Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Idols and Vocation
"Little children, guard yourselves from idols". This, the last words of St. John's first epistle, is loaded language.
It came to mind when I was hired to make a shelf for a client. It was to hang from the wall, but not have any visible means of hanging: no brackets or attachment hardware. As fun as it was to design and make, it did bring me up short when I found its purpose was to hold a statue of Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion.
My wife said, "Ooh, nice shelf! Put some flowers on it!"
I thought pretty much the same, and have deeply mixed feelings about having made this. On one hand, it is just a shelf, and once it changes hands it is of no consequence to me what it is used for.
On the other, it has such a look of altar. I am loathe to promote the worship of a false god, and yet here it is.
A Christian in vocation is called to serve neighbor, defined as anyone God puts in one's way. But I wonder: would it have been more truly service to refuse the work, once its purpose was clear?
What do you think?