Here’s one that’s been on my mind lately — I think because it’s fall now and fall always makes me think longingly of England. Probably because England seems to have perpetually fallish weather. It first appeared on the blog on May 27, 2015. I remember the easy feeling I had sinking into Ryan Pemberton’s words, even as they challenged me, as well as my fascination with his journey that was at once poignantly personal and deeply universal.}
About this book: Called is the heart-breaking, humorous, and refreshingly honest account of one twenty-something’s adventure of learning what it means to be called by God-an adventure that took him to England, C. S. Lewis’s house, and back again–and why it was only in the reality of his worst nightmare that he learned what it means to be called.
Through a series of personal anecdotes, illuminating conversations, and candid reflections, Called brings you face-to-face not only with the world of C. S. Lewis, but also with the very real peaks and valleys of pursuing a calling. Seeking to reclaim the uniquely Christian sense of calling, Pemberton shows that God’s call cannot be reduced to one’s dreams, skills, or passions, vividly and powerfully illustrating how Christ turns ideas of failure and success on their head. Called will encourage you to realize God has entered into your story, calling out to you anew each day with the words, ”Follow me,” leaving you to ask, Will I be obedient to the calling set before me?
About the author: (excerpted from his website) Ryan J. Pemberton left a successful career in marketing and public relations to write about life and faith and God. He has degrees in theology from Duke Divinity School and Oxford University, where he lived in C. S. Lewis’s former home, served as President of the Oxford University C. S. Lewis Society, and co-founded the Oxford Open Forum, an inter-religious dialogue group. Ryan has written for Image Journal, Duke University Chapel, Bible Study Magazine, and Relevant magazine. He serves on the Board of Directors for Jesus’ Economy, an international non-profit organization that creates jobs and churches in the developing world.
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Living/Memoir
Why I read this book: Have I mentioned my love of (almost) all things British? How about my penchant for C.S. Lewis? And my fixation on *story*? Need I say more?
Will especially appeal to… C.S. Lewis fans, naturally, but also to all–especially millennials–who long to follow their calling.
This story matters because… of the way it may illuminate your own. To read it is to be challenged, inspired, encouraged; it is to be changed.Flashback fave: #CALLED @ryanjpemberton Click To Tweet
My take: It didn’t take much to persuade me to love this book. It is, after all, a story with one of my favorite writers at its heart. A story about story. And about calling, faith, doubt, fear, heartache, and–ultimately–understanding and triumph.
Ryan Pemberton’s voice is authentic and deeply personal. After reading his story, you will most likely feel as if–were you fortunate enough to meet him at a party–you could dispense with the small talk and jump immediately into issues that really matter.
Reading Ryan’s book I encountered so many aha moments, I cannot begin to enumerate them here. I was quite tempted, in fact, index this book in the manner C.S. Lewis once did his. There were multiple points of resonance worth noting and remembering, including ideas of beauty, the intent of true theology, the meaning and purpose of story–as well as what may happen when we lose our stories. Ryan’s thoughts are fresh, yet timeless. Truly, he is gifted at articulating that which is so hard to put into words. Clearly, he is dedicated not only to the craft but to the art of writing. And though (egads!) he hold degrees from both Oxford and Duke Divinity, Ryan is so real, so candid, and he makes his journey and his faith so relevant, that you’d never guess he is an academic.
Called will find a forever spot on my shelves. It’s a book I look forward to returning to years from now, one that I will time and again want to place in another’s hands, say, “Here. Read this.”
Thanks to the author for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Afterwords: Want more? There’s also this interview with Ryan. Another one of my faves.