The Journey of a Lifetime

Called is the heart-breaking, humorous, and refreshingly honest account of one twenty-something's adventure of learning what it means to be called--an adventure that took him to England, C. S. Lewis's house, and back again--and why it was only in the reality of his worst nightmare that he learned what it means to be called by the living God.

Through a series of personal anecdotes, illuminating conversations, and candid reflections, Called will encourage readers to realize God has entered into our story, calling out anew each day with the words, ''Follow me,'' leaving you to ask, Will I be obedient to the calling set before me?


Called is a book about Calling, C. S. Lewis, &  Finding Jesus

Pursuing a Calling

What would it be like to leave home, career, and community to pursue a calling? Would it be as incredible as you've imagined? As scary as you fear? Called is an honest account of the inevitable peaks and valleys of pursuing a calling.

C. S. Lewis & Oxford

Inspired by C. S. Lewis's writing, and filled with Lewis quotes and stories from those who knew and loved him, Called is set in historic Oxford, England, and the Kilns:
C. S. Lewis's home for
most of his adult life.


Christian Calling

What does it mean for a Christian to be called? Does it mean following your dreams? Using your God-given talents? Simply doing the work before you? Or something different entirely? Called attempts to reclaim the uniquely Christian understanding of calling.


"Christ is most visible to the world in the person who responds to his call of 'Come, follow me.'"
―Stanley Hauerwas

Book Excerpts



An Unexpected Journey



"You would completely misunderstand all I’m about to tell you if you didn’t first know that studying theology at Oxford represents the complete opposite of everything I ever wanted growing up. If someone had told me when I was in high school that I’d one day leave a great job and move to England to study theology, I would have said they were crazy. That is, after I asked what 'theology' is." . . .

• • •

"At twenty-five, I found myself saying good-bye to the kind of career I’d dreamed of as a young boy worrying about things like rent and grocery bills and whether we’d stay in this house for more than a couple years. I was, of course, still the same little boy inside, lusting after a career that promised security for my family. And having no promise of security on the other side of this move scared me. Leaving a great job to go after what I believed God was calling me to felt irresponsible.

So I left my job with a cardboard bankers box in my hands and tears in my eyes, unsure of where this journey would lead us, but confident that this first step was the right one. Short of a calling that somehow came from beyond the two of us, there was no way Jen or I would have ever considered leaving behind all the comforts we enjoyed. We said good-bye to the only friends and family we had ever known, and I found myself sitting in an airport staring out at the tarmac waiting to board my flight to England. And it was there, waiting on this side of the Atlantic, that I found myself thinking, This is going to change the rest of our lives. . . . What in the world have I done?


Download the Introduction and first chapter of Called:

What Others Are Saying

“Ryan perfectly captures the roller coaster of mixed emotions you really experience when you dare to answer one of God’s big questions for your life, ‘What if?’ There’s an adventure hidden in this book and one inside you too. Read Ryan’s words to find both.”

Jon Acuff
New York Times Bestselling author of Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average & Do Work that Matters


"With a poignant and unflinching voice, Ryan Pemberton brings a fresh perspective to the winding and often complex journey of faith. His writing brings to mind the work of Donald Miller, mixed with the vulnerability of my favorite stories from NPR’s “This American Life.” Pemberton is a thinking Christian who does not shy away from thought provoking questions about faith. He is a writer to watch and I eagerly await his next work. Quietly powerful and inspiring, Called: My Journey To C.S. Lewis's House and Back Again is a memoir that is not to be missed."

Michael Morris
Author of Man in the Blue MoonSlow Way Home and A Place Called Wiregrass


"In this finely written memoir Ryan Pemberton takes us into the halls and streets and stories of magical, historic Oxford, and into the life and home of its renowned thinker-poet C. S. Lewis. As we follow Ryan on his quest to find what it means to be called, with all the excitement and doubt and second-guessing that entails, we are the ones who make the discovery that in the end, calling isn't so much about a grand task or an exciting journey, but about listening, trust and deep surrender."

Sheridan Voysey
Writer, speaker, broadcaster, and author of Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings


"Like David the young Psalmist, Ryan knows how to write and has something to say. Intelligent, personal and refreshingly honest, Ryan’s warm heart, active mind and hungry soul shine through on every page, illuminating what is often a dimly lit path towards knowing and doing God’s will. A worthy read."

Dick Staub
Author, broadcaster, founder of The Kindlings Muse, and country parson on Orcas Island


“I cannot think of a memoir I have related to more than Ryan Pemberton’s Called. It’s a book I could not put down, not only because I have deep fondness for Lewis and Oxford but also because I sympathize with the unpredictable rhythms of life and calling that Ryan so eloquently captures. Calling unfurls itself more often as a twisty roller coaster than a smooth, open road.

With honesty, passion and Narnia-like wonder, Ryan shows us in Called how beautifully thrilling the ride can be.”

Brett McCracken
Author of Gray Matters and Hipster Christianity


"Oxford. C.S. Lewis. Living at the Kilns. An aspiring writer. A young marriage. A life of faith. These are the ingredients of what proved to be a most enjoyable memoir. Ryan Pemberton takes you right into Oxford's stately halls, he opens up doors to occasional C. S. Lewis tidbits that even many seasoned scholars haven't seen, and he weaves a tale of faith, love, hope and life to create a delightful and entertaining journey."

Gary Thomas
Author of Sacred Marriage and A Lifelong Love


Called is beautiful and heart wrenching. It’s a breath of fresh air for the generations raised to equate divine calling with radical adventure. Pemberton offers a rare invitation to slow down, recognize our humanity, and rely on God’s faithfulness. He could be the genuine radical of the 20-somethings. Readers will appreciate his honesty as he tells the story of living in the home of his hero, C.S. Lewis where he learned a profound lesson—that our calling is to trust God’s persistent love, and that it is through the painful stutter-steps of life, we hear Jesus say, ‘Follow me.’”

Laura Anderson Kurk, MA
Author of Glass Girl and Perfect Glass


“Calling is complex and few have unraveled it as well as Pemberton. Called is an impassioned testimony that shows what it means to follow Jesus—it’s inspiring, witty, honest, and brave. Pemberton will help you change your life for the better.”

John D. Barry
CEO of Jesus’ Economy, editor of Faithlife Study Bible, and author


"I must confess that when Ryan first told me about his experience in the land of Lewis, I was more than a bit jealous. But as I started reading Called, that jealously quickly began to disappear. Ryan’s writing is so vivid and so immersive that I felt like I was right there with him in England, enjoying magical dinners at the Kilns and roaming through the hallowed halls of Oxford University. 

For anyone who has ever dreamed of walking in the footsteps of C. S. Lewis, but has been unable to make the voyage across the pond, this book is an absolute must read."

Zack Hunt
Blogger at The American Jesus

Order Called

Available from Leafwood Publishers at your local bookstore and online. 

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Thank you

Hey there,

Thanks so much for your interest in Called. This is my first book so, you know, it's kind of a big deal to me.

If you get a chance to check it out, drop me a line. I'd love to hear what you think. If I'm ever in your area, come on out. I'd love to thank you in person. Oh, and if you want to tell others about Called, that would be the biggest compliment you could give. Thanks!