Finding Your Calling Part V: Obstacles to Embracing Your Vocation

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 21, 2010 · 36 comments

in Money & Career

In Parts I and II of our series on vocation we talked about what a vocation is.

In Part III we put forth an argument for why every man should pursue his vocation.

In Part IV we discussed how to find your vocation.

In this final installment in the series, we will discuss the obstacles men face in going after and embracing their true vocation.

I mentioned last time that I do not feel like finding your vocation is the truly hard part of this process; I think most men, deep down, intuitively know what they feel called to do with their lives, even if it’s buried deep inside them. I don’t doubt that for some men the finding of the vocation is indeed a struggle, but I do think that if you set a majority of guys down, and asked them, “If there were no obstacles in the way, if you could do any job, what kind of work would you choose?” that the answers would come fairly readily.

Of course in real life there are obstacles in the way. The obstacles that most likely first leap to mind are tangible, external things like time, family commitments, and money. But the obstacles that truly hold us back are the ones we place on ourselves; it’s self-sabotage of the highest order. When these internal, self-imposed obstacles are cleared away, we become willing to break through any of the external things that hold us back. Today we hope to help you recognize and identify the roadblocks you have placed on the path to your destiny.

Obstacles to Embracing Your Calling: The Jonah Complex

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” -Jesus, The Book of Thomas

Dr. Maslow believed that what held most people back from fulfilling their highest potential was something he termed the “Jonah Complex.” The story of Jonah, found in both the Bible and the Qur’an, is a familiar one. Jonah the prophet receives a call from God to preach to the city of Nineveh. But Jonah refuses to go and sails in the opposite direction towards Tarshish. Jonah’s disobedience creates a storm that gets him booted off the boat and then famously swallowed by a whale. The whale spews him out three days later, and when God again calls Jonah to preach to Nineveh, he goes.

Maslow saw this story as symbolic of the way in which humans often deny their fate (and suffer the consequences of doing so). It was this “fear of one’s greatness,” “the evasion of one’s destiny,” the “running away from one’s own best talents” he deemed the “Jonah Complex.” Why do we make like Jonah and flee from our callings? Maslow believed that:

“We fear our highest possibilities (as well as our lowest ones). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under the most perfect conditions, under conditions of great courage. We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear before these very same possibilities.”

This general fear of our highest possibilities is actually composed of many smaller fears:

The fear of the unfamiliar. We have an ingrained fear of the unknown. The familiar, even if it’s painful, is comfortable. At least we know what to expect; we know the pain like an old friend.

The fear of change and sudden pain. Related to our love of the familiar is a fear of change and the shock it brings to our secure life. We prefer constant, dull pain over a long period to a sudden jolt to the system, even though the low grade pain is slowly killing us.

In a study done in the 1950s, monkeys could avoid getting shocks which could come at any time by vigilantly pressing a button. They avoided all but a few, but after 3 weeks, most died of ulcers. Constantly working to avoid the pain had killed them in the end.

The fear of losing control and identity. The reason we like familiar settings is that they allow us to feel in control. As we discussed in Part V of our Resiliency Series:

“Tying your self-concept to external factors also keeps you from embracing adventure and approaching the world like a courageous explorer. If you base your self-concept on external things, any changes in those things will throw you for a loop, create anxiety, and compel you to cling as tightly as you can to the status quo. You become desperate to keep your life just the way it is and can’t handle change. You avoid traveling, moving, changing jobs, and getting into relationships because these steps alter the environment on which you’ve based your self-concept, leaving you feeling lost and out of control.”

The fear of being set apart from others. Many people distrust and resent those who are more talented or successful than they are. Such gifted people make those who have buried their potential feel uncomfortable, for they remind them of their choice to remain mediocre. Gifted and successful people are therefore frequently criticized by those who are jealous of their achievements.

Once you start doing great things, you become a bigger target, receiving more attention and more criticism. Some men would rather remain small than deal with this kind of visibility and vulnerability.

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” -Elbert Hubbard

The fear of being ridiculed. There is enormous pressure in society to conform to being ordinary and mediocre. Those who accept the status quo, which is the majority of society, will deride your plans to break free, hoping to keep you down at their level.

The fear of responsibility. With great power, comes great responsibility. Many are not prepared to step it up and take on a larger role in the world.

The fear of failure. Many men have a deep fear of failure. They’d rather not see if they have what it takes to fulfill a dream because of the fear of finding out that they don’t. We also fear what it will take to maintain success if we do achieve it. We will be able to sustain it?

The fear of our own greatness. For Maslow, this was the heart of the Jonah Complex. Experiencing greatness can be an amazing, even overwhelming experience, like looking at the sun. We’re afraid that traveling to that place will cause us to disintegrate, in the way that pilots used to believe that breaking the sound barrier would destroy their planes.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” Viktor Frankl

Obstacles to Embracing Our Calling: Strategies of Restless Non-Compliance

How do these fears manifest themselves in our lives? When you think about fear, you might picture a man cowering in the corner. But a far more common way to deal with our cowardice is to fill our lives with restless busyness-activities that distract us from the fact that we’re afraid and ignoring our calling.

In Callings, Gregg Levoy lists 8 of these “Strategies of Restless Non-Compliance” that we engage in consciously or unconsciously:

Hiding behind the tasks of discernment. One of the most common ways to keep from embracing one’s vocation is to overthink it. We analyze it to death, picking it apart with so many questions and doubts that we get exhausted into paralyzing inaction and can forget about it for awhile.

Waiting for the Perfect Moment. This is another popular one. You swear you’re going to start going after your calling just as soon as x,y, and z falls into place. When you’re out of college, when the economy gets better, when the kids are older. But even when those things happen, you find other reasons why it’s not a good time. The truth is that there is never a perfect moment to start going after your dreams.

Telling yourself lies. Levoy points out that when we say things like, “I can’t afford it,” what we really means is “I won’t afford it.” We convince ourselves that’s it’s an impossibility when the truth is we’re just not willing to accept the work and the sacrifices to make it happen.

Choosing a path parallel to the one you feel called to, one that’s close enough to keep an eye on it but not so close you’re tempted to jump tracks. You want to be a writer but settle for teaching English. You want to start your own business but settle for working as a salesman for a company. 

Attempting to replace one calling with another because you don’t like it, your parents don’t like it, it doesn’t earn enough money or prestige. Pretty self-explanatory.

Self-sabotage/Trying to make yourself unworthy of a calling. You feel called to be a professor and need to be admitted to a selective grad program, but you barely study for your finals and earn mediocre grades. You feel called to be a firefighter but stuff your face and avoid exercising prior to the physical test.

Distracting yourself with other activities. You fill your life with copious amounts of projects, noise, and stuff to drown out the sound of your call.

Playing “sour grapes.” You convince yourself you didn’t even want the vocation anyway, often by trying to find out all the negative things about it to try to make yourself believe it wouldn’t have been so great after all.

Doing It

“Be regular and orderly in your daily affairs that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustave Flaubert

This is the point that we sometimes get to in posts where I say that unfortunately, I can’t offer you an easy solution to your problems. And such is the case when overcoming the obstacles to embracing your vocation. It’s important that you identify exactly what is holding you back and then you must either decide that living up to your highest potential is worth breaking through those fears or that you’re okay with playing it small. You either muster up the courage to go after your calling or you don’t. Period. It’s a matter of choice, will, and what you want to do with your life.

But deciding to embrace your vocation doesn’t have to mean jumping into it tomorrow. We live in a quick fix culture-we want to change our lives and do it in 28 days. But it’s okay to simply formulate a plan and take it step by step. I have a five year plan for getting to where I want to be. It’s not glamorous, but it’s realistic and it’s doable.

Levoy suggests thinking of yourself like a compass. You keep one of the points of the compass fixed, while the other one is free to draw circles. Keep part of your life stable, while part of your life seeks after your calling. Eventually, you’ll be able to put both feet into your vocation.


We hope this series has helped you think more deeply about your vocation in life and inspired you to find work that truly taps into your unique gifts and talents. As you go forward and pursue your true vocation, keep a few things in mind. Sometimes we imagine that doing what we’re meant to do will feel effortless. But it’s going to be hard work. Really hard work. There will still be plenty of “dead work.” You will still have days when you won’t feel like going to work, when you want to quit. Such is the nature of all work.

But it will not be work that feels done in vain. It will be work that expands instead of contracts your spirit, that leaves you feeling more, not less alive. It will be work that stretches you, grows you, and helps you reach your potential as a man. It will be work that fills not only your hunger, but a hunger in the world. Most of all, it will give you the insurpassable feeling that there is a reason and purpose for your being here, and that you have fulfilled that purpose. That you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you were meant to do.

Best of luck of your journey, gentlemen.
Finding Your Calling Part I: What Is a Vocation?
Finding Your Calling Part II: The Myths and Realities of Vocation
Finding Your Calling Part III: Why Pursue a Vocation?
Finding Your Calling Part IV: Discovering Your Vocation
Finding Your Calling Part V: Obstacles to Embracing Your Vocation 

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter Shallard - The Shrink for Entrepreneurs June 21, 2010 at 4:28 am

I’ll offer my congratulations (yet again) for another killer post. I love the direction you guys are taking this blog. You’ve clearly put in some decent research for this series…. and in a blogosphere that churns out mainly mediocre content, that is rare and valuable.

Please keep up this great work Brett & Kate!

I think you guys have touched on a significant point…. and also opened up a whole can of worms….


It’s the last great obstacle for people pursuing their purpose. Over coming fear is all it takes. Unfortunately, it’s not a quick fix or even something that can be *done* and left in our past… battling fear is a constant, daily practice.

We can build a habit of fearlessness though and in my experience, that begins with understanding fear itself. That way, it doesn’t seem so scary.

This article takes some serious steps in that direction. Thanks again guys :)

2 Pedro June 21, 2010 at 4:31 am

Excellent series Brett and Kate. I wanted to share an excellent website about someone who embodies the very essence of the message in this series of articles. He started from nothing and in doing what he loved, he found his vocation. Its quite an inspirational story.

3 Hans Hageman June 21, 2010 at 9:29 am

I loved this last installment! I had practice on the “identity” part after giving up the practice of law to become an educator. Amazing how many “friendships” were contingent on this former identity. I’m now a trainer and transformation coach who is working with Baby Boomers and recent graduates to confront the fear that you talk about – the fear of giving up the pain we know and the fear of the unknown.

Thank you!

4 Joe D. June 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks again for this extraordinary series of articles. Fear of failure, and of success, is without question the barrier that the majority of us face. Better to fail at a vocation than to succeed in something else and wonder at the end, “What if?”

5 Sanjaya June 21, 2010 at 9:48 am

Thank you very much for this insightful series. It’s amazing how you guys are improving the quality of this blog each day by.

6 Eden Wynter June 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

Thanks for posting such a thought provoking article. I am currently pursuing my true calling and have to face my fears on a daily bases. I really identified with this, and reading it gives me the strength to keep going forward, no matter what obstacles come my way.
It amazes me how many people in this world are willing to accept being mediocre.

7 Charles the Brewer June 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

Grand post, McKays. Thank you! One note: the Book of Thomas or Gospel of Thomas isn’t included in the Bible. It was deemed non-canonical and has been heavily criticized by some. Some of it resembles the accepted gospels but many doubt that they are in fact sayings of Jesus. Good quote, but questionably ascribed to Jesus.

8 SexyNinjaMonkey June 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

Great series, it’s given me a lot to consider. I had been starting to feel a bit stuck in my job and in life, this has motivated me to take time out to rethink things. Hopefully will get me on the path to where I want to be.

9 Sam June 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

Great post in a great series on a great site. I’ve got pretty much all the articles from this site that apply to me bookmarked in my Google account, so I’ll still have them if/when my computer crashes.

Keep up the great work!

10 Kris Freeberg June 21, 2010 at 11:58 am


I hope this calling is working out for you, Brett.

11 John June 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Thank you so much. You have clearly “brought to light” these awful fears (that we subliminally know are there) that seem to masterfully hinder our progression to our God given destiny.
By exposing them right in front of us where we can clearly see them for what they really are, you deflated and greatly reduced their power!!
Thanks for such an excellent boost forward and God bless you.
~John Rossiter~ Canada

12 Danny June 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Great series. Decided before you started the series to take a step into the unknown and your series definitely helped with the confirmation in my decision making!

13 Mato Tope June 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Fantastic article yet again, Brett and Kate. Truly inspirational.

The Gospel of Thomas, although controversial, I think carries more credence by NOT being tampered with by the Church. It is a great piece of scripture in its own right. It mirrors a lot of the accepted teachings of Christ but has a more mystic/spiritual slant which fits in well with the Gnostic tradition.

Brett and Kate’s piece can be summed up theologically as well; Seek the truth and the truth will set you free. By being absolutely honest with oneself, these obstacles will be seen and once seen can then be overcome.

Well done AoM.

14 Eliot Tedcastle June 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Good post. I’ve been dipping into a possible calling lately which has a fairly great probability of monetary reward (ita est, I can make money with it). But I foresee a certain amount of drudgery and dullness, which will unfortunately coincide with all good labour until Christ comes back and makes all things new and better (including the ability to do one’s calling; incidentally, heaven isn’t going to be clouds and harps and a dull existence, but rather the upgraded version of earth with all the kinks worked out: Creation 2.1, if you will). Until that most joyful of days, I’ll practice my vocation as well as this fallen body allows.

Other things that I’ve noticed can get in the way of doing one’s vocation is doing what the Bible calls Sin. One rarely touched-on reason sin is forbidden by God is, I think, because sin gets in the way of doing what we are called to do; it’s difficult to steward the earth and one’s abilities (to do one’s vocation) if one is addicted to alcohol or drugs or sex or surfing the internet or video-games or entertainment or good reputation or anything. Sin is just not practical for following one’s calling (like that ever stops anyone, including me).

Oh, and using the so-called Gospel of Thomas was in rather poor taste.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Eliot Tedcastle

15 Thomas White June 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

Bravo Brett & Kate!

For one who has been struggling with his true vocation for the past 10 years, this series is truly encouraging. I think I stand as one afraid to find out he /can’t/ make it once there… But that’s what this article helps with. Thanks again!

16 Core June 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

While this has been a great series…

I am honestly more confounded than ever. I think its because I lack the balls figuratively speaking. And I am not sure how to get them back.

I have heard it said that depressed people have the most realistic grasp on reality. . .

I know I am being random… but I was looking up there at the JohnyCupcake shirts.. and how that guy got started.

I was like “Wow, this is amazing!” I am glad for the guy… but at the same time I am like… “How the hell is that brand even popular?” I mean seriously… Maybe its just the whole experience really is what carries it. I know he had some interesting marketing moves. But I guess most of all he’s just down to earth in how he does things.

Yeah… Well gotta get back to my job (just at broke)

17 MCH June 24, 2010 at 3:16 am

Thank you Brett and Kate for your postings on this important life topic! It helped made concrete my decision to become a physician and a clinical medical professor.

I’d been diligently searching for my life’s calling for almost a year while working at a job I once idealized in my mind. I traveled up and down the US, had personal Q&As with seasoned professionals in their respective occupations, met with deans of professional schools, and talked with grad students about their choice of studies.

I was starting to seriously doubt that life can be enjoyable, and began giving up on it, too.

Guess how I figured out what I was called to do? When I was going about doing what I enjoyed… I was mentoring a distance relative into the most selective college in my state. Based on my research and insight, I counseled him into a major that is a nationally renowned program for consistently sending its students into the top Ph.D. programs.

After advising him about academics and college life for a couple of months, and then seeing my efforts resulted in him getting admitted into that college, that particular program, and also getting an annual scholarship of $45,000, made me realized that teaching/mentoring/advising was one of my “birthright gifts,” along with my academic strengths, and helping/assisting/seeing sick people to heal and grow healthier was my passion.

At first I wanted to avoid going into medicine, like the plague; seriously, it’s another 8-10 years of my life, I’m kind of old to start school again, and our entire health care system is a political issue now. Well, it kept on tugging at me, so now I’ll enjoy the journey, and nothing’s going to stop me!

18 Jay June 25, 2010 at 7:36 am

“Attempting to replace one calling with another because you don’t like it, your parents don’t like it, it doesn’t earn enough money or prestige. Pretty self-explanatory.”
I wish this part of the post had been explored further. For me it isn’t self explanatory. One of the things I struggle with is that I don’t particularly care for my calling; so the part about replacing one calling with another because you don’t like it really jumped out at me. If pursuit of our calling is supposed to make us the most fulfilled, won’t that conflict if we don’t like the calling to begin with? What’s the point of screwing up the courage to leave what may be a comfortable place that you don’t particularly like, just to sacrafice and work even harder to get to a place you don’t like?

19 Jack Skysail June 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Well written! Just one question pop in my mind. How do i pay my expanses during i follow the te quest?
whatever dream or calling one meight follow it will not bring immediately 2 0r 3000 bucks per month. at times even not 10% of this amount. how does one pay living expanses, fuel, insurance, medicine etc.? sure if one is going to walk on new paths it is allways a risk, but how a man can risk his family?
…….advices welcome!!!

20 tushar July 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

awesome website. Im hooked.

21 Shivank Gandhi July 11, 2010 at 11:06 am

In the highest order I thank you for this wonderful enlightenment.

Best Regards,
Shivank Gandhi

22 Matt July 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

Great article guys and very relevant to me.

I was never a person who had a concrete idea about my future job. No dreams of flying fighter jets, landing on the moon or being a professional sportsman. As such I’ve always drifted from one job to another searching for something I can really enjoy getting my teeth into, but all to no avail. All of my old friends live seemingly happy lives; career, marriage, kids, house, financial security, etc., and this often made me feel like a bit of a failure and that my life lacked direction. I certainly don’t consider myself to be without talent, but it’s taken a long time to discover what those talents are and the areas in which they would be best utilised. I have creativity and enthusiasm (from my father), and compassion and altruism (from my mother). Mixing these ingredients with the fact that I’m passionate about helping people gives me a long list of vocations that could work for me.

The final part of the article gives the analogy of a compass to describe how you can start making the necessary changes in your life. I’ve taken that on board and, as well as working full-time, I’ve now begun volunteering part-time with a local charity, and it’s fantastic! I’d like to get involved more in the fund-raising side of things eventually because I think I’d be good at it, but I’m taking things slowly for now and I’ll see where it takes me.

This series of articles has made me think of everything in a different way. Life is like a cake, and other people judge it on how it looks, how it tastes and on how well you followed ‘the recipe’. The important thing to remember is; if you enjoyed the process, regardless of the appearance and taste of the end product, forgetting the fact that the kitchen looks like a bomb’s hit it and you’re covered from head to toe with flour, do you really care about the critics?

Life = Cake (Who’d've thunk it? Never say no to it and always lick your lips)


23 Joe Wilner July 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

Great post! It’s so very true, we are able to feel our calling reaching for us in moments of passion. Though it’s so easy to rationalize all the reasons we shouldn’t do something. We must to listen our emotional connection with certain activities. There is a way to make a living doing nearly anything, and we can work toward designing our lives.

24 kush sharma July 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I’ve read various books , articles , blogs etc regarding this topic and i can , without the slightest hesitation , say that this is by far the best one available on any kind of medium.Really really inspring and most of the points are very practical too.

I’m still not sure what my vocation is but Sports commentary is the closest it gets. I’m happy that at 23 , i’ve realised what this concept means and how important it is.I rather suffer a quarter life crisis than a mid-life one.

Thanks once again.

25 Timothy August 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

This website is awesome. I’ve been self help reading for the last 15 years without figuring out as much as I have learned in the 2 weeks that I have been coming to this website. Thank you so very much. I will be recommending this site to all the men I know.

26 William August 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Thank you, sir, for writing this series. It is just the sort of thing I am searching for, and what has been on my mind since I refused to stay in an environment of mediocrity.
You are correct. It is easy to find what one does not want to do, but not so easy to find what one longs to do.

27 Xena December 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Fantastic article. I found my vocation by the fith part, I found the part about how to listen to your soul and the unique effects that fear has on your discovery of finding your calling because the discovery of my vocation wasn’t surprising, but after years of soul searching it was this article that helped me find it. Thank you so much, especially considering how sceptical I was having read so many guides to finding your calling/passion etc. Thanks!

28 Kurt February 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Thanks for a well-written, informative, and meaty series of articles. I feel fortunate enough to have figured out my vocation in time to work on it in my 20s (ties in with today’s post.) I don’t know how I did that; maybe I just intuitively listened to myself more than some others. Thanks for helping other men figure out where they should be going and what they feel like they should be doing. Everybody was made to do something, and life is better when you find your work — what you were made to do.

29 Doug April 18, 2013 at 6:05 am

How do you pay the bills while finding your vocation? I’m totally in the wrong place – but it pays the bills………….. for now.

30 PJ June 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I think this and the other articles I have read on this site are well-researched, excellently written and, for the most part, good advice in general. Keep up the good work.

However, in the interests of balance, I have to take issue with the idea that “finding your vocation” and “following your passion” is universally good advice. It may work for some (and good luck to them), but for many it is a recipe for long-term unhappiness and wasted years. Putting all your eggs in the one basket of your “vocation” can also ruin your chances of a long-term relationship; women want security, not someone who’s trying to “find himself”. Many people struggle away at their “vocation” for 15 years or more, and then only realise in their 40s that they’re still broke and going nowhere, and far more depressed than if they had just been doing some boring job which at least would have earned them decent money. I know many people like this, and they really regret all this “following your dream” stuff, because they now hate the things they once enjoyed.

In many cases, it is far better to reflect on the fact that, compared to people of former times, most in the western world live like kings (gods even) and to count your blessings. Not everyone gets chance to find their “vocation”, and it can be incredibly depressing to be told that you should be able to, and that you are somehow not fulfilling your potential as a human being just because what you do for money is mundane and not using your talents. When I worked in a factory, I didn’t meet a single person there who considered it their “vocation”, let me assure you, but that’s life for a lot of people.

Finding an outlet for your interests and abilities, on the other hand, is something anyone can do. A small number get the chance (and luck) to make this their occupation as well, but those who cannot should not be made to feel like they have somehow failed in life. The world does not revolve around YOU, life is NOT all about “self-actualisation”, no matter what certain academics (such as Maslow and Rogers) might say from the comfortable surroundings of their ivory tower. A huge amount of life (and being a MAN) is duty and sacrifice, NOT doing the things you want to do. Learning to deal with this is a surer way to be happy than thinking you ought to get what you want.

31 Craig June 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thanks for the series. I found my vocation, and your post helped me to embrace it instead of running away.

32 Cat July 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Interesting series. I’m having a mid-life crisis (although it’s been going on for about 35 years) over how to earn money while remaining true to myself on a number of different levels. I’ve had a really difficult time finding jobs I care to keep.

I found your use of percentages to be especially illuminating. Quantifying how much a job reflects my calling has clarified my departure from past jobs that seemed like great opportunities – for someone – but made me miserable.

It’s been dawning on me recently that I really don’t like the work I fell into by chance years ago, except indirectly (when it’s in support of causes I care passionately about). Applying the percentage test when I consider a position will help me more realistically assess whether I can be happy in it.

Note that I am not male, and I see nothing whatsoever about the situations or insights in this series that applies only to men. Vocation as an expression of identity is a human issue, not a masculine one.

33 Thomas July 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

Ive recently discovered AOM good reads, this one though needs another part, one that I wish you would delve into I myself and I’m sure there are others like me that know what type of vocation would being them joy and peace and are 100% willing to do anything (within our morals) to make it happen but the tangible stuff u briefly touched on truly is the problem. Lack of time and resource mostly the monetary kind and financial obligation are what holds us back. Any advice on over coming those obstacles would be great. Thanks again for your time and contribution through shared knowledge.

34 Savio Lodh December 6, 2013 at 4:15 am

Thank You for writing this series on finding vocations and the ‘calling’. I’m 17 and I really needed something like this. Considering joining the priesthood myself, this helped a lot.

35 Shinken January 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Eliot Tedcastle, and other Gospel of Thomas haters,

I have done a fair amount of research and writing on Gnostic traditions and the writings associated with it, and I have heard Elaine Pagels (one of the foremost scholars of Gnosticism) talk on the subject. As a young man raised in the Christian Church and educated in a Christian School, I must say it was the Gnostic texts that allowed me to reach an understanding of Jesus and the message he shared. The Gnostics were more democratic and inclusive than the brand of Christianity that emanated from the Catholic Church. It is neither judgmental or fear-based. For me, I was traumatized by the guilt of Christianity and the thought that I may go to hell if I don’t harass abortion clinics or condemn Muslims and Buddhists to hell. Is it really dangerous to read about Buddha or hang out with non-Christians? Now, I must say here that I find the Bible fascinating and inspiring, and I do not think all Christians are judgmental. But in my experience growing up in the CRC, we were taught to suspect and even fear those who don’t believe because they may corrupt us. What a load of crap.

The Jesus that emerges in the Gnostic texts is not the Jesus that the Church has created.

I laughed out loud at the comment about the quote being ‘questionably ascribed to Jesus’, as if the quotes in the Biblical Gospels (printed in red, and written hundreds of years after Jesus’ death) are journalistically sound, undoubtedly exact quotes of J.C. A good test of Christian authenticity is: am I using the authority of the Church or the Bible to judge others who are authentically searching for truth?

Anyway, I loved the post and I love the website.

36 Gary February 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Beautifully written. I read the series straight through I love the idea’s presented.

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