"Common grace for the common good. In a few words, that was my response. I explained that unless we have a theological vision that can account for “common grace for the common good”— a way of seeing life that understands “common grace” as well as “common good” —then we cannot see more coherently, we will not see more seamlessly. At our best we will settle for some kind of compartmentalized life, some kind of bifurcated life, where some of what matters to us is “here,” and the rest of what we care about is “here.” In the classic language of dualism, we believe that God cares about some things more than he cares about other things. He loves “sacred” things, but doesn’t really have much interest in “secular” things.
Of course the paradigm is flawed. Because God is the creator and redeemer of all things, he wants us to care about all things. There is not a “sacred” sphere as opposed to a “secular” sphere. Everything, every square inch of the whole of reality, is meant to be holy— because it belongs to God.
So the question of what we do, and of who we are and what we care about, is rooted in deeper, truer things that have to do with the very nature of life and the world; in fact, the very nature of God, and human beings made in the image of God. Our human vocation from the beginning of time has been to care about the world, to see what could be done given our task to be creative and responsible in and through the work we do. Planting wheat, and making bread. Cultivating grapes, and making wine. Raising cattle, and eating brisket. Understanding fire and iron, and making steel. Cutting wood, and building houses. And on and on through history… with learning to make a flute and a guitar, learning to make a wheel and a cart, learning to control the flow of water so that irrigation is possible, even learning to make machines we call MRIs and iPhones.
What we do is always a reflection of what we care about, and even more deeply, of who we are— always and everywhere this has been true, and this will be true."
(Steve Garber, March Newsletter for The Washington Institute)