Friday, December 31, 2010

Incarnation in the marketplace

So I'm sitting at the SALT conference with students from Chi Alpha in the midwest.  It's always fun to go to these conference and hear how God is moving in the current college generation.  One of the  main topics of conversation here at the conference is about ministry in the marketplace.

Growing up in a pastor's family, I was immediately placed on a pedistal.  I had to act in a certain way because the church expected it.  My parents were actually much better about this than many pastor's families--I actually had a lot of freedom.  But there was always this expectation that we would act like Christians.  What it meant to act like a Christian always had to do with externals--reading the Bible, praying before meals, wearing dresses to church, not swearing, smoking, or going to movie theaters.  And there was always the expectation that pastors and their kids would be better at this than everyone else.

For some reason, the church always sets people apart to be the professional Christians.  Maybe it relieves the individuals in the pews from some of their own responsibility to act like Christ.  Maybe it's just part of being human that we want to look up to people.  Anyway, that philosophy leads to believing that only certain people are called to ministry and everyone else is meant to just be a regular person.

But we are all called to walk as ambassadors of Christ in the world.  We are all meant to be salt and light. 

I just sat around a table with a bunch of graduates from MSU who are working in various fields.  I got to listen to them reflect on their lunches with current students where they acted as "mentors" and were able to encourage students to think about how to integrate their faith with their work life.  It was incredibly refreshing to hear them talk about how they have found God and have found ways to talk about God and faith and life within their own contexts.

It's not easy.  Each profession has its own obstacles and barriers to talking and living out faith.  But when people are able to do that--when they're able to walk as the person God created them to be--it's such a beautiful and powerful thing.  We are then able to be the hands and feet of Christ--the body of Christ--in the world.  Sure, it is a lesser incarnation than the incarnation of Jesus.  But it is the only one we have right now.

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