One of my Saturday morning rituals is to listen to NPR's Weekend Edition, hosted by my friend Scott Simon, during my morning work out. Scott's commentaries are always worth listening to, and the one this past Saturday was especially poignant given the economy and continuing high unemployment this Labor Day weekend.
Scott talked about what it feels like to not have a job based on his conversations with people who are unemployed. He captured the loneliness, despair, and even sense of failure that people often experience -- even when their joblessness is not their fault. The commentary was not only insightful, but very pastoral in spiritual terms and may give us some direction for a ministry of caring for unemployed and under-employed people over the long haul -- which is what we now seem to be up against. Take a listen by clicking here, or you can read the transcript below:
"On this Labor Day weekend, we might give some thought to what it's like to be without a job. About 1 in every 10 Americans - 15 million, the population of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago combined - doesn't have a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 3 million more who have just stopped looking for jobs after a year because they can't find one.
Having no job does not mean having no work. Your children must still be fed, bathed and ferried to school, which is a lot of hard work. But you have less money for food, gas and the new shoes your children need for school.
It means that if you have a toothache, you might pretend it will go away, until it becomes a sharp pain. Then you have to see a dentist, but may not be able to buy a new winter coat."
Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy, and CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at www.godspolitics.com.