THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
The Mercer clan will be camping out on the family farm once more this Labor Day weekend. The weather this year will be autumnal and unseasonably cool, so I don’t know if the kids will be swimming in the pond or just fishing. But this weekend is one to which I look forward all year, and I hope we’ll all get a bit refreshed. It’s also the weekend of the Fulton County Fair, so we’ll be fair walking and enjoying one of the great American traditions.
Wherever you may find yourself, and in whatever circumstances, I hope you’ll have a good weekend as we honor the working men and women of this country who help us enjoy the abundant life we have each and every day. There has been a lot of angst, anger, and anxiety about the U.S. economy and its workers over the past couple of years, but we still enjoy an astoundingly high standard of living and have much for which to be grateful.
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The American Working Conditions Survey
The American Working Conditions Survey (AWCS), was done in 2015 by the Rand Corporation. The AWCS is a survey of individuals designed to collect detailed information on a broad range of working conditions in the American workplace. This report presents detailed findings about the prevalence and distribution of working conditions across the American workforce by age, gender, and education. Here is an overview of its key findings.
Here is the Rand Corp.’s summary of these findings:
The AWCS findings indicate that the American workplace is very physically and emotionally taxing, both for workers themselves and their families. Most Americans (two-thirds) frequently work at high speeds or under tight deadlines, and one in four perceives that they have too little time to do their job. More than one-half of Americans report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, and nearly one in five American workers are exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work. Positive findings include that workers appear to have a certain degree of autonomy, most feel confident about their skill set, and many receive social support on the job. Four out of five American workers report that their job met at least one definition of “meaningful” always or most of the time.
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Just trying to do her work, officer…
This Salt Lake City nurse found out that doing your job isn’t always easy or appreciated. She explained to a police officer who is trained to do blood draws on suspects that hospital policy forbade him from doing so if the patient is unconscious. He didn’t accept it, and ended up creating the following scene. You can read the full story HERE.
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Working in the Aftermath of Harvey
As we meet for brunch today, let’s especially remember those who have been working tirelessly to help folks in the flood-ravaged communities in Texas, Louisiana and other places affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Photos from The Atlantic
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Prayer for those affected by Hurricane Harvey
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protect all who are still in danger, and bring to safety those who are missing.
May He care in a special way for those who were already homeless, or without support and resources, before this disaster.
We pray in thanksgiving for the first responders who are risking their lives to save others at this very moment.
We include in our intentions the everyday heroes reaching out to help their neighbors in need, those who,
like the Good Samaritan, cannot walk by a person in need without offering their hand in aid.
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Joel Osteen Criticized, Defended
A great deal of attention, most of it negative, was focused on Houston megachurch, prosperity-gospel pastor and television preacher Joel Osteen this week. Huffington Post reports some of the brutal memes that appeared on social media when the perception was that Osteen’s Lakewood Church would not open their massive doors to shelter refugees from the hurricane. Fair or not, as HP says, Joel Osteen became the “poster boy for how not to act in a crisis,” as well as a target for critics of Christian preachers, especially wealthy ones.
Others, such as the Dallas Morning News, have said, “Wait a minute, not so fast.”
Southeast Texas is drowning under the weight of Harvey, yet people nationwide —particularly those outside the state — have settled on making Osteen the villain.
After the pastor’s staff announced on social media Monday that his massive Lakewood Church, formerly an arena used by the Houston Rockets, was “inaccessible due to severe flooding,” the flame-throwing began: Megachurch pastor with great hair and giant bank account hating on poor people.
Lakewood Church has since announced that it’s serving as a distribution center and preparing to take in evacuees. And it’s worth noting that the initial church post, which so fired up the Internet, included helpful information regarding shelters and emergency help.
We aren’t writing in defense of Osteen. Insufficient facts are available to responsibly assess whether or not his church was slow to open its doors to those in need.
But the backlash is an excellent example of what too often happens in the midst of crisis these days: The chance to fire off pre-written narratives without pausing for any evidence.
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A Poem for the End of Summer
A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket …
In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.
The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.
I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.
Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.
From “Three Songs at the End of Summer” (Jane Kenyon)
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The Nashville Statement
“The Nashville Statement is an urgently needed moment of gospel clarity. In a culture nearly defined by sexual confusion and brokenness, the church of Jesus Christ has to proclaim with one voice that God’s good design for gender, marriage, and sexuality. To capitulate to the spirit of the age or wring our hands in outrage at those around us would be to abandon our mission field. The Sexual Revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope. The Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come.”
President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
The Tennessean reports:
A national coalition of more than 150 evangelical leaders signed a new statement affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of “homosexual immorality” is sinful.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released the list of 14 beliefs, referred to as the Nashville Statement, on Tuesday morning. The statement says the evangelical coalition who signed it are responding to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture that thinks they can change God’s design for humans.
“Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be,” the statement reads.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood convened a meeting of evangelical leaders, pastors and scholars on Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. The coalition discussed and endorsed the Nashville Statement.
John Piper, the co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement, in a news release, a “Christian manifesto” on human sexuality.
“It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness,” Piper said. “It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people.”
Of course, people broke into predictable camps when responding to this statement. You can see Russell Moore’s endorsement above — he was one of many listed on the CBMW site affirming the statement, all of them from the Neo-Reformed end of the Christian spectrum, and all but one of them male. On the other side, you have folks like Rachel Held Evans, Daniel Kirk, and Morgan Guyton, who have signed the statement on LGBT+ inclusion in the church by Christians United. In a Huffington Post article, one of its representatives responded to the Nashville Statement with these words:
It’s high time Christians heard from a different moral authority on queer identity, said Brandan Robertson, a pastor and LGBTQ activist who drafted the “Christians United.”
“Conservative evangelicals often get the most air time, polluting the image of Christianity as one that is exclusive, condemning, and archaic,” Robertson told HuffPost. “The reality is that there is a rapidly growing wave of Christians around the world that embrace an inclusive, unifying, healing message, and that’s what I had hoped to portray in this statement.”
Nadia Bolz-Weber, in response, posted “The Denver Statement.” And John Pavlovitch even offered his own “plain language translation” of the Nashville Statement, suggesting that the CBNW piece and its timing reveals the fear and tone-deaf nature of those who drafted it.
Finally, HERE is a summary of 15 reactions for and against the Nashville Statement.
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A Collect for Vocation in Daily Work
Book of Common Prayer
Almighty God our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory
and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the
earth: Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our various occupations
from the service of self alone, that we may do the work
which thou givest us to do in truth and beauty and for the
common good; for the sake of him who came among us as
one that serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth
and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.
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Finally… “I thank God for the work”