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THE GREAT DIVIDE

We live in a culture of compartmentalization. In the hustle and bustle of our schedules and our commitments, the ability to keep things in their proper place is sometimes all we can do to stay sane and keep all the plates spinning. However, this way of life has a way of casting a false sense of importance on the passing things of life while encouraging us to keep the things that really matter from crossing over into the other spheres of life.

We see this on a grand stage under the banner of “Separation of Church and State,” as if one’s moral imperatives inspired by faith can be kept in the recesses of the parish. We also see the chaos bred in the lives of those who feel the need to differentiate between having a fruitful and fulfilling career and having a full and life-giving family life.

In our Church we see it in the way Our Lord is abrogated to a single hour (or less) of Sunday Mass and in the extreme drop we see in teens and young adults who receive their Confirmation or their Catholic Education and are never heard from again. That is, until the time comes for a marriage or baptism when the faith is pulled from its shelf and dusted off.

Unfortunately, our parish and ministry programs all too often play into this compartmentalization of life and we end up viewing our programs, prayer groups, classes, and parishes in the same way we look at the rest of life. I go to the school to learn, the store to buy groceries, my church to get my weekly dose of Jesus, and please make sure the three don’t touch.

WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

As ministers, as faithful Catholics, it is a crucial part of our personal development and our ministry to see beyond the lies that force us to separate and rank the various spheres of life.

I’m not simply a husband at home and a minister at work. I’m not just a son to my parents in their home and a parishioner to my pastor in the pew. As Paul says, we are meant to be “all things to all” ( 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 ), not in a way that is false, as a chameleon blends into the environment, but rather in a way that is full, genuine, and supported by the fullness of all aspects of life.

In terms of ministry, we are only succeeding if we are able to instill in the desire to answer the call of Jesus to “Go forth and make disciples” ( Matthew 28:19-20 ). Are our volunteers, teens, young adults, scouts, coworkers, etc. taking what they glean from their respective ministries and using it to minister in their own lives?

In order bear fruit, we need to get away from this idea of filling in the gaps or preaching on what we find important, and focus instead on helping to break down the walls that stand between the faith and all other aspects of life.

Instead of training people to schedule their faith, train them to live it. Instead of training them to walk the line of dos and don’ts, obligations and deadlines, train them in the .

Don’t think of it as scheduling a prayer time. Instead, make sure that not an hour goes by that you don’t pray. Stop simply fulfilling your sacramental obligations, and instead find ways to fall in love with the Eucharist and grow from the graces of regular Confession. Find ways to take Jesus and His Word with you after Mass (missio) into our homes, politics, workplaces, and schools, and take on the personal responsibility to disciple and train others to do the same.

Yes, this will take time and deeper investment on our part.

Yes, this will force us as ministers to walk ahead of our teens and fellow parishioners on the path in order that they can be guided.

We will be forced to invest more deeply in the wellness of individuals instead of simply focusing on the group at large, but we will also be walking with Jesus and doing the work that he did in ministering to each and to all we encounter.

“Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like those under the law –Though I myself am not under the law–to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law–though I am not outside of God’s law but within the law of Christ– to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

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When More Women Join the Workforce, Wages Rise — Including for Men
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Most of the conversation about women and work revolves around how the economy impacts women; we know comparatively less about how women in turn affect the economy. Differing female labor force participation rates across U.S. cities offers a good way to explore this. Research looks at Census data from 1980 to 2010 to study how women’s participation in the workforce influences wage growth in approximately 250 U.S. metropolitan areas. It found that as more women joined the workforce, they helped make cities more productive and increased wages. After accounting for various other factors that may affect female labor force participation rates and wage growth (such as industry concentration, average commute times, and housing prices), the models suggest that every 10% increase in the female labor force participation rate in a metropolitan area is associated with a 5% increase in median real wages for workers – both men and women. While the exact mechanism driving this is unclear, cities should consider whether there is more that can be done to help more women enter the workforce.

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The increase of women in the paid workforce was arguably the most significant change in the economy in the past century. In the U.S., women’s participation in the labor market has nearly doubled, from 34% of working age women (age 16 and older) in the labor force in 1950 to almost 57% in 2016 . When it passed 50% in 1978, working women became the norm.

Yet although the female labor force participation rate has been rising steadily in the country, it has not done so evenly across cities. In places like Gadsden, Alabama, and Punta Gorda, Florida, less than half of working age women (46% and 42%, respectively) were in the paid workforce in 2010; cities like Madison, Wisconsin, had 73% and Fargo, North Dakota, had more than 75% (the highest in the nation) of women in the workforce. There is also significant variation within states: In California women’s labor force participation in 2010 was 62% in San Francisco but just 57% in San Diego; in Pennsylvania it was 62% in Philadelphia but only 57% in Pittsburgh.

When it’s possible to be set off by a phone’s mute button, it’s safe to say that we’re living in challenging times. The digital era has ushered in a revolution in communication that’s equivalent to the one surrounding the invention of the printing press . It’s changing how we speak — often in bullet points. And it’s affecting what we hear, as the jumble of information coming at us can lead to frequent misunderstandings and confusion .

People who work on remote teams face these challenges consistently. According to recent estimates from Gallup and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of Americans work from home, while nearly 50% are involved with remote or virtual team work. This continuing shift calls for a new range of behaviors and skills.

Why do remote teams demand new collaboration skills? What’s missing from our texts, emails, conference calls, and other digital communications? Body language. Even when we’re co-located, the tone of a text or the formality of an email is left wide open to interpretation, to the point that even our closest friends get confused. These misinterpretations create an anxiety that can become costly, affecting morale, engagement, productivity, and innovation.

Remote communication can distort the normal pace of our conversations. The delay between our messages can often postpone or hide emotional reactions to our comments. How many times have you written an email and, immediately after hitting send , felt concerned about how it would land? Would your boss see your late night email and consider it to be an intrusion on her private time? Would she tell you if it was? While we may have become used to these types of asynchronous interactions, they can still conflict with our normal rules for social interaction. Lacking an immediate response, we can become distracted, second-guess ourselves, or even grow frustrated with our teams.

To perform at the highest levels, remote teams have to find new and better ways to operate.

First, consider that there are three kinds of distance in remote collaboration: physical (place and time), operational (team size, bandwidth and skill levels) and affinity (values, trust, and interdependency). The best way for managers to drive team performance is by focusing on reducing affinity distance . Try switching most remote communication to regular video calls, which are a much better vehicle for establishing rapport and creating empathy than either e-mails or voice calls. And design virtual team-building rituals that give people the opportunity to interact regularly and experience their collaboration skills in action.

When remote teams communicate well and leverage their strengths, they can actually gain an advantage over co-located teams. Here are some best practices to master:

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For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:

According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.

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A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

The story was inspiring and worthy of the broader audience that our TED conference could offer, but on the surface, Richard seemed an unlikely candidate to give a TED Talk. He was painfully shy. His English was halting. When he tried to describe his invention, the sentences tumbled out incoherently. And frankly, it was hard to imagine a preteenager standing on a stage in front of 1,400 people accustomed to hearing from polished speakers such as Bill Gates, Sir Ken Robinson, and Jill Bolte Taylor.

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