Q I just switched my major from art to biology because my parents tell me I need to study something that will prepare me for the “real world.” They think an art degree is useless. What do you think?
A First, let me commend you for listening to your parents’ advice. Your attentive ear says a lot about the type of person you are.
But let’s talk for a minute about sound career decision making. It typically rests on two cornerstones: researching yourself (essentially asking, Who am I and how has God gifted me?) and researching the world of work.
To help with the self-assessment, a difficult task for most of us, I would suggest picking up a copy of Richard Bolles’s book What Color Is Your Parachute? This book is updated yearly and includes a number of assessments that will help you explore your values, skills, and passions. If you have access to a career counselor at your college or university, that’s an even better resource for helping you consider who you are before deciding where you might be called.
Researching career options is equally important. For a simple listing of the type of work you can do with a given major, you could check www.calvin.edu/admin/career/majors or take a look at www.careeronestop.org. But it’s important to go beyond the information on those sites and find out what a given career really entails. I would suggest you shadow someone in a field that interests you or conduct an informational interview with a person doing the work you’ve envisioned for yourself.
Researching careers might lead you to some surprises. What if, for instance, you could combine both art and biology and work as a medical illustrator? Or what if you could make a living doing art by combining your studies with a number of business courses to help you learn to market your work?
I wish you all the best as you continue your studies. Ultimately God is the one who directs our paths, and he is faithful to his promise to lead and guide us.
—Bonnie SpeyersBonnie Speyers is a career counselor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Q In light of Heidelberg Q&A 80 and the Form of Subscription, what do you think of CRC officebearers receiving communion in a Roman Catholic worship service?
A Some members of a congregation I served asked that I be deposed because I invited the congregation to participate in a community ecumenical service held in a Roman Catholic church. For them, participation in this service apparently meant agreement with everything that was said, done, and displayed. If we follow that logic, none of us would be able to attend an ecumenical service or the funeral of a friend from another church.
Our denomination’s form for the Lord’s Supper invites all “who are truly sorry for their sins, who sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, and who desire to live in obedience to him to come with gladness to the table of the Lord” (Psalter Hymnal, 1987, p. 975). Thus Lutherans, Catholics, and other Christians partake with us not because they accept our interpretation of how Christ is present in the sacrament but because they acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord. The same is true when we participate in communion in other denominations.
Question and Answer 80, with its reference to the Catholic Mass as a “condemnable idolatry,” was not in the original text of the Heidelberg Catechism. If we used the same principles that we use when determining what is authoritative in Scripture, we would have deleted the entire segment or moved it to a footnote. Even though synod did not do that, it did bracket the last three paragraphs of the answer and added a footnote indicating that those paragraphs “do not accurately reflect the official teaching and practice of today’s Roman Catholic Church and are no longer confessionally binding on members of the CRC” (Acts of Synod 2006, p. 711).
—George Vander WeitGeorge Vander Weit is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.