The disappearance of well-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has decimated the middle class. It has also put stress on gender roles—especially in the South, where there’s a strong presumption, backed by evangelical Christian teaching, that being a man means providing financially for your family.
Once you finally get a job, then you need to get a “real” job. Then you can expect to be laid off at least once in your life. Then you have to retool and enter the workforce again. Then even if you get your “dream” job, you might come to the realization that you’re destroying your family and your personal life, and the dream becomes a bit of a nightmare. Then you begin to realign all your goals. Then you begin to look toward retirement, and you begin to imagine what your vocation is going to be when you retire.
The new poverty numbers came out today, and they aren't pretty.
The Census Bureau reports that more than 15 percent of Americans
are living in poverty--a number that's gone up for three consecutive years and
is the highest it's been since 1959.
This week marks the 15th
anniversary of welfare reform, in which a Republican Congress and a
re-election-focused Democratic president got together to fulfill the latter's
promise to "end welfare as we know it."
I have been writing recently about the connection between our Christian faith and the workaday lives most of us lead, and I have sought to strengthen that connection. But now I want to weaken it some, because often in our zeal to make a point we wind up making an idol.