Karen Swallow Prior: Called to Create

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Music. Story. Art. In what ways does our faith inform our creativity? How can we approach these genres as Christians?

We hosted the Rabbit Room Symposium in December 2021, addressing the faithful interaction of faith and the arts. We began the symposium with this lecture from Dr. Karen Swallow Prior titled “Called to Create.”

Dr. Prior serves as Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Seminary. Her books include Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books. She is co-editor of Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues and has written articles for Christianity Today, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Relevant, The Gospel Coalition, and many others.

"We are not always called to do what we’re passionate about, nor are we always passionate about what we are called to do."


  • “Merely having a passion or desire within us does not necessarily mean we will receive a call from the outside to fulfill that passion…. Passion is something inside ourselves, while calling is something that comes from the outside.”
  • “In its most literal sense, a calling is a summons from someone. A call requires both a caller and a call.”
  • “We are not always called to do what we’re passionate about…. Nor are we always passionate about what we are called to do.”
  • “Vocation is not about being able to fulfill our desires, pursue our passions, or follow our bliss. Vocation is about being called by others to serve.”
  • “We can have multiple vocations at once, and our vocations can change over time. Yet still, no one is called to do everything, or called to many things.”
  • “Creating is not the same as being famous, or being an influencer, or even just being paid to create.”
  • “No one gets to do it or have it all. All we need — and all we should want — is what God specifically calls us to.”


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Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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