Advent and Work

Culturally, there is nothing virtuous about waiting, and yet throughout Scripture we are called to wait on the Lord and to be still and know that I am Lord. There is the fundamental assumption (particularly in the marketplace) that no good can come from waiting—it is not progress, it is not advancing the cause, it is not success. The questions then become how do I grow my appreciation for this Biblical mandate, what does that look like, how do I more fully cultivate it in my own soul.

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Crosland Stuart
Record Producer

For me, Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, the totality of the Gospel, joy, fun, and moments of reflection. This message does not change year to year, but how these ideas get communicated does. The most important concept for me always is the idea that while Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, its significance lies in the life of Christ, His death on the cross, and the atonement made for my sins through His resurrection.

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Crosland Stuart
Work and Family in Sync?

Many families are experiencing a lot of stress regarding their ability to care for family members, especially after the birth of a child or older family members who need a lot of medical care and attention. Our research is not directed at mothers in particular, but we do show how women experience the stresses between work and family.

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Crosland Stuart
Being Thankful...When You Don't Feel So Thankful

This is the time of year that should be full of excitement and celebration. Sadly, for many of us the dread of spending extended time with family has already begun to settle into our bones. With the crushing weight of stress that many of us shoulder daily, the added strain of navigating family dynamics can be a tipping point, with a  result that is never pretty.

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Crosland Stuart
The Big Picture

In a working world where we are often measured by what we produce or in meeting our quotas, it is all too easy to protect our turf and fail to grasp the larger picture. We can easily forget the “abide in faith” part, not realizing that as we work, it is not ultimately about us, but about advancing God’s Kingdom on earth.

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Dan Sharp
What Are You Begetting

In the cattle show world there is a class called “Get of Sire.” This is a class where multiple offspring (usually 4) of one bull are judged against other groupings of offspring from other bulls and the standard is all about the idea of production. Is the gene pool strong enough from one bull to produce not just one outstanding calf, but to do it repeatedly? The idea is that outstanding breeding begets outstanding offspring.

This is not only how bovine genetics work, but it is also true for most things, whether it is sin begetting more sin or virtue producing more virtue. The question is, what are we begetting?

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Crosland Stuart
Right Where We Are

In this world of never enough, our culture pushes us to create whatever façade makes you look better, sound better, feel better because obviously your current life is not the most attractive.

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Shelly Shafer
What Bach Teaches Us about Work, Worship, and Service

Bach lived in Germany in the first half of the eighteenth century, yet in his day, he was virtually unknown as a composer, and those who knew of his work hated it. He was an accomplished organist, yet the genius of his work as a composer would not be discovered until 80 years after his death. This humble man, who would become the baroque era’s greatest organist and composer, wrote most of his music never knowing if it would ever be played by anyone other than himself.

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Crosland Stuart
When Justice Fails

We inhabit different universes. We have no shared standards of conduct, especially sexual conduct. Our elites jettisoned all the old rules a long time ago, and we have to limp along on the thin reed of consent. There were odd twists in the latest spectacle. Some traditionalists excuse Kavanaugh for youthful indiscretions; for sexual progressives, his opposition to Roe is evidence he’s a creepy serial rapist. Our rudderless sexual ethics make no sense: The same people who defend pornographers and sex workers are in high dudgeon whenever someone acts out a pornographic fantasy.

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Crosland Stuart
Individual Care is Critical to Church Effectiveness (Part 1 of 2)

Millennials are the canary in the mine telling us that our impersonal reliance upon technological shortcuts, in both work and personal interactions, has its drawbacks. They long for greater connection and purpose. A fundamental aspect to the imago Dei in each person is the inter-relatedness of the Trinity. The next generation has noticed what many of us have not seen creep up all around us as technological advances have claimed more and more of our attention.

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Case Thorp
Begin at the Beginning

In our culture we are abundantly blessed with opportunities for laziness. We don’t have to walk miles for clean water or hunt for food. At the press of a button, without leaving our homes, food and things appear on our doorsteps from all over the world. We can afford to be picky, to have a brand preference, to complain about calories. Even more so, we can afford to quit when things just are not working out the way we had wanted or planned. Everything is convenient.

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Emily Matteson
The Nobility of Work (2.0)

The job shaming of actor Geoffry Owens (known primarily from The Cosby Show) last week should cause all of us to pause. In case you missed it, let me catch you up on pop news. Geoffry Owens, like many actors, is a part of an industry that is not known for steady work. Geoffry took a job at Trader Joe’s to remain flexible for auditions and still provide income to support his family.

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Crosland Stuart
Repentance Brings Renewal

I often lay in bed at night, exhausted from the day, and think, "Isn't it amazing that God made our bodies capable of recharging as we sleep so we can get up and do the same thing again tomorrow?"  We can be utterly spent in the evening and wake up refreshed in the morning.  But sometimes, it's not that simple.  Sometimes, life is overwhelming and we need more than just physical refreshment.  Sometimes, our hearts need to be revived; we need spiritual renewal.

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Shannon Basso
The Great Chinese Art Heist

Strange how it keeps happening, how the greatest works of Chinese art keep getting brazenly stolen from museums around the world. Is it a conspiracy? Vengeance for treasures plundered years ago? We sent Alex W. Palmer to investigate the trail of theft and the stunning rumor: Is the Chinese government behind one of the boldest art-crime waves in history?

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Crosland Stuart
Dancing In the Streets

My apologies all the way around for what amounted to a great big tease last week when no video was embedded in the previous blog. The problem has been sorted out but the only solution is to include the link rather than the actual video. The ideas that Dr. Amy Sherman, a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research (where she directs the Center on Faith in Communities), puts forward is worthy of our consideration as we embark on vocational guilds together.

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Crosland Stuart
The End of Patronage?

We are back and off of the July Screen Sabbatical. This week's blog post is an interview with James K.A. Smith and Roberta Ahmanson and they are discussing a fascinating topic—patronage. Most interviews that are transcribed can be a little rough and this one is no exception, but it is well worth the read.  Patronage is a lost concept in our culture today and especially with a view towards eternity. 

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Crosland Stuart
Aaahhh...Summer!

Aaahhhh! Summer is here and hopefully that means you will be taking some much-needed time off. Interestingly, Americans have become so focused on productivity that we often struggle with how to unwind, destress, and actually relax. Many of us even wrestle with whether or not we should strive to achieve these things a part from a perfect world, and sense that does not exist, then why try.

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Crosland Stuart
Stuck???

We are all familiar with the exciting and encouraging opening lines of Oh the Places You’ll Go. I read it the night before going off to college, full of confidence, ready to start my life, excited to see where my brains and my feet would take me. 

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Emily Matteson