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Posted by on Apr 4, 2019 in business, Culture, Economy, Theology, Work, World | 0 comments

Dreading Monday (Comment Magazine)

Dreading Monday (Comment Magazine)

The spiritual crisis underneath our jobs. Reviewing:  Working The New Press, 2004. 640pp.  Bullshit Jobs: A Theory Simon & Schuster, 2018. 368pp. The Job: Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change Currency, 2018. 416pp. “I had no concept of the horrible dread I would feel getting up in the morning to spend all day sitting in an office trying to waste time.” Rachel grew up in a poor family yet graduated from a prestigious British university with a physics degree. Yet soon after graduation, student debt forced her to take a job as a “catastrophe risk analyst” at a big insurance company. Rachel recalls the day she hit an existential tipping point at her new job: The final straw came after months of complaining, when I met my friend Mindy for a drink after a week of peak bullshit. I had just been asked to color coordinate a mind map to show, “the nice-to-haves, must-haves, and would-like-to-have-in-the-futures.” (No, I have no ideas what that means, either.) She ranted at...

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Posted by on Mar 24, 2019 in Culture, Theology | 1 comment

Subversion

Subversion

These three paragraphs, penned in 1991 by Lesslie Newbigin, changed my life as soon as I read them. Part of a larger treatment of “the gospel as public truth,” I repeat them here so I don’t forget the central why behind my seemingly endless (and multiplying) labors at Denver Institute. And I post them for you, my fellow “undercover agents,” so that we might both know that we are not alone. First, while the Church as a corporate society cannot identify itself with particular political programs, it must be the responsibility of the Church to equip its members for active and informed participation in public life in such a way that the Christian faith shapes that participation. Public life is the area where the principalities and powers operate. There are structures and forces which have a transpersonal character. The person who operates within them is not free to act as if he or she was a free individual. There is some freedom, but it is limited by the structure...

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Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 in Politics, Theology, Work | 0 comments

From the Archives: Book Review, “Migration Miracle”

From the Archives: Book Review, “Migration Miracle”

Who doesn’t love a good adventure story? In my opinion, there are few contemporary stories filled with more hope and tragedy than those of Central Americans and Mexicans taking their chances and migrating north to America. I recently published a review of Jacqueline Maria Hagan’s Migration Miracle: Faith, Hope and Meaning on the Undocumented Journey (Harvard Press, 2012, paperback) in The Review of Faith and International Affairs. Here it is: Suffocating from the sweltering heat, Cecelia, a migrant from Puebla, Mexico, crammed into the back seat of a sealed van. She and a dozen other women and children dared not speak, despite the lack of oxygen, because their coyote insisted immigration officials were close behind. During the seemingly eternal trip across the U.S. Border, in tears Cecelia remembered, “I prayed in silence to God and pleaded with him to let me live.”Compelled by stories like Cecilia’s, sociologist Jacqueline Maria Hagan tells the harrowing tales of undocumented migrants traveling from Central America and Mexico to the United States in Migration...

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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 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 May 22, 2018 in Culture, Theology, Work | 0 comments

A Vision for Denver: Speech from “The Sounds of Work”

A Vision for Denver: Speech from “The Sounds of Work”

  Good evening. Thank you for coming tonight to experience the Denver Institute community and “The Sounds of Work.”  Thank you to our board and advisory board for bringing your friends tonight. Thank you to our 5280 Fellows, past and present, for your dedication to this experience. And thank you to Fellowship Denver for hosting us tonight. Many churches contributed to the formation of Denver Institute, but none were more instrumental than Fellowship Denver. I was asked to give a vision not only for Denver Institute tonight, but for our city.  Tall order! But I think I can do it succinctly. Actually, it’s printed in your program. Read with me this quote from author Os Guinness: “Grand Christian movements will rise and fall. Grand campaigns will be mounted and grand coalitions assembled. But all together such coordinated efforts will never match the influence of untold numbers of followers of Christ living out their callings faithfully across the vastness and complexity of modern society.” History is filled with grand campaigns,...

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