Random Thoughts for a Saturday Morning

Here are a collection of thoughts for what will be the last Saturday of freedom until June:

The Shock of a New Semester

On Tuesday, we will begin the spring semester here at Asbury Theological Seminary. This will be the sixth semester, here, and it will be an interesting one to say the least. First, many of our friends will be graduating come May, so we will be saying goodbye to some good friends.

Second, I think I have bitten off more than I can chew for one semester. I am taking a grand total of five classes. I keep telling myself that at least one of the classes only meets on one day, however that doesn’t help. The amount of work that I will have for the semester borders on insane and is equaled to crazy. This should put the new semester into perspective: I’ve been reading since early January and have finished one book, but I feel behind. How can you feel behind before a new semester even begins?

I’m looking forward to the semester. I got into most of the classes that I wanted, but there is one that I did not get into that I hope to take some other time. The topics for the semester are: preaching, Christian discipleship, the environment, cross-cultural communication, and Methodist history. I will be … busy.

But, I will learn and enjoy it.

Latest Job Numbers Do Not Bring Hope to Jobless

The unemployment number is down. Good news, right? The unemployment number went from 10 percent to 9.7 percent, that should be cause for praise, right?

Oh, how we wish it were.

While the unemployment number did go down, still 20,000 nonfarm jobs were lost in the previous month. While that is less than December’s 150,000 jobs, it still means that, as a country, we are losing jobs instead of creating jobs. Also, too, what some consider to be the true unemployment rate still remains  high. Some argue that it is best to use the figure that includes both those actively looking for a job and those that are no longer looking for work. That rate, while it fell too in January, is still above 16 percent.

That means more than 1 out of 10 people who are of working age are not working. They are not providing for their families.

This, I believe, is more than a political and economic issue, but an issue that touches our humanity. Work is a central part of who we are, and we can trace that to Genesis and God’s command for humanity to serve as stewards among all the earth. We are called to work and work is important for us. It is how we express our gifts and talents, provide for our families, and in some ways give something back to those around us.

We can get into arguments that we need to address how we view work, and accept that volunteering is a proper avenue for work (though it doesn’t help pay the bills). And while those are important discussions to have, I’m not sure now is the time. What is the time is that we must no longer see the jobs number as a political football between two parties wanting to be in the best position come November. Instead, we must see this issue on the personal level and how it affects families and individuals.

I don’t believe we are looking at it that way. At least, not now and that hurts those families who are looking for a job in this economy.

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3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts for a Saturday Morning

  1. Shannon – do not confuse unemployment numbers with employment numbers. The 20,000 is the number of people who filed for unemployment above the amount who were on unemployment the previous month. Probably there were many more new filings for unemployment than 20,000, but some came off the unemployment rolls because they got jobs or are no longer eligible to receive unemployment.
    To get a true picture of the employment situation you must look at the figures for the number of people of working age that are employed. It is best to compare the percentages over time. To know the actual job situation, you must know both the unemployment figures and the employment figures. The media is always obsessed with the former which can fool you.
    In any event, to know whether or not the economy is creating or losing jobs, only look at the employment figures, not the unemployment figures.

  2. Brian,

    I think you miss the point of the commentary. While you are right that unemployment rolls can fluctuate depending on when someone comes on or off the unemployment rolls, the issue still remains that too many Americans are out of work and, as a country, we are too worried to make this into a political issue to score points in November than we are about doing things, today, that will help people get back to work and contributing.

    One does not need to get into a diatribe about how unemployment works to understand that unemployment is too high, that people are without work, and something must be done.

  3. I got the point. I was just being technical. It was a point about statistics. Unemployment went down in percentage, but up in raw numbers. My point is that without further information we cannot draw the conclusions you drew, even if they were correct.

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