The most recent episode of NetVUE’s podcast series Callings features a conversation with scholar, writer, and speaker Deanna Thompson. She serves as the Martin E. Marty Regents Chair of Religion and the Academy at St. Olaf College, where she also directs the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community. In this conversation with hosts Erin VanLaningham and John Barton, she shares her passion to talk about “the vocations we don’t choose”—the place, she says, “where a lot of us live.”
Deanna’s journey with incurable cancer informs her many roles. She addresses the trauma that can be caused by the kind of “suffering that just is” and suggests that our vocational frameworks might better “integrate sadness” instead of seeking to “eliminate or overcome it.” Her most recent book, Glimpsing Resurrection: Trauma, Cancer, and Ministry (2018), uses research on illness-related trauma to explore the Christian story and help those who have experienced serious illness to catch a glimpse of resurrection.
She also writes, teaches, and speaks about white privilege and structural racism in American Christianity as part of her “responsibility” as a white Lutheran theologian. What does “racialized violence” mean for each of us, she asks, “when this is the context in which we’re called to live out our vocations?”
Throughout this conversation, Deanna offers an expansive view of the world that encompasses digital platforms, interfaith friendships, and an acceptance of the “this” without desiring the “that.”
Click here to listen to the episode featuring Deanna Thompson titled “Callings We Don’t Choose.”
Stephanie L. Johnson is the editor of Vocation Matters.