Religion and Work

Norm was thumbing through one of his books stacked by his living room chair. Norm leaves books all over the house but usually next to his chair or on the kitchen table. It’s sloppy and reminds him of photos of eccentric men of the past. It is sort of pleasing to understand that the mess of books could be a lot worse mess. Brandy bottles. Perhaps ash trays filled with ..ashes. Norm imagines Winston Churchill’s sitting room. Brandy and cigars and books of wisdom and history. Books written with voices crying in the wilderness.

On top of one of the nearest piles was a book with a quote from Dorothy Sayers. She was a brilliant poet and novelist from Oxford that was a contemporary of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton.

Norm casually started reading about her and stumbled upon a short quote of hers about work and religion. It made Norm realize what he has been running up against for a while. Some of the short pieces and columns he has been writing, some of them published, have been critiqued as ‘too religious’ An oxymoron. A dichotomy.

Dorothy’s quotes made that issue come to life and with her usual brilliance, gave Norm inspiration to somehow write a short paragraph or two to illuminate what him his answer to critics of his writing. ‘What am I doing wrong?’ He has even been asked to tone down the ‘religious’ stuff to make it more acceptable to the commercial purveyors of tabloids and such.

Dorothy wrote strongly that a big mistake is being made to separate work and religion. The workers of our world are instructed to be nice, don’t indulge in drunken revelry and attend worship at least once a week. How can anyone who works be interested in religion that does not address 90 percent of his life? After all, the man who wrote most of the Bibles new testament was a tent maker by trade. Norm cannot imagine him, Paul, being admonished for being too ‘religious’ when he was working. It’s a bit of a stretch, but perhaps you are getting the picture.

Our constitution expresses the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion. Our faith pervades our lives and it is a big mistake of the world to ignore that. “The biggest mistake the church has made is making work and religion separated departments”a. The early church was telling Paul that the first demand his faith was putting upon him was to make really good tents. The church (meaning the people) in the first century was not filled with ceremony and rules. Revealing the faith was essential in those times, even if it meant persecution and anger from populations in the areas. Not understanding or comprehending how faith in the Messiah changed everything about people and how they related to one another. Love, not judgment. Treating everyone with love and respect. Our faith is meant to permeate every aspect of a believers life. Not being known as just a ‘good person’

Norm realizes that his faith is not separate from his work either. After ‘retiring’ from his automotive repair business, he has heard how well customers were treated by him. Quite a few times Norm was treated badly by customers. It was tempting to return the favor. Encouragement continues to highlight the strength and well being given to Norm by his faith in Jesus, King of the Universe. Religion is not mandatory and that is good and right. The choice to be shown the road of holiness is ours. That path is our life and you don’t walk it only on Sunday morning.

The title of Norm’s new book reflects this conviction. ‘A fools highway to redemption’ Life changing behavior from Attitudes to Zeal for real life, real relationships and real fulfillment. The cure for the ills of the human condition since the decision in the first farm to be our own masters. It’s very same thing I struggle with inside of me . I want to be just like God.

Freedom from the world’s ways to look and act with real love, not just affection. Real love. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.

a, Dorothy Sayers

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