Where is our Calvin Coolidge?

We don’t need a president riding in on a white horse to solve our problems.  We don’t need a charismatic figure like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.  OK, I’d settle for a Reagan.  But what we really need is someone like Calvin Coolidge.

Our newspaper, the Daily Oklahoman, printed part of a Labor Day speech that Coolidge gave in 1924.  “Silent Cal,” by slashing taxes and cutting federal spending, presided over one of the largest economic expansions in American history.

What strikes me, though, in his speech, are his insights about work (or, as he calls it, “toil”), the dangers of dependency on the government, and how the main problem in America is always the character of its citizens.

Read the excerpts after the jump.  (I bolded the passages  that I thought particularly striking.) [Read more…]

Millennials and vocation

Barna has done a study of the millennial generation’s attitude towards work.  Most do not see their careers as central to their identities (unlike Baby Boomers).  Rather, their jobs are there to fund their personal interests.  And yet, Millennial Christians are more likely than Baby Boomers to see their work in terms of “calling” (a.k.a. “vocation”).

The study discloses many fascinating paradoxes.  The purpose of vocation–namely, loving and serving one’s neighbor (not oneself)–seems to be somewhat missing.  As is the sense that vocation exists in the here and now, that whoever your neighbors are now defines your vocation.  “Calling” is something they hope for in the future.  Millennials do have a strong emphasis on wanting marriage and family, which is also a vocation, in addition to just work.  But still, I give them credit. [Read more…]

Making America great again through vocation

Mark Hemingway excoriates the left’s denigration of work and says that the lack of respect for the working class is what drives Donald Trump’s popularity.  And then he offers his proposal for making America great again:  Recover Luther’s doctrine of vocation!

Read what he says after the jump.  This will kick off a special series of posts on vocation this week (while I’m away in Denmark).  As someone* wrote me recently, “vocation has messed with me for the past several years.”  Let it mess with you this week!

[Read more…]

Labor & Leisure

Labor Day heralds the end of summer vocations.  Now the Fall begins and it’s back to work.  For students and teachers like me, it has always meant getting serious again and going back to the classrooms for another school year.

This year, for me, the holiday is hitting me in a completely different way since I am retiring.  All summer I have been madly busy finishing up my job, so Labor Day is heralding the beginning of my not laboring, at least in the same way I have all of my life. [Read more…]

“Fish in the afternoon, criticize after dinner”

At the findings that Obamacare will take over 2 million jobs out of the economy, Democrats have been saying this is a good thing:  Now, people will no longer have to work at unfulfilling jobs just to keep their health insurance.  Charles Krauthammer takes up this mindset and throws in a great quote from Karl Marx. [Read more…]

Books on Faith and Work

The doctrine of vocation, though neglected for a long time, is coming back in force.  Though “vocation” refers to God’s various callings in which we are to love and serve our neighbors and goes far beyond a “job,” it does include what we do to make a living.  Quite a few books have come out recently on what is being called the “Faith and Work conversation.”  Greg Forster has written a useful review essay online with links to the various titles.

I appreciate what he said about my book on vocation:  “Gene Edward Veith’s classic God at Work demonstrates that faith/work integration is indispensable if we wish to uphold the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone.”

A classic already?  Don’t I have to be dead to have a book attain that status?  But I’ll take it.  I’m glad Dr. Forster sees what is so often missed:  That vocation is connected to justification. [Read more…]