Basic Tools 2: – Reflecting on our Fields of Daily Life

As we begin the work of determining just what we need to be doing for and with God, we need a useful way to break down our complicated lives into small pieces or areas so we can look at them individually.  You’ll see that we have chosen six areas or fields in which we all operate every day.  They are:

1.  Home (includes family and close friends)

2.  Work (includes school and volunteer work)

3.  The local community (neighborhood, town, or city)

4.  The wider world (society, culture, economy, government, or environment in country, state, nation or world – note that environmental responsibilities might well arise in each of the other areas of daily life)

5.  Leisure or re-creation (any activity used to rest or refresh yourself)

6. Your own spiritual health (any activity to meet your spiritual needs; includes maintaining the physical and emotional health that supports your spirituality)

7.  Your share in church life and its outreach (in the congregation, diocese, or communion in the U.S. or worldwide church; or in interchurch or interfaith activities)

As a side note, you may be interested to know that Martin Luther first  named our fields of daily life (Robert Benne, Ordinary Saints, Fortress Press, 2003, Part III).  He called them home, work, community, and church.  With the much easier travel and communication that characterizes our times, we need to consider not just our local communities, but the larger world as well.  We refer to it as the “wider world” and it includes everything from social norms to issues in government and voting.  And, although we may feel harried, we’re still not working like the medieval serfs of Luther’s time, so leisure or re-creation has also been added to the list of daily life fields. Member mission recognizes the pioneering work of Mark Gibbs, a leader in the rediscovery of the daily ministries of each of the baptized, whose work reemphasized these areas of our lives and included both “wider world” and “leisure”.  Member mission has added “church” to Gibbs’ list.  Further, we see two parts to “church” life – one’s spiritual health and one’s share in church life and its outreach.   While these are inseparable, we need to look at each by itself to give each the attention it deserves.

However, this may seem a bit overwhelming.  After all, who has the time or energy to work in all these areas?  And how do you even know what to do?  The answer is that you are already working in these areas and are doing more as one of God’s agents than you may think you are.  To make this clearer, take about 3 – 5 minutes to complete Activity 1 on the next page.  Just note what you are doing in each of the six areas of daily life to make life there better – more loving and more just. Don’t strain to write down big things but feel free to name even the smallest thing.  It all becomes part of the larger picture.  (By the way, if you reformat this activity or any activity that follows for use, try to allow about 3/4″ to a full inch for responses to each item.)

 

Activity: What I am doing right now to make the world a better place

(Note what you’re doing in each of the following six areas to make life better – more loving and more just.  And don’t strain to write down only big things such as what you do as a volunteer in a hospital, or as an elected public officer, or as a courteous clerk.  Name even the smallest thing such as always giving up your seat on the bus to an elderly person or being the one in your office who circulates birthday cards for others to sign.  The key is for the activity to be habitual or usual.  It’s what you try to do all of the time.)

1. Home (includes all aspects of home life or close friendships):

 

2. Work (includes school and volunteer work):

 

 

3. Local community (your neighborhood, town, or city):

 

 

4. Wider world (includes all aspects of the society, culture, economy, government, or environment of our county, state, nation, or world):

 

 

5. Leisure and recreation (any activity used to rest and to refresh yourself):

 

 

6. My own spiritual health (any activity used to meet your spiritual needs; includes activities to maintain physical and emotional health):

 

 

7. My share in church life and outreach (in the congregation, diocese, or communion in the USA or worldwide; or in interchurch or interfaith activities):

 

 

Review what you’’ve done, either alone or with your partner.  Are there any surprises?  You will probably find that you’re already at work for God!  Wherever and whenever you work for love and justice, you are doing the Lord’s work.  This workbook is devoted to making you better at it.  You’ll focus your efforts better and be more ready to ask for God’s support and help in all you do.