For the better part of a decade, my life ambition was to become a professor. I was confident that hard work and a few providential breaks would land me a tenure-track political science professor position. I believed that God had called me to a life in the academy, to be a witness pointing peers and students to Christ.
As someone who is involved in ministry vocationally, I have found that I have an interesting perspective on how many in the church understand the significance of work and its intersection with faith. I have encountered something of a double standard relating to the value of work for people who are in ministry positions and for believers involved in “secular professions.”
Whether we think of the image of God as being related to human beings’ unique rationality, their place as representatives of God’s reign, their potential for relationships, or their ability to make moral choices, the fact remains that the Christian faith claims each human life has great worth that cannot be dismissed and ought not to be forgotten.
As an aspiring psychologist, I was recently in a training session that taught us how to validate clients’ feelings—to show respect for their feelings, display empathy, and exhibit active listening so that they feel heard. While learning how to empathize with the feelings of others, however, I’ve also been reflecting on my own feelings, especially transitioning into my first year in a Master’s program in New York City.
The Christian church has left a profound impact on the world’s culture, at some times operating from a position of power, at others acting from the margins of society.