By Elizabeth Corey

In today’s middle-class American culture, the pressure to achieve is overwhelming. Schools, both secular and religious, are seen as the primary vehicle for such achievement. We encourage students to push themselves relentlessly toward excellence in academics, extracurriculars, and volunteer work, in hopes of gaining admittance to prestigious colleges and graduate schools before transitioning into lucrative or socially consequential careers.

Yet the extraordinary focus on cultivating the “self” that is required for such achievement, as well as the competition that is inevitable in the pursuit of it, can be both dispiriting and corrupting. In many ways, this orientation is directly opposed to the virtues that are valued in Christian life. In this lecture Elizabeth Corey will consider whether there might be an alternative way for Christians to think about both their desires to achieve things of consequence and also to live lives that are ultimately oriented “for others” and toward God.

From First Things

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