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Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Culture, Politics | 2 comments

Spelunking, Cave Formations, and Culture Change

Spelunking, Cave Formations, and Culture Change

  “It’s riskier than ever,” Jill said, “to tell people you work with you’re a Christian.” Jill worked at a public policy communications firm in Denver. Having worked with people of all and no faith for over 7 years, her sentiment about being a Christian in pluralist America was one I hear often. Fear. Isolation. Better to be quiet about my faith, and not risk the professional repercussions. Clearly, for Christians in America, we’re not in Kansas anymore. For many evangelicals who sense a deep loss of cultural power over the past decade, a debate has developed about how cultures change. The need to reimagine a Christian cultural presence has become a hot topic – and so have ideas about how cultures emerge and develop.   The debate essentially boils down to two approaches: (1) Top-down elites who are in power shape culture by imposing their perspectives on society. These elites sit in positions of institutional power, sit on one another’s boards, and have disproportionate influence on culture. The...

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Art, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Culture, Economy, Education, Finance, Media, Nonprofit, Politics, Science, Technology, Theology, Work, World | 0 comments

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Today is a big day. Today my colleagues and I at Denver Institute for Faith & Work, in partnership with Gordon College, announce the launch of the 5280 Fellowship, a 9 month experience for emerging leaders beginning in the fall of 2016. After years of planning, design and forging partnerships, each element of the program has fallen into place. And now what we are now offering is, I believe, one of the best faith-based fellowship programs in the US, and perhaps Denver’s premiere leadership experience for young professionals. I know those are big claims. But I believe the 5280 Fellowship has the potential to deeply impact Denver for generations to come. And I’m not alone. Some of Denver’s finest pastors – like Robert Gelinas (Colorado Community Church), Brad Strait (Cherry Creek Presbyterian), Rob Brendle (Denver United), Brian Brown (Park Church) and Hunter Beaumont (Fellowship Denver) – believe the Fellowship can be a life-changing experience for young professionals who want to deeply engage themes of calling, work, and culture. Young...

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Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Culture, Politics | 1 comment

Driving Back the Cloud of Fear: A Christmas Meditation

Driving Back the Cloud of Fear: A Christmas Meditation

  If there is anything we Americans hold in common this Christmas, it is fear. I felt it creeping up my neck four weeks ago when my dad called me on the way to work. “Did you hear about San Bernardino?” I confessed I was behind on the news. “The Islamic State is here.” That same day my wife stopped in to buy jeans at the Gap. A Muslim man was buying a jacket for his wife who was draped in an all-black hijab, showing only her eyes. My wife felt guilty for saying it, but she said what so many of us feel: “Jeff, I was a afraid.” As Christmas approaches, the thorns of fear quietly infest American soil. Yet my wife and I hold something in common with many Muslims today. They too are afraid. Since San Bernardino, many American Muslims have feared a backlash. And should they not be afraid? Donald Trump vows to expel Muslims from America, and has even hinted at creating internment camps....

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Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Culture, Theology, Work | 2 comments

What Greg Thompson Can Teach Us About Living as Christians in Cities

What Greg Thompson Can Teach Us About Living as Christians in Cities

Occasionally you meet somebody that shines with such virtue that you are, perhaps for the first time, made aware of your own poverty of spirit. When I met Greg Thompson during our Thriving Cities symposium in late October, I almost immediately felt the weight of his glory. Before speaking to the crowd, he almost desperately asked me to let him know if there was anybody I knew at the event who had a particular hurt or pain that he could pray for. Unlike my concerns (Will the event be a success? Will people “like” the evening?), it seemed to me that his vision for the renewal of cities was almost completely driven by an other-worldly love. It’s rare that I go back over a talk that a DIFW speaker has given several times to take notes, underline, and to pray. But when Greg spoke about our “shared wound and shared calling” to reimagine what a virtuous civic life might look like, it was not just my mind, but through...

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Culture, Work | 4 comments

An Open Letter to Howard Schultz: Why I Love the Red Starbucks Christmas Cups

An Open Letter to Howard Schultz: Why I Love the Red Starbucks Christmas Cups

  Dear Howard, Right now I’m at a Starbucks in Littleton, Colorado, sipping a double shot Americano, using your WiFi, and listening to Christmas music. I also noticed what fine, festive cups you’ve chosen to adorn your stores across the land. As I admired their white, green and red simplicity, I also thought of all the flak you’ve received from Christians who apparently don’t like your red cups. I’m sorry about this. They don’t speak for all of us. Let me give you the top ten reasons why I appreciate the red Starbucks Christmas cups: 10. They hold delicious beverages that I purchase several times a week. 9. They allow nearly 191,000 employees to serve their customers worldwide – and provide for their own livelihood as well. 8. They have a sticker with my name and drink order on it because of the highly efficient system you and your team have created to get my drink order right nearly every time I’ve ever been to a Starbucks. 7. They’re...

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Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in Culture, Work | 0 comments

A Gift to the World

A Gift to the World

  Several weeks ago, I sat down to share about the DIFW vision with a prospective donor. As I began to explain our mission, I could tell there was a mental obstacle. “So, you can’t evangelize in schools or business or the government,” he said. “So what it is exactly you’re trying to accomplish?” Before I could reply, the conversation moved to Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby, and the contentious religious liberty issues surrounding the overt faith of their founders. Though I’m personally encouraged by the Cathy and Green families, I could tell that our organization was being sucked into a culture war, one that tends to see the Church as almost a drain on a liberal, pluralist society – one that impinges on the  rights of the individual. But instead of getting drawn into the culture wars, I instead decided to say what has been true for millennia: the church is a gift to the world. There’s a reason why we chose the title “A Gift to the City” for our...

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