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But my growing concern is that the faith and work movement has become an echo chamber—for people just like me.

This Week in Mormon Literature, April 6, 2013

So what are we missing? I can think of a few reasons. To start, blue-collar workers face different and more urgent demands on their time and priorities than professionals do. There are questions of identity and prestige involved, as well. If, like the man who sold toilets, you felt people looked down on your job, would you volunteer to come to a gathering to talk about it? And many blue-collar workers, seeing how few people like them achieve any kind of prominence, feel that no one wants to listen to them talk about their work at all.

Remember, it was Steve Jobs giving that Stanford commencement speech, not a factory worker. The good news is, the church semper reformanda is finding ways forward. They see work as toilsome, broken, and painful.

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But you really see deep transformation when you switch that emphasis. Kent Duncan is the lead pastor at Jefferson Assembly of God, a church of principally blue-collar workers. Working with your hands, too, can be Spirit-filled, as it was for Bezalel and Oholiab, the craftsmen who built the tabernacle Ex. Yet truly noticing the work requires listening to the worker, a job for both the pastors and professionals who have often become disconnected from the working class.

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The church is a place of grace but also a place of positive moral pressure empowered by the Holy Spirit—and a place that reminds Christians of the real, weighty consequences of their decisions. At the heart of Christian faith is a message that suffering, when offered to God in love, is redemptive.

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In an affluent American society, we often forget that a good portion of the New Testament was written to suffering believers James, 1 Peter, and Revelation come to mind. The do-what-you-love ethic is unhelpful to such believers in the working class. Though church attendance for the college-educated has stayed about flat for the past 50 years, it has been falling since the s for the working class.

Sociologists say that church involvement is associated with a wide host of benefits for both children and adults. Kids who go to church have higher academic achievement and better relationships with parents and are more involved in extracurricular activities. Churchgoers commit fewer crimes, are in better health, live longer, and make more money.

The relationships forged at the church potluck provide critical support for people in all walks of life, but especially for working-class Americans who may have less social capital than their professional peers. If your parents are never home, a retired mentor from your church could be your ticket to navigating the college admission process. I was doing it since I was I spent 10 years with that job.

Putting doors on my back and going up elevators was not what I imagined my life would be. From the Aspen Institute to the Pinkerton Foundation , more thinkers, government entities, civic organizations, and business leaders are beginning to take seriously the call for businesses to raise the quality of low-wage jobs and provide ladders for workers to advance in their career.

A handful of brave business owners are exploring business models that benefit frontline employees as much as investors, recognizing that God cares about all aspects of their business—including their workers. I believe there is so much we need to learn from them. We were so busy trying to shape culture by influencing urban elites that we forgot about the vast majority of workers. We do a disservice to our working-class neighbors if we ignore our own cultural power.

But before we can start, I believe professionals must pause and listen to the other two-thirds of America. He writes at jeffhaanen. Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here. This slideshow is only available for subscribers. Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow. Already a subscriber?

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  • Subscribe Subscriber Benefits Give a Gift. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. Cover Story. God of the Second Shift The theology of work conversation is thriving. Why are most workers missing from it? Jeff Haanen September 20, This article is from the October issue. Subscribers can read all of CT's digital archives. Article continues below. Free Newsletters.

    Email Address. Subscribe to the selected newsletters. More Newsletters. Get the best from CT editors, delivered straight to your inbox! Reply on Twitter. Join in on Facebook. Tags: Theology Vocation Work and Workplace. Issue: October , Vol. More From: Jeff Haanen. Current Issue. Read This Issue.

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    Log in. October More from this Issue. Read These Next Trending. Finally, one day I decided to walk in. As soon as I walked in I felt a warm feeling come over me. I was blown away by the whole welcome I received.

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    Everyone took time to talk to me. That was just the beginning of what God had in store for him. Through the support he received at CSC, Trent found Jesus and experienced miraculous healing from sickness and addiction. Bryan Ireland, another Step One Intakes Volunteer, also sees how serving with Compassionate Ministry has transformed his life for the better.

    It was so sad. But after a while, he began to enjoy sharing his story. By the end of our conversation, we were making eye contact, and he left with a smile on his face and shook my hand. Today, Compassionate Ministry works with around people each month, has over volunteers and has handed out , lbs of food. Presently, the ministry is experiencing space-related barriers that can make it challenging to provide deeper opportunities for training and relationship building.

    These challenges will only grow once we lose access to our recently sold West Campus in three years. Despite these challenges, the Lord has continued to bless this ministry. As we look toward the future, we desire to build stronger bridges with our established and new partners, concerned Calgarians, and marginalized communities, including the ever-growing immigrant population and those in cycles of poverty. The strategic sale of our West Campus provides an opportunity to turn Central Campus into a hub for mission work, serving all our campuses, ministries and the greater needs of Calgary.