Monday, January 09, 2006

Ministers and Lawyers - the common coincidence

Congratulations to Karl on drawing first "blood" by making the first post. I just want to take a moment to explain that by making a blog together, we aren't trying to say that we think law and theology are two irreconcilable fields. Far from it, I would argue.

In fact, it seems that law and divinity have a common mission. Ideally, I think the practice of law is to take an "over-our-heads", largely esoteric, somewhat ethereal tradition of texts and interpretations (a.k.a. jurisprudence) and turn it into something practical in the service of regular people. In this view then, attorneys are servants of their clients, helping them to make sense of their opportunities and possibilities within the disorienting realm of the legal system. Good lawyers empower their clients.

Similarly, divinity is also, ideally, a service to PEOPLE - all people. Divinity isn't about who's more holy than you, or about how terrible we all are (though, it has become that on a disturbingly often occasion). The key question of theology and divinity is, and always should be, "How can I help you?" There are no qualifiers or conditions attached - it's not "How can I help you become who I want you to be?" Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself - this did not mean to turn your neighbors all into carbon-copies of you. It meant not to simply tolerate, but to celebrate and penetrate difference and diversity.

Ministers and priests, in this view, are people who take the bizarre and strange language and imagery throughout religious tradition and bring it down to personal, practical availability. Just like lawyers do, but with the language of the legal tradition. I feel that the calling to be a minister is probably very similar to the calling to become an attorney. Of course, Karl wouldn't call it a "calling" - a coincidental desire, perhaps.

So now we see what happens. Here's to coincidence - or God, take your pick.

By the way, I think I'll post comments on the whole "right to privacy" thing in a couple days. So keep posted!

Peace be with you.

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