Late one evening in the fall of 1985 I was reading the Gospel of John and preparing for a youth Bible study . I had volunteered to work with the youth because the position was open and my day job as a long-range production planner at a manufacturing plant did not keep my mind busy. Since I had graduated from the university the year before and had found a good job in my field I thought my wandering days were over. But I could not shake the feeling that there was something else, something more, I should be doing. The text began to glow as I read it and re-read it. Jesus was talking to his disciples about the kingdom of God, and somehow I entered into that space, captivated by the words and the message that opened up in me like a blossoming flower or like a vision I could barely describe.
It has been 25 years since that evening encounter with the call of the Gospel. I left my job and went to seminary and then to graduate school in philosophy. I became a husband, a father, a teacher and a writer, and later a member of a college community. My calling into the kingdom has brought me to a place of interaction with scholars, students, men and women from a wide variety of experiences in a wide variety of places. But somehow all these experiences have been bound together into a kind of unity, my life. I never could have guessed that evening in 1985 that I would be where I am now, doing what I am doing, and enjoying it as much as I do. And yet, when I look back on that encounter with the Gospel of John I see myself as exactly the same person. Through the Gospel I found myself, or to say it more correctly, it found me.