Called or Not Called


The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, had a cherished saying carved above the doorway of his house in Kusnacht, Switzerland.  In Latin it read “VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS DEUS ADERIT” — which is, “Called or not called, God is there.” (Jung learned the phrase from the Renaissance scholar, Erasmus.)

This saying takes on new life in this three-part gospel anthem, with a groove and melody that pull the listener in, from the first moment.  An optional descant for a soloist adds variety as the song cycles through several verses.  With an accessible gospel piano accompaniment.

A licensed copy is required for each member performing.



Called or not called, God is there…
The hand of the Maker is everywhere

In my life as a songwriter, I’ve noticed a strange pattern relating to the appeal of a song and the manner of its inspiration.  Often, the more universally “connecting” a song is, the more “out of the blue” its origin.  Such was certainly the case with “Called or Not Called.”  Who knows what thoughts led to my sudden singing of it at the piano one summer night.  Ryan Harrison was nearby, and he joined right in — we must have sung it straight for 20 or even 30 minutes — it was really easy to get really into!  He eventually started riffing on some great descant material, as I kept at the repeating refrain.  “Called or not called….Seen or unseen…..Known or unknown….” It was easy to add verses.

Elated, we decided that ice cream was in order (actually frozen yogurt).  We drove off to 21 Choices, and happened to sit down near a very gregarious middle-aged woman wearing a teddy bear sweatshirt.  She struck up a conversation with us, or maybe happened to hear us mention our dog, Meeko, and, unable to restrain herself, jumped right in.  “She sounds so cute!” she said.  “I’m crying inside.”  We learned very quickly what a character our new friend, Lois Greenbaum, was.  We asked her more about herself, and she said that at the moment she was working as a reporter for the local newspaper, but formerly had been a location scout for gangsta rap movies (or videos?)  We weren’t sure what to make of that, as her chosen apparel didn’t seem to match that line of work at all, but anything seemed possible on a night like this, when songs on a cherished inscription of a Swiss psychologist came out of nowhere, and propelled us toward frozen yogurt and one Lois Greenbaum.

I can never sing this song now without thinking of the one-and-only Lois Greenbaum, who is doing her Maker proud, being her exact self.  And I think that Lois somehow points to the deeper meanings that lie hidden in Jung’s saying; he put it above his doorway to remind himself and his patients that the “unknown visitor” — as in myths — is often a god, disguised.  One never knows just who, or Who, is passing one’s threshold.

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SAB piano

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