Monday, February 21, 2005

More Imitation of Christ

This is from book 3, chapter 54:
"Nature works for its own interest and looks to the profit it can reap from another. Grace does not consider what is useful and advantageous to herself, but rather what is profitable to many. Nature likes to receive honor and reverence, but grace faithfully attributes all honor and glory to God."

I'm thinking about this from my perspective as an academic. Sometimes I feel that the emphasis in research is more in getting more publications for yourself than actually furthering a field of study or improving the world. I can only speak for myself in this, and I do feel that drive to get papers out so my career will advance. Yes, I desire to make work easier (and overcome the physical effects of the fall) but what is my real motivation in planning my research?

And there's the idea of "hot" areas of research. If you're not working on what's "hot," you are less likely to find grants (I presume) and therefore your career won't progress as well.

But what am I to do as a Christian academic? I must keep up with what my field is doing, but I must also build my expertise and apply it where it can bring great usefulness and reward for others. No, I may not get in the best journals with it, but then what do I really ultimately want? Academic fame and prestige? Endowed chair at a big university? Or, do I want to help people, and as many as I can with what I know?

And why must I be so weak and desire things for myself rather than for others?

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