A meritocracy insists that a person’s sense of identity and value is grounded in his or her own performance or action. For Christians, however, being is a divine gift. Thus, identity and value are determined by divine action, not by personal effort. If we rest in this divine action, we can withdraw from competing identities and from the perpetual and exhausting demands of ambition. But meritocratic values And their attendant anxiety have spread, in part, because the notion of vocation has all but disappeared from public consciousness. How might we recapture a sense of vocation? T. S. Eliot offers a case in point. His play, The Confidential Clerk, depicts a young man who must choose one of two paths: meritocratic success or vocation. God’s calling on our lives may not align with what society tells us is successful. However, we are responsible to be only what God has called us to be, whether that is a person leading a large business or a musician playing at a local nursing home. Our vocation should lead us to a deeper relationship with our Creator. If we are in Him, we will never be second-rate.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Stephen Mitchell about his article in the 43:1 Journal “Second-Rate Musician:Vocation and Performance in T. S. Eliot’s The Confidential Clerk “.

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