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Posted by on Mar 4, 2019 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Faith and Work Movement, Work | 2 comments

The Thinker

The Thinker

Back of the beating hammer    By which the steel is wrought, Back of the workshop’s clamor    The seeking may find the thought; The thought that is ever master    Of iron and steam and steel, That rises above the disaster    And tramples it under heel! The drudge may fret and tinker,    Or labor with lusty blows, But back of him stands the thinker,    The clear-eyed man who knows; For into each plow or sabre,    Each piece and part and whole, Must go the brains of labor    Which gives the work a soul! Back of the motor’s humming,    Back of the belts that sing, Back of the hammer’s drumming,    Back of the cranes that swing, There is the eye which scans them,    Watching through stress and strain, There is the mind which plans them—   Back of the brawn, the brain! Might of the roaring boiler,    Force of the engine’s thrust, Strength of the sweating toiler,    Greatly in...

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Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 4 comments

Want an Affordable Home? Thank a Craftsman

Want an Affordable Home? Thank a Craftsman

  What is causing soaring home prices in Denver right now? This is the question on many would-be buyers’ minds. In June, the average home price in Denver was $366,419 — the highest in Colorado state history. The Denver City Council has spent significant time trying to find solutions to the shortage of affordable housing. (Recently, The Denver Post reported that Mayor Michael Hancock wants to raise $15 million a year to subsidize projects as part of a much larger plan.) But how did we get here? My wife and I asked our real estate agent, Trish Hopkins of RE/MAX, the same question. As we sat down to coffee, expressing our woeful prospects of ever finding a house we could afford, Hopkins said at least one problem is obvious. Inventory. She told us the average number of houses on the market for the Denver area is around 12,000 at any given time. Right now, it’s less than 3,500. With Colorado’s population boom, it just comes down to math. So...

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Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor | 7 comments

The Handcrafted Gospel

The Handcrafted Gospel

  Recently I bought a small, red cabinet for my wife and kid’s homeschool books. It was from IKEA, so how hard could assembly really be? Yet in only 20 minutes, I had managed to drill three holes in the wrong side of the red cabinet door. My wife took the project away from me, and  assembled it for herself. I have concluded that I not only lack a manual and spacial intelligence, but that I’ve significantly undervalued those who build just about everything I see. My respect for our culture’s craftsmen has grown – especially since Christ Horst and myself recently did an article for Christianity Today entitled “The Handcrafted Gospel.” The editor chose the subtitle “Meet the craftsmen reclaiming the honor of manual labor.” In our culture, “honor” and “manual labor” don’t often go hand in hand. We steer our students away from ‘tech schools’, believe thinking is for the office, not the shop, and have precious few “faith and work” events for electricians, contractors, carpenters or plumbers. Yet there is...

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Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 14 comments

How We Lost the Craftsman

How We Lost the Craftsman

  It was a crisp, winter morning and I stood outside Manual High School, traditionally one of Denver’s lowest performing schools. Along with twelve other seminary students on an urban ministry site visit, we listened to our professor. “Manual is one of Denver’s oldest institutions,” he said, pointing to the brick edifice. “It opened in 1896, and was named Manual because it was originally intended as a vocational school to train students for manual labor.” We quietly shook our heads in disbelief. How could educators have such low expectations for their students? Didn’t the founders believe all students could go to college? So great was our 21st century disdain for manual labor that we naturally connected Manual High School’s low academic performance with its original intent: preparing students for the manual trades. Americans today devalue manual labor with an almost righteous indignation. We can see it in our economy, in our schools, in our entertainment, and even in the church. And it’s causing all sorts of problems. Let’s take...

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