Turning theology to biography

by Demi Prentiss

from Education for Ministry

The Rev. Michael Piazza is a well-known progressive clergyman, dedicated to justice particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. He posts every weekday, and recently examined the connection between our Sunday worship and our weekday lives:

What does it mean for our theology to become biography?

 

That can’t happen only when you are at church. It also must happen when you are fishing or filing. Ninety-nine percent of the ministry of the church takes place Monday through Friday in shops and offices and factories. The deep purpose of our lives must extend to every area of life, and our purpose also must extend beyond the boundary of our own lives. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said:

You ask why are we here, and I will tell you. We are here to serve. Success is not defined by the number of servants you have, but by how many people you serve.

 

According to a parable Jesus told, only a fool thinks the purpose of life is gaining more and more. This generation has certainly proven his analysis to be correct. The most certain formula for misery is to have as your only purpose for rising in the morning and working through the day to be what you can accumulate for yourself.

 

If you can summarize the purpose of your life with the words “me” and “mine,” then you have succeeded in sentencing your soul to hell. Oh, not the hell of eternal fire, but the hell of a shallow, vain, and meaningless existence. Look at the great lives that have made this a better planet:

        • What if Beethoven had just been an organist?
        • What if Edison had just been a mechanic?
        • What if Rosa Parks had just been a seamstress?
        • What if Desmond Tutu had just been a priest?
        • What if Mother Teresa had just been a nun?

Great people are those who have most enriched life for others. Isn’t it time for us to rise up to become great people?

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