by Doug Koskela
Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 136 pages
REVIEWED BY JAMES F. CUBIE
If someone in your congregation believes she has a call to ministry; if a young adult wants to know what his calling might be; if you are a Christian of many years, and understand what your vocation — your calling — is; if, after many years of working in another field, you feel called to ministry, “Calling and Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life” by Doug Koskela is the book to read. This is — simply put — a superb, short, theologically substantial take on two of our favorite Presbyterian words: calling and vocation. It’s a keeper, and should come off the shelf often. It looks like it’s just available in paperback. So laminate it.
“Calling and Clarity” will work especially well with young adults, as the author’s experience with undergraduates shines through admirably (Koskela is associate professor of theology at Seattle Pacific University and is their associate dean for undergraduate studies). This book can be put into the hands of high school graduates, college students, graduate students and graduates casting about for the next step. The singular clarity of the writing will lead the reader (even the not-so-careful reader) into the land of God’s call on our lives. Koskela has carefully prepared an excellent map of that terrain, and the order of thought in each chapter is so well-presented that we have a clear picture, not only of where we are, but where we may and must go in our lives with God. He makes the case for the importance of spiritual disciplines in discerning one’s calling and shows why we sometimes neglect what would help us most.
Throughout the book, Koskela poses questions, but never lunges for the easy resolution or dogmatic answer. Instead, he works out the biblical answer, through a running conversation with Scripture’s presentations of calling and vocation. Koskela is also conversant with all the relevant, modern literature about calling, and introduces those voices so curious readers will have a number of good sources to which they can turn, if they wish. But they don’t have to: Koskela’s book does the job, and does it well.
JAMES F. CUBIE is associate pastor for Christian formation at Leesburg Presbyterian Church in Virginia and a member of the Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington.