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Monday, May 25, 2009

Working hard and practically

Scott found this article in the NYTimes called " Working with your hands" :
And it gave us some satisfaction, to know that as Scott comes in soaked with sweat and grime, he's living out the new American dream . . ..
The author, Matthew Crawford. finished a PhD in political philosophy and landed a prestigious job in Washington DC. Then he realized that he was being pushed to do and say things he did not particularly believe in, and that he really loved the intellectual challenge and hands-on satisfaction of motorcycle repair. So he moved to Richmond and opened a shop, and now he's written a book called "Shop class as soulcraft: An inquiry into the value of work". He promotes the value of education designed to give people skills for serving others as plumbers and mechanics and cooks. And I think that is part of the lure of missionary medicine. A very hands-on and practical profession, we are always touching broken people and making do with what we can, sometimes with needles and scalpels, sometimes with books and articles. But because of where we live, we also end up making bread and ice cream, or cutting down trees and fixing chain-saws (read Jennifer's day and Scott's day in the last 24 hours, for example). One can spend a morning hour delving into the nature of forgiveness in the face of war, then the next milking a cow or making yoghurt. We can apply ourselves to programs for nutritional education, and then actually hand out food. I'm sure Adam and Eve had such a balance, walking with God in the Garden of knowing, then digging their hands into the soil.
So here's a plug for shop-class and soul-investment, for living fully as humans.


Barbara Elwood said...

Well said. In many ways, this hands-on life is part of our life here on the farm too. People, animals, plants, buildings all require hands-on care.

Pilgrim Family said...

I thought you guys may be interested to know that Matt is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture here at UVa. Skip Ryan is very involved there. Its a small world. You may not remember us but my husband and I met you at the Center for Christian Study years ago (you were giving a talk) and we have been following your ministry ever since. I am from Ethiopia and would love to visit someday when we are in East Africa. My parents are also good friends with the Blacks so I enjoyed reading about that visit as well. Many of my friends (including myself) went off to boarding school so I understand a bit of what you were experiencing, A number ended up at RVA. Anyway...would love to see you again but until then may the Lord continue to bless you and strengthen you.

Mary and Wilson