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“Work is my salvation.”

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Theologically—entirely false. Literally—sorta true.

I heard myself say that headline the other day. My buddy and I were talking about what it means to pursue a craft. For me, the work of pursuing a craft is about the ability to focus. And the ability to get back to focus post-distraction.

Focus and getting back to focus are inherent parts of learning and practicing a craft. I believe that focus on craft builds sanity and humanity. Getting back to focus on my craft of copywriting has pulled me out of many mentally ambiguous places and difficult decisions. Focus on craft—especially as I aim toward usefulness and practical service—allows me to background difficult decisions and gives time for my subconscious to work at them. And after I’ve focused I am able to do productive work on those decisions.

I also think growing in our craft is a way to serve God and people. Bethel Seminary—my alma mater—recently received a $190K grant to pursue a “Work with Purpose” program (Bethel Magazine, Fall 2012, p.8). I’m eager to see how this unfolds because the standard churchy answers for a productive and full life mostly involve using work as verbal platform to persuade others. But the work itself—that’s where I see growth, usefulness and, frankly, the hand of God. This is an old notion from the Reformation that need resurrecting pronto.

Last weekend Mrs. Kirkistan and I watched a documentary called Buck, about a guy from a rough, abused background who had an uncanny way with horses. I’m not a horse guy, and I’m not a fan of cowboy flicks, but this film was mesmerizing from beginning to end. What Buck could tell people about themselves as he watched the way they treated their horse was painfully close to home. The movie is full of notions about collaboration, respecting others and how to work with others without breaking them. One take-away quote from the film was that “horses just need to do something useful. They want work to do.” Maybe Buck was anthropomorphizing horses—maybe not. I do know that the craft we learn and the work we do often places us productively among other people.

And that is a good place to be.

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Image credit: gibsart via 2headedsnake

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Written by kirkistan

November 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

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