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Posted by on Jul 29, 2019 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Politics, vocation, Work | 0 comments

‘Tis a Gift to Do ‘Undignified’ Work (Christianity Today)

‘Tis a Gift to Do ‘Undignified’ Work (Christianity Today)

Blue-collar labor often goes unappreciated and under-rewarded. How can that change? When I was growing up, the best TV shows all featured blue-collar characters. Cheers, The Simpsons, Love and Marriage, The Wonder Years—each centered on the lives of loveable laborers. Cliff from Cheerswas a postman, Homer Simpson pulled levers in a nuclear power plant, and even the disgruntled Al Bundy sold women’s shoes. One episode of The Wonder Yearsfeatured Kevin learning about his dad’s career path from a loading dock worker to a distribution manager. “You have to make your choices,” Mr. Arnold told his son. “You have to try to be happy with them. I think we’ve done pretty well, don’t you?” What a difference two decades makes. Since 1992, nearly every Emmy for Outstanding Comedy has gone to shows depicting white-collar adults working in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New York, or Washington, usually without kids. The exception would be The Office, but its humor is based on the idea that selling paper is an utterly miserable and meaningless job. In the NBC drama This Is Us, the...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2019 in business, Faith and Work Movement, Theology, vocation, Work | 0 comments

Lessons Learned from the Global Workplace Forum

Lessons Learned from the Global Workplace Forum

I recently returned from the Global Workplace Forum, a conference hosted in Manila by the Lausanne Movement. Started in 1974 by John Stott and Billy Graham, the Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization gathered people from around the world; last week, 850 leaders from 109 different countries met to discuss the next phase of the global missions movement: the activation of the workplace as the central arena of God’s mission in the world. The highlight was meeting the people* sitting at my table, a small group that discussed the larger live sessions. My table was gloriously diverse:  Jonathan is from India and works in a sports ministry. Because of increased persecution of Christians in India under a Hindu nationalist government, Jonathan shared about his worry for his family, but also said “We’re 100% committed to bringing the gospel to our country.” He plays cricket, hosts a youth group in his home, and humbly serves God in a 650 square-foot flat with his wife and three children, one of whom is an adopted 19-year-old.Solomon works...

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Posted by on Jul 16, 2019 in health care, vocation, Work | 0 comments

Making All Things New – Jeanne Oh Kim, Pediatrician

Making All Things New – Jeanne Oh Kim, Pediatrician

In the last of several posts, here I’m highlighting the first-hand experiences of four professionals in Denver. Each of them shared at our annual fundraiser and celebration of vocation, entitle “Making All Things New: Finding Our Place in God’s Mission.” We asked them what they sense is broken in their industries, and how they sense God was using them in his plan to ultimately “make all things new.” Jeanne is a physician living in Denver As a physician, I work in the confines of a broken medical system with sometimes few answers in relation to the infinitely complex human body.  There is always new evidence to challenge previous practices.  There is also pressure to see over 20 patients a day, which can pose a challenge to meet the true needs of my patients and families at times, especially, since we are in the middle of a mental health crisis, with patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and suicide at an all-time high.  Families are also broken.  Parents are extremely anxious and...

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2019 in retirement, Work | 0 comments

Should I Work Even After I “Retire”?

Should I Work Even After I “Retire”?

For many, the thought of working in retirement surfaces feelings of both pain and possibility.   On one side is weariness. In Habits of the Heart, sociologist Robert Bellah interviewed executives, government employees, school teachers, and small businessmen on how they felt about retirement. He found they were “sick of working,” hated “the pressure,” had “paid their dues,” and “wanted to get out of the rat race.” So they chose to retire to “lifestyle enclaves,” as Bellah puts it, or retirement communities built around leisure and consumption, usually unrelated to the world of work. Today Gallup reports that 87% of the world’s workforce is disengaged from their work. If retirement offers a way out of painful or unsatisfying jobs, it’s no wonder most choose to retire as soon as they can. On the other side, however, is a spark of energy, enthusiasm, and genuine curiosity about new possibilities for work in retirement. My friend Dr. Mark Roberts leads the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. In...

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Posted by on Jun 25, 2019 in Faith and Work Movement, Theology, Work | 0 comments

The Global Workplace Forum: A New Era for Global Mission

The Global Workplace Forum: A New Era for Global Mission

Today I fly to Manila. I’m on my way to speak at the Global Workplace Forum, a gathering of 730 leaders from over 100 countries. Convened by the Lausanne Movement, which was started by Billy Graham and John Stott in the 1970s, today feels like a turning point for how the world’s Christians are understanding the word “mission.” As I prepare to sit on a panel with a man working with nomadic tribes in Kyrgyzstan, a clinical psychologist from Nairobi, a Filipino-American woman who now works in Silicon Valley expanding Apple stores across the world, and a man who’s worked in global business from the Middle East to Canada, I’m reminded of several truths. I’m reminded of the diverse and far reaching nature of the Church. I’m reminded that technology has created, in many ways, a single global culture. And I’m reminded of the truth that 99% of the world’s Christians have non-occupational ministry jobs, and the workplace is fast becoming the new frontier for global mission. Thinking back...

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