The Earl of Sandwich was responsible both for your sandwich and for the soda that you drink with your sandwich. He was also a factor in the American colonies gaining their independence from Great Britain. And he exemplifies an important point about the doctrine of vocation.
Yesterday we discussed why evangelicals are more resistant to getting the anti-COVID vaccine than any other demographic. As we said, there are lots of reasons–some good, some bad, some debatable–why Americans from different perspectives are leery about the vaccines.
But considerations about what religion has to do with it have raised some important theological issues. And, as so many issues do, they have to do with the doctrine of vocation.
The never-Trump evangelical David French has written a provocative article entitled The Spiritual Problem at the Heart of Christian Vaccine Refusal. After going over the statistics, he cites a particularly troubling finding from the study: Evangelicals are not only more resistant to getting the shot than any other group, they are the least concerned about the effect of their decision on other people.
Today is Inauguration Day. Swearing in a new president has often been seen as a rite of national renewal, the beginning of a new phase of American history.
Not only is Joe Biden being installed into the presidency, but Donald Trump’s presidency is ending. For many Americans, this will come as a great relief. I expect to hear lots of metaphors in the media about how the long national nightmare is over. But for many other Americans, the shutting down of Trump’s presidency is cause for mourning, and their nightmare is just beginning. Still other Americans are somewhere in between, thinking that it’s time for Trump to go, while also dreading what a Biden administration might do.
In his book that I blogged about, Defending Boyhood, Anthony Esolen discusses the masculine qualities that lead to the military virtues. He quotes the Victorian author John Ruskin on why we tend to admire soldiers more than “merchants.”
The quotation is from Ruskin’s 1862 book Unto This Last. He goes on to apply his principle to other occupations that we admire, and in doing so, makes some striking points about what we can recognize as the Reformation doctrine of vocation. I’ll discuss those, and then say a few words on behalf of “merchants.”