What Does God Do from 9 to 5?
"What role does God play in our lives while we're working?" That's the question that two young professionals, Dayton and Savannah, set out to answer. With the help of a unique discussion group led by Dr. Grizzled Mane, Philosopher-in-Residence at the Cathedral of Our Lord (C.O.O.L.), they begin to view the work world as a web of stories, with God acting as both observer and participant.
Along the way, they consider other questions:
*Is God interested in science, accounting, education, law, and other secular pursuits?
*Are we the product of our environment or of our genetic inheritance?
*Does God micromanage our lives?
This book will prompt you to think in new ways about your job and your life.
What does God do in our secular lives from day to day? Here's how I approach the question...
It's difficult to see what God is doing in our daily secular lives unless we understand what we ourselves are doing. And what we're doing, I argue, is living out our roles in a wide range of open-ended stories.
In the first half of the book, I focus on our individual lives. We don't just have one single life history, I argue. Even as individuals, we're playing out lots of different stories all at once. There's the story of our role as a conversation partner (pp. 41-43), or our role as a homeowner, or as a parent (p. 44). There are stories about the various projects we undertake; about mistakes we make and the things we learn from them; about how well we make decisions. Or as I say in the book (pp. 44-45):
"We can go on and on. Retirement brings all new problems and opportunities. The emptying of the nest (or our failure to do so) can make profound changes in us. Travel, illness, the adoption of new leisure activities all make their marks on us. We never stop facing new challenges in life, whether we want to or not. The aging process alone brings new experience. Even the strongest among us must deal eventually with some form of enfeeblement. We discover new concerns, new ways of seeing life, new means, new ends. All of these can be considered subplots in the overall story of our life. And when you put all the subplots together, the story is immense."
In the second half of the book, I focus on the life of our larger society. Each of us plays multiple roles in the economic, political, and social life not only of our city, state, region, and nation, but even of the world. And all of these activities can be viewed as open-ended stories that are still playing out right now.
What is God doing in our daily secular lives? The short answer (pp. 68-71) is that God is (1) actively observing our roles in all these stories, (2) rooting for us to do our best, (3) trying to give us hints or clues, and (4) influencing each of these stories in ways that will shape us into fruitful, productive participants. In other words, God meets us within each of these stories and offers to help us make the best of them. Even if God were just an observer, I argue that God's observation of us would be active and full of meaning (pp. 32-36); but I have experienced God as being more than a mere observer.