CORE VALUE 9 | IDEALS
The following is adapted from a paper called “Unleashing Our Calling” by Mark Paustian. Well worth the read!
“This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence – to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all about daily humiliations.
To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.”
So begins Studs Terkel’s landmark book, “Working,” a compilation of oral histories from people not often heard from: waitresses, salesmen, plumbers, and the like. You cannot read for long without concluding that something has gone terribly wrong in the workplace. “The repetition of identical gesture, the work that’s never finished,” is to a spot welder a war of attrition, a kind of death.
“If one car’s done, the next one isn’t, and it’s already there, unsoldered at the precise spot that’s just been done, rough at the precise spot that’s just been polished.” “Most of us...have jobs that are too small for our spirit, jobs not big enough for people.”
Yes, God milks the cows behind the mask of the milkmaid. Does he also interrupt my supper to sell me term life insurance? As much as four percent of the work force is now employed in call centers, reading canned scripts and being supervised with methods known as “management by stress.” There is less time on the job available for personal contact – doctors spend an average of eight minutes talking to each patient, less than half the time they spent a decade ago. High technology and new management styles put workers on “digital assembly lines” leaving less room for creativity, true craft or independent thought.
No wonder so many people say that they work to make money and would quit tomorrow if they could. They spend their creativity on their week-end pursuits, time fiercely labeled “their own.” Meanwhile, occupation remains central to our sense of self in our Western culture, and the bonds of our modern slavery to status only tighten.
Only in America do we ask strangers, “And what do you do?” Many people fear the loss of work, such as it is, more than terminal disease.
Again, it is not the case that every worker is so demoralized and depersonalized, looking forward to Monday with so heavy a sigh. It’s enough to know that many are. From Terkel: “[Work] is a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread...in short, for some sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of death.”
A person is not easily talked out of that hunger for transcendence, for some sparkle of meaning, some shimmer of the divine. With such huge chunks of life lived without reference to God, with so many relationships endured without the cost or safety of covenantal love, rampant secularization has taken us a long way away. Gone is the simple dignity of the slave serving his master as though serving his Lord and living off that other set of satisfactions available to contemplative faith.
Without Jesus, vocation shrinks to a job.
Here inside Christ, we have taken hold of the “life that truly is life,”(1 Timothy 6:19) and you might say, it is a Sunday sort of life.
THESIS & SUPPORT
Ideals (not abuses) guide vision, and demographics guide details.
God has sufficiently revealed his will through Scripture so that we can determine his ideals for the church, for people, and for his gifts.
If God has revealed it, how do we go about figuring out what his will is?
Painting a positive outcome is a more effective way to lead than freaking out about a negative outcome.
This is more than just “catching more flies with honey.” This is about the mindset from which we speak about what we are doing. What’s the difference between a “scarcity” mindset and a “growth” mindset?
Vision is the picture of what God's ideals look like in a given context: The who, what, where, when, and why of scriptures best case scenario for you.
What is the context of our work over the coming months as we launch?
Vision is accomplished through thousands of micro-decisions that surround a few important macro-decisions. All of these decisions should be made based on demographic information that informs how vision can be accomplished.
How can we keep the “macro” in front of us for the next 4 months? What would help you?
These decisions come out of demographic research and aim toward vision.
Where does the demographic information come from, and who is researching it?
2 Corinthians 4:5-12 | 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
For what reason do “we have this treasure in jars of clay”?
How do people learn about God when the look at us and what we do, according to these verses?
Genesis 6:5-8 | 5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
When these verses took place, what had God said about the world not all that long before? (5 chapters.)
What happened not that long after? (5 chapters.)
Matthew 13:3-9 | “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Tell me this doesn’t describe an idealist, and I’ll tell you you’re wrong.