Ministry vs. Profession

When did it happen that ministry became a higher calling than any other profession? Somehow working for Jesus makes you a better person than stocking shelves at the grocery store or driving a bus or a crunching numbers at the bank. And don’t tell me it’s not true. When people asked where I was going to work after I graduated, every single person reacted with overwhelming enthusiasm when they learned I was going to work for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. If I said I was going to be an Assistant Editor they didn’t care too much. Oh that’s nice. But Billy Graham? Oh, Billy Graham! That’s just wonderful. Everyone did that. Apparently I’m a better person sitting behind my desk at the BGEA than I would be stocking shelves at the grocery store.

This is a serious misunderstanding of our culture. Certainly I am doing God’s work at the BGEA. But can’t I do God’s work at the grocery store? Isn’t being an example and encouragement to my fellow employees God’s work? Aren’t I ministering to everyone I come in contact with at the grocery store just as much as I’m ministering to people who read articles on BGEA web sites? How is one better than the other? Is an eye greater than the foot? We’re all part of the body, and we’re all equally important.

Why is there a Christian subculture?

Why does a Christian subculture exist? Why are there Christian bookstores and Christian magazines and Christian books and Christian music and Christian concerts and Christian clubs and Christian coffee mugs? Perhaps so a good intentioned grandmother can buy her grandson something uplifting. Nice answer, but it doesn’t justify an entire subculture.

The only decent reason for the justification of the Christian subculture I’ve been able to come up with is because we’re trying to ensure that what we are filling our minds with is good, wholesome, and pure. The easiest way to do that seems to be substitute everything we like in the mainstream culture with a sanitized, Christian version. The only other justification is mere profit, and I’m sure that’s not the reason.

The sad thing is this desire for sanitized products shows only one thing: laziness. We’re too lazy to actually test and discern what is good for our own consumption, so we let others do it. We trust a certain record label or book publisher to tell us what is Christian, then we buy anything they put their stamp of approval. Funny that evangelical Protestants do this and at the same time most of them mock Catholics for their unswerving devotion to the divine word of the pope. Protestants have simply replaced the pope with a Christian adjective that can be applied to anything.

Safety, security, laziness, profit. These are the words that justify a Christian subculture. I don’t remember Jesus calling us to any of that.


I dislike manipulation. I dislike the fact that radio stations only play one song off an album until hearing it makes you puke like some kind of Pavlov response. I dislike that sweeps month on TV features shows with the most sensational plot lines imaginable–not because they’re the best stories, but simply because they draw the most viewers. I dislike industries that exist solely to make a buck off people. Often times people are good at hiding their money making behind good intentions, but sometimes it just can’t be hidden. It’s most obvious on teen web sites that are surfer driven and don’t have any actual content. Low maintenance and high profit. But do they care about teens? Only the ones with money. I dislike people who tell me I have to like or not like something because of an association with the “adjective” Christian. I dislike cigarette ads that tell me not to smoke. I dislike beer ads that tell me not to drink and drive. Why do you advertise and sell your product and then tell me not to use it? I dislike magazines and TV shows with near-anorexic girls that don’t look anything like the real girls I grew up with, or even the real anorexic girls I grew up with. I dislike a society that tells me sex is supposed to be a certain way. You’d think they got their information from a junior high bathroom.

We could use a little light.

That’s what they all say. Conversations like brick walls. High and thick and fake. Nod your head and smile. You don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, and if you did you wouldn’t care.

Daydreaming through sermons like elementary children. Drawing pictures to keep from nodding off. Cancer cells expanding, but you’re too aloof. People hurting, people dying, people lying–people charging people buying, people accessorising. People laughing, people dancing, people singing. People shooting, people looting, people standing silent. People in love, people in lust, people in liquor. People judging, people blaming, people misbehaving. People distancing, people ignoring, people saying it’s not my problem.

Somewhere someone is walking alone down a long, dark corridor wondering when they’ll see the light. Someone should show them. Won’t someone, anyone show them? But we’re all too preoccupied, finding our own light, losing our own light, watching to see how others find the light. But we’re just students in a cafeteria, trying to fit other people’s notions of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s love and what’s hate, what’s black and what’s white, what’s poor and what’s rich, what’s cool and what’s lame, what’s real and what’s fake, what’s true and what’s false, what’s good and what’s bad, what’s worth dying for and what’s worth living for.

And sometimes it just gets too late and the answers don’t come and you have to drift off to sleep, pulling the covers tighter and wishing you had the answers to a million questions and a million problems and a million lives broken from a world of pain.

We could all use a little light.