Calling in Today’s World: Multifaith Perspectives

Panel Discussion at St. Olaf College

Date & Time:

Friday, September 30, 2016
3:15 PM - 2:41 PM
Friday, September 30, 2016, 3:15 pm


free and open to the public


Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN

What does a Buddhist think about calling? Does a Jew have a similar sense of vocation as a Christian? Do people besides Christians have a sense of calling? While most religious traditions do not share the same notion of calling as Christians, they do, in fact, have surprisingly similar concepts and practices.

In a new book, Calling in Today’s World: Voices from Eight Faith Perspectives, experts representing Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist, secular humanist, and Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions explore how callings are experienced and lived within their communities of faith. This ground-breaking volume offers key texts, stories, persons, concepts, and discernment practices that exemplify each tradition’s view of vocation as well as how modern life poses both difficulties and opportunities for living out a sense of calling. 

As the United States becomes more religiously diverse, members of faith communities meet every day in college classes, work places, neighborhoods, volunteer organizations, and efforts for social change. If people of faith want to live and work together for the common good, understanding each other’s values and beliefs is imperative. Learning how others experience a sense of calling and live with meaning and purpose can enliven and deepen connections across communities

The three panelists for this program — representing the Daoist and Confucian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions — are contributors to Calling in Today’s World, and the moderator — a Christian — is one of the book’s editors.


  • Mark Berkson is professor and chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University. His work on Confucian and Daoist thought has appeared in numerous books and journals. His lecture series for the Great Courses, Cultivating Literacy for Religion, was released in 2012. His current project is Death, Immortality and the Afterlife: A Comparative Perspective.
  • Anantanand Rambachan is professor of religion, philosophy, and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College, specializing in the Hindu tradition and interreligious dialogue. A prolific author, his most recent book is A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-two Is Not One (SUNY Series in Religious Studies, 2015).
  • Mark Unno is associate professor and religious studies advisor in the department of philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices (Wisdom Publications, 2006) and author of Shingon Refractions: Myōe and the Mantra of Light (Wisdom Publications, 2004).


  • Douglas J. Schuurman is professor of religion at St. Olaf College, specializing in Christian ethics and theology. His most recent book is Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life (Eerdmans, 2004).

Sponsored by the Collegeville Institute, Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, Saint John’s School of Theology, and St. Olaf College

Alternative sessions of this event with varied speakers will take place on September 29, 2016, at Saint John's University and February 2, 2017, at Augsburg College.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.