Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

They Set A New Course For History

After the reformational work of Luther and Calvin some 500 years ago in northern Europe, biblio-centric pioneers of education such as John Amos Comenius, John Alsted, William Ames and Alexander Richardson, developed new and radical ways of "doing school." In the process, they set a new course for history.

One of the lost treasures of their remarkable (and forgotten) approach to education is the Puritan Circle of Knowledge.

It had four stages, as follows:

#1: God initiates things through His original creation of everything out of nothing.


#2: Humans discover what God has made. This discovery is a big part of what education is about.  


#3: Humans imitate God by making “secondary creations,” based on their understanding of His initial creation.


#4: God is glorified through imitation of Him via vocations of all kinds.

So the shoemaker imitates God by making beautiful and functional “secondary creations” that serve the needs of people and reflect the original Creator via imitation, thus bringing glory back to God. The furniture maker imitates God by making beautiful and functional “secondary creations” that serve the needs of people and reflect the original Creator via imitation, bringing glory back to God. The banker, the lawyer and the businessman also glorify God by serving the financial needs of people, bringing justice to the world, and creating employment for the community via the imitation of God through vocation, and in so doing, communities flourish. 

I have no doubt this is why the Puritan pastor George Swinnock said, “The pious tradesman will know that his shop as well as his chapel is holy ground.” Done in the right way, with the right attitude, for the right reason, any “secondary creations” that imitate the original Creator, will glorify Him and bless people. It's true whether making shoes, running banks or rearing children. That’s what “vocation” was about for the Moravians, the Puritans and other followers of Christ just a few hundred years ago.

Reformational ideas like this one laid an economic foundation for a new nation. To recover such ideas would change the course of history once again. This is what Worldview Matters is up to, in cooperation with the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, and Bakke Graduate University. Pray for us.

For more on the Circle of Knowledge, see Dr. David Scott's, "A Vision of  Veritas: What Christian Scholarship Can Learn from the Puritans' 'Technology' of Integrating Truth." Click here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

He Told Me, "The Muslims Are Winning"

Dr. Aila Tasse

A few years ago, I spent ten days in Indonesia with Ray Bakke and a group of fellow graduate students from Bakke Graduate University. During our stay, Ray pointed out that Islam did not come to Indonesia through Muslim clerics. It came through business and trade.

Of all nations on earth, Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims. About 86% of Indonesia (nearly 200,000,000 people) claim to follow Islam.

Michael Baer, in Business As Mission, wrote: “I once asked an Indonesian Christian why the country had become so predominantly Muslim…She said that when the Western Christians came...they built missionary compounds and missionary churches and expected the Indonesian people to come to them. The Muslims, on the other hand, came as traders, farmers, merchants, and businesspeople and simply lived among the natives.” 

Dr. Darrell Furgason, an expert in Islamic studies, says: “In places like Africa and Indonesia, the church has been intellectually crippled, with one hand tied behind its back. Western missionaries generally brought the Gospel in the way they learned it, as a purely soul-saving faith, with no real bearing on anything else—religion was a mostly personal matter, nothing to do with things like politics, science, law, economics….African people were given the Gospel, but not how to build a righteous nation, how to apply Christianity to everything….Muslims see their faith as all-encompassing…”

One of my fellow graduate students on the study trip to Indonesia was an African by the name of Aila Tasse. We became friends. Aila told me that Islam is spreading in Africa through business. He further said something sobering, when he told me, "the Muslims are winning."

When I returned from Indonesia, I called Aila by phone and asked permission to record our conversation. Some months later, when  I was in Kenya, speaking at a conference of Christian educators, I played Aila's comments for the Africans to whom I was speaking. They were from Uganda, Nigeria and Sudan. I asked them if they concurred with Aila's report. Without hesitation, they all replied: "Yes! Absolutely! He is 100% correct!"

I urge you to take 2 1/2 minutes to listen to Aila's report for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJppIj-Fnmc

Friday, October 16, 2015

Most Meaningful Jobs

The following was posted by Dr. Nancy Pearcey [author of Total Truth] on her Facebook page this week (October 11). With her permission, I am re-posting it here for Worldview Matters readers:

Most Meaningful Jobs--Orthopedic Surgeon and...Youth Minister!

"Topping the list for the most meaningful job is a three-way tie of jobs as different in compensation as they are in nature: orthopedic surgeon, police chief, and youth minister.

Orthopedic surgeons, those who perform surgery to correct muscujloskeletal issues, take home median pay of $337,800 each year, and 100% of respondents found strong meaning in their work. The field is heavily male-dominated, as is that of police chief. While these professionals don't bring in nearly the salaries of orthopedic surgeons, 100% found their work meaningful. The job pays a respectable median of $63,100.

Youth minister, the third part in this tie for first, pays the least by far--an annual median $35,000--but 100% of respondents still find strong meaning in the role.

While many of the roles designated as "most meaningful" are management or leadership positions like elementary school principal, assisted living administrator, or executive director of a non-profit, the majority of these jobs involve working closely with people in a helpful capacity...

To create this list, Forbes' PayScale asked workers in more than 400 jobs from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to provide compensation data and respond to questions about whether they feel their work makes the world a better place."

For more on this study, see http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/the-most-and-least-meaningful-jobs/ar-AAaZIqs?ocid=iehp#image=AAb1Xc2|1

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Friday, October 9, 2015

A Salary Of Nearly One-Million Dollars Per Year

George Washington Carver (c. 1860-1943)

Dr. George Washington Carver didn't find meaning in his work, he brought meaning to his work. For Carver, it boiled down to four words.

After Carver succeeded in creating scores of products from plants, Thomas Edison asked him to come to New Jersey to work for him. Edison offered Carver a salary of nearly one million dollars per year, equivalent in today’s economy. Carver declined the offer so he could remain at Tuskegee and help the Southern farmers.

Carver started a “School on Wheels,” going out to farms so he could teach farmers directly how to revive cotton-tired soil by planting peanuts and sweet potatoes. Carver not only revived the soil, but the Southern economy as well. Farmer by farmer.

More than twenty years after Carver’s death, Clarence Mason, director of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee, said of Carver: “…I have the most profound respect and admiration for Dr. Carver because he turned away from the field in which he was most skilled and best trained [botany], to work in an area [chemistry] which he felt he could do the most good for the people in his community.”

When Booker T. Washington invited Carver to come to Tuskegee Institute to teach students how to plant and harvest crops so they could be brought out of "degradation, poverty and waste," Carver replied: “I…shall be glad to cooperate with you in doing all I can through Christ who strengtheneth me to better the condition of our people.”

That is exactly what Carver did.

Through his work as a botanist-chemist, Carver loved God and loved people. He wrote: “Living for others is really the Christ life after all. Oh, the satisfaction, happiness and joy one gets out of it…I know that my Redeemer lives. Thank God I love humanity; complexion doesn’t interest me one single bit.”

For Carver, it boiled down to four words: Love God, love people. He did this through his daily work.

Are you thinking of quitting your job, so you can go into "the ministry?" If God is calling you to be a pastor, great. Go for it! We need good pastors. But think twice before you quit your current job, thinking it's not "ministry." If "ministry" is all about "loving God and loving people," I suspect this can be done quite effectively through the work you're already doing. Don't know how? Ask God to show you. That's what Carver did.

If you missed last week's video about Carver, you can catch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wv4qYIyJoM

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Friday, October 2, 2015

A Human Co-Working With God

George Washington Carver, tying a child's shoe.

Carver with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The accomplishments of Dr. George Washington Carver are legendary. He created 300 products from the peanut, and 118 products from the sweet potato. These products include printers ink, plastics, adhesives and more.

Carver is widely known as a scientist. But what is not so widely known, is how Carver seamlessly embedded his faith into his daily work. When he went into his laboratory (which he called, "God's Little Workshop"), at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute, Carver asked God to reveal to him the mysteries of the peanut: "Great Creator, why did you make the peanut? Why?" And God answered his prayer.

Carver testified: "God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. The method is reveled to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”

George Washington Carver epitomizes what it means to be a human co-working with God. He said: "Man, who needed a purpose, a mission, to keep him alive, had one. He could be...God's co-worker...My purpose alone must be God's purpose...As I worked on projects which fulfilled a real human need, forces were working through me which amazed me. I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke the answer was there."

Carver did not suffer from SSD, the Sacred-Secular Divide: "...all my life I have risen regularly at four o'clock and have gone into the woods and talked with God," Carver declared, "There He gives me my orders for the day." He wrote: “…if we do not take Christ seriously in our every day life, all is a failure because it is an every day affair.”

Carver loved God and loved people through his daily work with plants. He is "Exhibit A" when it comes to bringing meaning to work by putting it into the context of something much bigger--a biblical world-and-life view. All I can say is, "Bravo, Carver!"

Here is a short video about Carver's life and faith that is well worth the time to view. Of all the videos Worldview Matters has produced, this video has the highest number of views, going on 13,000:

If the video does not play, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wv4qYIyJoM

For more on Carver's Christian worldview, see William J. Federer's George Washington Carver: His Life & Faith in His Own Words.

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