The following is a letter I wrote today to a close friend who attended Florida College when I did during the mid 1990s.
Hello again Mike:
I need to elaborate more on my last letter…
Foremost, the file I sent you is a result of quickly writing out thoughts so what you have a bare bones and crude representation of what will be put into the book and it is subject to editing.
This letter will serve as additional notes for the book as well as more thought for your consideration.
As for the apparent stance on Christianity, I’m writing the book to the general public which includes unbelieving individuals. I would like to write a book especially written for Christians. The current book is not about Christianity though I found it necessary to bring up certain biblical passages as they are associated with certain implications regarding employment. The issues here are not particularly those of Christianity as it stands in its pure sense, but on people’s beliefs in what it teaches.
The book for Christians would explore what God has to say about the implications found in my current book. I thinking of using a title much like this, If A Man Will Not Work: Implications of Employment and It’s Alternatives. That’s a crude throw-together of a title, but may be a good one. The passage (along with others) would be extensively studied and their what they mean carefully considered.
The book would also serve as a back end product for the current one I am now writing.
The way I am writing my current book is very much the same way a campaign on evolution vs. divine intelligence was recently held at USF. The best way I can relate to that is like that of a chameleon. It changes its color to match the environment it is in, but it is still a chameleon. The meeting at USF was conducted very differently than it would have been in front of an audience of Bible believers. So if my treatment to Christianity appears watered down in my book, it is an answer to the respect for readers who are not religious.
Among the churches of Christ there are people who strongly feel that the passage in the Bible, “If a man shall not work neither shall he eat” means that the one ethical thing to do is to secure employment. I have not elaborated upon this fact in the file, that some people have not known anything more than securing income via employment for a multiplicity of reasons. Therefore when they see the passage, they interpret it such that this only implies going out and getting a job like you would working for a company, commuting, and all that. This brings up the fact that sometimes people are inadvertently closed-minded about other possibilities which may be acceptable alternatives to obeying commands associated with the passage.
That there are other alternatives out there for which folks can secure income is the very core of why my book now exists though still under development.
Other issues that come up as a result of beliefs of what the Bible says are such notions that it is unethical to dream (because this is considered childish) and that poverty is a virtue. I’m now paraphrasing but Paul says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) When talking about my aspirations to some bretheren, I’ve had this passage thrown in my face as if my discourse on pursuing dreams and imagining is an immature thing to do.
I would add that, unlike ancient Greek educational systems, imagination does not come into as high a priority in today’s educational systems and I say that to its shame. One only need to look at the curriculum of most school systems and how budgets affect it.
Yet another issue comes up when others tell me such things that it is the poor who will inherit the earth, etc. I realize priorities being out of line and poor attitude about wealth can apply here, but again, the historical implications come into play here again. Furthermore I do not believe the Bible teaches that poverty is a virtue like others claim. Even the appearance of those who attend worship testify to this fact though occasionally that poverty is virtuous is silently taught.
For people who hold such beliefs, employment perfectly fits in. You will not get rich from it, you will, in most cases, be very controlled and the ceiling of prosperity is indeed very low. For the undisciplined, it is the perfect answer to controlling idleness. I have run into opposition right in the church that I’m looking at employment very negatively and that I need to change my beliefs on it. If employment keeps a soul from Hell, I recommend it. Otherwise, no.
That I dislike working for a company does not make me an undisciplined or irresponsible person. I have never fit into that kind of lifestyle very well and have been accused of not having my life right with God. I suggest that some people do not do very well being under such constraint. That the different modes of occupation in life does not necessarily take high priority in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s wrong to concern myself with it. In fact, breaking off from employment in my life would give me the withal to put out books and let them earn my money for me while I develop myself for better service to God and to humanity. I believe in letting the books work for me, thus money working for me rather than putting in vast quantities of my time working for money. It just does not fit who I am and it is only out of expedience I now am employed.
If I can prod people with my book to do the things in their lives that they aspire instead of the drudgery of doing something everyday that is mismatched with their purposes in life, I’ve accomplished what I meant to. This does not mean I’m totally against the existence of employment. I realize it has its place and not everyone has the ability or wants to assume the propositions found in my book.
There are many reasons why people believe this. It is not to say they get their beliefs from the Bible, but how they interpret it with respect to their beliefs previously formulated by others around them..
They go so far as to bind these things upon others. This is the issue here. Before the book gets released it will be carefully scrutinized to make sure what I say here is accurate. In fact, I’m attempting to show virtues that indeed come from God though the direct sources filtered so as not to turn off folks who have an aversion to the biblical view of things. In the mean time I can use biblical insight without offending them.
I appreciate the great things you have said with regard to my book. Whatever you do not agree with I’d appreciate the feedback. There may be things there that need clarification, rewritten, and downright omitted if it is indeed out of line with reality. All your thoughts are welcomed. You are the first to submit some sort of testimony about the book. I would include you in the Acknowledgments for your contributions in thought to this book.
P.S. You can see my blog at http://www.euergetes-publishing.com I am proposing a separate blog for Christian readers for the purpose of discussion on the topics I bring up. I happily say you have caused me to come up with the idea. I’m thinking of giving the domain name the title of this post.