Posted by: thebylog | May 27, 2005

Dualism and Me

There’s a wrong way of thinking that Christians often fall into. I’ve referenced it before, but stay with me for a second.

In this line of thinking, there are two sorts of Christians: the homebodies and the ministers.

The homebodies essentially live with their Christianity separated into two distinct compartments, the secular part (job, newspaper, child’s basketball game) and the sacred part (church, Christmas, praying for your aunt dying of cancer). These spheres rarely, if ever, intersect. Maybe sometime there are special revival meetings where the Christian has a little more ‘sacred’ in their life. And maybe there’s a special day where they ‘minister’ by passing out tracts. But only when they are in this ‘ministry mode’ do they force themselves out of their comfort zone just long enough to feel good about ‘ministering.’

The ministers, this philosophy says, are those God has called to “full-time Christian service.” The missionaries, the pastors, the leaders of Christian organizations, those are the ones who do the ministry.

Right now, my life is a weird combination/mish-mash of homebody/minister, which is a problem because the line between them is all wrong. In fact, this dualism shouldn’t exist in me or any other Christian.

The correct view is to eliminate this distinction altogether. The mechanical engineer and the missionary, the plumber and the preacher, they all are to be involved in ministry. There’s to be no basic difference in the purpose and enactment of their lives, though they obviously accomplish their purposes in different ways. But the key to the corrected view is that all Christians are to live ministry. It’s their life, and it doesn’t matter if they’re putting cars together, designing plastic chairs, or taking ore out of a mountain. They are not only doing their work for God, but they are ministering as well.

Ok, great. But right now, I’m struggling with living ministry. I’m stuck somewhere in spiritual dualism-land, where I’m part homebody and part minister. The two months I’m here in Waynesboro, this is supposed to be full-time Christian service. But even in this context, I find myself compartmentalizing my life. I’ll go door to door and visit an old person, but send me on an errand run to Kroger and chances are I’m looking for ways to avoid ministering to people.

The thing I fight is my heart. It views ministry in many cases as a chore instead of an opportunity. There are times that I’ve tasted the wonder of ministry, sometimes when I’m thinking about it, sometimes when I’m in the midst of it. Yet it’s something I fight.

It’s such a blessing to be around people that are examples to me in this area. I don’t think I’d have a chance at all if I wasn’t.


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