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Posted by on Jan 14, 2019 in vocation | 0 comments

In the Fields of the Lord

In the Fields of the Lord

  This last weekend for me was difficult. And it was difficult for me, because of me. We had friends over, neighbors over, and church members over to our house on Saturday and Sunday. Our home was filled with the noise of laughter, but it was also filled with the tears of children…and adults. My wife and I are wrestling with educational choices for our daughters, trying to discern what’s best for them and what God is calling us to. And our dearest third born continually both delights us and baffles us. Her emotional swings – from joy to incapacitated sadness – weigh heavy on our hearts. I went to bed last night utterly exhausted from the weekend. As a 5 on the enneagram (“the investigator”) I’ve come to learn about myself that whereas most people start the day with an emotional tank 100% full, my “full” each day is about 20%. I’m at once overwhelmed by gratitude for all God has given me…and just overwhelmed. Holding my own...

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2019 in Theology, vocation, Work | 0 comments

The Church in Public Life: Pastoring for the Public Good of Your Community

The Church in Public Life: Pastoring for the Public Good of Your Community

  The following is the talk I gave at Thriving Churches, Thriving Cities, Denver Institute’s annual gathering for pastors and ministry leaders. The topic: what does it mean for pastoral leaders and their churches to be involved in healing the public life of their communities?  Thank you again for coming today. I’d like to introduce our final set of conversations today by speaking to the topic of pastors and public engagement. Today we’ve spoken about pastoral wholeness and integrity, and, in the breakouts, growing in pastoral excellence through navigating change and conflict. What might it mean, then, for pastors to lead churches working toward the healing of their cities? Let me first tell you a personal story. My first pastorate after seminary was serving Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza, a Spanish-speaking church in Brighton, Colorado. I preached in Spanish, led youth group in English, and, as the only white guy there, stuck out like a sore thumb. I realized a year into my pastorate that about 80% of my congregation...

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Posted by on Nov 13, 2018 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 0 comments

Be a gardener

Be a gardener

Be a gardener, dig and ditch, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside down and seek the deepness and water the plants in time. Continue this labor and make sweet floods to run and noble and abundant fruits to spring. Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship. Julian of Norwich...

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Posted by on Oct 16, 2018 in Nonprofit, Theology, Work | 0 comments

The 10 Characteristics of a Thriving Pastor

The 10 Characteristics of a Thriving Pastor

For years we at DIFW have focused on what it means to live out the gospel in supposedly “secular” work, like business, medicine, law, or the arts. But several years ago we came to the uncomfortable realization that there was one field we had overlooked: pastoral ministry. Now, we hadn’t completely overlooked pastors. But we had done two things. First, we assumed being a pastor was intrinsically “sacred.” But as my colleague at DIFW Brian Gray says, who was a pastor for 10 years, “It’s possible to wait tables very ‘sacredly,’ but pastor very ‘secularly.’” In our work with pastors, we’ve seen being a pastor, too, can devolved into just being a “job.” Second, I felt like we had started to look at pastors as a means to an end. That is, we hoped pastors would come to “get it,” meaning that they would teach their congregants to be missionaries and servants of God in society through their work. And once they “got it,” we wanted them to influence...

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Economy, Work | 4 comments

Six Differences Between How Professionals and the Working Class See Their Daily Work

Six Differences Between How Professionals and the Working Class See Their Daily Work

America is working pretty well for the top third of society. It’s the other two-thirds who are struggling. I came to this conclusion after reading Robert Putnam’s stunning book Our Kids.  After seeing the growing class divide separating American society, I also started to ask: how does the working class see their work?   As I spend nearly all my time working with and for professionals (those with a four-year college degree), in a recent article I confessed that as I grew older, I realized I didn’t have a single working-class friend. Their world was foreign to me. And so was their work. Joan C. Williams is a law professor at the University of California, Hastings who studies social class. Her book The White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America explains how differently professionals and the working class see their daily work.  Her research is a wise, honest look into working class values, beliefs, and opinions about their families and work. Here are six differences between how professionals...

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