Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sacred or secular?

"[The Church] has divided activities into the sacred and the secular. I am said to be engaged in a sacred task and my shoemaker in a secular task.

"But the religious man should not hold that distinction as valid. The religious shoemaker is as much a servant of God as the man who hands you the sacrament. He is, in fact, in God's world doing God's work for God's people for God's sake.

"Indeed, he is cooperating with God in guarding the health of his people in wet weather. He is helping God answer the prayers of his people for health. Because he is a religious shoemaker, he cannot put cardboard instead of leather into shoes. Making a good pair of shoes thoroughly is a divine service because it is a contribution to the welfare of men, and service to men is the only way of serving God.

"When we get more sense we shall ordain shoemakers, and charwomen who really come at eight in the morning and maids who do not give notice after their first rebuff from the mistress. We shall ordain bus drivers and railway men and carpenters and plumbers and so on.

"It was when Jesus had been a carpenter for twenty years and had never preached a single sermon, that the Voice said, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'

"If once we could get this idea really operating, we could 'Christianize industry', as the phrase goes and religion could unify all industry if industry could be seen to be an expression of the work of God in the world. Let the church stop talking about sacred and secular, and send into society who will live always in God whether they make soap or make sermons, whether they light a fire of coals in the grate or a fire of faith in another.

"God is not the copyright of religion, and God's ways are not to be expressed only in theological jargon, nor God's activities carried out in what is called religious work.

"As Browning says, 'All service ranks the same with God.' We shall never unify the world until we see it all to be God's world and until a man interprets his religion in terms of his own job and stops thinking that God is interested in him only if he takes a Sunday School class, or show people into their pews, or preaches sermons, or helps to run a church."

(From "Did Jesus Distinguish Between Sacred and Secular?" by Leslie D. Weatherhead, page 18)

What do you think of that?

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