Friday, November 18, 2011

Was not Jesus himself a social worker?

It's been a month without blogging, and I miss it! I also think it was a needed break, though, because I have been incredibly busy with other things that needed to take a front seat in my life for a while.

One of the things that I have been dealing with lately, and that I have debated blogging about, is the apparent ethical dilemma of being a social worker and a Christian. In May, I will have my MSW and I will be expected, by the social work profession, to uphold the Social Work Code of Ethics. In most ways, this is not a problem for me, but sometimes my Christianity gets in the way. Religion, at least to me, appears to be avoided by the profession, and absent from much of the class discussion that takes place at my university. It almost seems as though we are not supposed to "have" religion as social workers. Maybe I'm taking this to the extreme because I am sensitive to it, but recently I have been dealing with a lot of negative comments about religion and the Church from people who are working as social workers out in the field, and people who are teaching social work at my university. Needless to say, I've been extremely bothered by it.

Much of the reason that I decided to pursue social work is precisely because of my faith! Was not Jesus himself a social worker? For me, He is the ultimate model of what it is to selflessly help others, accepting everyone who needed Him regardless of class, gender, past deeds, and creed. Social workers pride themselves on being accepting, but how accepting are they really if they are going to put down specific institutions and individuals because of their beliefs? Many of my professors speak to the class as though we are all liberal, pro-choice Democrats. The reality is that many social workers are--particularly those that are following the macro track of social work, like myself. But are these professional social workers, who now have future social workers entrusted to their guidance and education, really naive and closed-minded enough to assume that we all fit their mold? And what is the harm of having a set of beliefs that guides you in making good decisions? If I were working with a client who had different beliefs from me, would I turn them away? No--and not because my profession tells me not to, but because my God tells me not to! Then why do I, as a Christian social worker, sometimes feel so ostracized from my own profession? A profession that advocates for equality!

I am confused and hurt by a profession that I was once excited to be a part of. Will I continue in my studies and work as a professional social worker? Absolutely. I believe in the profession and the good that we do for others. But, I suppose I am learning that, within my profession, there is still a lot of learning and teaching to be done. After prayer and meditation on this, I've realized that my path in life has most definitely been guided by my Father in Heaven who has prepared me for this task and will lead me in righteousness and grace as I pursue it.

1 comment:

momnextdoor said...

Good for you! I think your profession needs more people like you!

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