jobs and individual responsibility

there are two parts to this entry (from two weeks prior to September 3, 2005 2:32:07 PM):

a: I am as of tomorrow going to have a full-time job at Fuller, I will be the new textbook buyer at the bookstore where I have been working over the summer. I am really excited to have this opportunity to work full-time, earn my own keep and save up money for the next step of the education process (PhD) . This is a good opportunity for me. I am scarred and know that this is going to be a lot of a lot of work.

b. i ran into a guy at the store the other day who said that “Jesus Doesn’t care whether I drive a Mercedes or not, what he really cares about is what is in my heart.” I couldn’t disagree more. The problem with this view is that it assumes everything that matters to God, is individuality, what I choose for myself and how it affects others is not so much a big deal so long as “my heart is in the right place.” this line of thinking is kaka-poo. this is heretical teaching, the holiness movement at its finest. Let me tell you what God cares about, he cares about those who consider their actions as a part of the whole, the human responsibility to his or her fellow humans shows what is in the heart ultimately. if we begin with our individual motives within the heart as the foundation for ethical decisions then all our ethics become subjective, and self-authenticating (meaning no one else can call into question my own acts). This is not Christianity but some perverted form of it. all ethics are formed within the church, the community of people who have placed Jesus Christ as their head, and seek to interpret the Spirit and Scriptures, their past and future together. Therefore MY ethics effect everyone around me, and matter to everyone around, and are formed by everyone around me (I am a part of the process but am not alone in the process). Thus the starting point should be – how do my decisions stand up against the community of believers – is my ethic sustainable for all Christians? For all people? Do my ethics challenge me to limit myself, seek simplicity, and self-lessness? Or is my own personal situation exempt from my ethics? Can others judge my ethics, or have a I set up a system where they cannot be called into question by the interpreting community?

Let these questions be a point of conversation for all of us.

Published by

Wess

…is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a “released minister” at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

One thought on “jobs and individual responsibility”

  1. I think this is why Quakers have traditionally had a variety of tests of a leading: Is this leading congruent with what I already know of God in my heart? Is this congruent with the traditions of Friends? Is this congruent with Scripture? Is this congruent with the leadings of Friends in my gathered worshiping community?

    And why none of these tests is to be used alone.

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