I am called to preach the Gospel and faithfully administer the sacraments under the apostolic authority of a bishop of Christ's Holy Church because God saved a Mormon boy from the pits of despair and freed him from the chains of the law. This God, in securely calling me his own, redirected my heart to serve his one, holy, Catholic Church and to share the truly Good News of unmerited free grace to others lost in darkness. God calls me especially to minister to and establish the Church among those often overlooked and forgotten; the poor, the imprisoned, the foreigner, and the oppressed.
This has been a ten-year journey for me. Through troubles and trails, a new marriage, two children, three jobs, Vanderbilt Divinity School, and so much more I have never doubted my call. Though at times I've pleaded, God will not let me go. He calls and sustains me in undeniable ways. I can already see how God is using my being and social location to further his kingdom. I am mainline to the core. I am white and middle class. I was educated at a progressive divinity school. All of this, God is using to further his Kingdom. Like a chameleon I find myself in progressive and evangelical spaces using my being, business skills, VDS connections, and — at times — progressive academic credentials and language to bring the timeless faith of the Saints to God's people.
Ministering to the overlooked and forgotten is not an easy — or often even rewarding — call. I might be the only priest these people have run across. I might be the only church crazy enough to sit in their community. I have no delusions of saving the world. I know the places I'm going are hard and exhausting. I know to answer this call will take a lot from me. It will exhaust and strain me.
God saved me, a sad Mormon boy, from the dark pit. God gave me light and life. God saved me and in saving me opened my heart and eyes to others. I answer God's call, despite the cost, because I owe him everything. Without him I was already dead. No trial, no setback can take me back to where I was without him. I know there are people out there like me; Germans, prisoners, homeless, seculars, etc. They are lost, sad, and surrounded by darkness. It pains me not to see the glory and beautify of Christ's Church and the grace of his sacraments in these places.
God calls me to ministry. God calls me to establish the Church in dark places. I can do no other than answer. The God who pursued me for 25 years will not fail. I am not ready for ministry, but God is. He goes before, alongside, and after me. I have seen his work, I trust him, and I will not stand in his way. “O God make speed to save me, O Lord make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” Amen.