Confession: I was a vocational isolationist

"Reflecting on the state literature in communist Russia, Leon Trotsky said that the problem wasn't that Russia lacked enough good writers, but that there were not enough good Russian "communist" writers. In other words, few writers were so steeped in the communist world view that their literature naturally and integrally breathed communism. We could say the same thing about the body of Christ today."

- Brian Walsh, "Christian + University = ?"

I came across Brian's article many years ago and it had a memorable influence on my work. It's clear, relevant, and helpful. The primary audience is students in the university, but...but, it applies directly to anyone with a job. I mean that. Check it out and see how it connects to your situation.

According to Brian, people practice one of the following:

  1. Isolation = We separate faith from studies/work.
  2. Accommodation = We alter faith to fit studies/work.
  3. Abandonment = We replace faith with studies/work.
  4. Integration = We weave faith and studies/work.

Read the article. Then pick the practice that describes you. Then tell us if you've shifted over the years. (In college I practiced isolation big time. Now I don' much.)

Note: Voting is anonymous and will not take you to another website.

Survey Results -


Erin March 10, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

My work consists of both Christian-based and non–Christian-based writing and editing. In both, I depend on God's inspiration and assistance for creative and correct copy. I would consider this integration, a growing of my worldview that flows from God’s Word.

As an example of isolation’s impact upon the world, my husband served on a three-week stint with Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. His team was mostly young people who were regular volunteers; they were shocked that he—a Christian businessman—would help. In their many stints, they had not encountered a Christian (at least, not one who spoke openly). This sort of isolation is dimming the light of Christ to the world.

Sam Van Eman March 10, 2009 at 8:47 PM  

I'm glad you're doing that work, Erin. If I could add another "c" word to creative and correct, how much does context matter? This seems to be where gray enters the equation.

And great isolation example. Some of those young folks will never forget your husband's little unintended act.

Marcus Goodyear March 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

I like way you generalize Walsh's article. Good stuff.

I suppose I'm aiming for Integration. If I err, it's probably in the area of Accommodation. I want everything to work together, right?

For some reason, I never really practiced Isolation. It just felt wrong to me.

Sam Van Eman March 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

Marcus, your conscience must be superior to mine. For many years, I thought isolation was the way to go.

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