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    Entries in work (18)


    First Seven Jobs

    The #firstsevenjobs hashtag emerged several weeks ago on Twitter. The Atlantic wrote about it. I enjoyed it. I have had fourteen jobs that I can count. I have probably had more.

    Here is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s list:

    Bill Shakespeare:

    Buzz Aldrin:

    My list:

    1. Lawn Care Worker
    2. Retail Clerk
    3. Day Camp Counselor
    4. Grocery Warehouse Worker (Pallet-Man)
    5. Youth Ministry Intern/Interim Youth Pastor
    6. Student Aide - Department of Religion
    7. Children’s Ministry Intern

    Since then I have worked as an associate children’s minister, a barista, a youth pastor, a writer, a lawn care worker, and as a youth and college pastor. Now I am back to being a writer.

    Jeff Sharlet asked a question (serious or not, I cannot tell), as to whether or not #firstsevenjobs was a middle class thing where people claimed “Horatio Alger cred” prior to having “made good” in later occupations. That could be the case, I guess.

    But I took it as a narrative that tells us not everyone ends up where they began, and many people share similar beginnings. Many of us worked the same summer jobs. Someone kindly gave us a shot and helped us learn what it means to work.

    In one of my first job interviews I told a Best Buy manager that I wanted to work in the warehouse because I preferred being behind the scenes and didn't really enjoy working with people. After that answer, the interview quickly drew to a close and I never received a call back. I wonder why.

    I learned from that experience.

    I learned a little about working hard while sweating under the sun and cuttin’ grass, and I learned a great deal about good (and bad) management while working for Service Merchandise. My earliest experiences in ministry taught me about myself (I have been given some gifts and possess very real limits), but also about the basic nuts and bolts involved in good systems work and in developing personal relationships with people that are defined by love. I learned this through successes and failures. I have made a lot of mistakes.

    I think I am still learning a lot about work. And I am still searching for the right “job,” whatever that might mean.

    For now I am working on becoming the kind of person who will bless others, always. I won't be idle while doing so. I do have goals. We are a two vocation household and there is a way of being married, given that consideration, that we are still in the process of figuring out. Molly and I want to be responsible and generous wherever we may find ourselves in ministry.

    Have thoughts on work? An odd job or anecdote? Leave a comment.


    Craftsmanship. Brass Tacks KC.

    Video Source: Brass Tacks - Kansas City from Summer House Films on Vimeo.

    Kansas City friends might be glad to learn about this company: Brass Tacks KC. Beautiful work, locally sourced, tradition-bound.

    To draw a quick parallel to theology, we each stand within a tradition, great or small. Theology is craft. It can be done poorly, or with excellence. It can be refined. It can be informed by other disciplines. It can be done with respect for the materials, and the minds that generated what we have to work with, or with negligence and disregard for what has come before. It can be of use for a season, or for the ages.

    Good craftsmanship has much to teach us, beyond the cultural product itself.

    HT: Make:


    Give Us Hope So We Can Wait


    Invade our bodies with your hope, dear Lord, that we might manifest the enthusiasm of your kingdom. Give us the energy of children, whose lives seem fired by the wonder of it all. Thank God, you have given us good work, hopeful work. Our lives are not just one pointless thing after another. We have purpose. But give us also your patience. School our hope with humility, recognizing that finally it is a matter of your will being done. Too often our hope turns to optimism, optimism to despair, despair to cynicism. Save our hope by Israel-like patience so that we can learn to wait hopefully in joy. Surely that is why you give us children--signs of hope requiring infinite patience. Give us hope so we can learn to wait. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Amen.
    - Stanley Hauerwas, Prayers Plainly Spoken  


    Those Amish Sure Can Raise a Barn

    The things communities can do.

    HT: Digg


    Tim Keller on MSNBC

    Two weeks ago I shared a few thoughts on work, using the work of Timothy J. Keller as a springboard. Keller was recently a guest on the MSNBC program Morning Joe. Below, you'll find Keller discussing his latest book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


    A tip of the cap to Eric Huffman, who drew my attention to this clip on Facebook.

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