My external life and work reflect my inner heart and mind – multivocal. I almost always have at least 3 trains of thought going at any one time.
They may be bullet commuter trains, or workhorse engines, but they’re continually running, and not always in the same direction.
Sometimes the tracks go off in all sorts of crazy directions…..
….. or are they coming together from disparate places?
I’m not sure. Maybe both. Either way, this also describes the way I approach my work – bringing together multiple streams of thought, and then sending them off in far-flung directions.
My challenge is not so much holding all my trains of thought as it is communicating them in a way that makes sense to others, which they can retell, and into which they can find their own points of connection. This is one of my primary goals for the coming months – finding ways to clarify and articulate my own multivocal tracks into one meta-narrative or central story that holds it all together.
(At this point someone is saying, “Isn’t the unifying story The Gospel, the unifying character Jesus, or God?” Yes, but while true it is so broad and vague as to be next to useless for this exercise in particularity of vocational expression. The question is not “who is God?” but “who am I becoming because of God?” Jesus is God incarnate – telling us all that we need to know about God, or more accurately all we can know. How is my unique life to be an extension of that witness – how am I to incarnate God in the world?)
The primary trains of thought in my professional / work / ministry life right now are:
- Vocation – “The voice with which our lives speak good things into existence in the world.” Research and teaching (writing and speaking) on how this understanding of vocation is essential to human life.
- Multivocal – Discover how vocation is manifest through the six domains of human flourising, and how you can become more fully yourself, more fully whole, by discovering, developing and deploying your vocational identity in each part of your life.
- Synchronous Life: Six Domains of Human Flourishing – developing, using and sharing this model for understanding human wholeness, and the place of vocation in it.
- Coaching & Consulting – Leadership and Life Coaching, Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Care for leaders of ministries and nonprofits
- Pastoral/Parish Ministry – serving as a leader in a particular Christian congregation, including preaching, teaching, worship leading, leadership development, pastoral counseling…
- AltrCall – Gathering and Sharing Stories of Vocation. A gathering and exploration of stories of calling that include but go way beyond the norm and the expected. Clergy and Laity who are finding new ways to live out their call to ministry. Some will bear a family resemblance to things you already know. Others will be as if seeing ministry for the first time.
- Entrepreneurship – supporting entrepreneurs in business, community nonprofits and ministries through coworking and other modalities that bring together leaders and innovators in collaborative relationships, experiences and spaces.
All of these make use of my skills in research, writing and speaking, strategic thinking and deep listening and connected yet differentiated relating. My great hope is that my work will enhance the lives of leaders across multiple sectors of society, with a special passion for those serving in congregational and community based ministries. I believe my greatest contribution and impact will be in helping these kinds of leaders to not only survive but to thrive personally and professionally – in every area of their lives. If this happens, then they will have the resilience, humility and humor to persevere in the midst of opposition and press on toward the goal of the high calling – “till justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) Until from them flow forth streams of living water. (John 4)
Because I’m able to hold all of these in my heart, head and hands at one time, I’m unable to see simply and clearly where the center may be, the narrative thread that runs through and holds them all together so that others can make sense and use of them.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you see that communicates best (and worst) in all of this? Where are the gravitational centers? Where do you find most resonance with your own thoughts and the conversations you hear in your world?