At speaking engagements, I meet many young people who sincerely want to make their faith integral to their studies and their daily lives. They are part of a new generation of believers that is no longer satisfied with once-a-week worship. They believe that their faith ought to affect their whole lives, and they are surely right.
The New York Times has taken note of this trend, focusing on the huge commercial success of Christian contemporary music. Indeed, the explosive rise of a vast market niche for faith in publishing, media, and all forms of entertainment, is one of the most astonishing trends of our time.
But the desire to make faith more fully present in our lives extends beyond the commercial sector. Today's students are seeking to make faith part of their academic lives, even though faith concerns have long been eschewed by the mainstream of academia. Students know better than to cite church teaching or Scripture in the classroom for fear of ridicule or worse.
The same is true of the business world, where believers can face two forms of pressure: from secularists in commerce who might be suspicious of religious people, and from religious leaders who doubt the merit of commerce. It is our conviction that economic and spiritual life do not need to be in conflict; indeed, each depends on the other for reinforcement and growth.
The difficulty they face is not substantively different from that faced by all believers in all times. Scripture advises us that we can live in the world without being of the world. Such will be our obligation as long as there is no Heaven on Earth. Even so, faith can and should influence the whole of our lives, whether our chosen vocation is the ministry, academia, family life, or the professional world.
The work of the Acton Institute, which your support makes possible, is to lay the intellectual foundation for faith and commerce to coexist and cooperate in ways that benefit individual souls and the whole of society.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico