The first part of my two-part article for InTrust magazine on how the church has failed working people and what they, and the seminaries, can do about it, is now up on the ‘web. Here’s the first bit and the link:
The other 100,000 hours
How the church marginalizes itself from the working world
By Chris R. Armstrong
MOST CHURCHES ARE GOOD AT figuring out what to do with their congregations during the hours on Sunday morning in which they have a captive audience. But what about the rest of the week? What does the church have to say about the struggles and joys, trials and triumphs, and inherent worth of our working lives?
“The average person will work 100,000 hours in their lifetime,” says Jeff Van Duzer, dean of the Seattle Pacific University School of Business and Economics. “This seems like an enormous waste if it’s spent doing fundamentally meaningless things whose only value is a paycheck.” To be sure, many Christians develop, at some point in their lives, a sense that daily work does indeed matter to God. And eventually, some come to understand that their own work complements God’s work — the six days of creation, the redemptive love of Jesus, the ushering in of new heavens and new earth. God sustains the world, but God’s creatures do their part in caring for it as well.
But does the church have anything more profound to say about the value of work? And how might theological schools prepare their graduates to help
ordinary Christians do their work in light of their faith? Those are questions worth pondering.
Princeton scholar David Miller explores this topic in his 2006 book God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement. As Miller explains,
the 1980s saw an explosion of books, magazines, conferences, networks, and organizations focused on putting the two halves of life together: worship and
“the other 100,000 hours.”
The rest of the article, with some nifty ’40s-esque illustrations, is here. The second part, on how seminaries can help pastors-in-training to address faith-work integration–and the roadblocks they (the seminaries) face, will appear in the next issue. InTrust goes to virtually all North American seminary presidents and board chairs, and is edited expertly by my friend Jay Blossom.