Defining Work- Blue, white and in-between.

We live in a society in which we feel we must “work” hard, check enough boxes and accomplish a certain amount of activity before we can consider ourselves satisfied.  Moving from a place of productivity based on piece on physical production to work based on intellect and strategy from my observation lead to mental health issues.

The factory worker and the CEO hold vastly different measurements of production. Producing a certain number of accurate parts verses a job based on delegation and decision are night and day.    That said; I believe most humans with average brain functioning can most likely attain and succeed in any occupation. The difference is the type of work and social programming that has taken place throughout the person’s life.

Someone who went to college, maybe on to grad school may never work in an environment in which manual labor is required.  This individual is programmed to only understand that he or she was hired for their knowledge of a certain field and not to work as those who are laborers and technicians.  For the white collar worker it would seem a waist of their ability to contribute to the work of operating a machine, fixing a car or building something.  Of course the white collar worker is capable of such work it would become mentally awkward.  The blue collar worker also could perform the functions of their white collar counterparts if placed in such a role yet just as the white collar would find it awkward so would the blue collar worker who is now performing the duties of a corporate director.

The problem lies in the social engineering that has taken place.  A CEO who gets fired probably will not go apply as a construction worker even if the job gave him or her living wage.  Also the blue collar worker probably would not apply for the dismissed CEO’s positon as they may feel inadequate.  Are they inadequate? I doubt it, what I do believe is two types of programming which has shaped their life and contribution to society. who

There may be a real correlation between depression and persons who have placed themselves outside of their definition of work.  Some say that happiness is the end of all things.  A person may find themselves in a higher paying job or a job that does not meet their intellectual needs and find discouragement.  Both persons will never be able to perform enough “work” to be satisfied as both look at completion differently.  The blue collar worker working a white collar job may spend every waking moment of their lives in their new position trying to produce without slowing down.  Of course not everything can be accomplished in a day or a week.  Working in white collar fields involves working with humans who are all bringing a variety of complex issues.  This inability to feel accomplished could create severe depression.  The same with the white collar worker who is now in a factory; this worker is continually frustrated with the way the operation is conducted without the authority to change the operation.  The lack of operational freedom may bring about frustration leading to a lack of fulfillment.

Most people are in awe of why so many very successful people commit suicide especially among the entertainment industry.  These individuals do not answer to supervisors and many have come from a blue collar background.  They believe work involves production of something tangible.  They may never be able to create enough music, movies, art etc.  Drugs and alcohol are common as even though their bank accounts are filled, their hearts are empty. 

Moving up and down the ladder between the blue collar and white can create a psychological shift which causes more harm than the money is worth.  That said transition is possible and through proper self-care and realization that both types of work are important to the contribution to society. 

Companies could do more to train those being promoted into a different dynamic.  Those who find themselves in instant success should in my opinion see a therapist to work through the major life change that follows.  The same should be said of those who have been dismissed from white collar positions and are now working in the manual fields.

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What Would Jesus Think of Church?

Most religious people who take their religion seriously are usually a bit crazy. As a Christian I point to my own faith which I do take seriously although in my opinion most Christians feed into the lies the church tells them. Although I will be merciful and give most Christians a pass. It takes a lot of work which involves serious study to understand that much of what the church tells us is only opinion.

These opinions were first argued during the early days of the church. They would debate a variety of subjects. Who was Jesus? What should be in the Bible? Heaven, hell and everything in between. Yes, literally even in our Protestants churches, like it or not have been heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism. Fear and control are the name of the game.

While Jesus tells us to live without fear, the church is not very receptive. Fear of hell is the major controlling doctrine. But, let’s not forget fear of the opposite sex (for reasons of purity), homosexuality, movies, books, music, anything that may be against the opinions of what the church is. Of course, I have my own opinions of a church and without sounding too much like a hypocrite. I will say that it is virtually impossible not to allow our opinions get in the way. We could agree however not to have opinions that cause fear and behavior modification.

So, what is the church then? The church is you and I; the people. The church is a gathering in the name of Jesus in order to explore how to be as Jesus was. To help each other and community as Jesus did. Not to dictate rules and regulations on how to please God. God does not need us to do things that “pleases” him. God is already pleased with us. If God was not pleased with us from the beginning, then Jesus coming to earth would have never been in the cards.

Church is a good idea, although I do not know if it has ever lived up what Jesus had in mind. A simple reading of the book of Acts and this becomes a realization. I think that we must keep in mind that we are human. We are filled with all kinds of weaknesses and those are reflected even in the church of an almighty God. We should not give up on the church. We can improve the church.

1. Remove opinions we call dogmas and doctrines and get back to the very basics of love.

That’s it, one step. Super easy right? Yea like to see church leaders try this one. I suppose that we can, and it can start with you and me.

 

 

 

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Stand Up

The vast majority of those in power are very few. They have a created a society of brainwashed individuals. Think about it a few hundred people are elected officials compared to millions of us. A few thousand CEO’s compared to millions of us. We hold the keys to power. Right now in America it is divide and conquer. They love it. We feed into it. What if we just stopped. The inmates have done it during country wide labor strikes. What if we defied by non complying? A massive sit in. We do not have to cooperate with the so called government of the people. We are the government. We the people not a few hundred idiots who won a popularity contest.

Progressive Christianity; A Christianity for All People.

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            Progressive Christians ARE Christians, we are not a sub group of Christianity, rather we feel we have found a flavor of Christianity that Jesus would best be associated with. We are Christians who preach the gospel of love and salvation from self.  A message of love, a desire for peace and tolerance to all people; this is a general description of what progressive Christianity is about.  This is counter to many in the conservative evangelical world who hold to strict theological doctrines and dogmas in fear of hellfire and brimstone.  Progressive Christianity does not embrace fear. As the scripture states “perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18).  In many ways our flavor of Christianity can bring many together in unity around the simple idea of love.

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            It is time to forget about your mother’s Christianity and step into the new age.  I am speaking primarily of hardcore fundamentalism.  When I was growing up it was all about hellfire and brimstone and salvation of souls.  I was so scared half the time that I think I was “saved” every Sunday.  You do not need to be a theologian of any status to understand that this is not what Jesus wanted.  Bringing people into the church by way of fear is no better than putting a knife to ones throat and telling them “convert or die.”  Who wants to enter heaven under compulsion?  Would you really be entering heaven? Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven being within our mist.  Yes, Jesus did also speak of hellfire, sin, and evil; yet humanity has overemphasized the darkness and forgot the light.

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            Progressive Christians are often very political and lean towards liberalism.  This is often due to our stance on love and inclusiveness.  We do not want to compete for ownership of the church; we just want to be the church.  Conservative Christians are generally republicans who vote primarily for the “pro-life” candidates even if the candidate drops bombs on refugees and sends men and women to die for self-interest.  They may not always admit it, but generally their churches are primarily white, anti-LGBT, nationalist, who would rather have a theocracy instead of freedom.  Progressive Christians are “pro-choice” although that is misleading as well.  Abortion is not a laughing matter and we take it very seriously.  We support the LGBT community and often our most senior leaders are members of this community.  Many of us believe in workers’ rights, universal healthcare, and tax payer funded education; that a person working a full time job should earn a living wage with enough for leisure.  We do not believe in a water downed gospel; instead we hold to the gospel of Jesus, understanding we are all on a journey of faith that cannot be outlined and fit into a box.  We are looked upon as liberal because our faith compels us to be like Jesus.  God is a globalist and loves all people.  Progressive Christians do not believe that you can contain the love of God.  God’s love is too big for that!  God’s love is for all.  Our love is for all!

Power to the People

Rev. Nate Sprott
Power to the People
“Power to the people” a slogan generally associated when the majority of people are in struggle with the power elite. The United States has used this slogan since its inception, when the people, being the majority, are being taken advantage of, suffered unduly, being forced into servitude, the people of this great country do not hesitate to fight back. The British learned this the Southern states, and the major corporations of the 1900’s. The great depression brought upon the worst economic downturn in American history, one in which only a world war would elevate the country out of. With the end of the war Unions were strong, labor was plentiful and the value of the dollar solid as a rock. The American worker could graduate High School and find a job that would support a family with children with only one working spouse. Yes, there was still poverty, much of which had to do with racial tension.
You might be thinking what is a minister doing writing about the economy? I am not a trained economist, I am trained in Christian theology. Yet just as Jesus talked more about money than heaven or hell I think this gives any preacher of the gospel the right to speak on the matter. It is no surprise that the days of the “Baby Boomers” have ended. Today a young person goes into the work force and is paid 1/3rd of their predecessors. On top of that the cost of living has sky rocketed, the dream of a house 2 kids and a picket fence is just that, a dream.

The Myth of Hard Work
We have all heard that hard work is the way to the top. I am not saying that there is not truth and value in hard work. In fact, I am a believer in hard work and excellence. I am not a believer of hard work and excellence when the only one putting out the work is the one getting paid the least. The “common fold” you and me, have always been the ones that pumped the life blood of the country. Unfortunately, currently those who are pumping the blood are living off credit cards, forgoing necessities such as insurance, living with roommates (and not because they are lonely) and doing whatever else they can to survive; this while working to only maintain their current level of poverty. This is not how it should be, yet this is the America that young people are entering. It has become the norm; many people are making excuses for this condition. Telling the youth that they should be content, find their place, it could be worse, and the biggest lie “work hard and you will achieve success.” No, I am sorry that is not the truth. I am not saying that people are not working hard, they most certainly are, and doing so with much less. What is happening is working hard is not paying off for our workers.
At one time you would enter into agreement with a company to work hard, and in return the company would reciprocate. You knew that if you put in the years it would pay off in the end. Most workers would not make it to the top or become millionaires, but what was certain is they would end up retiring with a good wage and pension that would last the rest of their lives. In todays current market to be promoted means moving from job to job approximately every two years. One of the reasons for this is raises remain minimal, after two years the worker would find the new employee with zero experience making near if not the same as your current salary, this would not be negative if you were given adequate raises. Now it is not your new fellow worker who is to blame, it is your company who is trying to save money paying you just enough to keep you coming back or until you find something else that pays more. This creates another problem; lack of retention. Training a new employee is a very costly. Companies have decided that it must be more profitable to allow for low retention instead of giving adequate raises. One of the side effects of constant turn over is low quality. In fact, before you know it everyone is new, all the way up to senior management and without experience at the helm when the wind blows the cards will fall. To me this whole thing comes down to greed, and lack of faith in our fellow-man, that if paid just enough the worker will still do the job, he will keep clocking in because it is ultimately better than the homeless shelter or a family members couch. The bottom line is within the context of an organization hard work does not pay. Hard work does allow for personal success and is necessary for excellence, but to the worker who does not see its returns their hard work and pride in a company will quickly vanish into mediocrity.
What Companies Want you to Think
Congratulations you have just been hired! First, I want you to understand that companies are not the devil. The situation in which we live is that of a profit driven society. If a company does not continue to consistently make profits, then that company will be no more. But, let me tell you what you may not know when you agree to your new position. First you will always be underpaid. Right now, there is a movement in America to raise the national minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. Now just hear me out. Today in the United States the worker is being paid the same as the worker 30 years ago. I do not even have to go into a list of numbers to explain that the cost of living is not the same as it was back in 1987. What you might not know is that for you to be employed your employer needs to make more money from your labor than it cost to pay you. Now I do not disagree, obviously in a profit driven economy any employer must make profit from your labor. The question is how much profit? How much should a company essentially take from its employees? I do understand that employers also must pay inflated bills, yet for some reason paying the life blood of a company has remained the same.
Most employers also want you to think that management and executive positions which pay considerably more than the worker are somehow magically working harder and deserve more than “the little guy.” I have worked for a lot of people in my life, good people, people who deserve what they get paid, a good living wage. These people do have a lot of responsibilities and must make important decisions, but let me tell you first and foremost it is not as difficult as the worker. The guy making the least and doing the most, the backbone of the company who can barely pay his bills while the boss sits in banquet. I am not a complete hater, I understand that it is a dog eat dog world a good paying job is hard to get and when you get it you hold on to it like Gollum and his precious.
It is rigged
It is interesting to note a man deemed by the British media as the wickedest man in the world was probably more loving and concerned for society than many corporations. “The minimum wage shall be as such as is required for decent comfort, with a surplus for amusement & investments.”- Aleister Crowley. I completely agree with Crowley even 15 dollars an hour may not meet his standards of minimum wage with the current price tag of living. The issue is that those who defend the corrupt economic system which favors the rich and leaves the poor shackled to a job just to keep food on the table in the richest country in the world will proclaim “we choose to work.” Yes, we choose to work because it is better than starvation. We do take out loans, so we can buy a house and car and if possible take a vacation. Debt just keeps us more and more shackled to the job we only continue work because it is either that or the shelter. The employer also knows this, executives and shareholders know this. So why would anyone raise wages? It is time to stop thinking that your employer who gives a dime raise a year and expects you to be happy is looking out for you. In today’s economy we the worker must self-promote. It is becoming more common for the worker to move jobs every two years. Within a rigged economy we must find ways to fight back. One of the greatest disadvantages for a company especially when there is low unemployment is to retain employees. I will tell you what keeps employees, it is not hard, cold hard cash. There is no reason to stay at a job that pays less than the employer across the street. The game is about standard of living, and we the worker must not feel bad for the corporation, we should only feel bad for ourselves for not making the moves in order to advance. To end this rant of an article let me leave you with this. When you do achieve a position as an executive, if that be your will, make sure you start making a change. Remember what it was like. Do not think highly of yourself, and pay your employees what they deserve. Yes, the system is rigged but if we all work together we can make a difference and lift all of us up.

 

The Backyard Preacher Podcast #89 (Do Not Let “What Will They Think” Stop You.)

So many times we are held back by our minds because what we “Think Others Will Think of us.”  This is the great hindrance of many of our dreams and passions. Let Nate’s message help set you free with the power of the Spirit of God.