can to right them.
  • I’ve been getting involved with Christians for Biblical Equality. They’re a great organization and there are many others out there that are doing some great things.
  • I’m reading all I can about peacemaking, justice, and things along those lines.
  • I’m always looking for more ways to be involved with people and organizations who are doing good things like this.

I always feel like my job will be addressing these kinds of inequalities and injustices wherever that is or whatever it looks like. I doubt it will always look like a pastor in a parish. Right now it does, but it might not always look like that.

So what breaks your heart? What kinds of stories infuriate you? What are you passionate about?

and the always-essential follow-up…

What are you doing about it? What can you do about it?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you all are doing to make the world a better place. I know some of you who are doing some great work. What breaks your heart? Drop by and leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your passions.



  1. Eric –
    Just discovered your blog and love it. I’m talking at Camp Day on Monday and talking about vocation, in particular being sent. I might just use this video and share your words with these college students. HI to Megan! Love from MN!

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