This blog post is what happens when you let your creative side take over and do content strategy :) My Underbelly Project which tries very hard to be secular (or at least lightly attached to my Christian faith) has a Monday Morning newsletter called 10 Wild + Precious Things. Each week is written on a theme. This week's theme is "Useless". As soon as I finished, I knew that I needed to write about it in a Christian context.
My newsletter quoted a few dear atheists I highly respect :) including Robert Evans and Iain McGilchrist. I will share the quotes here:
"Part of the reason that people with disabilities have behavioral problems, behaviors that we find challenging, is that they’re protesting the crappy lives that we offer them,” she said. ‘It’s that person’s only form of protest and it’s a critique of the life that they’re being offered.“ "It’s like there’s no greater human impulse than to be in charge of your own life. And what JRC does, to an extent beyond what any other provider in the country does, is strip people of choice and control.’” — Nancy Weiss, quoted by Robert Evans on Behind the Bastards episode 54:44 The Judge Rotenberg Center “So much of the problem here…on the whole, all the state usually wants to do…it’s a mix. They’re willing to devote more resources to the kids who will be able to work a full time job and like, ‘make a living,’ right? A lot of these kids for whatever reason aren’t going to be able to do that. They’re not going to be able to live…an economically productive life. And so the goal becomes ‘How do we warehouse these kids for he least amount of money?’ As opposed to, ‘Is there anything we can do to give them a richer life?’ — Aidan Bonacci "It’s something we’ve seen time and time again. Not just here … It’s depressing and it’s infuriating.” — Robert Evans “It is and again the villain here is the reduction of human beings to their pure economic potential.” — Robert Evans and Aidan Bonacci, Behind the Bastards, The Judge Rotenberg Center, 21:05 - 22:10 “The model we choose to use to understand something determines what we find.” ― Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
As I wrote the newsletter, I began to smile more and more broadly. This stuff is Christian, I realized. This is what Jesus is talking about, really, and also what has sometimes gotten erased from His teaching.
And, I would argue, is better with than without Him. I haven't done a proper study of this yet :) (but I feel like I should) but honestly, how often does Jesus talk about being economically productive especially in terms of how useful a life is or isn't? I think not that often...
You can certainly cherry pick verses that indicate that we should work. Certainly. But does the Christian idea of work, or "works" jibe with the capitalist idea of work?
In Jesus' model, would we measure someone by their economic utility? Perhaps, you could argue that economic, decoupled from capitalist, utility is important.
And yet, so is rest. So is care. So is self control.