Considering labor

How do we make a living without seriously compromising our beliefs?  The military-industrial complex has extensively penetrated nearly all facets of American society. Not even the universities are immune. And corporations, in their quest for ever higher short-term profits, incur other moral difficulties. Law? Medicine? And so on. Until we as Friends resolve this, we are likely to face either accelerated decline in membership or inability to maintain our testimonies, which are eroding too rapidly as it is.

Where do we turn? Retreat into farming? Farmers aren’t surviving. As the French novelist inquired more than a half-century ago: Where are the shoemakers in the Society of Friends nowadays?

Professionals, as hired guns: rootless, living by our wits: how fast can you dance, pardner?

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2 thoughts on “Considering labor

  1. I hope you will have more to say on this topic. What are the transcendent truths by which we should shape our temporal lives?
    I have just begun reading François-Xavier Bellamy’s book Demeure, which deals with the question of finding stability in a world that values change above anything else.

  2. Your comment has me thinking of how helpful those 25-word-or-less statements can be, as I saw a Mennonite pastor do lovingly in Baltimore when I was helping roll up an American flag from the rented space we were using for worship on Sundays. When questioned why the banner was being removed, Frank said simply, “We believe Christ came for all people, not just Americans.”
    That sure beat the dissertation I was about to launch into!
    High on my list of those truths would be t he old Quaker statement that Christ is both coming and come, that we can turn to his Holy Spirit and be filled and guided by it, that we need a faithful circle of discipleship (for me, the Quaker Meeting) to help us stay on track, and that the commandment to love our God wholeheartedly and then neighbor as ourselves is at the center of the faith in daily practice.
    That’s for a start. How it plays out in daily life, of course, leads to a lifetime of particulars. For some of us, it includes a refusal to bear arms or take oaths, a desire to live simply or at least simpler than our neighbors, and an expectation of honesty and kindness,
    Bob, you’re doing a pretty good job of presenting those truths on your Flatlander Faith blog. (I wish we had more Mennonites in New England, by the way, though the Amish are discovering opportunities for Anabaptist presence in Maine. Merely living out a life of faithfulness is a public witness that can challenge and influence others.)
    My blogs As Light Is Sown and Chicken Farmer I Still Love You are running more of my thinking from my Quaker point of view. One has been presenting a daybook of Scripture and reflections this year and will shift next year to an experience of reading the Bible straight-through. The other is running thoughts and queries regarding money and its related issues of time, labor, possessions, and the like, which will move from personal finance views toward the guidance from various religious traditions in the coming year. It springs from Jesus’ close examination of the coin, rather than his tossing it aside. Feel free to weigh in there.
    And keep on blogging! You have much that needs to be aired widely.

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