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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

"The Basic Problem Of The Christians..."


Francis Schaeffer wrote in A Christian Manifesto: "The basic problem of the Christians...is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals." 

Contextualization is a way of seeing that brings greater understanding and meaning to things than the things have in themselves. For followers of Christ, ultimate contextualization is about viewing all things in the context of the greatest larger "total:" the biblical world-and-life view.

Students contextualize academic disciplines when they view them in the context of something much larger than the academic disciplines themselves. When plants are viewed in the context of a biblical world-and-life view, they take on greater meaning, significance and purpose than plants have by themselves. George Washington Carver got this. 

Airline pilots and NFL quarterbacks can contextualize their work when they view it in the context of something bigger than piloting and playing football. [Go Hawks!]

When it comes to viewing our work in the context of a biblical understanding of Creation and Humanity, we can ask questions like:

How does my work fit into God's reason for creating the material world, and all that it contains? [What is God's intention for airplanes? For football?]

Are there unseen spiritual realities working against me? [How can I appropriate the grace of God through a painful string of interceptions, and still "keep the faith?"] 

How does God's ownership of all things relate to the material blessings I enjoy? What responsibilities come with these blessings? 

How can I encourage a full release and function of God’s gifts in others through my position as a pilot, or a quarterback, or a mother or a CEO?

Am I "carrying Christ well" at work? [I may be the only "Bible" my co-workers, passengers or fans will ever read.] 

What physical, emotional or spiritual needs of others can be met through my work? How can I be an "agent of grace" when things are going wrong?

How does my work fit into my primary call to be conformed to the image of Christ? How does my work help bring this about--or hinder it? 

Rather than answer all of the questions above, try focusing on just one that interests you, and "peel the onion." Or, create your own question! As I mentioned last week, the best questions are those we ask ourselves. 

Next week we'll look at contextualization questions relating our work to the bigger picture of Moral Order and Purpose.

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4 comments:

  1. I completely agree, Christian. As a counselor, and seeing mostly Christian clients, this is exactly what I find, bits and pieces of faith and reason, patch pasted together. One very time-consuming thing we wind up having to do, is to sort through it all and add the larger context.

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  2. Dan,

    Coming from a professional counselor who has (no doubt) "seen it all," your words are particularly significant. Thanks for taking time to write.

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  3. Great reminder of things many of us should already know. Never hurts to repeat old truths in new fresh ways.
    Thanks Christian

    Josh Smith

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    1. It is so good to hear from you Josh! Thanks for checking in. Blessings on you!

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