Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace

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What Does God Do All Day? (Part 2)

I’m still reviewing what I’ve tried to accomplish so far at this site. This blog is dedicated to the Clifford Problem which, in a nutshell, is: When we’re engaged in secular activities, what role is left for God besides that of an observer? I have identified a number of ways that we can respond to this problem, and so far I have shared a few of those ways with you.

Last time I reviewed the approach that God is making us into disciples of Christ, and that there are many competencies involved in doing so—competencies which we practice, in part, when we are engaged in secular activities like work and school.

The next major approach that I’ve suggested is more hands-on and much less theoretical: if we get into the habit of praying about our secular activities, we will discover quite concretely what God is doing in our lives at such moments. I gave a number of examples from my days as a student in high school and college, as well as from my more recent experience as a college professor. I told about working in a customer service call center. (My book, Customer Service and the Imitation of Christ, goes into this in greater detail.) I shared the experiences of a friend in law enforcement. I talked about the man who was in charge of food rationing in Switzerland during the Second World War.

I could have given many more examples from other fields I’ve worked in, but I felt I was getting the idea across sufficiently.

This, then, is the second approach I have offered in response to the Clifford Problem. Unlike the first approach, it’s not theoretical but practical, not a logical argument but an invitation.  I will say the same thing now that I said then: try praying about the things you do all day, and watch what happens. If you are serious about it, I believe you will find what I found: that God can contribute in interesting ways to the work we do.

Behind this practical suggestion, however, is a theoretical claim: that God can do more than just watch us work.  Specifically, God can work through us to make the world a better place.  And we can verify the truth of that claim by praying about our work and noticing the variety of ways in which this happens.

I’ll talk about my third approach next time.

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