Does the faith professed by Christians say anything about work? To what does Christ call us in our daily work – whether in paid employment, in the home or in voluntary situations? Has the community called the church anything to teach about work?
Recent research finds that most Australian churches have few specific programs that address questions of work and faith, perhaps happy to turn a blind eye to the harm caused by a contemporary market economy that can celebrate greed, foster injustice and lead to heart disease, mental illness, diabetes, numerous cancers, traumatic incident deaths, injury, disability and poverty.
Their silence may also reflect current assertions about the virtue of hard work as well as common political assumptions that economic growth is the ultimate priority for social development, and that the ‘almighty dollar’ is central to human flourishing. The meaning of work is rarely an issue while any assertion that God’s intention for our created order may be crucial for economic, social and environmental practice is considered an irrelevance.
At work with John’s Gospel is an attempt to look seriously at the gospel teaching to discover ways of reflecting on the place of work in our lives according to the purposes of God. The five studies introduce us to the gospel’s key characters, invite us to walk in their shoes, encourage us to connect our experiences of work and life They ask us to consider how ancient gospel wisdom still speaks fruitfully to our contemporary circumstance.
In so doing, we will be challenged to reflect on how our understanding of work is shaped by our free-market economy and our system of government; and to discover how we can integrate work and faith for personal and social transformation - for healing, justice and reconciliation.
John Bottomley is a retired Uniting Church minister with a track record in the area of the dignity of work and its connection with the gospel.
|Publication Date||6 February 2018|
At Work with John's Gospel: A Spirituality for Life's fruitfulness in all our labours ; Five Bible Studies
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