Monday, October 04, 2010

For Labour Day

I am very thankful to have come from a university ministry and a church that has a positive theology of work. Earlier this year I posted a definition of work from some EU training papers. More recently at a church weekend away, we were told that work - in and of itself - is good. Work is an opportunity to please the master - not just in evangelism - but in the way we work, because we are "servants of Christ" (cf. Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3-4).

I know that for others this hasn't been the case: work is what the semi-Christians do; it's what you do to pay for gospel ministry; work is only valuable as an opportunity to do evangelism. As a protestant Christian, this is disturbing. My tradition has long valued work; there are numerous quotes from Luther and Calvin that support a positive theology of work. My tradition was at the forefront of workers rights and the movement for the eight hour day in the 19th and 20th centuries. So why have most of our churches forgotten what to say about work from a Christian worldview?
"I had a long discussion with a young pastor early this summer who was championing a strong Hauerwasian view, and it became clear that he had nothing constructive or encouraging to say to me as a professional or to any of the businesspeople or professionals in his church about our vocations in the world. The absence of any theological reflection on his part about work and vocation reflected the old dualism that has been at the heart of modernity and Christianity’s capitulation to it. It also rendered him mute to those looking for wisdom about how to live their lives in the world outside the church." - James Davison Hunter

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen. I liked how you showed that you could prove work was good by quoting Calvin. Excellent!