A Queer Vocation: Growing into Power

Mark J Suriano, Fordham University


We mark our lives with periods of transition that occur at regular intervals. For people who have attended college or graduate school, moving away from academia and into the job market might be one such transition period. For those approaching retirement, a similar transition occurs as we look backward at what we have accomplished and valued in adulthood and what may happen in the future. The religious language of vocation, if understood as the broad sense of purpose a person establishes for their life, can carry a person through these transitional periods. Vocation can be understood broadly but is exercised in context. The project draws out foundational elements of self-understanding by drawing on the narrative theological framework of journal writing, parts of the apophatic tradition within Christianity, and aspects of Queer theology. It frames them as essential to my vocational awareness. The basis for this project is my life, values, experiences, and struggles, which form both the text and the context for considering who I am as I complete a long period of ministry within the Christian church and transition to ministry in retirement. Aspects of the Christian apophatic tradition and Queer theology utilize the erotic language of desire to express the unfinished nature of our life in God. To live in desire is to yearn for something more, to stretch for the radical love that simultaneously reaches for us. Embracing the notion of desire is incarnate, or embodied, way of seeking both personal wholeness and union with the divine, who consistently exceeds our ultimate grasp but is well within our sight. Desire, eros, and fulfillment are constantly at play as we progress through the different periods of life, in particular times of transition.

Subject Area

Spirituality|LGBTQ studies|Religion

Recommended Citation

Suriano, Mark J, "A Queer Vocation: Growing into Power" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30245023.