Central Dallas Ministries' Urban Engagement Book Club meets on the first Thursday of every month. Typically, our partner Randy Mayeux provides a very thorough synopsis of the book of the month. No need to read the book each month. Just come and receive the "book dump," complete with an outline and two or more pages of key quotes.
Our book for December was Studs Terkel's brilliant oral history, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (Pantheon Books, 1972).
Some of the quotes Randy pulled from the book and from his own research are worth repeating here:
"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." John W. Gardner
"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well
that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who
did his job well." Martin Luther King, Jr.
ÂA person is due -- at whatever task, in whatever job, by the very fact of their humanity -- both the possibility to survive and the possibility to contribute to the common good. The old adage 'an honest day's work for an honest day's pay' implies a social contract between an employee and employer. It also recognizes the responsibility of employers and society to workers. Society must affirm this contract by ensuring that everyone who can work has the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, every business -- regardless of its size, function, or organization -- must respect the basic human rights of workers which include a living wage sufficient to support a family, old age and unemployment protection, a decent work environment, and the right to organize and bargain collectively.Â
(From a Labor Day Statement -- RENEWING THE SOCIAL CONTRACT, RECLAIMING THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS. September, 1995. Bishop John HRichardrd S.S.J., Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Chairman, United States Catholic Conference Committee on Domestic Policy)
"This book, being about work, is by its very nature, about violence Â to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us." (Working, p. xi).
Two years ago Central Dallas Ministries hosted Pulitzer Prize winning author, David Shipler for a speech here in Dallas. Among other things, Shipler noted that "working poor" should be seen as a cruel oxymoron in our society.
May his vision become a reality for the millions of hard working men and women who remain trapped in poverty.
Announcement from Duke Memorial UMC
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