career

Stephen Mattson 1-12-2015
Abstract image of Jesus' crucifixion, lubbas / Shutterstock.com

Abstract image of Jesus' crucifixion, lubbas / Shutterstock.com

The gospel message of Jesus is about love. God is love, and God wants us to reflect this reality to the world around us. But while Christians have been taught this simple reality for years, it’s easy to complicate the love of God. Here are five common ways we continually mess it up.

1. By Idolizing Theology

If theology doesn’t help you love God and love others more passionately — you’re doing it wrong.

Unfortunately, too many Christians, pastors, theologians, churches, and institutions use theology to withhold the love of God. They idolize theories, formulas, ideas, doctrines, translations, interpretations, and denominations instead of loving their own neighbors as they would themselves (Matt. 22:39).

Suddenly, instead of looking at people with a Christ-like love, we start judging them. We ask ourselves: Are they sinning? Are they going to hell? Are their beliefs absolutely correct? Subtly, we start putting qualifications and limitations on our love, categorizing others and wondering if they even deserve to be loved — they do!

The Bible is divinely inspired to point us to God and isn’t meant to be an academic textbook creating divisions, rifts, and distracting analysis. Don’t let your study of God devolve into an obsession over data, facts, and information, turning into pride, judgment, and a way to alienate others — make it about strengthening your relationship with Jesus.

By doing this, we can achieve what Jesus continually preached was most important: loving God and loving others.

Christian Piatt 1-11-2013
Photo courtesy Christian Piatt

Photo courtesy Christian Piatt

I was a nervous kid. Once, I got so freaked out by the prospect of a speaking part in my first-grade school play that my folks thought I had come down with appendicitis. But there were two times in particular that I remember descending into unmitigated panic. Both involved discussions with my dad about my career.

The first time, my dad was telling me about his year-by-year earning trends as an insurance salesman. He went from being one of several agents manning a booth in a Sears store to being the highest-earning employee in his major international company over about 15 years. He added zeroes to his income, and a passel of staffers, including my mom for a while (didn’t work out so well – they divorced thereafter).

At his height, he was earning upwards of half a million a year, and this was in the 80s. His company flew him all over the world, showered him with awards, and held him up as the high-water mark for all other agents to aspire to. I combined this remarkable achievement with the implicit cultural message that all generations exceeded their parents in earning power and went into an emotional tailspin.

How in the hell was I going to make that kind of money?

Brad Jersak 9-24-2012
Father and son advice, Emese / Shutterstock.com

Father and son advice, Emese / Shutterstock.com

An open letter to my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased,

I'm writing this fatherly letter about the difference between a career and a vocation. I learned this wisdom from Jim Forest, an old man who was a famous peace activist in the 1960s and walked many of the top spiritual activists of the 20th century. He personally taught me some important lessons on vocation that might be very helpful to you, and he specifically had you three in mind when he shared this.

When I say "career," I mean the idea of a job that you work at to make money, get promotions, become an expert, and eventually retire and earn a pension. There's nothing really wrong with having a career, or even a few careers. For example, you could say I was a "career pastor" for 20 years.

But there is something more important that we call a "vocation." A vocation may also include getting a paycheck and going to a workplace, but there is much more. A vocation is a "calling" that can span over many careers. For example, I think by vocation I am called to teach. I did that as a youth pastor, a church-planter, a college teacher, a seminar facilitator, an author, and a publisher. All of those mini-careers are just the platform I used to live out my calling. 

Debra Dean Murphy 5-11-2011
I can appreciate how difficult it must be to craft a good commencement address. The need to avoid well-worn pieties while also offering something of the best-distilled wisdom of the ages.
Cesar Baldelomar 2-16-2011

On May 30, 2009, a terrorist attack in Arizona ended the lives of two U.S. citizens -- a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter.

Holly Burkhalter 2-15-2011
One of the things that make the work of fighting global slavery so difficult is that people feel defeated by the sheer size and scope of the problem.
Brian McLaren 7-16-2010
I often say that one of my favorite parts of being a pastor for 24 years was pronouncing the benediction each week at the end of gathered worship.
Duane Shank 5-25-2010
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut attorney general and Senate candidate, got himself into hot water last week when news accoun
Edith Rasell 5-04-2010
As someone who lives in Cleveland -- which in some years is identified as the poorest city in the U.S.
Tefi Ma'ake 5-03-2010
One of the best gifts I received when I finished grad school was a book called http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805086587?ie=UTF8&tag=sojo_blog-20&lin...

The world is stubborn. It changes its thinking at a glacial pace. People fear change, and they come to hate what they fear. Powerful interests do not want to lose or to share power. The work of social justice, of affecting positive change requires persistent commitment and radical love that gives one the energy to continue the work across decades.

Kathy Khang 3-01-2010
I had never noticed them before. I'm sure I would have noticed them if they had been there just a few weeks ago.
LaVonne Neff 11-24-2009

In the first year of Gail Collins's survey of "the amazing journey of American women from 1960 to the present," I turned 12.

Jim Wallis 7-02-2009
Over the course of the 2008 election season, I kept hearing from some of my conservative religious friends of the great presidential hopes they had for a smart and ambitious governor from South Car
Steve Holt 6-24-2009
Throughout the Bible, God's people are instructed to care for those who often cannot thrive on their own, most often widows and orphans.
Edward Gilbreath 4-07-2009
Well, March Madness is now over.
Andrew Wilkes 3-02-2009

It is often pointed out that some of the places most lacking in hope are not the industrial wastelands or the bleak landscapes shorn of beauty, but the places where there is too much mo

Julie Clawson 1-28-2009
In December an Australian cell phone company refused to sell a phone to a stay-at-home mom because she didn't have a real job.

Subscribe