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Posted by on Oct 22, 2021 in Work | 0 comments

Resetting Your Career in Midlife

Resetting Your Career in Midlife

“Midway upon the journey of our life,” writes Dante in the first lines of his Inferno, “I had found myself in the dark wilderness, for I had wandered from the straight and true.” I wonder if Dante was making a comment on the crafty nature of sin, creeping up from behind like a silent fog when we least expect it…or just the bewildering challenges of being middle-aged. Several weeks ago, I called Dan, one of my friends, who’s nearly forty. “How are you?” I asked. “Well, nothing new,” he said with sigh. “Same job. Same family. Same house.” He went on to explain that nothing was wrong, per say, other than feeling the reality set in that he was no longer in his twenties, filled with notions of changing the world. He wasn’t depressed, but aspiration had slowly given way to some combination of responsibility and reality, seeing in one hand a mortgage statement and in the other the scars of a thousand tiny disappointments after almost two decades...

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Posted by on Sep 4, 2021 in Finance, vocation, Work | 0 comments

Why Every Faith-Driven Investment Firm Needs to Hire a Theologian

Why Every Faith-Driven Investment Firm Needs to Hire a Theologian

Recently I got a prospectus from a faith-motivated advisory firm that outlines what they invest in as Christians. On one level, the responses were predictable. They don’t invest in alcohol, cannabis, pornography, or weapons. And they do invest in companies that have ethical leadership, policies that value employees, and a “positive societal impact.” But after reading the prospectus, I had to pause and say to myself: this is really, complex stuff. On one level, investing is quite straightforward: capital should be used to bring about returns. Yet, what is positive societal impact? What companies are “ethical” and which aren’t?  Aren’t all companies – like people, a mix of good and bad, moral and immoral? How do you even think through ethics? And which societal impacts are primary, and which are secondary? Why? I’m not trying to be esoteric. Here’s an example for you for you make an investment decision, shared with me by a dear friend and leader in the faith-based investing space. Example 1: Building materials company The...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2021 in Work | 0 comments

From Giving Money to Relinquishing Power: The Three Phases of Generosity

From Giving Money to Relinquishing Power: The Three Phases of Generosity

Giving can change us, but I’ve noticed it doesn’t change everybody equally. Having closely observed hundreds of donors through my work as a fundraiser and nonprofit executive, I’ve tried to ask: what is the actual process of becoming like Christ through our giving? Is there a logic or pattern to the ways people change through their giving, especially Christians? Might giving actually move us backward in character growth, becoming cynical or even resentful of charities? I’ve found there are generally three phases that God invites a giver to experience, represented by two questions about giving and finally a relinquishing of power. “How much do I give?”Spiritual Journey: The first step in the journey is discovering the other. Givers heed Jesus’ call to “love your neighbor as yourself” and use money as a tool to serve the needs of others. This is often an awakening to the needs of the world and the ways that money can be used to help meet spiritual, economic, and social needs. This Phase is...

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Posted by on Jun 17, 2021 in business, Theology, vocation, Work | 0 comments

The Pearl of Vocation: Why I Bring My Whole Self to Work, Including My Faith

The Pearl of Vocation: Why I Bring My Whole Self to Work, Including My Faith

When I was in elementary school, my mother took my older sister and I to Lake Itasca State Park for summer vacation, located in the cool northern woods of Minnesota. A life-long teacher, she would glory in making the outdoor visit into a lesson: spotting the diving loons in search of breakfast, explaining the history of old-growth red pines towering over the landscape, and proudly declaring that we were looking at the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. My sister and I, however, were more concerned with the number of times we could skip a rock across the glassy surface and the tiny creatures we discovered on the lakeshore. Barefoot and with a cool breeze in my curly blond hair, I would spend afternoons hunting for tadpoles or grabbing tiny oysters to crack them open, in search of treasure. Though I never did find a pearl in those oysters, the shell’s rainbow iridescence, shimmering in the sunlight, hinted at a joy embedded deeply within creation. Three decades later, with...

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Posted by on Jun 7, 2021 in Theology, Work | 0 comments

Reflections: 2020 Annual Report

Reflections: 2020 Annual Report

The following is an introductory letter for our annual report I wrote to our supporters at DIFW. If you’d like a physical copy of the report, visit this page. Dear Friends, Annual reports have a way of being sent, paged through, and put in the recycle bin rather quickly. We know this because we’ve done it so many times, too.  This is why Denver Institute for Faith & Work created a unique annual report this year that doubles as a personal reflection guide for your own walk with Christ in 2020.  After a painful, jarring year, we at DIFW reflected on all the changes in our own lives and work. Our reflections centered around four seasons: Celebration: We launched 2020 with our largest event ever.Lament: In March 2020, the world abruptly changed with the arrival of COVID-19, deepening personal, professional, and social tensions.Redirection: Our work abruptly needed to change to adjust to a new reality.Gratitude: As we ended 2020, we were left with a deep and unexpected sense of...

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