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Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Economy, Work | 0 comments

Banking Alone

Banking Alone

  Recently I received an urgent plea from Mike, a young investment banker in New York. Mike had just graduated with his BA in financial economics from Columbia University. Having read my review of Kevin Roose’s Young Money, he knew that investment banking meant 100 hour work weeks, acidic professional environments, and often working for the kinds of banks that Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone in 2009 called, “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Mike knew he needed to prepare spiritually before jumping into a position even as a junior analyst. Before he started his job, he wrote me in an email, “I’m taking advantage of this in-between phase to search for ways to sustain some semblance of a devotional rhythm once my time becomes exceptionally scarce in the near future.” Mike then confessed the reason for reaching out to me. With utter humility, he wrote, “I’ve been on the hunt for someone, anyone,...

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Art, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Culture, Economy, Education, Finance, Media, Nonprofit, Politics, Science, Technology, Theology, Work, World | 0 comments

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Today is a big day. Today my colleagues and I at Denver Institute for Faith & Work, in partnership with Gordon College, announce the launch of the 5280 Fellowship, a 9 month experience for emerging leaders beginning in the fall of 2016. After years of planning, design and forging partnerships, each element of the program has fallen into place. And now what we are now offering is, I believe, one of the best faith-based fellowship programs in the US, and perhaps Denver’s premiere leadership experience for young professionals. I know those are big claims. But I believe the 5280 Fellowship has the potential to deeply impact Denver for generations to come. And I’m not alone. Some of Denver’s finest pastors – like Robert Gelinas (Colorado Community Church), Brad Strait (Cherry Creek Presbyterian), Rob Brendle (Denver United), Brian Brown (Park Church) and Hunter Beaumont (Fellowship Denver) – believe the Fellowship can be a life-changing experience for young professionals who want to deeply engage themes of calling, work, and culture. Young...

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Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Economy | 0 comments

Consumerism: What Do People Really Want?

Consumerism: What Do People Really Want?

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Consumerism Gone Wild. It was first published on patheos.com.  Perhaps the best response to wealth disparity in America today can be summarized in two words: Karla Nugent. Karla is the Chief Business Development Officer at Weifield Group Electrical Contracting in Denver. In 2014, she won the Denver Business Journal’s 2014 Corporate Citizen of the year award. Why? Denver’s economy is booming, and as the economy has required more skilled laborers, Weifield has hired more electricians. In the building boom, Karla saw a chance to serve. Behind Karla’s leadership, Weifield opened up a philanthropic arm that donates to four communities: women & children, head of household, military and “less fortunate.” But they also brought the needs of the community right into their company. She created an apprentice program in partnership with Denver Rescue Mission, Stout Street, and Peer One – local nonprofits that work with the homeless, formerly incarcerated and other at-risk communities. Weifield hires people coming out of homeless or other at-risk...

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Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Economy, World | 1 comment

Obsessed With Work – or Just Bored?: Bringing the Conversation About Work Across Acoma Street

Obsessed With Work – or Just Bored?: Bringing the Conversation About Work Across Acoma Street

  It’s well past 1pm. Across Acoma Street, I see a woman in her early 20s, baggy sweat pants and cigarette hanging out her mouth, tossing an empty Mountain Dew bottle in a dumpster that’s been parked in her driveway for months. She squints at the sun, as if it’s an unwelcome guest disturbing her slumber. Next door is a man, mid forties, sitting on his porch. Can of Coors Light in hand, he chats with his cat, as if expecting to hear a punch line to a joke. A broken beer bottle shimmers on his sidewalk. Of course, being the upper white middle class office dweller that I am, I type emails furiously at my computer, staring at them both, wondering why they aren’t working. But maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked. Some argue that our culture is obsessed with work. But is that really true? To be fair, yes, it’s true for a narrow slice of the population. The top 10% define themselves – find their deepest worth and value...

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Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Economy, Politics, Work, World | 0 comments

Let Them Eat Chicken: Religious Intolerance Is Bad for Business

Let Them Eat Chicken: Religious Intolerance Is Bad for Business

  by Chris Horst and Jeff Haanen Denver is on the rise. Construction cranes line the streets around Union Station. New residents arrive faster than we can house them. But as Denver surges, will our city be a place where religious people are permitted to live and work? Given the recent news, it’s a fair question to ask. Last month, a Denver federal appeals court ruled against Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic ministry serving low-income elderly and dying people in Colorado and around the world. The nuns believe new federal health care requirements force them to violate their faith by mandating they pay for abortion-inducing drugs for employees. Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, one of the nuns serving at Little Sisters of the Poor,  said, “We… simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith.”   Then, last month, the Denver City Council impeded the approval of a new restaurant lease at Denver International Airport (DIA). The “normally routine” approval process met a roadblock when several members...

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Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Economy, Work | 0 comments

The Expendable Worker: Looking for Hope in the On-Demand Economy

The Expendable Worker: Looking for Hope in the On-Demand Economy

“Low, low prices.” With that motto, a generation ago Walmart took over the world of retail. For years Walmart seemed untouchable; they could consume any competitor with volume, price and efficiency. Yet in the past several years, some have questioned whether the Walmart empire has a gaping hole in the center. Forbes reported in 2014 that “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing.” Americans for Tax Fairnessfound that “a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.” When hourly workers go on strike to demand higher wages, often they’re fired. Now, a recent New York Times cover story has highlighted the suffocating working conditions of Walmart’s successor: Amazon. Employing a sea of white-collar workers, Amazon has perfected the art of squeezing every ounce of productivity (and life)  from its employees. “One day I didn’t sleep for four days,” said Dina Vicarri, who sold Amazon gift cards....

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