Views on politics and current events

Monday, September 11, 2006

titusonenine Comments About The NY Times Article

from Canon Kendall Harmon

  • Thank you for posting this. I have noticed this trend, but have yet to read it so “succinctly put.” It appears that no one reported on here in this story is actively seeking God’s will for their lives; either that or the reporter neglected to print mentions of God knowing all, being in control, providing recommendations for life and living and taking responsibility for such in the Bible, etc. I wonder how the children being raised with such an approach to employment will approach employment when they are able.
  • We don’t know that none of the people interviewed are seeking God’s will for their lives. We only know that that question either wasn’t asked or wasn’t reported. And even if they are seeking God’s will, God doesn’t generally reveal that will by means of flashing neon signs, emails or telephone calls. Most people are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but the bills keep coming in while you’re waiting for God to reveal his will. I’m not an economist, but I do have a lot of pastoral experience, and my experience is that in this economy, people with advanced degrees are competing for low-wage hourly jobs–if they can even get those. The clerk at the local convenience store has a doctorate and makes $7 an hour. The swing manager at McDonald’s has a master’s and makes $6.15. And that person beat out other candidates with masters’ degrees. Most people will do what they have to to survive, including applying for assistance, but it’s galling for people who once had good jobs, and the attendant satisfaction and sense of self-worth that goes with them, to be reduced to jobs that they’re overeducated for, overqualified for, and which society looks down upon. It’s true that pride won’t feed you, but a person’s dignity isn’t something to be treated lightly. You do what you can to pay your bills and take care of your family. If this guy has thousands of dollars in savings or equity to live on, good for him. I wish everyone were so fortunate.
  • As one who has been jobless several times over the course of my career, I think this guy is making a big mistake. No honest work is demeaning. He will be mentally much healthier working at a low-paying job, than sitting around loafing. Eventually his wife is going to tire of supporting a selfish, overgrown teen-ager, and give him the boot.
  • And now for my rant: These kinds of stories just irritate the daylights out of me. It’s not really the story but the people they highlight. IMHO the attitude of the men highlighted in this piece is wholly selfish. The quotes, “I have come to realize that my free time is worth a lot to me,” and “If things really get tight, I might have to take a low-wage job, but I don’t want to do that,” point to this selfish attitude. When the piece stated, “he could not find a job that, in his view, was neither demeaning nor underpaid,” is when my blood started to boil. Demeaning? Like what, washing floors or cleaning toilets? Why would it be demeaning (someone has to do it)? Is it demeaning only for someone who has a degree, or is used to making big money? Grow up, Gentlemen. You do what you have to do to put food on the table and a roof over your head. Maybe even working two low wage jobs if that is what becomes necessary to eat. Living off the government dole is wrong unless one is truly (TRULY) physically or mentally handicapped to the point where one can not work. Thirteen and a half years ago, I left a low level management job in a telecommunications company to take the best unpaid (monetarily speaking) job in the world: stay-at-home-dad. As my kids transitioned into elementary school, and our household budget needed an infusion of cash, I took on a job. I was able to find jobs paying $10.00 per hour, and on a part time basis to boot. I don’t have a degree. I am a high school graduate, and I don’t find working at any job for low pay demeaning. Why? Because my self-worth doesn’t come from my job, my paycheck, my kids, my wife or my societal status, my self-worth and dignity comes from my knowledge in who I am in Christ. Through Christ Jesus, I am a child of the Most High God. Is there any better realization than this for one’s self-worth? If any of these men are Christians, maybe a little reading of St. Paul (Colossians 3:23-24, or better yet, 2-Thessalonians 3:6-13) or some reflection on Brother Lawrence’s life would open an eye or two when it comes to working. And if they aren’t Christians, they need someone to lead them to our Lord Jesus Christ. End of rant
  • Seeking a fulfilling job is not sinful at all. It would be a very bad idea to ask a foot be an eye.
  • There is nothing too small, if given in Jesus name, that is not worth working for. To sit idle while a good work could be done is a sin. Mar 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. Jam 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. I honor those who mow lawns or clean toilets if it is done in charity. I scorn those who have strength and talent and yet refuse to do some small thing for someone who needs help. I had a christian employer (many years ago) who told me to always do the $20.00 per hour work first and when you finish that work do the $15 per hour work and when you finish that…………. and he conluded with, “…and if you can’t find anything more valuable to do then sort screws.” The sum of the message is, if our god is the almighty Dollar then we can hold out for the most money, if our God is also the One who created us, then we will will fill our lives with that which is most valuable - however humble that might be.
  • Who told these guys that work must always be fulfilling? It’s just another idol set up by secular culture… a job well done can always be satisfying, no matter what it is, and even the job that I love (in my case, teaching) isn’t always fulfilling. But it puts food on the table and a roof over our heads and otherwise provides for my family, and that’s what’s really asked of it. As your mother told you, life ain’t always fair.
  • I agree with every comment about how no honest work is truly demeaning. But I think that “truly” is the key word. It’s a process–and a sometimes painful one–to re-align one’s identity (even if that identity is found primarily in Christ), because what one does for a living is a major part of that identity. PhD’s and CEO’s are not worth more in God’s eyes–only in the culture’s. But we still have to live in the culture.
  • I’m thinking his wife is probably not totally ecstatic with his decisions.
  • The posts talk about “those with doctorates” earing $7.00 an hour at the local convenience store, or “someone with a Master’s” having to compete with others with Master’s degrees for low-paying jobs. The job market is tough. But there is one other thing that needs to be acknowledged here that I havent’s seen anyone address so far. And that is - - some folks have doctorates and master;s degrees who wasted their time getting them. They were able to perform the academics, they were able to absorb the theory, but they aren’t worth a darn translating all that stuff into solid skills in creating product, problem solving, supervising other people with both compassion and good direction, etc. Where did we ever get the idea that “I have a degree” is somehow a guarantee of anything, except that we will probably have to buy a frame to hold it? I have a couple of degrees, but still had to start on the floor of the plant, forty years ago, had to learn to weld from a guy who had no degree but, man, could he weld - - and I was able to “work up” to my current job. And somedays, no kidding, I wish I could remember how to weld!!
  • You want to eat? You gotta work. And I write that not as a greedy capitalist, but as a graduate student who produces next to nothing and lives off the good will of the state (below the poverty level). Should I not be able to get a “worthy” job when my doctorate is earned, I will indeed flip burgers if necessary (particularly if I have dependents). This is the life I have chosen. Risks are always present. That’s life. Hopefully we still have a government that seeks to make opportunities for the working poor. And, more importantly, Christ is still with us, nonetheless.
  • But I don’t see either our society or our political system making opportunities for the working poor. It’s the largest growing segment of the population in the US. People who have skills and training are unable to make a living wage. For many people, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you can’t make it. These aren’t people looking for any sort of luxury; they just want to get by. The middle class is shrinking, and most of those people are sliding into that class where hard work seems like nothing but running on a treadmill. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t work hard, but it would be nice for the work to offer a living wage, and in most cases it doesn’t.
  • Would someone please let me know what would happen if we asked a foot to be an eye? All the answers here are too pat. I want to make films. Why should I not pursue that? Based on what you all are saying I should be just as happy and fulfilled as a tow truck driver or museum guide. If God doesn’t care what my job is, why not follow my passion? I can honor Christ as a filmmaker just as much as a janitor or CPA. SO WHY SHOULD I NOT SEEK THAT GOAL?????? If I have worked hard and saved money, what is wrong with living off of that while I pursure my interests? You all seem to think that God doesn’t care if enjoy this life or not. It is rather sick and twisted to say that God loved us so much that he gave his only Son for us and backhandedly mean that your life is still not worth God’s care for your works. Faith and works are woven together. Saved by faith, but my works are the actions of that faith.
  • Saint,By all means, you should pursue your film-making goal. And I sincerely hope that you achieve that goal, we need good Christ-loving film-makers. But perhaps you will not. And if you do not, I also sincerely hope and pray that you do not decide that, since you did not achieve your film-making goal, you can accept nothing “less.” And the reason is because - - perhaps it won’t be “less.” Maybe the cure for cancer lies within you, and the rest of us would never benefit from that, because you decided that, with your “advanced film-making degrees” and your deep desire to be a filmmaker, you simply cannot work on cancer. It is too demeaning. The example is a ridiculous one, I suppose. But that is what I am bemoaning; there are a lot of folks out there right now who, since they are unable to “use” their doctorates and their masters’, have decided to simply opt out, since the world clearly does not recognize their great talent in the same way they do. I pray you will not do that, should God decide to send you down a different path! Godspeed in your filmmaking pursuits!

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