August 11, 2003

Lay Christian

I'll have to keep an eye on Integrity, who promises to explore the character and mission of the lay person.

I've long struggled with how to live like a Christian as a layman and how to make a valuable contribution without falling into the pernicious world view that "you are what you produce".

I fool myself into thinking that the jobs that *really* matter are doctor, lawyer and Indian Chief clergyman. Of course I would add Alicia's midwifery, nurses, stay-at-home mom & many others. They have vocations that scream "vocation". But paper-pushers? They need not apply.

But the reason I say I "fool myself" is for at least two reasons:

1) If I were a doctor, lawyer or clergyman I have the suspicion that I would begin, slowly and inexorably, to feel my job still wasn't of enough value. My general practictioner used to basically sublet any symptoms other than the common cold to other doctors. "You got arm troubles, you go to arm doc. You got eye troubles, you go to eye doc," he'd say. His specialty was apparently knowing who to refer you to. He was on the golf course every day by two o'clock. (Hmmm...sounds pretty good...).

2) All work is valuable. I've read Pope JPII on work, and labor, by virtue of being connected to the human person, is of great value. I realize this. I just sense that back when men were making horseshoes - i.e. they had a craft - they were better off. If you've seen the beginning of the movie Seabiscuit you'll know what I'm talking about.

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