In my last post, we saw how Christian lawyers often think about the process of practicing law: they can traverse the difficult ethical terrain of practice using scripture and Christ as a guide, but fall into resignation when answers to difficult questions remain far off.
The next area of exploration, and I feel the one less often engaged, is summed up by a question posed earlier: “What would Jesus Practice?”
Some may see this as a fruitless question. “Christ was Christ,” you say, “and I am me. I am situated in a particular place and time with a calling where Christ is not.” But this question is still useful. It is informed by looking at Christ’s earthly ministry and squaring my priorities, desires and values according to his example of self-giving love. Our goal is not exacting emulation, but incarnation—letting Christ live out in the world through me in whatever context I find myself. Continue reading
Christ didn’t die to sanctify just part of you.
As we learn to measure ourselves by Christ alone instead of the “Reasonable Christian Lawyer” standard and set free God’s creative power to direct us, we see him changing us in our personal and professional lives until I am his in both, forming one integrated whole.
Many times, I see Christian lawyers stewing on the procedural or process-oriented side of their work, wrapped up in how to integrate vocation and faith.
As an example: a lawyer visited my Christian group during law school to tell us about his practice. He shared about how he views the Bible as a supplement to the hallowed Model Rules of Professional Conduct, meaning that the Christian lawyer has elevated standards.
This appears sound, a basic but helpful reminder that the profession condones all sorts of lousy conduct. Take Rule 1.8(j) for example, permitting sleeping with a current client only if there’s a relationship prior to the representation. It reminded me of 1 Corinthians 10:23: “’Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.’” Continue reading
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. . . .”
At the end of my last post, I described my doubts about sticking with a life in law because of the difficulties I saw it posing to a life of incarnational ministry. I didn’t look forward to entering communities and situations with the immediate baggage of being a lawyer, both from how others perceived me and in how I perceived others.
During this period, I told other students my thoughts and fears and received understanding nods. I consulted mentor attorneys who told me to mellow out, encouraging me to stick with it because lawyers fill a niche in the pursuit of justice others can’t. I prayed and didn’t feel God speak conclusively. So I stayed put in classes hoping for more clarity. Even if I didn’t drop out, I figured I could finish law school without taking the bar: a rite without the passage, hazing without a pledge, courting without consummation. God would make it clear in time, I was sure. Continue reading
Filed under Faith, Law, Pro Deo
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. –John 1:14 (The Message)
My wife and I sat on the futon in silence. We had just finished watching a video online on a cold Friday night. By its end, part way through my 2L year, I considered quitting law school for the first time. Continue reading