Thursday, March 5, 2009

Being Classically Excellent

Sporting a Christian bumper sticker takes a lot of courage, I think, especially if, like me, you have a tendency to be impatient. That's one reason I've never bought one. 

But being a Christian writer, filmmaker, doctor, teacher, employee, or parent takes courage too. Like it or not, our work reflects on our declaration of faith. Dorothy Sayers said, "God is not served by technical incompetence; and incompetence and untruth always result when the secular vocation is treated as a thing alien to religion..."(1)

We're not called to be perfect (thank goodness!), but we are called to give Him our best (Matt. 25:14-30). We're called to excellence in all things. 

The classical model gives us the tools. We learn the language and skills of our trade; we engage with ideas and people smarter than we are; and then we have to decide how to use our expertise.

Because what can also happen is something more dangerous than neglecting excellence. We forget the great purpose we have been given. We have the missing piece, the answer to the question "why?". Our work can glorify God and invite other people to know Him. It is not empty, void, or meaningless. It is done "coram deo," before the face of God. 

It's a responsibility, to be sure, but it's also an amazing opportunity. 

Who knows? Maybe I'll even buy a Christian bumper sticker one of these days, just to remind me that the call to excellence isn't limited to the classroom. 

What about you? How does faith affect your pursuit of excellence?

Because everyday events can be classical opportunities too... 

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