Readings in Theology of Work
Contents: Reading the Bible in the Global Marketplace (Stevens) 2 Organizational Culture and Change (Stevens) 17 A View from the Ground: The Great Commandment Company in the Philippines (Jon Escoto) 23 On Being Kingdom People: Regents of Our God and King (Stevens) 27 Work (Gordon Preece) 35 Executive Brief on a Biblical Theology of Work (Stevens) 42 Faith: Recovering the Soul of Work (Stevens) 45 Hope: Making Our Mark on Heaven (Stevens) 52 Love: Recovering the Amateur Status of the Christian (Stevens) 57 Providential Work: Esther (Stevens) 64 The Promise of Technology versus God`s Promise in Job (David Strong) 68 Gendered Work (Stevens) 81 Towards a More Biblical View of Matter (LT Jeyachandran) 85 Business as a Calling and Profession: Towards a Protestant Entrepreneurial Ethic (Gordon Preece) 89 Is Business a Calling? (RPS) 97
READING THE BIBLE IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE
R. Paul Stevens Professor Emeritus, Marketplace Theology, Regent College “What do you teach at Regent College?” This seemingly innocent question was broached by the guest master of an Orthodox monastery. I had undertaken a four‐day pilgrimage on Mount Athos, the monastic peninsula of the Eastern church. In the course of praying my way from monastery to monastery I struck up a soul friendship with one of the guestmasters. “Marketplace theology is what I teach.” “What’s that?” ‐ his inquisitiveness now aroused by something foreign, he thought, to the spiritual life. “It is the integration of Christian faith with work in the world.” “It’s not possible,” he retorted. “That’s why I am a monk.” I can understand how he came to that erroneous view. It has to do with how we read the Bible, how we regard the spiritual life and whether the God‐coming of Jesus was really into the work‐a‐day world that we inhabit. It is a joy to write a chapter in honour of Carl Amerding, not only because he has been a dear friend, supporter and guide in the multiple contexts where we have served together – church, college and global mission ‐ but more particularly because as a Bible teacher and professor he has a lifetime of bringing the Word of God “home” to people where they are. Again it has to do with how we read the Bible. But not just how: what we read. THE MARKETPLACE IN THE BIBLE What we read in the Bible should be enough to convince us that God is at work in our worldly enterprise. The Incarnation is a wonderful scandal – God going through a complete human experience from conception to resurrection. Jesus, God’s Son, works in a carpenter’s shop for twenty years when so many souls around him were lost. The Father speaks approval of him at his baptism even though he has never preached a sermon or worked a miracle. The Bible itself, in both testaments, is itself a scandalously common book. God speaks through the language of the street: Aramaic and Hebrew in the Old Testament and common street‐Greek in the New. The great English Greek Scholar James Hope Moulton, following up evidence gained through
the discovery of the Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragments in Egypt, said, “The Holy Ghost spoke absolutely in the language of the people, as we might have expected He would.” 1 \ In his formidable series on biblical spirituality Eugene Peterson notes that even the word “daily bread” placed in the strategic centre of the Lord’s Prayer – often interpreted by church people as spiritual bread, Eucharistic bread or heavenly bread ‐ is, as we now know from the Oxyrhynchus fragments, to be the ordinary bread from the market, purchased along with chickpeas and straw. 2 Without having access to these recent discoveries Adolf Diessmann had speculated that epiousion 3 (daily) “had the appearance of a word that originated in the trade and traffic of the everyday life of the people.” Add to that the fact that of Jesus’ 132 public appearances in the New Testament, 122 were in the marketplace. Of 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context. Of 40 divine interventions recorded in Acts, 39 were in the marketplace or the public square. Jesus called 12 normal working individuals, not clergy, to build his church and some of them had questionable professions. 4 THE MARKETPLACE AS A COMMON OCCUPATION OF BIBLE CHARACTERS. Walter Duckat in his book, Beggar to King: All the Occupations of Biblical Times lists over two hundred different occupations found in biblical times, giving archeological and literary evidence for the history of that occupation. Many of these are found in Scripture. Some of the occupations are exotic, such as the snake charmer, the magician, the mirror‐maker, pawn‐ broker, gambler, dream‐interpreter, the prostitute, counterfeiter, and candy maker. But what is remarkable is the number of occupations that we find in the work world of the 21st century: accountant, actor, architect, banker, spy, barber, census taker, clothier, druggist, furniture designer, hair‐dresser, housewife, jeweler, lawyer, merchant, money‐changer, nurse, physician, realtor, ship‐builder, soldier, spice‐dealer, teacher, theatre‐worker, treasurer, vintner, weights and measures inspector. On each of these Duckat states what they did, and where they are mentioned in the Bible, in Jewish literature (such as the Talmud), or in the evidence of ancient manuscripts. He has a section on commerce and trade: transportation for trade purposes, methods of transportation, products, markets, fairs, exports, imports, royal merchants,
James Hope Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol 1, third edi. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark,1908), 5, quoted in Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 146. 2 Peterson, Eat This Book, 149. 3 Adolf Diessmann, Light from the Ancient East, trans. LionelStrachan, fourth ed. (New York: George H. Doran, 1927), 78, quoted in Peterson, Eat This Book, 149. 4 I owe this summary to Al Bussard, Director of Integra, Bratislava, Slovakia.
This too is meaningless” (5:10). counseling the gradual creation of wealth rather than embracing a “get rich quick” scheme: “Dishonest money dwindles away. never intending to fulfill the bargain. “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool. 2003). money. Jacob negotiates with Laban for a salaried position that would allow him to get what he needs for his family while giving Laban “nothing” (30:31) since Jacob knows that Laban does not really want to give him anything. Proverbs 31 describes the entrepreneurial wife – she buys fields and sees that her trading is profitable: “Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Her extensive international trading
5 Walter Duckat. The wisdom of proverbs is especially fascinating. in the process. Isaac becomes very wealthy through the blessing of God (26:12). wealth. guilds and strikes. Jethro visits Moses and counsels this almost burned out CEO how to delegate his work to “capable men from all the people” (Exod 18:21). income.” “Whoever loves money never has enough. The result of this deceitful transaction is that they have to run (34:13‐17). 92-102. 5 We can profitably look at a few.
See my Down-to-Earth Spirituality: Encountering God in the Ordinary.business regulations. whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. female workers. a powerful hint that we should lament an unjust economic system. In Genesis 24:52 Abraham’s servant buys a wife for Isaac. but mere talk only leads to poverty” (14:23). see the opposite in 6:2). Boring Stuff of Life (Downers Grove:InterVarsity Press.” In Ecclesiastes the Professor reflects on the futility of great enterprises “under the sun. NY: Doubleday & Co. so the Philistines envied his monopoly and stopped up his wells (26:14‐15) – a hostile takeover. 6 Dinah’s brothers make an unscrupulous arrangement for the bride‐price for Dinah with Shechem. since he has no desire to get wisdom” (17:16). to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God” (5:19. but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (13:11). In Ezekiel 27 the prophet laments for Tyre. Joseph is the first “futures” trader in the Bible – saving food during the seven years of plenty for the coming seven years of famine and. “The abundance of the rich man permits him no sleep” (5:12).
. attitudes to workers. Beggar to King: All the Occupations of Biblical Times (Garden City. Tyre is under the judgment of God. Solomon makes a deal with Hiram to provide the materials for the temple in exchange for wheat and oil (1 Kgs 5). 1968).. “When God gives any man wealth and possessions. Job gives an elaborate description of the technology of mining in the context of affirming that wisdom cannot so easily be found and is gained through the fear of the Lord (Job 28). And yet good work and wealth are a gift of God. “All hard work brings a profit. and enables him to enjoy them. enslaving the whole nation to Pharaoh (Gen 37).
. goats. expanding the mission globally. 2:15). This involves everything from agriculture to agribusiness. their expulsion from the Garden was both judgment (for their sin) and
Kenneth S. the Bible tells us how the marketplace relates to the purpose of God. war horses. iron. tin. from animal husbandry to domestic husbandry. human beings are social beings. Speaking to the purpose of God. Biblical Principles & Business: The Foundations. lead. 7 One of the earliest references to the world beyond Eden denotes the land of Havilah where “the gold is good” (Gen 2:12). balm. to build community and to be co‐creators with God (having dominion. spices. 24. fine linen. Exchange is built into our very nature. therefore. embroidered work. work horses. turquoise. from tool‐making to city‐making. mules. honey. oil. “I have just discovered the meaning of life. purple fabric. rams. In the New Testament Jesus. vol 1. Eden (home) and the lands (the world) are like three concentric circles. never intended to live alone.described in 27:9‐24 includes silver. Ironically. Kenneth Kantzer says that business was apparently in God’s mind from the very beginning: By creation. “God Intends His Precepts to Transform Society. confections. saddle blankets. Unfortunately it has no business application. necessarily dependent on exchange. precious stones. And this is business. More than describing people working in the marketplace. One says to the other. wool. expressing stewardship and taking care of the earth ‐ Gen 1:28. interdependent and.” in Richard C. cassia.” Nothing could be more wrong. Kantzer. Because of our social nature. beautiful garments. The Garden (sanctuary). ed. blue fabric. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla as a tentmaker and sold his products in the marketplace (Acts 18:1‐4). A cartoon shows two men talking. calamus. coral. slaves. Chewning. wine. in the so‐called “silent years.” This involved extending the glorification of God in all of life through expanding the sanctuary garden into the world. and multicolored rugs. lambs. rubies. articles of bronze.1989). He also exploited the marketplace location and the rhythm of economic life to provide an apologetic and evangelistic ministry in the workplace in the rented Hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). wheat. or possibly an entrepreneur (since the word usually translated “carpenter” can also means one who designs and implements the building of a house or a boat). ivory tusks and ebony.” worked as a carpenter. THE MARKETPLACE IN THE PURPOSE OF GOD From the beginning of Genesis we learn that God created humankind to enjoy communion with God.. we are specialized (each person is in one sense unique). (Colorado Springs: Navpress. It is implicit in the Genesis account that God intended Adam and Eve (and their descendents) to “fill the earth.
God reveals himself in provision. 8 9 This has led two professor of marketing to argue that there will be marketing in heaven! 10 Even if scarcity does not exist there will be choices to make about the sequential ordering of activities that we choose to engage in. “The kings of the earth will bring their splendor into (the holy city)…. Job 8:7. culture and crafts. Of necessity people were forced to engage in exchange and this is business. The tower of Babel represents autonomous enterprise that was idolatrous: the city and the tower (Gen 11). making and playing musical instruments and forging tools (Genesis 4:20‐22). They were judged for their self‐promoting arrogance and yet forced to go about “filling the earth” (read “global wholisitic mission” that includes enterprise).The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it” (Rev 21:24‐26). We are not to assume that because they were descendents of the murderer Cain that their activity was evil. this final vision of the Lord’s full reign. The merchants weep because Babylon has fallen. suggests that there will be economic and enterprising work in what is commonly called “heaven” but is in fact a totally renewed creation: “My chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. In the last book of the Bible. we will not be omniscient. Therein always lies the danger: “When you have eaten and are satisfied…be careful that you do not forget the Lord” (8:10‐18). Their expulsion and the diversification of languages was. We will also need to process information and make decisions. it is the Lord that “gives you the ability to produce wealth” (8:18). never to be recovered. Deuteronomy 8:3 speaks to this. and Paul Marshall. They argue:
8 See Richard J. We see a sign in this direction in the descendents of Cain who engaged in commerce – living in tents and raising livestock. Psalm 8:6.fulfillment (for it forced them to fill the world).
2002). “Will There Be Marketing in Heaven?” Perspectives (November 2003). God will judge the corrupt marketplace. When the Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Deut 28:1‐68). Even though we will know more. “All your riches and splendor have vanished.
Todd Steen and Steve VanderVeen. 22:21 (but also see 31:24‐28).
Additional Scriptures: Gen 13. We see this also in the Garden in Eden where God’s first gift was food to be eaten with gratitude and in communion with God. like that of Adam and Eve.” And yet. 1998). This was the beginning of commerce. both judgment and fulfillment.
. Mouw. They will not toil in vain…” (Isa 65:22‐3). But enterprise and exchange is to be undertaken in dependence on God. “He humbled you…and then [fed] you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Revelation 18:1‐ 24. God says through Moses.” The word from the mouth of God is not mere speech but the dynamic self‐revelation that causes things to happen. 6-11. the full coming of the Kingdom and the new heaven and new earth. Heaven Is Not My Home: Living in the Now of God’s Creation (Nashville: Word. in this case food.
Peter is reinstated in his discipleship while he is again at work (John 21:15‐23). Bezalel. there is no “fear of God” in the secular marketplace of Abimelech’s kingdom and some will kill him to gain his beautiful wife. Exod
1:11‐14. Judg 6:16. 2 Chron 32:24‐33. 3.
. After showing that the revelation of God has taken place mainly in places others than the sanctuary he says. looking for his lost donkeys. 50:20. Neh. The Lord grants favour with Joseph as a slave. is the only person in the Old Testament about whom it is said that he was “filled with the Spirit of God” for the purpose of his work (Exod 31:3).1‐10:27. temple or church but right where people were working and living. THE MARKETPLACE IN THE GLOBAL MISSION OF GOD
Steen and Vanderveen. confronts the believer with his duplicity. Jer 18:6. gives gifts to Abraham. 2:23‐5. 40. The call comes to Matthew while collecting taxes for the federal government (Matt 9:9‐12). 24:52. Job 24. In the New Testament the call to discipleship came to the fishermen. he got executed for preaching this message! Most of the revelations of God did not take place in tabernacle. 39:21. a craftsman. But God speaks to Abimelech in a dream.Marketing will be a process for loving one’s neighbour as well as a process for loving God since. 10. Deut 8:3. It would be like God to do that! 12 God originates and is involved in global blessing. God provides a husband for Ruth in the marketplace as she gleans for her provision (Ruth 2). Moses encounters God in a burning bush while engaging in his shepherding work. James and John (Matt 3:18‐22. God reveals himself to Jacob in the context of his work. 1 Sam 9. 10‐18. back to life in the here and now. 45:5. and offers him to live wherever he wishes. God selects Saul while he working. “The Most High does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48). a prisoner and as vice‐regent of Egypt. Andrew. we show our love for God by loving our neighbour and we show our love for our neighbour in our daily work. THE REVELATION OF GOD IN THE MARKETPLACE Abraham had apparently the same attitude as many pastors and Christians toward the marketplace: it is a place bereft of God. Jacob is given a dream about his breeding project on Laban’s farm (Gen 31:10‐13). 11 But. Then there is the sermon of Stephen. Luke 5:1‐11) while they were working in their aqua business.
Additional Scriptures: Gen 23:5‐20. 39:3. In Genesis 20:1‐18 Abraham passes off Sarah as his sister because he thinks. as Martin Luther proposed.The ability to provide information and to innovate will be a spiritual gift that will in many ways benefit the body of Christ…. Peter.
social way. concerned with raising the “wealth of nations. 1996). God is sender. By the end they are apologizing. Jesus calls his followers to a fully incarnational mission: “As the father has sent me. in the Bible we even have an example of international trade in Solomon’s exchange with Hiram king of Tyre. 125.” all nations. She explained that she has the night and morning shift for a call centre. “I love it. sent and sending. This has led Michael Novak to propose that: From its very beginnings the modern business economy was designed to become an international system. the land and the “blessing the nations.” she replied. 13 Whether cedar from Lebanon.30 p. only to discover that the body is made in Thailand and the lens in China. of course. “Are you a visitor?” ”Yes. olive oil from Israel. Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life (New York: Simon & Shuster.m.” Then Abraham is chosen and empowered with a promise that includes family. in a systematic.” CNN carries the news of the China – Africa conference in Beijing that will result in China having greater access to the raw materials. I replaced my stolen film camera with a “Japanese” digital. answering inquiries for a telephone company is the eastern USA. Sitting on the rapid transit in Manilla a young woman beside me struck up a conversation. But the intent of God was that God’s mission would bring shalom. holding back wages (a matter raised in the New Testament book of James). coffee or telephones. The Gospel of the Kingdom is not merely soul‐salvation but comprehensive renewal and transformation. Unquestionably international trade plays a role in world peace for as someone has said Japan would be crazy to drop bombs (now) on its most important trading partner. towards a common goal.
. often many. Undoubtedly Israel failed to live up to this high calling. God calls Adam and Eve to “fill the earth. so I am sending you” (Jn 20:21). especially oil in Africa and African nations receiving both aid and increased trade. “People usually start off rudely or even angrily. The coming of Christ did not change this mission. most goods cannot be created through the work of an isolated individual and require cooperation of several. in a vastly more complex situation that obtained at the time of writing of Scripture. Hiram selling Solomon logs for the temple and Solomon selling Hiram wheat and oil. well‐being and fruitful enterprise throughout all the nations. how economic justice is to be effected and how the land is to be developed. and I get to talk them down.” I ask why she is coming home from work so early (it was 2.” Israel (Abraham’s successors) is called to be a light to the nations which involves being a “demonstration plot” for how life is to be lived. It starts with God: missio Dei.As mentioned above. The Bible reveals the settled determination of God to bless all the nations. “That must be a tough job. Therefore we are doing Kingdom work when we
Michael Novak. It was by no means focused solely on the wealth of particular individuals. pencils or automobiles. but rather “fleshed it out” in the life and God’s Son.). and the prophets railed against the injustices in the marketplace – selling the poor for the price of a pair of sandals.” I offered. We are.
106-107. 46-47. not as a tower of Babel. Regent College. self‐righteous ideologies. The kingdom is an iconoclastic disturber of religious sacred places and customs and the most radical threat to temple altars. not homogenizing but with interdependence. there is conflict between the ages. 17 There have been some benefits: the transfer of information technology. more extensive that could ever have been envisaged by Jonah as he made his way to hinterlands of Spain instead of witnessing to Iraq (ancient Ninevah). often cited as the founder of the modern mission movement (though he had many predecessors). Williams. Mortimer Arias. 15 In the twenty‐first century we are undoubtedly dealing with a global marketplace. albeit mixed with sin and deconstruction. a conflict which every kingdom person in the marketplace will experience. Doing God’s Business: Meaning and Motivation for the Marketplace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. an economist. whose international business enterprises supported their action in the Crusades. “Hermeneutics for Economists: The Relevance of the Bible to Economics. who says “Globalization is…gradually undermining the nature of ‘national places’ and creating a borderless world in which everyone belongs equally everywhere but nobody is at home in community. the provision of non‐agricultural employment
14 Gordon Preece. And even William Carey. 1995). alleviate poverty. 36. 17 The following two paragraphs are taken from R. 154.’ The kingdom is the appointed challenger of all sacralizing myths and systems and the relentless unmasker of all human disguises. “Business as a Calling and Profession: Towards a Protestant Entrepreneurial Ethic” (unpublished
manuscript delivered at the International Marketplace Theology Consultation. At the same time. 1984). believed that the kingdom of God would spread through international trade. bring well‐being to people. June 2001). James Luther Adams argues that since early Christianity ‘rejected civil religion. Mortimer Arias in this masterful study of the kingdom says: The coming of the kingdom means a permanent confrontation of worlds. to bless the nations and to build unity interculturally and internationally. Sydney. Business is one way in which we are called.” 14 The first multinational.creates new wealth.
. In Doing God’s Business I cite Paul Williams. and the most protected ‘holy of holies. Paul Stevens. 2006). The kingdom is a question mark in the midst of established ideas and answers developed by peoples and societies. it is argued. is the Knights Templers. The kingdom is an irreverent exposure of human motivations and of the most sacred rules of human mores.” 16 In that same chapter I comment on the complexity of the problem. Vancouver. with Abraham and his seed. embellish and improve human life. 16 Paul S. or self‐perpetuating powers. between the worlds. allowed voluntary membership and transcended ethnic divisions’ Christianity was in fact the first global corporation. priestly castes. and as we engage powers resistant to God’s coming shalom. Announcing the Reign of God: Evangelization and the Subversive Memory of Jesus (Lima. Ohio: Academic Renewal Press.” (MCS Thesis.
21 New York Times (September 27. that the poorest 20% consume 1. 20 The New York Times noted that the three richest people in the world have more than the GNP of the 48 poorest countries. that the richest 20% of the world’s people consume 86% of all goods and services. Tim Dearborn and Scott Paeth. 18 But there is another side to the picture. The Local Church in a Global Era: Reflections for a New Century (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. some lift in wealth world‐wide.” 19 On top of this Third World debt is at a punishing level. even in the so‐called service sectors. 2000). Infant mortality is down 42 per cent since 1970 and there has been a five‐ fold increase of access to safe water by rural families world‐wide. it is estimated.2 per cent.6 to 23. Jeremy Rifkin in The End of Work forecasts world‐wide unemployment through technology. The damage to the biosphere is potentially catastrophic.
World Bank. DC: The World Bank.” in Max Stackhouse. that four hundred million people.in countries formerly dominated by subsistence farming. Consumer purchasing power worldwide has nearly tripled. overall. this being 4 billion more than what is needed to provide basic health care and nutrition for everyone in the world. 30. 3947. 19 Jeremy Rifkin. people groups struggle to maintain their identity and perhaps some of the Balkanization of various nations around the planet can be attributed to this struggle for identity in an increasingly merged world order. that Americans and Europeans spend 17 billion dollars a year on pet food. “The Debt Crisis in Theological Perspective. 1998). the percentage of people in the world living in poverty has dropped from 29. xvii-xviii. and the creation of new industries and services in countries with stagnant economies. Economically the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer. even though there has been. 20 See James H. many of whom are turning to a life of crime and creating a vast new criminal subculture. “Just outside the new high‐tech global village lie a growing number of destitute and desperate human beings. 2003). In the last ten years. Faced with globalizing cultures. 2000). 21 To this the Bible speaks especially on how to behave in the marketplace . it would take at least three planets of resources. eds. The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Work-Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era (London: Penguin. It is well known that if the whole populated world were to adopt the high‐consumption lifestyle of the West and North. 16. 47. are no longer facing starvation daily. This means.. Ottley. while still desperately poor. There is loss of employment in both industrialized countries (through outsourcing) and in less industrialized countries. and that Americans spend 8 billion a year on cosmetics. Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries (Washington. 2 billion more than needed to provide basic education for everyone in the world. quoted in Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen.
. 2003).3 % of all goods and services. by the 2003 reckoning of the World Bank. Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. One cannot belong to the whole human race.
And later (Gen 14:23) Abraham says to the king of Sodom “I will accept nothing belonging to you…so that you will never be able to say.DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO LIVE IN THE MARKETPLACE Sometimes this is done by an example without moral evaluation leaving us to assess the ethics of the action through its consequences. Significantly. stealing. Accurate and uniform weights and measures are to be used. The Ten Commandments (Exod 20:1‐17) deal with idolatry. bribes are not to be accepted for they blind the eyes of those who see and twist the words of the righteous (Exod 23:8). 1990). Regent College. the medium of exchange. there are many direct instructions about how we are to conduct ourselves in the marketplace. This is really not a reference to fair pricing (as suggested by Larry Burkett in Business by the Book) 22 but is about reliable currency. even though the text says that both Laban and Jacob saw the hand of God in this. with the result that his daughter Dinah was raped. 23 “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length. his delay in returning to Bethel as he had vowed.’” – a refusal to exploit gratitude. In the workplace and in the courts people are not to be treated
Larry Burkett. “Do not hold back the wages of a hired hand overnight” (Lev 19:13. “Accurate Weights and Measures. Christian commentators tend to see this as evil. the edges of fields are not to be harvested but to be left for the poor and the alien (Lev 19:9) – Is this a word about monopolies? Isaiah and other prophets cry for economic justice in the marketplace: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke? To set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter…” (Isa 58:6). see also Jas 5:4). Use honest scales and honest weights. with regard to Jacob’s somewhat deceitful negotiation with Laban to get the best of the flocks for himself and his family. an honest ephah and an honest hin” (Lev 19:35).
. 23 Peter McCarroll. Negatively we see how the deceitful deal made by Jacob’s sons in negotiating a bride price with Shechem for their sister Dinah resulted in their becoming a stench to the people and having to move on (Gen 34). For example Abraham lets Lot select the better resources – a description without moral comment except that God promises him everything afterwards (Gen 13). sexual misconduct (adultery). truth‐telling and covetousness. Slaves are to go free after six years (Exod 21:1‐6). ‘I made Abraham rich. Business by the Book: The Complete Guide of Biblical Principles for Business Men and Women (Nashville: Nelson. Wages are to be paid promptly. the limits of work (Sabbath). weight or quantity. Jewish commentators pass over the morality of this (and sometimes praise this holy shrewdness) and see only one fatal mistake made by Jacob. but it must be returned by sunset). usually without moralistic comment. 2003. interest is not to be charged “to one of my people” but you may take a pledge (a coat. Besides passages where people are described.” an unpublished academic paper for the Marketplace Ministry course.
is the root of many and all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:3‐10). 25:1‐
55. 15:1‐8. if respect. a passage of particular import to CEO’s who sometimes earn salaries two and three hundred times that of their entry level employees. Prov 3:9‐10. Luke 16:13). Luke 6:1‐11. then honor” (13:7). masters are to treat their slaves the same way because they are serving the master. How do we show love in the global marketplace and in the context of global poverty? One certain and creative way is through micro‐economic enterprise. 6:3. The king “must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold” (17:17). “Amen” – let it be definite. 20. The slave is free and the master is a servant (Eph 6:5‐9. 26:1‐15. Jas 5:1‐6. Further. 24 Undoubtedly there are terrible inequalities in the world.22:9. 15‐68. do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great” (Lev 19:15. Eccl 11:14.’ Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (Jas 4:13‐17). And so Paul warns the rich who have special temptations: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth…to be rich in good deeds… In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age. or what Jesus called “Mammon” (a word that derives from the Aramaic. Col 3:22‐4:1. enabling the poor and marginalized to become creators of new wealth. Deuteronomy also has what could be the earliest recording building code: build a parapet around your roof to keep people from falling off (22:8). 19:30. but only when asked by the poor. serving wholeheartedly as they are serving the Lord. Amos 2. see also Jas 2:1‐13). Matt 12:1‐14. Micah 6:11. 25:13. Dealing with the moral sloth of some workers in Thessalonica Paul warns against idleness (and not following Paul’s example. Psa 15:5. Slaves are to obey their masters. This all has to do with security. Jer 17:19‐27. At the bottom he notes that a person gives. A remarkable passage in Deuteronomy 17:14‐20 describes the way a king is to behave. Lev 19:9. Deut 5:12‐15. Isa 58:13‐14.
. 31:12‐17. spend a year. 28:1‐14. He exemplifies that it is more blessed to give (his ministry free of charge) than to receive (Acts 20:35) and thus his example of hard work he helps the weak. 26. 23:9‐10. The Medieval Jew. 23:3. 6:4‐6. 23:19. the king is “not consider himself better than his brothers” (17:20). 2 Thess 3:6‐13). and not money. 20:10. This is entirely in line with God’s original calling to Adam and Eve and their descendents. 11. so that they can take hold of life that is truly life” (1 Tim 6:17‐19). 24:10. carry on business and make money. The love of money. 27:30. Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon. then revenue. 19‐21. if honor. pay taxes. Joel 3:3. Lev 19:3. But the highest is this: Money is given to prevent another from
24 Additional Scriptures: Exod 23:10‐12. 1135‐1204) defined charity’s eight degrees by ranking them. 14‐15.with favouritism: “Do not pervert justice.23:4.16:11. and with the goodness of work in the marketplace. with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. In the New Testament Paul writes to the Romans “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes. Deut 5:7‐21. 25:13‐16. if revenue. 1 Peter 2:18‐21). then respect. Thus we are not to boast about tomorrow: “’We will go to this or that city.
purified seven times” (Psa 12:6). “Unless the Lord builds the house.
. Here are some other examples of marketplace metaphors: “The words of the Lord are flawless. with Daniel who witnessed and prayed for the king and kingdom in a pagan environment. over a two year period in the siesta time of day resulted in “all Asia hearing the Word of God. “exchange”. Hock. In Ecclesiastes 11:1‐4 the Professor says. “gain”. “refine” (Psa 66:10). See R. Paul Stevens. conducting himself with integrity. for you do not know
25 Quoted in William E.” Journal of Biblical Literature 97 (1978): 555-64. “Paul’s Tentmaking and the Problem of his Social Class. The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 129‐130. such as providing him with a job or by teaching him a trade or by setting him up in business and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. 1997). like silver refined in a furnace of clay. So much for the direct references to work in the marketplace. “profit”. “wages” (of sin). It Ai’nt Over Till It’s Over: A User’s Guide to the Second Half of Life
(Minneapolis: Augsburg Press. near and far. Give portions to seven. THE MARKETPLACE AS A PLACE OF MINISTRY As previously mentioned ministry (in the sense of serving God and God’s purposes) took place in the marketplace with Joseph (in Egypt). in the little letter of Paul to Philemon Paul persuades Philemon to take back his runaway employee who has now become a brother to his patron. the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psa 118:22). See also R. with Esther (in the king’s palace). and with Paul in Ephesus in the hall of Tyrannus for two years (Acts 19:9‐10). Finally. 25 So the global marketplace is a location for service to God and neighbours. Tentmaking was not merely a way of “getting bread” or “gaining access” to a restricted situation but was taken up into his apostolic ministry. 1028-34. yes to eight. “redemption” (Psa 49:7‐8). MARKETPLACE AS A METAPHOR OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD A metaphor carries meaning from one reality to another and so deepens our engagement with truth.” The spreading Christian faith in Ephesus threatened the image‐making business of Diana‐worshippers and caused a riot (19:9). Significantly many words about life in the kingdom of God are commercial terms: “inheritance” (Psa 16:6: Eph 1:18). Paul Stevens. But when Jesus wants to find a way to express truth about life in the kingdom of God he turns to images from the marketplace. “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. eds. with Jonah. “Cast your bread upon the waters” (a reference to the grain trade in the Mediterranean) “for after many days you will find it again. its builders labor in vain” (Psa 127). 2003). and Judith Ruhe Diehl. with Nehemiah (in a foreign palace and then in a building project).becoming poor. so that the sailor’s workplace was the place of a great religious revival (Jonah 1:16). “buy”. “sell”.F. 26 Paul’s ministry in the marketplace of Ephesus in the rented hall of Tyrannus. “Tentmaking” in Robert Banks and R. This is the highest step and the summit of charity’s golden ladder. Paul ministered in the context of his tent‐making business.
Day‐ labourers employed at various times of the day all got the same pay. and we do this because we have a God who is not hard and unforgiving (Matt 25:14‐30). whoever looks at the clouds will not reap…. sells everything to obtain it (Matt 13:45‐ 6). just as a person must risk to make money. Luke 6:46‐49). The kingdom is like a pearl merchant who. fields and vineyards will again be bought in this place” (32:15). an employee would not forgive a small debt after he had been forgiven a huge debt – so we. In Isaiah 5 the Song of the Vineyard compares the nation of Israel to a business that was well nurtured but yielded bad fruit.what disaster may come upon the land…. the forgiven.Whoever watches the wind will not plant. finding one of great value. In the same way the Parable of the Tenants is not about inheritance or fair pay. at the same time. The Parable of Not Counting the Cost of building a tower shows how important it is to count the cost of being a disciple (Lk 14:28‐30). encouragement to divide the risk so that “not all the eggs are in one basket” (another common metaphor today). Hearing Jesus’ words and doing them is like building one’s house on a rock (Matt 7:24‐27. to the honor of the Lord your God…. The Parable of the Talents shows that we must and may risk in the kingdom. bringing your sons from afar. The Parable of the Rich Fool uses the picture of a greedy business person to show how a fool stores up things for himself and is not rich towards God (Lk 12:13‐21). The parables often throw down marketplace images to evoke faith in God’s coming and present rule: In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. as does the grace of the kingdom come equally to those who come into the kingdom early or late (Matt 20:1‐6). Luke 20:9‐19). The tenants seized the son and killed him to get his inheritance ‐ a parable Jesus used to expose the death‐threat against him (Matt 21:33‐46. Also in Isaiah there is a prophecy about the future expansion of God’s kingdom that William Carey found as a text for world evangelization carried on through international trade (read “multinationals”): “Surely the islands look to me. The ministry of Jesus is rich in marketplace metaphors: the wise and foolish builders is a metaphor for two ways of responding to the message of the kingdom. in the lead are the ships of Tarshish. with their silver and gold. The Parable of the Shrewd Manager contains the outrageous advice that we are to make friends for ourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (Lk 16:1‐15) just as the shrewd
. The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is not about fair wages. Mark 12:1‐12. In similar manner Jeremiah is instructed to buy a field while Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem as a prophetic sign of hope of the restoration: “Houses.Your gates will always stand open…so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations – their kings led in triumphal procession” (Isa 60:9‐11). are to forgive our brothers and sisters (Matt 18:21‐35).” This is potent metaphor for risk‐taking but.
responding to the intellectual challenge it gives. It demands a reversal: seeing how our stories taken up into God’s great story rather than the other way round – trying to fit God’s story into ours. Peterson. economic life. we see something quite different when we read the Bible in or for the marketplace. I often ask my classes how many have heard a sermon on work in the last year. especially in the letters of Paul. means coming into submission to the God revealed in the marketplace. 28 Reading the book spiritually. How is it possible to miss so much of the Bible? As I have indicated above. absorbing it. “eating it” to use the metaphor of Revelation 10:9. chewing it. If we read the Scripture contemplatively. we must conform our life to it. Therefore we “see” and interpret the book as essentially dealing with ministry defined by those we call “ministers” and spiritual life understood as private piety or corporate worship. 31. brooding on it and praying it back to God. Eat This Book. my holy needs and my holy feelings. Peter and John. and not in any way have to deal with a personally revealing God who has personal designs on you. The Parable of the Ten Minas is a parable about investments. Eugene Peterson warns against using the Bible for our own purposes. Most of these images originated in the Middle Eastern agrarian society of Jesus with village marketplaces and small businesses. risking for the kingdom (Lk 19:11‐27). enterprise and creativity in the world. relationships within the people of God and declaring the good news of the kingdom. along the lines of lectio divina. has to do with religious services. 27 It is entirely possible to come to the Bible in total sincerity. But how can we relate these to our contemporary situation –a global marketplace with multinational corporations? How can we read the Bible in this context? HOW THEN SHALL WE READ? Mostly the Bible is “read” ecclesiastically – in the church and for it. By and large preachers skip over the numerous passages in both testaments that deal with work. the New Testament is mainly concerned with life in the church. or for the spiritual uplift it provides. In so doing we cannot prevent becoming nonconformists to the world even while being involved in that same world in a transformative work. Shrewd faith is encouraged. Admittedly. for validating our work in business or catering to what Peterson calls “my Holy Trinity” – my holy wants. But it is not merely enough to discover marketplace data in the Bible. and concentrate on personal devotion. Eat This Book. or for the moral guidance it offers. We discover our daily work to be a
Peterson. In a class of fifty there might be one or two.
. Life in the Spirit. 30.manager saw to his own needs. when so read.
ministry to God and our neighbour. But that is exactly where Scripture proposes to take us. A. For this we pray – as we might as a result of reading the Bible spiritually in the global marketplace. trans. outside of the “fear of God” (Eccl 11:13). Further. overly demanding. Prayer.
. work is meaningless – it is pain and grief. 1963). not in the work we do.
Hans Urs von Balthasar. however. Considered by itself. is not quite the same thing as “using” our faith in God to find meaning in work. This. the current work heresy that is promoted by the spate of books today on how to love Monday and develop a nine‐to‐five spirituality that results in more productivity.” 29 It is through the contemplative reading of the Bible that we can put the marketplace and our own participation in it into proper perspective. This will inevitably involve discernment of injustice (along with the prophets) and even repentance of our own sins (daily). Littledale (London: Geoffrey Chapman. That seems to be one of the conclusions of the inductive research undertaken by the Professor in the book of Ecclesiastes. of small fidelities and services performed in the spirit of love. But it will not lead us to this conclusion unless we are contemplative. Spiritual reading of the text with its marketplace orientation means something truly revolutionary: we will find our meaning in God. even while being active. albeit shot through with sin and struggles with the principalities and powers. 110. Work itself then turns out to be an evangelist to take us to God. which lightens our tasks and gives to them its warmth. This business and social leader engages in first‐hand examination of life “under the sun” without reference to a transcendent personal God and draws a jolting conclusion in chapter two. refuses to disconnect contemplation from worldly action: “The life of contemplation is perforce an everyday life. that God’s kingdom will come and God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. this calls us to work globally for the “filling of the earth” so that all human beings are given their daily bread. in whom and through whom alone we find satisfaction. V. Eat This Book. and we will be followed by a fool. As we pray and live this word we will be rich toward God. a Roman Catholic who devoted his life to contemplation. quoted in Peterson. Urs von Balthasar. but we will discover our meaning in God in the context of our work. unlike the rich fool in Jesus’ parable (Luke 12:13‐21).111.
expressing values and enabling or preventing change. His central thesis is that much of what is mysterious about leadership becomes clearer “if we . The minute a person walks into the meeting room. Motivation is a result of a process in a group or system and is not just generated exclusively from within the individual.” Motivation is primarily related to the culture. Schein’s Organizational Culture and Leadership. So motivation is only marginally increased by trying to get people motivated through incentives or threats. It is inspired. the office or the sanctuary. xi). culture includes each of the following but is deeper than any one of them: (1) the observed behavioral regularities in a group (for example. none of which is rationally expressed or constitutionally codified. To change the culture itself is possibly the most substantial change that can be made. family church. “What happened? Why did they die out?” She said.” Culture turns out to be profoundly influential in determining behavior. link leadership specifically to creating and changing culture” (Schein. while not prohibited. Understanding Organizational Culture People are sometimes frustrated. in trying to bring about change in an organization. it is also not acceptable to bring forward negative comments in staff
. Further. The classic study on organizational culture is Edgar H. “This is a friendly. the usual way to climb the hierarchy is to engage in leisure‐time diversions with your superior). Every organization has a corporate “feeling” or environment that communicates to new and old members what is important and what is permitted. he or she picks up a nonverbal message that is more powerful than such mottoes as “The customer is number one”. and one encounters almost irresistible forces. not compelled. A man in a museum looking at the colossal skeleton of a dinosaur that once triumphantly roamed the earth turned to the woman beside him and asked. church attendance is the ultimate expression of spirituality in a local church). It has a multiple impact on everything else. clubs. It needs to be considered culturally and systemically (see System). . the store. some successful changes get reversed in a few months because they were not congruent with the culture of the organization. (3) the rules or “ropes” of the group (for example. This is true of businesses. . “The climate changed. nonprofit and parachurch organizations.ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND CHANGE
Contents: Understanding Organizational Culture Forming the Organizational Culture Reflecting Theologically on Culture Making Organizational Change References and Resources Culture is a dimension not only in the life of countries and ethnic groups but also in organizations. other changes are made easily for reasons that are not apparent unless one understands the invisible but all‐pervasive impact of organizational environment. We draw motivation out of people in a healthy. According to Schein. small groups. really good employees show up for work fifteen minutes early). and (4) the feeling or climate that is conveyed (for example. (2) the dominant values of the group (for example. life‐giving organization. p. “We exist to give extraordinary service”. without understanding why. churches. Try to introduce women into an all‐male kayaking club.
In the church. Often these are unexpressed and unconscious. Forming the Organizational Culture In most organizations. a church may believe that women should be under men in a hierarchical arrangement. Schein’s work is extremely helpful in elaborating what happens at various stages in a group’s history (p. Cultures tend to incarnate not only the strengths of founders but also their weaknesses. For example. In fact. who projects his or her own vision of what is right and valued and how people are to be treated. person and principles are likewise exceedingly important. culture is not formed overnight but through a long process. That belief will fundamentally affect the values and visible “artifacts” of the congregation. culture often originates with the founding pastor. An organization that starts with certain assumptions about the nature of the community. cues and visible patterns of behavior. mottoes. Sometimes the stated values are incongruent with the real values that inform the culture. a business may claim that it cherishes strong family life for its employees but actually requires the sacrifice of family for the corporation. no matter how many successors have come and gone. the appearance of a building. which are often incarnated in logos. For example. and values are expressed in symbols. This is done by whom the leader pays attention to. how the leader reacts to critical situations. Beliefs are expressed in values. The middle circle represents the values that underlie the more visible processes (see comments on faith. As the group evolves. I observed that each organization has something like a genetic code embedded at the time of conception that determines most of what it will become. Schein says that culture concerns the underlying assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of the organization and often operate unconsciously (p. On the outside are the symbols. The smallest circle (and the least visible) represents the beliefs that inform the values. hope and love in Organizational Values). Years before I understood anything about culture. though not impossible. what criteria the leader uses for praising and rewarding others and on what basis the leader recruits or rejects other leaders. members take on the founder’s assumptions. 6). the opposite approach is usually more fruitful: finding out everything we can about the contribution our predecessors have made and appreciating their gifts to the organization. 191) and the importance of stories (about the “good old days”) in transmitting the culture of a group (p.
. 241). to change its culture later. Values are simply what is cherished by the organization. One element of the mysterious quality of leadership called charisma is how it enables a leader to embed his or her fundamental assumptions into the organization or group. An organization would be helped if it could have a once‐and‐for‐all funeral service for its founder! But whoever suggests this will often be resisted by the culture. whether the leader intentionally coaches other leaders.meetings). its style of leadership and mission in society will find it very difficult. the way people dress and the titles by which people are addressed. Some groups never allow their founder to die or leave. In a college it is the founding principal. artifacts and visible signs of the culture. The future of a person is in large measure the unraveling of his or her genetic code. In organizations the founding moment. The factors at work in an organizational culture can be pictured as three concentric circles. In a business it is often the founding president. usually unconsciously. One thing is certain: founders are influential.
In the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. tongue and tribe is preserved rather than merged into one homogenous uniformity. self‐serving and total‐uniformity culture had dominated the human enterprise for thousands of years! In place of Babel God crafted a colorful. a garden with boundaries. The men and women of Babel (Genesis 11:1‐11) wanted to create a monolithic. homogenous culture. Rather both were incorporated into a “new humanity” (Ephes. Central to Paul’s ministry was a passion inspired by the gospel: God’s community on earth must be richly diverse but. What a response this should evoke! Keeping heaven in view turns out to be the most practical thing on earth. limits. In passing. God created the first culture in fashioning the sanctuary‐garden for Adam and Eve. 2). Every nation. structures. Imagine what would have happened if that arrogant. His grasp of the gospel meant that Jews did not become Gentiles in Christ. at the same time. they created cultures that would not bring rest to people or the earth. 21‐22) every person’s contribution is evoked in the fulfillment of the priesthood of all believers (Rev. 21:24). We can only speculate to what extent this carried over into his tentmaking business in which he was essentially self‐employed. pluralistic culture at Pentecost through which those from many languages and peoples heard the wonderful works of God in their own languages (Acts 2:8). Daniel was skilled in the culture of the Persians and in that context was able to play a seminal role in the destiny of his people (Daniel 1‐6). 1:6). humankind and creation. There was a threefold harmony of God. and God judged that. must treat all members as equal (2 Cor.” Another way of expressing this is to think of being an environmental engineer—a person who cultivates an organization’s culture so that the people in the organization will thrive. work to do and pleasures to enjoy. though often working side by side with that marvelous tentmaking couple Aquila and Priscilla. nor did Gentiles become Jews. 8:14). Nehemiah was able to express his concern over the state of Jerusalem and be empowered to return to rebuild the walls (Neh. 2:15 NRSV) that transcended these profound distinctions without obliterating the differences. 7:17). God was at work in both. humankind and creation. Reflecting Theologically on Culture Whether in a church or a business. Even the kings of the earth bring their wealth and gifts into the holy city (Rev. members and partners in Christ. In the New Testament Paul was continually engineering culture. But once human beings sinned. and every tear of frustration is wiped away (Rev. All human creativity finds perfect fulfillment. challenges. Our future in Christ is to become not angels but full human beings in our resurrection bodies as we work and play in this fulfilled sabbath—the threefold harmony of God. This task is implicit in the broad vocation of being human beings through which we are called to be culture and world makers (Genesis 1:26‐28). we may note that the Old Testament gives us a few hints of God’s grace in secular or pagan organizations. What God wants on earth is a rich social unity that thrives on diversity.
. the leader of an organization is in some sense the “minister of culture. slave and free. His great lifelong vision was to create under God a church culture that embraced Jews and Gentiles as equal heirs. The same was true of men and women. The final cultural image in the Bible is the most empowering. The culture of the Egyptian prison equipped Joseph to emerge as its leader (Genesis 39:20‐23). The first human culture was a sabbath culture. As cupbearer to the pagan king Artaxerxes.
He uses the concept of homeostasis. such equipping initiatives may be as effective as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when the ship is going down. recognize that the culture cannot be manipulated. that marvelous capacity of human bodies and social systems to regain their balance after a trauma. but the best we can hope for in this life is substantial. not complete. by promoting maverick individuals from within and. midlife and maturity (which he calls maturity and/or stagnation. good leadership articulates and reinforces the culture. Second. While all change is motivated and does not happen randomly. Human organizations have fallen and have been captivated by the principalities and powers. especially those parts consistent with the vision of the organization. sometimes direct change in a culture can be promoted by introducing new people in leadership. where the chairs can be arranged in circles to increase participation. a new assistant. leaders have to bear some of the pain and anxiety felt in the group at the same time that they seek to make the members feel secure. Every system has a natural tendency to maintain the status quo
. Edwin Friedman. But unless the fundamental assumptions of the organization are understood. Give the culture its due. If this is not done. or having a staff meeting every Monday to improve communication. Fourth. 270). pp. Making Organizational Change We are not in heaven yet. And changing the culture is difficult. First. a new president is an opportunity for cultural change. The appointment of a new pastor. the culture itself with its taken‐for‐granted underlying assumptions cannot be manipulated. These powers have been unmasked and disarmed by Christ (Col. A systems approach treats an organization as a whole that is more than the sum of the parts. decline and/or rebirth. change takes time (Schein. While you can manage and control many parts of the environment of an organization (the president keeps her office door open all the time). all human organizations are approximations. has some additional insights on how a leader can bring change to a system. 297‐ 327). understand the culture before you try to change anything. more especially. 300‐301) because they were unaware of other forces in the culture that were simultaneously acting. It influences everything. a new board chairperson. redemption. So being the leader of this process is complex indeed. Gaining that—and it is as part of our public discipleship—involves organizational change. How difficult change is! A cultural approach to change. Finally. a family systems therapist. 2:15). Third. During a time of changing culture. Changing the artifacts—to use Schein’s phrase—might involve moving the Sunday service to the church hall. that culture‐change mechanisms are at work in every stage of a group’s history—birth. however. p. Organizational change involves culture. pp. He also shows that change becomes increasingly more difficult as a group becomes more established. A systemic approach to change. It can be easily pictured as a mobile: movement in one element requires adjustment in all the others. “many changes do not go in the direction that the motivated persons wanted them to go” (Schein. people are unlikely to accept any serious change. Indeed. the culture will probably win! Schein’s research shows. Several strategies are useful here. cultivated and gradually changed. in which each member and each subsystem is influenced by and influences the others. When the leader and the culture collide. people from outside who hold slightly different assumptions.
The system does this when new response patterns are required through a threat. as Barnabas. maintains and explains the culture and helps people and subsystems take responsibility for their own systemic life. How he or she responds to the ripple is crucial because the response of the system will be a reflection of all the systemic factors that make it stable. “is based on the fact that I am the one who knows what the process I am trying to produce is all about. Friedman says we bring greatest change in a system by concentrating not on the dissenting or sick member but on the person or persons in the group who have the greatest capacity to bring change (p.” The systemic leader welcomes the opportunity of every crisis and sometimes will provoke one. just as a keel keeps the sailboat upright. Thus the system returns to the tried and tested rather than shifts to operate on a revised and improved basis (morphogenesis). pastor or president must lead the way in this. becoming an integral part of the whole and negotiating their place within it. Leaders must work with the whole—culture and systems included. The director. orients people to their mission. something as inconsequential as changing the location of the water cooler or removing it altogether will do. including the multigenerational influences. The equipping leader must always remember that the only person open to definite and immediate change is herself or himself! A systems view encourages us to see that changing ourselves can make a difference to the those with whom we are interdependent. tragedy or positive change. 251‐52). to systemic values that can be expressed in a more constructive way. In the end leaders are charged with the awesome task of creating an environment in which people change themselves. one of which means “danger” and the other “opportunity. she continues. A negative biblical example of homeostasis is the return of converted Jews in the first few years to a less‐than‐full expression of Christian unity with Gentile believers. Then the leader might take an initiative that has a ripple effect throughout the system. Virginia Satir makes a remarkable statement about systems leadership that applies to all kinds of organizations. a hypocrisy that Paul fervently challenged (Galatians 2:11‐21). “I consider myself the leader of the process in the interview but not the leader of the people. So organizational leadership is not simply leading individual people in an organization. Paul and Peter did in the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:1‐35).” This. The Chinese word for crisis is composed of two characters. pp. Process leadership asks questions. Using family systems theory. clarifies goals.(homeostasis). I want to help people to become their own designers of their own choice‐making” (Satir. leaders must first join the system. 22). She says. » See also: EQUIPPING » See also: LEADERSHIP » See also: MANAGEMENT
. In fact this involves many stages of negotiation as the leader finds his or her place in the organization (Pattison). To bring about systemic change. In the context of counseling families. Usually a problem will surface without provocation. A positive example of morphogenesis is the extraordinary resolution of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1‐29) in which the church changed the terms upon which Jews and Gentiles could have fellowship together. But if a problem does not surface. The provoked or unprovoked crisis is an opportunity to explain what is going on and to appeal.
Greenleaf. 1991). 1985). Paul Stevens —Complete Book of Everyday Christianity. Pattison. R. Schein. Conjoint Family Therapy. The
. Stevens. P. Calif. DePree. Renesch.» See also: POWER » See also: ORGANIZATION » See also: ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES » See also: STRUCTURE References and Resources P. —R.: Alban Institute.. E. 1977). Satir. New Traditions in Business (San Francisco: Berrett‐Koehler. 1983). E. 1993. H. Leadership Is an Art (New York: Doubleday. The Equipping Pastor: A Systems Approach to Empowering the People of God (Washington.C. rev. 1992). Pastor and People—A Systems Approach (Philadelphia: Fortress. H. M. Friedman. J. 1977). D.: Science and Behavior. portions quoted with permission). V. Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View (San Francisco: Jossey‐Bass. ed. (Palo Alto. K. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness (New York: Paulist. Collins and R. ed. M. E. Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (New York: Guilford. 1992).
having failed to put up self‐sustaining small industries. then the National Sales and Marketing Manager of the Australian office CDT Asia. all at the same time. Owners’ rights to full disclosure and a fair return on their investments are consistently de‐ prioritized. Below are my observations on how work goes in my country. Hopes of laborers for change in unjust working conditions are dampened by the formation of unions that are over sympathetic to management. Host communities are bled by institutions. at early signs of decreasing profitability or inadequate budgets. 7. I used to be the Market Development Manager of an American multinational company SC Johnson and Sons. Laborers’ rights to minimum wages are thwarted excessively and continuously through the use of employment agencies or the justification that workers get free board and/or lodging. 4. 3. 8. then the Regional Business Director of the British multinational company Danka. 9. The environment is abused by starving marginalized groups or by never‐satisfied capitalists. yet abandoned for better locales. 5. This is not an extensive research on the “state of work” in the Philippines. maintenance engineer. messenger. while small suppliers are de‐prioritized. Laborers lose out in the end because of abusive labor leaders. customer relations person. Points below. 10. of my own company.A VIEW FROM THE GROUND: The Great Commandment Company Journey in the Philippines
[An Advent Season Reflection on the Philippine Market Place
Jon Escoto I don’t have exact figures. 2. before finally becoming my own janitor. 6. Big suppliers are paid on time. Employers’ legitimate point of view are not listened to and labeled summarily a s unjust. Host communities find themselves empty‐handed when guest institutions leave. Laborers’ and professional managers’ rights to progressive and morally upright lives are blocked by owners’ and policy makers’ failure to follow the institution’s vision and to be role models. utility man. however. Laborers’ full productivity and owners’ rights to same are disregarded by professional managers’ mental sloth and lack of passion. and president.
. are not at all an ignorant man’s unfounded conclusions based on uncritical and gullible perceptions. 11. These are some of the disturbing trends and occurrences taking place on many fronts: 1. as validated by people I interface and breathe the same business air with. marketing and sales.
advertising and promotions. 18. human and relationship development. Relationship with Customers • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: product/service patronage. Below is what I feel as practically workable areas that a Great Commandment company leader needs to do a serious hard work on. and respect for culture. Products that are unsafe or not necessary are falsely advertised. fringe benefits). 20. and even the general public. Professional managers and board members fight tooth and nail to usurp power and then preserve it. 13. 4. product/service quality. 21. Aids or grants that are not contextualized and holistic do not result in interventions that create sustainable or meaningful changes. Relationship with Suppliers • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: ethics in contracts. “glamorized. Since my above points are taken as a view from the ground. and the rich gets richer. work environment. I wish to bring down to the ground the thoughts I derived from Dr. participatory decision making. both public and private. Competition is so keen that competitors resort to below‐the‐belt tactics and unethical practices. and morality in long‐ term contracts. Steven’s abovementioned slides. of families.12. product/service innovations. Government regulations that are not well thought out or holistic encourage unethical practices. ethics in sales/market/business development. after sales service. making decisions that damage the reputation and the lives of the institution. The slides on “What Makes a Business Christian” have been very helpful. Institutional problems are blown out of proportion because of politics and the sensationalistic media. These are the company’s: 1. Partnership agreements between and amongst local and foreign institutions that are one‐ sided abound. ethics in implementing contracts. The poor gets poorer. hiring/recruitment policy. 15. 2. Relationship with Competitors
. Retention and separation policies. product/service safety. 19. take advantage of their power to push whomever they can victimize to the limits. 17. friends. ” and allowed to proliferate in the market. 14. Relationship with Employees • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: wage and compensation policy. 16. (incl. the middle class disappear. Graduates lack preparedness to take on even the firs tier of work employment. People in authority. 3.
Relishing affirmations from and the active support of happy owners and investors. and Country • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: social necessities as sacred obligations. Securing long‐term sustainability. Transparency. development. 6.Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: espousal of fair competition. Society. Protocol for owners. policies and regulations. Relationship with Owners • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: fair return on investment. Employees’ involvement in community service.
. responsible use of financial and other resources. Institutionalizing collegiality and respect for independence. and practices. 8. 10. Support for effectiveness of board committees. Programs for indigenous technology and social development. Antitrust. Relationship with Environment • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: Environmental protection/conservation through “clean” production and sustainable consumption. the New Jerusalem of the business world may look something like this: • • • • Presence of a highly motivated. Congruence of institutions operations with community needs/aspirations. When the work is done (God knows when!). policies. ethics of managers.e. Active participation in government advocacy. security of investment. Avoiding the practice of economic conspiracy (i. support for managers. Sense of patriotism 9. Respect for board protocol 7. Relationship with Board of Directors • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: Support for fulfillment of duties of the board. effective workforce. Considerations for human and social costs of mechanization and technology. Relationship with Government • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: Compliance to state laws. Relationship with Community. Relationship with Managers • Defining in practically measurable terms and “leading for” the Great Commandment in the area of: sense of mission of managers. Regard for social consequences of company’s/institution’s activities. Benefiting from repeat business from satisfied customers and faithful suppliers. Respect for specific legitimate objectives of owners. Shared vision‐mission on environmental protection/conservation. Enjoying the respect of competitors and active involvement in mutually beneficial joint projects. progress. Preserving balance of power. programs. cartels) 5. Nurture/Inculturation of ethics and governance.
Initiating and engaging in projects which protect and nurture the environment.• • • • •
Proud of its ethical board and managers who serve as true role models. witness to a God‐centered workplace!
Then the whole business world prays “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus” without even knowing these words. patriotic action plans. Engaging in proactive. Building reciprocal and synergistic relationship with the host community.
1." Jacques Ellul ii Now we must turn to the intriguing and usually neglected first‐half of the phrase "royal priesthood. The kingdom ministry of all believers expresses the exteriority of every member ministry‐‐how the people of God express the redeeming and life‐giving will and influence of God not just in the church but in the whole of creation. His share in the preservation of the world is to be an inexhaustible revolutionary force in the midst of the world.1 What the Kingdom Is It is not a realm. 1 Cor 15:24)." The kingdom of God is the master thought of Jesus (used over one hundred times in the Gospels in comparison with only three references to the church). Therefore the question of meaning in history has become meaningless. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15)." Rudolf Bultmann i "Now the situation of the Christian in the world is a revolutionary situation. Rev 11:15.
REGENTS OF OUR GOD AND KING
"Today we cannot claim to know the end and goal of history. It is used over one hundred times in the Gospels in comparison with only three references to the church.15. More accurately the kingdom is the rule of the sovereign (God's expressing his will and powerful presence) plus the response of the subjects (as they yield the sway of the sovereign. In his commentary on First Peter. (3) the only other New Testament occurrence of basileion is not simply an adjective meaning "royal" but a noun meaning "a palace" or "king's court". It was also the subject of his last sermon on earth when the disciples asked. (2) both the Hebrew and he Greek communicate the idea of a kingdom and not merely a priesthood. Rule without response is less than the kingdom. The kingdom was the subject of his first sermon: "The time has come. especially in the light of Zechariah 6:13‐‐where the Branch "will sit and rule on his throne. people and nation) to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God. a territory. (4) while it is possible that the phrase might mean that the Christian community is a royal house it is more likely that Christians are called to reign with Christ and share his sovereignty and kingship. "Lord are you going at this time to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD It is not an overstatement to say that the kingdom was the master thought of Jesus. 1. In this matter the Queen of England provides a
. Alan Stibbs notes that (1) this phrase is a direct quote of Exodus 19:6." iii The idea that believers are royalty opens up one of the most neglected areas of New Testament discipleship. but the rule of God as King (Luke 19:12. The kingdom of God is near. And he will be a priest on his throne"‐‐and Revelation 5:10‐‐"you have made them (the believers from every tribe.
peace and hope. This kingdom is moral. There are not first and second class Christians: first. So we can gratefully affirm that with Jesus the kingdom has come. In the same way the church is not exactly the same as the kingdom.2 Where the Kingdom is The kingdom is in the hearts of humankind as a new creation (Mark 10:15. "the saving sovereignty" (Beasley‐Murray)." "God's actual exertion of royal force" (B. then the kingdom of God has come to you" (Luke 11:20). As God the king exercises his authority in his world. But the kingdom is ambiguous: it is here and not yet here! 1. event or community which is 'the kingdom of God'. But the emphasis in gospels and letters is not on "the kingdom" but "the kingdom of God" (or in the more Jewish gospel of Matthew. not material (Rom 14:17). Luke 17:21. The kingdom involves both rule and response. The rule of God and the response of his creation (both animate and inanimate. Various alternative phrases have been crafted to communicate this: "God in strength. and the response of the people which. But the church exists as an agent of the kingdom. spiritual. "But if I drive out demons by the finger of God. Jesus did more than teach about the kingdom. not nationalistic (John 18:36). Indeed to become a Christian is quite simple equivalent to entering the kingdom of God (John 3:3).graphic negative model of how many Christians inadvertedly regard the King. but in actuality do not respond as subjects. And many so‐called Christians defer to the position of God as supreme ruler. 1. throughout the history of Israel was fitful and half‐hearted but in Jesus is total. both nonhuman and human) is more extensive than is visible in the church. as a people dedicated to serving the King and witnessing by word and deed to the rule of God in Jesus (Matt 5:13‐16). time. there the 'kingdom of God' will be experienced in many ways. Matt 12:28). any more than 'the will of God' can be tied down to any specific situation or event. There can be no one place. 'The kingdom of God' is God in saving action. "the kingdom of heaven").iv France concludes. He embodies both the rule of God in bringing liberation. Queen Elizabeth reigns but she does not rule. such as a realm. It is God's work not man's. So the church is a pole of response to the regal claims of God in Jesus. and "the divine government" (R. France carefully shows that both the Hebrew/Aramaic malkut(a) and the Greek basileia refer to the act of being a king rather than to a concrete place. and second. and people respond to it.T. or to use our title.v
With penetrating insight Christians through the centuries have considered Jesus to be the autobasileia‐‐the kingdom in his own person. Chilton). for those who are merely members of the church. France). God taking control in his world.D.3 When the Kingdom Comes
. for those who observe the kingdom teaching of Jesus and enter by the narrow way. 'divine government'. like the iron filings that line up with the pull of a magnet. The church represents an "outcropping" of the kingdom in the same way that outcroppings of strata in a highway cut through a hill reveals outcropped strata that extends in a hidden way beneath the soil. Richard T.
aesthetic and relational dimensions of the kingdom now. we are called to live with the radical demands of being a kingdom people and we cannot relegate the kingdom teaching of Jesus to some future day of millennial bliss. In so doing they miss much of the presence of the kingdom. try to realize all social. They were
. 39. Matt 8:11.4 What the Kingdom Demands The kingdom demands a total response in faith (Luke 16:16. The New Testament declares that the kingdom is now. Once again. 22) are signs of the irruption of the kingdom of God into the spurious rule of Satan. the laos is not kingdom as realm but kingdom as rule‐‐God's active governance of the world through his own people. since we cannot yet see the city to which we are moving. Mark 14:25. awaiting a final consummation (Matt 25:31ff. 32‐34. Others. We live in the overlap of the ages‐‐the old and the new. 23:13). D Day has happened. Evangelism is the centre but not the circumference of kingdom mission. In the meantime. At the top if the rule of Adam and Eve as priests and kings of creation. 13:44‐45. The truth is that the kingdom has come and yet is still coming.5 Being the Kingdom People While the emphasis of Jesus in his teaching and actions was on a divine government which would not by achieved by human effort. thinking that the kingdom has not really come. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matt 7:24). 1. Oscar Cullmann used the two days from the Second World Way. With Christ's coming. Jesus has been enthroned as the heavenly king but he has not yet returned to bring his kingdom to complete consummation. his death and resurrection. vii Living with the tension of this "here and now" and "not yet fully here and coming" is indispensable to the royal priesthood. 21:31. Matt 1:12. The exorcisms accomplished by Jesus (Mark 1:23‐27. Mark 13). We must never serve as though the kingdom were a dream of utopia in some distant day. D Day (the day when the battle turned in favour of the Allies) and V Day (the day of final victory. between D Day and V Day. With Christ's second coming V Day will happen. political. believing the kingdom has fully come. The kingdom has come. Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount with these sobering words. God's people (laos) participates in this divine irruption and becomes his primary agency on earth for the purposes of his kingdom. Mark 10:23‐25). 10:23ff. 15. but we must choose to live in the light of new age. Matt 10:34‐39. reduce the work of believers exclusively to personal evangelism. vi At the same time the kingdom is not yet. not a future ideal (Luke 4:17ff. Some. Once again we can refer to an hourglass to present visually the connection of the Old and New Covenants. 3:11. Matt 12:28. 1. Until Christ comes again we will experience the reality of both ages. the wedge of God's rule driven into this age as we wait for. Living with kingdom consciousness therefore requires radical obedience and faith. and "speed" the consummation of the kingdom when Christ will introduce a new heaven and a new earth. failing to come to grips with fallen human nature and the intransigency of the structures that form the invisible background for the believer's life and work in the world. But neither must we serve as though all there is to the kingdom can be realized in our present experience of the Christian life. 16:24) and a radical lifestyle (Matt 6:33. Matt 24.
"to work it and take care of it" (2:15). and the people demanded a king "like all the nations" (1 Sam 8:5). in the history of salvation. EXPERIENCING AND SERVING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
. church leaders are not rulers like the kings and elders of the Old Testament. "No. They were never intended to be autonomous rulers. We pray. Taking the gospel accounts of the trial together it is clear that Jesus is both affirming that he is the true king of Israel (embodying both the rule and the response) but not in the way that Jewish people expected the king to be. or more accurately regents‐‐visible representatives of an invisible (though not absent) monarch. And believers are invited not only to enter the kingdom (to become citizens and subjects) but to share the rule of Christ the king now (substantially) and eventually in a complete way (Matt 20:21‐23). and liberating the human race for healing and salvation. overcoming the power of satan and sin. "Yes I am a king but not in the way you and the Jewish leaders are thinking of the king of Israel. But king and queen they were. we never do. Obviously as time went on. The kingdom has come. So the hourglass narrows once again as the kingdom and the monarchy become embodied in the person standing before Pilate and being asked. As the family of promise became. It is derivative like the priesthood of all the believers. even the tribal confederacy bonded by their common loyalty and regency to Yahweh was not sufficient.given "dominion" or "regency" (Gen 1:26) which is the derivative rule of people who represent and participate in the rule of a monarch. not in church leaders. "No. the description in Genesis 2:2 of the situation of creation when "there was no man to work the ground" indicates that the world was not made for humankind." Just as Jesus said. then!" (John 18:36). when Jesus knows all about the person?" "Do you pray for hours?" "No. In Jesus all the people share the kingly rule and kingdom response of Jesus. in the same way they would be kings. Prophets. We leave and then we return the next day to see what Jesus has done!" So sublime. No believer has this authority within himself or herself. His answer could be roughly translated. two of us go in the name of Jesus. Every human being has what we earlier called these three full‐time jobs as regents of the King: communion. it was expected that just as the whole people would be priests. Jesus does!" I asked whether he prayed to get the demon to name himself and he said. The hourglass widens to include the people of the kingdom. but humankind was made for the world. culture and religion (as represented in the polyglot title on the cross). the people of promise. meant the tearing down of the pretentious powers of politics. community‐ building and co‐creativity. and so true! 2. priests and kings find their fulfilment in Jesus. "one greater than the temple is here" (Matt 12:6). Whether the monarchy was originally God's idea or a concession to human weakness‐‐the scripture is somewhat ambiguous on this matter‐‐God wove his purpose into the monarchy and envisioned sending his own Son as the true king in the line of David. His supreme kingly act was his work of redemption on the cross where his obedience to death and the sovereign rule of God expressed in this full and final sacrifice. so Jesus in effect said that one greater than the Jewish king was here. To repeat. why would we do that. Some of our African friends in a rapidly growing church understand this better than we do. Indeed. I asked one pastor whether in his country they cast out demons. He said. "You are a king.
. deliverance. The powers have been stripped of their illusionary power by the cross of Christ. . . 1 Cor.1 Christians together should expect Jesus to continue his kingdom ministry through them. . they are not only protected but empowered for kingdom offensive. the "royal" part of the priesthood is not mainly an individual dignity but a corporate one.2 Christians are not helpless before the principalities and powers which dog their steps in this world. just as white light can only be expressed when are the colours of the spectrum are harmonized. all things are made subject to him and compelled to serve him to his salvation. When Christians don the armour of Christ. princes and men and earth . developing kingdom consciousness. turning their workplaces into arenas where the presence of the kingdom should make a difference in policies and relationships. viii
2. Christ does not dwell fully in the individual believer but rather fills the people of God corporately with himself. Christians who embrace the royal priesthood must repent of their bigotry that God is working only inside the church.1. as to kingship. 8:28. (Rom.3 As a kingdom people Christians should thrive on ministry outside the church as well as inside. they bring forgiveness. liberating people in bondage. it rules in the midst of enemies. Once again.1. this is the inestimable power and liberty of Christians. The church is merely the outcropping of the kingdom. every Christian is by faith so exalted above all things that by a spiritual power he is lord of all things without exception. Christians announce the rule of God when they proclaim the Gospel and share their faith. In so doing. he made a public spectacle of them.
. God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:10) can be expressed to the world only as a community. Luther was eloquent on this subject: First. Lo. strongholds are torn down and satan's demons go screaming for cover. They are what Cullmann called "chained beasts. and sometimes not a good one at that. which means nothing else than that strength is made perfect in weakness. . Not as if every Christian were set over all things. to possess and control them by physical power‐‐a madness with which some churchmen are afflicted‐‐for such power belongs to kings." When the gospel is preached. so that the cross and death itself are compelled to serve me and to work together with me for my salvation . preaching good news and bringing peace. So the kingdom ministry of Jesus is a corporate ministry continued through his people communally. and that in all things I can find profit unto salvation.2.1. 3:22ff). . The power of which we speak is spiritual. . triumphing over them by the cross" (Col 2:15). healing and hope. kicking themselves to death. and is mighty in the midst of oppression. so that nothing can do him any harm whatever.1 Now‐‐The Presence of the Kingdom of God The Christian vocation involves extending the rule of God in and outside the church‐‐bringing in the Kingdom and not just bringing in the church! A few summary remarks are in order to summarize what the kingdom of God means to Christians today: 2. Christ "disarmed the powers and authorities. nay. 2.
1:20‐23. as Howard Snyder says. as Howard Snyder says in Community of the King. and not just faith and love!
. but the body to be given in service of the King. J. continue their "maintenance" mentality.5 The people of God as a royal priesthood can never be contained within an institution. Yet. as St. creational stewardship. 2.6 Finally. Biblical eschatology shows us that we are set not at the dismal end of the human story but at the dawning of a new age. around life." Regarding the church as the agent for the kingdom means that in one sense the church is dispensable. It is essentially. a function which is carried out pre‐eminently by the ministry of the preaching of the Gospel .4 As the agent for the kingdom ix the church should take the big view and step behind the evangelism/social action debate to grasp God's cosmic plan of uniting all things (education. Peter (1 Peter 4:10) say. But the church true to its kingdom calling is always living by dying to itself. by and large. a new consciousness of the Kingdom today means a new awareness of the demands of discipleship. .12) and St. 2. 3:10). but to 'bring in' the kingdom of God.4 P. . While parachurch organizations have heard this call local churches. xiii So the church is organized as the human body is.1. Hoedemacher said that "the church is the suffering form of the kingdom of xi God. "a charismatic community and God's pilgrim people. waiting for the second coming of Christ and the full consummation of the Kingdom is not a passive pasture but dynamic as we shape our lives in the light of our ultimate homeland. . Therefore. It is primarily an organism and only secondarily an organization. divine. but Coming‐‐The Certain Coming of the Kingdom Being God's people in the world involves living with practical heavenlymindedness. living by hope. Paul (Eph 4:11. as Jurgen Moltmann says. Well.1. 2. politics." xii Commenting on Psalm 110:3 Luther expounded the priestly office and adornment of the priesthood of all believers in terms of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The body of Christ is not the body beautiful. etc) in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:10.1." these priestly garments which adorn the Christians so that they become His holy priesthood? Nothing else that the beautiful. to be preened and pampered. and various gifts of the Holy Spirit.2 Not Yet. Eschatology is. kingdom consciousness requires living a life of radical discipleship.1. 2. The present expression of the Kingdom demands crucifixion ethics not triumphal ethics. which were given to Christendom to advance the knowledge and the praise of God. the most pastoral of all disciplines. xiv
2. it is called to live the paradox of the King who ended up on a cross. x The purpose of the church is not to 'bring in' the church. The church today must not live as if the Kingdom were already fully established. his kingdom of priests. aesthetics. what is this "holy adornment.
ironically. Lewis is quoted as saying that if we find that nothing in this world ultimately satisfies us. but in a new heaven and a new earth. or from living in the future (anticipating the next thing we will do in our attempt to create meaning in the future because we have not found it in the present. contribute to a world without end. and yet knowing that as we offer it up to the Father in the name of Christ and in the power of the Spirit. (6) it will inspire us to see our daily work as a meaningful contribution to the kingdom of God which will outlast this world. (8) it will give proportion to our life in this world‐‐we do not have to find complete fulfilment in this life or to have every possible experience. heavenlymindedness equips us to live fully in the present because the present is secured in the future. So. (1) It will help us view time as a gift to be received rather than a resource to be managed. knowing that nothing we do in itself is good enough to form part of that city's building. it is safe with him and‐‐purged in fire‐‐it will find its place in the holy city at the end. (7) it will liberate us from a messianic complex (or inappropriate egoism) since the future is ultimately in God's hands and he will being his kingdom to consummation his own way at his own time. drawing out the meaning of life and pointing the way to God and his kingdom
. knowing that God will judge in the end and make all things right. it is a powerful argument that we were made for a better world and a better life. and (10) it will equip us to live practically in this world with a healthy desire for heaven. C. protecting and bringing the taste out.S. The role of eschatology (end times thinking) on the lay vocation can have many positive fruits. (5) it will inspire us to responsible stewardship of the earth as our future is not to be in a "spiritual" heaven. knowing that everything‐‐from our most secret prayers to our most public political acts‐‐is part of that sin‐stained human nature that must go down into the valley of death and judgement. (3) it will inspire us to holy living since we are preparing ourselves for a great rendezvous with the Lord himself. Only heavenly‐mindedness can save us from living in the past (in our attempt to find hope in what used to be). (4) it will inspire us to share the good news of Jesus since the delay in his coming is simply to give people maximum opportunity to turn to God. xv Three metaphors (two of them directly given by the Bible) describe the Christian as a kingdom person and the people of God as agents for the kingly rule of Christ: (1) Salt ‐‐ preserving. and to give his children maximum opportunity to share what they know. Lesslie Newbigin comments on this with great depth: We can commit ourselves without reserve to all the secular work our shared humanity requires of us. (2) Light ‐‐ illuminating. The Kingdom is not yet and now. (2) it will shows us that work done in this world is not resultless but may in some way beyond our imagination. (9) it enables us to live hopefully with personal injuries and injustices over which we have no power.
First. Who then can comprehend the lofty dignity of the Christian? Through his kingly power he rules over all things. Heb 11:31) provide a fascinating analogy for living in one world while spying out the next. he may also be sent out as a spy. he establishes a relation between the two. Priesthood and royalty belong together. 145:19). judging and feeling. no one can be a solitary priest or even a solitary king. . Like common salt which is composed of two deadly poisons‐‐sodium and chlorine‐‐which taken together are life‐ giving. but he cannot take the side of this world.(3) Spy (while this last metaphor is not directly suggested by scripture.50). as an ambassador champions the interests of his country. With great eloquence Luther pleads for the recovery of the royal priesthood. surely not by any works of his. 3. so the laos of God must be both priestly and kingly. in order that the Kingdom of God may break forth in splendour. for his Lord. in the new community formed around the resurrected Christ. death life and sin. And Christianity would be considered a superior religion. To this glory a man attains. and for the faith without which it can never be realized. Kingship without priesthood could easily degenerate into do‐ goodism without the touch of God. xvi (Ellul also explores the Christian community as a prophet ‐‐ p. the 12 spies going into Canaan (Josh 2:1. (Ps. Together they salt the earth. and to discover its secrets. Only together in Christ can believers touch the world for God as priests and through servant leadership and kingdom power demonstrate that Christ is the autobasileia. the royal priesthood is able to praise God in acted words directed Godward in worship. he ought to present the demands of his Master. at the heart of the world. He stands up for the interests of his Master. In fact that is the situation of the christian: to work in secret. Priesthood without kingship could easily degenerate into a new sacerdotalism. But the second is equally significant: no one has priestly or regal ministry in himself or herself. and through his priestly glory is all‐powerful with God. he is the ambassador of this State upon earth. world‐transformation without spiritual transfiguration. being a citizen of one kingdom and sharing fully in its life while being subject to another kingdom and another King. He is the subject of another State. It is derived from our real relationship together in Christ. Kingly Priests and Priestly Kings
Our examination of both the royal and the priestly metaphors of lay ministry have led to two crucial discoveries. . but by faith alone. to create a nucleus in this world. Together. His heart and his thought are elsewhere. Lay ministry is people ministry. From another point of view (and here the relation is quite different)." xvii
. that is to say. to prepare for his Lord's victory from within. and incarnational mission directed to the world to declare glory among the nations. because God does the things he asks and desires. and it is thence that he derives his way of thinking. The idea of the Christian as a spy was first suggested to me by Jacques Ellul: (The Christian) is the citizen of another Kingdom. albeit a communal one.
This article deals with work in this modern context. (2) a biblically integrated view of work. housewives. Work and worth. our world and even our God. A Wider Definition of Work Over the last two centuries work has become equated with a job. benefit to the community and glory to God” (Stott. Work was integrated with the home (which was usually the workplace) and worship (through sacrifice from God’s gifts and one’s produce). might not be working. We need to revalue these tasks for both men and women by recognizing fundamental activities that keep the world going. volunteers working for schools and churches or parents changing diapers or cooking meals are working. On the other hand. (3) the disintegration of work and faith.
Contents: A Wider Definition of Work A Biblically Integrated View of Work The Disintegration of Work and Faith Reintegrating Spirituality and Work Redirecting Sunday Toward Monday References and Resources Work. The tremors have been felt hardest by the overworked. On that definition many people in socially destructive jobs. wider Christian definition of work is this: “Work is the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others. which brings fulfillment to the worker. This is a seismic shift in our understanding of ourselves. social and spiritual life. for example. Despite society’s materialistic definition of work as what we are paid to do. even though they are unpaid and economically invisible. The waking time of most adults is taken up with work. whether in its presence or absence. One of the first things we want to know about people is what they do. industry and identity. are very closely related in contemporary culture. is a pervasive part of everyday life. the forcibly retired and the attention‐deprived children. But does this wider view of work have biblical backing? Unlike today. A helpful. It has had earthquakelike effects on people’s emotional. and a person’s passing is often noted in terms of their workplace achievements. the unemployed person cleaning up the streets and recycling a cart full of soda cans. A Biblically Integrated View of Work
. work can include any positive productive activity. p. 162). People were not primarily valued or identified in terms of their jobs as they are today. (4) reintegrating spirituality and work and (5) redirecting Sunday towards Monday. in biblical times work was not a separate sphere of life. in a cigarette or armaments factory. the unemployed. We need to develop a more integrated biblical view of work that does justice to the value of other vital activities and relationships. It will examine (1) a wider definition of work. family.
and her experience on the job will be reflected at home. pp. 4:28 NRSV). Here I will identify broad perspectives and principles that can help us place work within a scriptural framework of relationships—to God. It should not be confused with or replace our corporate worship. telephones and furniture. Unless we do so. we should not divorce the two. A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccles. Reconciler and Re‐Creator—Father. The alternative is that “two are better than one. 3:10‐13) and our families (1 Tim. it is transient. in contrast to the ancient Near Eastern gods. Being and doing flow into each other. He has a word of warning for both the envious workaholic and the lazy shirkaholic who neglect relationships and lead meaningless lives. a gardener/farmer (Genesis 2:8‐9. Banks). we
. For if they fall. 100). a shepherd (Psalm 23. 6:7 NRSV). after communion with God “community building is every person’s second full‐time job” (Stevens. Genesis 3:8. The author of Ecclesiastes provides a balance between being and doing by emphasizing relationships. as to the Lord and not to men and women” (Ephes. Work is not only to provide for ourselves (2 Thes. a teacher (Matthew 7:28‐29). Matthew 11:28. and I also am working” (John 5:17 NRSV). One is to do a concordance study of the word. 4:9‐12 NRSV). . John 10). not our own (Genesis 2:3. Work done out of mere ambition and selfishness and work neglected out of laziness are both vain. humanity and the earth (Wright. God’s work. Another is a creed‐based approach in terms of God as Creator. many of us forget that before we get up on Monday morning. Exploring the wide‐ranging biblical imagery of divine work can give us a greater sense of being junior partners in God’s work of creation.There are several ways of developing a biblical approach to work. Hebrews 4). Romans 9:19‐21) and a homemaker (Luke 15:8. we will underestimate the importance of God’s work and either worship our work or think it worthless. The same writer provides a commentary on the fallen or cursed dimension of work or toil (see also Genesis 3:17‐19). a doctor‐healer (Mark 2:12. John 15:1‐8). and our work will not last. a potter/craftworker (Jeremiah 18:1‐9. The sabbath is a reminder that we live by God’s work. 17). bodies and minds. because they have a good reward for their toil. Sadly. . But work can be an expression of worship or communion with God. God is an architect and a builder (Proverbs 8:27‐31). to God (Romans 12:1‐2). Making hand‐held video games largely does not. While we should distinguish ourselves from what we do. 5:8) but also “to have something to share with the needy” (Ephes. So. we can see God’s hand in our everyday tasks. pp. The God of the Bible is a worker. So work is one of the basic ways we fulfill our social responsibilities. preservation and redemption. Son and Holy Spirit (Preece). A mother working in a shop does not stop being a mother while she is at work. Human work and human relationships. “My Father is still working. 15‐16). “Render service with enthusiasm. Even work with good motives will often be ignored or wasted. Many things we make at work also provide the stage in which people can interact. For example. who slept while their human slaves labored. but it is an everyday offering of our whole selves. We all die. While we have opportunity. Jesus said. . From a biblical view one question we can ask of our work is whether it furthers relationships or not. but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. a weaver (Psalm 139:13‐16). Her homegrown experiences and skills are valuable (even if unrecognized) in her paid employment. 89‐90. one will lift up the other. God has already been at work: “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4 NRSV). for example. By seeing our work in the light of God’s work.
According to Genesis 1:28 (NRSV). how did these two come apart. always excelling in the work of the Lord. But under the risen Son. social workers and doctors) are next. which. In the divine economy. a burden and toil” (Stevens. “Therefore. . Working with things such as technology. Her work was publicly recognized. we are to “be fruitful and multiply.C. Caring for the earth. as a gift from God. this is still the way many Christians see trades and business. money and administration is often seen as inferior both by those who stress soul‐winning and those who stress social activism. In the new heavens and new earth “my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. exalts the scribe over the tradesperson. Our groaning as we toil is part of creation’s groaning. Only the one who is free from toil can become wise. 26). pp.’. while business people and trades come last. The wise woman of Proverbs 31 is involved in providing food. so that even many Christians do not feel the connection? Historical reasons. work done for God and others is not in vain. as those made in God’s image. During the fifth century B. The Disintegration of Work and Faith Given the Bible’s integrated view of spirituality and work. be steadfast. 2:18‐26. As God’s representatives we are to care for the earth (see Ecology) and each other in the productive realm of work and the reproductive realm of family. Stevens. bringing her praise in the city gates (Proverbs 31:10‐31). It is best to have modest expectations of work and not try to build lasting monuments (Eccles. because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. the caring professions (for example.” This is balanced by the direction in Genesis 2:15. Women are involved in both realms. head and
. even if society may not value it. Sadly. In the hierarchy of vocations clergy and missionaries (our equivalent of Ecclesiasticus’ scribes of Bible scholars) are still near the top. land and clothing. immovable. 15:58 NRSV). 4‐5). longing for liberation from the vanity to which it was subjected by God in hope (Romans 8:20‐23). and fill the earth and subdue it. They shall not labor in vain” (Isaiah 65:22‐23 NRSV).should simply enjoy working. contemplation and leisure over material action. as Adam’s naming the animals shows. This needs to be heard in a world in which women are often paid less in jobs and work a second shift at home and in which many people receive no recognition for unpaid work done well. trading and caring for the poor. my beloved. as well as the food and drink it puts on the table. The truly free and human pursuits were politics and philosophy: “Work was called `unleisure. in which Adam is to till and keep the garden. some cities issued a decree prohibiting their citizens from engaging in work! This Greek influence appears in the apocryphal Wisdom book Ecclesiasticus. or serve and preserve it. planting vines. This stems from the division between spirituality and work. p. This has not only agricultural but also cultural dimensions. The merchant or businessperson “can hardly remain without fault” (Sirach 26:29) for “between buying and selling sin is wedged” (Sirach 27:2). work is evaluated according to the way it fosters or retards relationships—between ourselves and God. ergon or ponos. . Workers have to concentrate on their work rather than the wonders and mysteries of the world. In the Greek world work was seen as a necessity or curse for slaves to perform. though more respectful of the trades than the Greeks or the Egyptians. our companions and the earthly resources we are called to develop.
people and things. the Protestant work ethic became popularized through such maxims as “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy.” Through the concept of a career. home and church. home and church.” Many of the pastoral and spiritual crises people face are a direct result of this disintegration of work. Surveys indicate that in far‐flung commuter suburbs low church attendance was due not to people there being less religious but to the long hours spent at. Tradespeople and business people do not have to be social workers or evangelists to serve God at work. paid workers or citizens. home and church. The tools of one’s workshop were constant reminders to do this: “In making shoes the cobbler serves God. which becomes a joy in itself. In failing to shape and develop a spirituality for the workplace and neglecting to challenge its dehumanizing structures. wealthy. The absent‐father syndrome has now been extended to include the absent‐mother. or going to and from. Our name is truly “Legion. modeled and nurtured. the Industrial Revolution separated the spheres of work. not a Christian). which is not present in the more creation‐centered canonical Wisdom literature (compare Proverbs 31) nor in the cultural mandate to rule the earth responsibly (Genesis 1:26‐28). work increasingly became a means to the end of status and security rather than a means to the end of serving God and supporting self and others.hand. or divine calling. The church’s mainly female pool of volunteer labor is shrinking rapidly as the personal. work. Contemporary reasons. or private and public. wisdom and skill. Martin Luther reacted against the medieval disparagement of ordinary work in favor of the work of priests or monks. obeys his calling from God. around the time of the later Puritans (mid‐17th century). It became increasingly individualistic. Through Benjamin Franklin (a Deist. Despite its considerable difficulties preindustrial life had a greater sense of integration between work. In a highly specialized society we play different roles according to different rules with different parts of our personalities. the church has by default been (mis)shaped by it. the notion of vocation became secularized and narrowed down to the job. areas of their lives. Some people want to attend church and small groups but have too little time and energy. for the ordinary Christians as homemakers. career and church that can be crippling unless an integrative spirituality sensitive to life stages is taught. and wise” and “Time is money. as both parents struggle to keep jobs as well as maintain marriages and families. Luther saw all of these as providential ways in which Christians could serve their neighbor and worship God. Today many people are split between the Sunday and Monday. He reclaimed the idea of vocation. For all its gains in living standards. Under the influence of Greek dualism the early church and the Middle Ages reinforced the distinction between spirituality and work. All were within sight of one another.” Luther could say. and the church was the connecting link to the whole of life. losing the sense of worshiping God and serving the common good (see Calling). As a result the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38‐ 42) was reinterpreted to exalt the contemplative over the active life. quite as much as the preacher of the Word. and our lives slowly disintegrate. education. “God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation it is!” Unfortunately. There is often a direct clash between escalating demands on people by family.
. social and financial rewards of working prove more attractive (although there are recent signs of a move back from this). institutionalizing working for a wage (something previously regarded as degrading compared with self‐employment).
which is then used to justify our professional lifestyle. a mixed life combining the activity of Martha with the reflectiveness of Mary (Stevens. what car to drive. On Sunday the latter equip and mobilize the scattered people of God for their mission and ministry on Monday. priest and king.” We must not abandon Christian people to the totalitarian demands of many workplaces and the Martha life of unreflective activism.
. determining major life decisions concerning where to live. . From the Bible and the Protestant Reformation emerges the understanding that all Christians have a ministry and vocation to serve in the working world. Reintegrating Spirituality and Work To maintain spiritual integrity. or the opposite fruits of the flesh. . We carry these characteristics. So we do not unethically evangelize on the boss’s time. Paul commends the Thessalonians for their “work produced by faith. xiv‐xv). . In his Letters to a Layman Hilton wisely counseled a third way. Without this our professional group unconsciously becomes our church. We also need mission groups as well as Christian peers and mentors in the workplace. gentle and self‐controlled. labor prompted by love. Some theological guidelines for developing a corporate spirituality of work follow. live and speak in a way that represents the rule of Christ over the whole of creation. It can develop either the fruit of the Spirit. Work is a major way we can cultivate and develop Christian virtues (Galatians 5) and attitudes (Matthew 5:1‐13). Under the pressures of modern work many Christians feel isolated and unsupported in the workplace and find it difficult to pray and reflect in a way that integrates their church and work lives. Both the vocational (the church scattered) and the worship (the church gathered) activities of Christians are important.” which gets the leftovers from the Protestant work ethic. . pp. and work characterized by them. making us patient. an understanding modeled on Christ as prophet. and . Nor should we forfeit the workplace and adopt the monastic. we need a spirituality that integrates. how to dress. Such a spirituality needs to be consciously modeled and taught. This then determines our de facto spirituality. The “supernatural” virtues of faith. above all. hope and love have particular significance for a spirituality of work. Recapturing the idea of the “mixed life. not separates. including the working world. involved in commercial and political life. The individualistic “Protestant prayer ethic. The fourteenth‐century monk Walter Hilton wrote letters to an English man of affairs. who wanted to enter contemplative life in a religious community. grace. But also needed are small committed groups in which people can honestly share their struggles in faith. 1:3). but work. endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. our faith and work. This does not pit preaching or evangelism against ordinary work but sees kingdom work as healing creation and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19‐20) as fulfilling the creation commission (Genesis 1:26‐ 28). contemplative Mary life. where to school our children. home and work. Reconnecting wisdom. fails to provide this. These virtues do not spring up in a vacuum but emerge through much practice and. Reemphasizing the importance of the church scattered as well as the church gathered. Recapturing a sense of vocation. virtue and skill. Developing a spirituality of competence and compassion is needed to overcome the split between Mary and Martha. trying to justify our job to the full‐ time preachers. .
Prayers for people’s working lives should be a regular part of intercession. In 2 Tim. Switzerland. While we cannot turn back the clock. the church will have to shift its pastoral and mission priorities toward Monday. This idea is captured in a painting of the Second Coming by Swiss artist Paul Robert in Neuchatel. mutual confession. Acts 17:17. The New Testament church met in homes that often had workplaces in the front room on the street. As Scripture imaginatively used workplace terminology to express aspects of the gospel message. Opening our homes in hospitality to fellow workers can lead to a new level of relationship. the offering (when we give the products of our work back to God) or at the conclusion of the service when we hear the call to mission. Preventive pastoral care will often involve standing for justice with God’s people and providing emotional and financial support if they face loss of employment for taking a Christian stand on an issue.
. teaching topics and illustrations should include work‐related ones. 23‐29). In early Christian times the terms sacrifice (of the work of one’s hands).all the way to heaven. are also a useful way of encouraging a more integrated spirituality. Where possible. Puritan manuals often dealt with issues of conscience in the workplace. Redirecting Sunday Toward Monday If we are to overcome the perceived gap between Sunday and Monday. We can use occasional fringe‐work activities over meals or beverages to build relationships. 6:5‐9. so should we in sharing our faith. While we should not be evangelizing on the boss’s time. Moreover. Paul spoke at length of master‐slave relationships (Ephes. redemption (of slaves) and debts (of money) all had strong workplace connections. 2:1‐7 he draws from a range of working illustrations (athlete. volunteer work or the market‐place—can be a great encouragement to others and can be included in services during announcements. farmer. Masters and slaves shared the same living space and social life. church buildings should be located near the commercial center rather than be lost in suburban back streets. Moreover. Evangelism in the marketplace was common in the New Testament (Acts 16:16‐19. Pastors. bearing the fruits of their callings: doctors having healed people. a truly integrated life and a willingness to speak in a wise and timely way tailored to the needs of others (Col. Special services. Col. we should bring our work. 3:22‐4:1). The gap between Sunday and Monday can be narrowed further by creatively bridging the physical distance between churches and the workplace. 4:5‐6) will attract questions and interest that can be explored during breaks and lunchtime and before or after work. leaders’ groups. Today the primary place where men and women meet others is the workplace. home and church life as close together as possible. Pastoral care should be extended to the workplace. Church rolls or address lists might include work roles to enable members to make connections and offer appropriate prayers. soldier) for single‐mindedness. such as a faith‐and‐work Sunday or urban harvest festival with people bringing symbols of their work. Corporate worship opportunities should be related to working life. architects having built beautiful buildings and so on—each one eager to render an account to Christ of his or her work. Workers’ testimonies— drawn from homemaking. It portrays the people rising to meet Christ. Acts 19:9‐10. church counseling ministries and small groups could provide appropriate supportive and accountable contexts. counseling and discipline need to be restored and related to workplace struggles and sins.
Hardy. J. 1984).” in Faith Goes to Work. Banks (Washington D. 1983). The Fabric of This World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. J. 1994). Banks. Together they can enable a greater integration of faith and work. The Overworked American (New York: Basic. “The Threefold Call. Banks and G. Schor. Issues Facing Christians Today (Basingstoke. 1992). Volf. 1991). Sunday and Monday. J. R. 1993) 160‐71. C. » References and Resources R. Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work (New York: Oxford University Press.: InterVarsity Press. ed. 1990). The
. P. Wright.: Judson.: Marshalls. spirituality and activity. Stevens. J.C.: Alban Institute. 1991). R. R.These wide‐ranging suggestions can begin to turn the tide of a war that has seen the workplace forfeited rather than lost. Preece. Disciplines of the Hungry Heart (Wheaton: Harold Shaw. J. J. Getting the Job Done Right (Wheaton: Victor Books. Penn. —Gordon Preece —Complete Book of Everyday Christianity. G. B. U.K. 1993). R. Preece. God the Worker (Valley Forge. H. L. Ill. M. Stott. An Eye for an Eye (Downers Grove.
sustaining. At the core of reality is personhood. God being the most personal in the universe.Executive Brief on a Biblical Theology of Work
Most of the difficulties we face in mobilising the people of God towards marketplace ministry are due to an inadequate understanding regarding the theology of work. 2. As God delighted in his creation (Gen 1:31). humans too find fulfilment when they do good work. to “fill” it not only by populating the earth. In some religions where matter is deified. in our relational life. Our fundamental human vocation is to be people—prizing and people‐keeping. God is as active and creative today – creating. Jn 5:17. interestingly. physician (Matt 8: 16). human beings are called to extend the sanctuary (the Garden) into the world. God the Worker God not only authored work but he himself was a worker (Gen 1. As creatures in the image of God (Gen 1:26‐27). shepherd (Psa 23). Hence we acknowledge that our enjoyment of work is also a gift from God (Eccl 3:13. As workers. This shortcoming basically arises out of a less‐than‐comprehensive theology of creation. humans are workers by make‐up and design. No Distinction Between Sacred and Secular The two words used by God in his command (Gen 2:15) to Adam to describe work are abad (work) and shamar (take care). This implies that no distinction between
. redeeming and consummating – as God was when this five billion light year universe was begun. potter (Jer 18:6). Rev 21:5). teacher (Psa 143:10). Human Beings – Godlike in Relating and Working Human being are “like” God in being relational (“male and female he made them in his image”) and by working. We are also commanded to work (Gen 1:28). but by filling it with the glory of God by humanizing the earth. Throughout the Bible. 5:18). in our civic responsibility and priests of creation. vineyard‐dresser (Isa 5:1‐7) etc. we see different images of God as a worker namely. these words are also used to mean ‘service to God’ and ‘keeping of his commandments’ respectively. The Bible makes it clear that we are vice‐regents over creation and therefore are commanded to act as stewards of God’s created world. We do this as God dwells in us and indwells us through the Spirit empowering us to be priests in the workplace. Creation is neither a curse not an idol. redemption and eschatology. humans do not enjoy the same dignity and cannot exercise the same responsibility.
Likewise. Apart from humans. Amos 5:10‐12) into the workplace. It is important to note that the command to work was given before the Fall and hence. The cosmic scope of God’s redemption means that everything affected by sin and the curse can be redeemed including human work. 1 Cor 12. The distinction often made between spiritual work (expressed as Kingdom work) and so‐called “secular” work is both unbiblical and harmful. healed the sick and cast out demons (Matt 8:16). Eph 4). creation also waits for the day when it will be set free from bondage (Rom 8:19‐23). Obviously. Furthermore. fed the 5000 (Matt 14:15‐21). his people bring God’s presence (Matt 5:16‐17) and godly values (Prov 16:11. immoral and exploitative practices have no place in God’s kingdom and purposes. political. Toil and conversely. God in Christ has redeemed the entire created order (note the repeated use of the words ‘all things’ in Col 1:15‐20 in regard to both creation and redemption).” This would imply that all human work that embodies kingdom values and serves the kingdom goal can be regarded as kingdom work. He not only met people’s physical needs but also ministered to their emotional. Matt 5:13‐17. economic and cosmic. Gospel work and societal work are interdependent and together are ways of praying “thy Kingdom come. Most good work in this world is a way to extend the Kingdom of God and to bring shalom to people and creation. social. psychological and physical needs: he worked at his carpentry (Mk 6:3). Jesus’ Kingdom Work and Our Kingdom Work We can also derive an idea of the holistic nature of God’s mission from Jesus’ ministry on earth.4. we
. The suspicion with which many Christians regard vocations in the marketplace may be because they think such work is often driven by selfish ambition for wealth. raised Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:43‐44) and washed his disciples’ feet Jn 13:4‐5). the idolatry of work. unethical. are the result of the Fall. Why We Are to Work According to New Testament teaching. power or money as was the case with the Tower of Babel (Gen 11). The Kingdom of God is not just spiritual: it is personal. Christians should stay in their professions and witness to Christ in those situations unless God calls them to do otherwise (1 Cor 7:20). Prov 20:10. is meant to be a blessing and not a curse. God redeems work through his church when by the power of the Holy Spirit. Redemption of Work and the Cosmic Scope of Salvation Despite the pervasiveness of the effects of sin. Likewise the word diakonia is used both for the ministry of the word and service at tables in Acts 6:2. the diverse gifting of the church also testifies to the multi‐faceted nature of God’s mission (Rom 12.sacred and secular work is to be made.
This picture is completed for us in the New Testament. Christians will be judged not only for their work that is directly related to evangelism and the church but also for their faithfulness as stewards with the resources and responsibilities that God has given them: material resources. We will not be “saved souls” in “heaven” but fully resurrected persons in the new heaven and new earth. R. The judgement criteria put into perspective God’s expectations of us on a broader scale and thus validate our present human work in various capacities. Nehemiah. Mic 4:3ff. So our labour in the lord is “not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58). 1 Thess 1:2‐3). deeds that “follow them” (Rev 14:13). hope and love (1 Cor 13:13. Paul Stevens
. Joseph. training and skills (Matt 25:31‐36). to share with others and as an example to other believers (2 Thess 3:10. Esther. our human work and labour will surely find a way into the new creation (Rev 14:13). In some ways which we do not fully understand. It is not just our spiritual work and our spiritual life that will endure and that matters to God. Isa 11:1‐9. The eschatological vision in the Old Testament is that of a humanity at work (Amos 9:13. gifts. Lydia. 3:23‐24). Priscilla and Aquila.are told to work “to the glory of God” (Col 3:13. Eph 4:28). All of this strongly suggests that there will be continuity with our present existence which will undergo a dramatic. transformative and cathartic renewal. Is 65). Final Judgment of Our Work At the culmination of God’s purposes when Jesus comes again. Christians are also urged to work in order to provide for themselves. They will bring their cultures (Rev 21:24. There are many fine examples in the Bible of God’s people who worked and served God and others in the marketplace: Daniel. Phil 3:21).26) and their ethnic and linguistic diversities (Rev 5:9). but all work and life undertaken with faith. The redeemed community will inhabit this new creation in their glorified bodies (1 Cor 15. The kings of the earth bring their glories into the holy city (Rev 21:24) and that transfigured creation will be embellished by the deeds of Christians. Work that Lasts and Work in the New Heaven and New Earth Our final destination as Christians is glorified material destination described as a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21‐22. Hos 2:18‐23).
The question posed by the Professor in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is probing and not rhetorical: "What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labours under the sun?" (Eccles. and by workaholic professionals who have discovered that their exciting careers are mere vanity and emptiness ‐ this we could understand. But her answer revealed a deep spirituality. The Uselessness of Work One strange fact about the word of God is that it sometimes asks a question. But to like it in Jesus is the soul of work. to wash dishes. It is asked not only by people at the end of a long hard day at the office or home. But is it also secretly asked by people in Christian service careers who wonder if their preaching. like the others.Faith: Discovering the Soul of Work
"There is no work better than another to please God. I see is from the hand of God" (3:24). useless and to no avail. counselling and leadership is. But Esther had been my student in a rural theological college in East Africa for three years." (2 Thess 1:3) In these three chapters we will explore working in faith. or an apostle." or "It is not what I would have chosen but I am trying to accept it as 'my cross'". upon graduation to be placed as a pastor of a church. as touching the deed. It was a twenty‐four hours a day. 2:22) The inspired author himself is genuinely searching for an answer and not merely exciting interest in the answer he is about to supply. "What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labours under the sun?" Yet it is crucial to observe from the book as a whole that the Professor is not just down on life and needing counselling. a very Western question to ask a Kenyan. rather than gives an answer. She had hoped. to be a souter (cobbler). "I am enduring it for Jesus' sake. and (their) endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus.
. one which I covet for Christians in my home country and myself. to please God. Instead she was given the enormously demanding task of being matron for three hundred girls in a boarding school. So the Professor is in a bind and so are we." William Tyndale xviii
"Do you like your new job?" It was a foolish question. This question probes the depths of our experience of work. This. (their) labour prompted by love. love and hope in order to gain a spirituality of work that is based on the word of God. She said." She might have said. all are one. He affirms that "a man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. in the end. too. "I like it in Jesus. and the spiritual centre to which Paul appealed when he affirmed the Thessalonians for their "work prompted by faith. to pour water. So I had reason to ask. seven days a week job with little recognition and limited remuneration.
programs and pleasures as King of Israel and. 15:58). as an old poem is popularly interpreted to mean: "Only
. unappreciated. The reason is breathtaking: he is convinced that it is God's will for work to be useless! And God speaking through this Professor asks us to reflect on our experience of work because he wants to call us to faith in a God who has determined that work should be useless. Surprisingly the Professor does not counsel us to cope with this by dropping out a squeezing all the pleasure we can out of life." as Bonhoeffer once said xix . but also a curse. Second. It is a subtle but telling distinction. Third. even volunteer work in Christian service. you may give your best energies and most creative gifts to a job which may be taken over by a fool ("Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?" 2:19). This is not simply saying that evangelism and edification and other obviously Christian acts of service are the only meaningful forms of work. you are certain to experience injustice in the workplace ("For a man may do his work with wisdom. resultless. There is more revelation and faith in this man's dark ponderings than in many Christian testimonies of get‐rich‐quick and exhortations to praise the Lord on the job. knowledge and skill. It is the same mixed feelings Christians have about work: a blessing from God. including our work‐life. hope and love (1 Thess. The Professor deepens the bind by telling us why he thinks work is meaningless: First it is temporary ("under the sun" 2:22). instead we will find satisfaction in our God through our experience of work. Surprisingly. Paul counselled the Thessalonians that their and our labour must be performed in faith. So work "under the sun" (a code phrase in this book) is impermanent. as he revels in the satisfaction of houses. It is the difference faith makes. If the Professor is right then we will not find satisfaction in our work through faith in God (the current "Christian" work heresy). Sometimes God lets us join an inspired author like this Professor in the process of inspiration. one simply must work too hard: ("What does one get for all the toil and anxious striving?" 2:22). judges that all he has done is a wisp of smoke. and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it" 2:21). unfair and seductive. If work. Work brings great satisfaction and health to us because it takes us "out of ourselves. God's word does not always come to us with packaged answers. proves to be meaningless then we are invited to conclude that we were not made for work but for God. And yet it too easily becomes the idol by which we measure our own dignity and establish a pseudo‐identity and the idol ultimately fails to deliver ultimate significance because we were not made for work. 1:3). an empty bubble. Finally. Work as Evangelist This question probes our souls deeply. simultaneously. He also said our labour "in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor. Fourth. we will eventually be unappreciated ("I must leave them to the one who comes after me" 2:18).
and will be burned along with the hay and stubble on the last day. or to wrap up our talents. the harder the game is to play. She liked her work and her boss.. "Your boss may be a real bear. only what's done for Jesus will last.one life. And then with infinite grace he offers himself.5: "Slaves obey. and to do so on the authority of Ephesians 6. especially work that brings glory to ourselves. But there is more to work prompted by faith. t'will soon be past. much "Christian" work done to find meaning in the work itself." In contrast. We may sympathize with the one‐talent person but we must always remember that the source of his conservatism was his inadequate view of God (Matt 25:24‐25). That is the soul of work. It is sometimes suggested that we should treat our boss as if he or she were Jesus.. and the more difficult our boss is to work for. So this deep experience of resultlessness we share with the Professor turns out to be an inspired frustration." But that turns out to be a game of lets‐pretend. It is a sin to squander what God has given us to use. He alone can fill the God‐shaped vacuum in our souls. Work is an evangelist to take us to Christ. will in the end prove to be an empty and disappointing idol. Working for Jesus The idea that Jesus is our boss is not a new one in Christian circles. but it is seldom understood. The Thessalonian idlers thought there was nothing worth doing until
. in Jesus. At a very preliminary level it means that we are ultimately accountable to Jesus for the stewardship of the gifts and talents he trusted Us with. The Parable of the Talents would lead us at least that far (Matt 25: 14‐30). factory. So it is not just the Old Testament Professor but Jesus that asks this probing question. We are accountable. Both the idlers Paul was dealing with in Thessalonica and workaholics today want to see the results of their work. but that we will find satisfaction in Jesus in our work.just as you would obey Jesus. But now we must get inside the experience of working for Jesus. but Jesus is fun to work for" may appeal to the self‐fulfilment culture of North America but it doesn't go as deep as the spirituality of my sister Esther in Africa. With absolute courtesy Jesus comes to us in the workplace not to tell us what to do with our lives but to ask what we are discovering in our search for meaning in our work. our ideas and our dreams in a handkerchief and bury them for fear of losing them through a risky experiment or doing our work incorrectly. school and office done in faith will last and have intrinsic meaning. And the gospel we hear from Jesus is not that if we accept him we will be insanely happy and successful in our jobs. We have a God who wants us to take risks and we are accountable for the risks we do not take! But there is more than simple accountability involved in working for Jesus. His holy doubt gives us the opportunity to find in God what we cannot find in work under the sun." But rather it means that all work at home. "Only what's done for Jesus will last. love and serve God. xx Work is one context in which we can meet.
when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison.40) refers to Christians in need or merely people. to set us up to be surprised by the seeking Father. "I remember serving you Jesus. and do it not only when they eye is on you and to win their favour. The implication of the parable is disturbing: surprise is the litmus test as to whether there was faith in the original work. and did not help you?" Jesus replied that "whatever you did not do to one of the least of these. when the visible results of our work were missing. they have a secret reward in mind ‐ not the paycheck but the anticipated inheritance from the Lord. Whatever you do. That is the seldom mentioned crucial point in the parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matt 25:31‐46)." (Col. On the last day the righteous who are invited to possess their inheritance in the Kingdom will find out that their service on earth was given directly to Jesus who received their work as directed to himself." Instead they ask. Jesus himself is the recipient of our work. But this is the wrinkle of faith: this reception of our service by Jesus happens in precisely those situations where it was not apparent to us that Jesus was actually there.22‐24) There are three faith‐secrets being kept here: First. they have a secret purpose ‐ not to win favour from other workers or their human boss. And the unrighteous are quite adamant that if they had seen Jesus himself in need they would gladly have served. work at it with all your heart. "but in heaven. "it is made evident that the poor neighbour whom we served was Christ. as he is the recipient of all human behaviour in his own body. something that will be invisible to the outsider and the onlooker.39). One of the goals of all spirituality. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Paul instructs the slaves at Colossae. but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. I cannot think it makes any difference. But working in faith requires something more. That transcendent truth is visualized clearly in his representative and substitutionary suffering on the cross. the King. but from God. for they say." I must leave aside the vexed question of whether "these brothers of mine" (v. when it did not appear that this was a work of faith. Second. as working for the Lord. "When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" (v. While on this earth we spend our powers in the service of our neighbour through our daily work and our occasional acts of charity. Jesus as the Recipient of our Work In some way only partly explained to us in scripture. "Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything. Workaholics want to see the results of their work because it is the measure of their own worth and the means of establishing their identity." xxi I believe that this is true whether our work is
. which is ophthalmic service. 3. Christians in their work are making a secret appeal ‐ not to draw attention from onlookers or only when the supervisor is looking. you did not do for me. not for men.Jesus returned (2 Thess 3:6‐13) and therefore work in this world was deemed resultless. But they will not say. a mystery. And third. since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward." Wingren points out. Working for Jesus is a secret. "Lord.
even if that work is preaching or counselling. It recognizes that we cannot generate ministry out of our daily work. But I find little scriptural warrant for believing that faith makes us "see" Jesus instead of the person. especially if that neighbour is my spouse. but that is a gracious gift given to us from time to time. or indirectly of service through those occupations that keep stable the fabric of the world. so to speak is that we are doing it for Jesus. But the issue is this: how can we be set up to be surprised? Personally I find it unhelpful to imagine that the person or persons I am serving through my work is Jesus. the blessings or the grace of God. in some way that I cannot control. wounded. my boss or my employee. By faith I believe Jesus actually meets us in the workplace. I could say especially when that person responds to a call for service or a request for work which is not obviously a Christian service to Jesus. So working in faith involves the total relinquishment of any attempt on our part to control the presence. The bottom‐line. demanding and hard‐to‐love brothers. When we work for Jesus we cannot guarantee experiences. not our inheritance from God or even the joy of working. is the goal of true contemplation.
. Earlier I mentioned that our neighbour proves to be a means of grace precisely when he or she is not regarded as such. especially contemplation in the marketplace. or in an act of service. Otherwise there would be no surprise on the last day. No one wants to be loved by deflection. not a sacred necessity. I do not wish to denigrate the beautiful faith of Mother Teresa who advises such a strategy of seeing Jesus as he comes to us disguised in the visage of his suffering. There would be no surprise on the last day if we had imagined ourselves doing everything for Jesus and to him. Faith takes a different tack.obvious service to our neighbours as expressed through the helping professions. but rather to be loved as they are. predict and cannot see. The man or woman who lives by faith has purposed that the totality of his or her life will be lived for God's glory and trusts God with that even when there is no obvious "ministry" attached to the act. like garbage collectors. accountants and telephone repair‐persons. Attending to God himself even more than the things of God. Sometimes we may be given the privilege of being aware consciously of ministering to Jesus (and perhaps that is what Mother Teresa is speaking about). but regarded as a real neighbour! Working in faith means working without being able to see the results at the time. The goal is God. And there is a love reason for refusing this pretence. And faith in Jesus allows me to decide that my response to that person's need or my bosses' demands will be determined by Jesus and not by that person. Love demands that I take my neighbour with utter seriousness as he or she is. and not for the gains we will make by doing it "in faith".
And customers who come into the store sense it. Patchogue. the gills were in good colour. and even this book you are writing. the belly was even spare and solid. ruefully admiring the way the bargain had been struck. without realizing that it is the indirect ways that are singled out for conspicuous faith on the final day of evaluation. always in faith consecratedly cutting up fish before the face of the Lord: when
. Paul. helping our father like a quiver full of arrows. the tail showed not much waste. Long Island. Not that we always have the cheapest fish in town! not that there are no mistakes on a busy Friday morning! not that there is no sin! But this: that little Great South Bay Fish Market. I am sure his father would be surprised to read it! My father is a seller of fish.. I can hardly think that is a sin to want to serve God in an obvious way. when I know those hands dressed and peddled fish from the handlebars of a bicycle in the grim l930's . honest place where you can buy quality fish at a reasonable price with a smile. priest and king in the fish business. beautiful! Shall I clean it up?" And as she grudgingly assented. Calvin Seerveld tells a moving story from his childhood that illustrates the mystery of working in faith. . It is a sobering thought that the roles of so‐called "Christian workers" (pastors and missionaries) are often chosen because the work can be obviously done for and to Jesus. the price was right ‐‐ Finally my Dad held up the fish behind the counter. the flesh was firm. "My. but there is a spirit in the store. is not only a clean. past temptations. they could never play a piano: when I watch those hands delicately split the back of a mackerel . she said. It is a small store." And he will surprise me. "Much of what you did in teaching and preaching. my father and two employees. I pray he will. My father is in full‐time service for the Lord. Many people go "into the ministry" because it is apparently a direct way of serving God.. had just come in. and it smells like fish. They had gone over it anatomically together: the eyes were bright. you certainly didn't miss your calling. a spirit of laughter.. . I remember a Thursday afternoon long ago when my Dad was selling a large carp to a prosperous woman and it was a battle to convince her. We children know the business too having worked from childhood in the Great South Bay Fish Market. but it may not be work done in faith even though it was "Christian work". twinkling at work without complaint. big beefy hands with broad stubby fingers each twice the thickness of mine. was obviously done for me (and my mind will range over the many occasions when I have had that privilege and enjoyed it) but let me tell you what you did in faith. joy inside the buying and selling that strikes the observer pleasantly . When I watch my Dad's hands. of fun. prophet. . but the game was part of the sale. New York. "Beautiful.. "is it fresh?" It fairly bristled with freshness. I may interpret the Lord's words in this way: he might say on that day to me." Unwittingly she spoke the truth.
I see that I know God's grace can come down to a man's hand and the flash of a scabby fish knife. xxii
" C. So he said. Even the title in the NIV.." (1 Thess 1:3) concerned all work.." Malcolm Muggeridge xxiv "Only the heavenly‐minded are of any earthly use." The saying contains a deep truth that we will explore in this chapter. brothers. or refuse to think about it more than they must. Whether world‐weariness and future fright comes from the terrifying prospect of ecological doomsday. to keep away from every brother who is idle. I must add. Christians who have more reason to embrace the future wholeheartedly than anyone. Writing in the Greek world Paul was confronted by people inoculated against work by the culture. But there is more to this than meets the eye.S." xxvi A few believe we are heading into a new world order and paradise on earth but most people nurse a deep foreboding about the future. "Warning Against Idleness. an unmitigated evil and to be out of work was a
." (2 Thess 3:6) End Time Idleness This is one of the very few passages in the New Testament on work and Paul appears to be dealing with a problem completely irrelevant to modern Western nations where workaholism is a way of life especially for professionals. Lewis xxv Years ago Leslie Newbigin said that "mankind is without any worthwhile end to which the travail of history might lead. from the conviction that Jesus will probably come tomorrow. twill soon be past. such as evangelism or Bible teaching will last. The old saying runs deep in our veins: "Only one life. or. but it is popularly understood to mean that only overtly Christian work. as is often the case with Christians like the Thessalonians." (2 Thess 3:6‐ 15) seems a dangerous word to people already killing themselves to become successful. "We command you.. the result is the same for Christians: all work in this world except the so‐called "ministry" is viewed as not very significant or enduring. HOPE: MAKING OUR MARK ON HEAVEN
"How can Christianity call itself catholic if the universe itself is left out?" Simone Weil xxiii "I cannot think of a greater tragedy than to think that I am at home on earth. But Paul's affirmation of the endurance of the Thessalonians "inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus. only what's done for Jesus will last. In the Greek world work was a curse. The seeming resultlessness of history erodes the nerve of modern persons including.
now converted and liberated. "The two points Paul makes need to be heard anew. who earned his living by making tents. but with 'living out our calling' in whatever situation one is found. slave or free) is ultimately irrelevant with God . Instinctively when people become Christians they feel that the best way to serve God in gratitude would be to leave their "secular" jobs (and possibly their difficult marriages) and "go into the ministry". we need to learn to continue there as those who are 'before God. as is sometimes argued by people zealous in promoting tentmaking ministries. If Jesus might come back tomorrow. All are called (Eph. (1) Status of any kind (married. some believers wanted to "see" the results of their work or they would not work at all. Paul responded definitively: "If a man will not work. The Greeks had no sense of vocation. Work was called "unleisure". each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. But there was a further problem in Thessalonica ‐‐ eschatological idleness. Paul had to face a problem that is still with us. Better not to work if one can afford not to. If their own projects would be "interrupted" by the imminent return of Jesus. (2) Precisely because our lives are determined by God's call. love and hope. . to think of work as a curse. An individual's activity in society was called ergon or ponos. only partially redeemed by Jesus. During the fifth century before Christ the government of Thebes issues a decree prohibiting its citizens from engaging in work! xxviii It was easy for Greek Christians. unmarried. Paul was monovocational. The whole of society was organized so that a few can actualize the highest human potential. just as many young Christians today travel the world today absorbing the hospitality of missionaries and national Christians. and their modern counterparts. why bother? Let others look after them as they move from house to house absorbing Christian hospitality like sponges. ." (1 Cor 7. was not. to serve his old master once again (Philemon)! Further.piece of singularly good fortune." xxix The New Testament treats work in the larger framework of the call of God to live totally for him and his kingdom. . in his ministry in the Gentile churches. 20) As Gordon Fee says. xxvii Unemployment allows one to participate in the political domain and to enjoy the contemplative life. . 4:1) and the call of God concerns all of one's life (Eph 4:1‐6:20). strictly speaking. a burden and toil. not be our situation.17. Therefore Paul. How revolutionary it was for Christian slaves in such households to be told by Paul to serve their masters as though they were working for Jesus! (Col 3:22‐25) How revolutionary for Paul to send home the runaway slave Onesimus. . . he shall
. There was no sacred‐secular distinction for him. Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. He integrated his whole life of service as one passionate response to the all‐ embracing call of Jesus. one way or the other. Paul dealt with that by insisting that people can probably serve God best where they are: "Nevertheless.' Paul's concern is not with change. what is the point of working today? Missing the chance to work by faith. a bivocational missionary (meaning having two vocations one secular like tentmaking and one sacred like church‐ planting).
What lasts is the action taken on these virtues. the works the virtues shape. It is in this context that we can speak of the durability of our work in this world. It can be argued that eschatology ‐‐ the Biblical doctrine about last things ‐‐ is the most pastoral and helpful doctrine for the ordinary Christian to make sense out of the complicated everyday challenges of living and working in a world that will one day pass away. Haughey. the praxis that flows from the intention. This is totally in line with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins told by Jesus. "that it is not acts of faith. We see through the satanic seductions of society to the indomitable Kingdom of God and join the multitude of heavenly beings who shout. my dear brothers. Let nothing move you. and not eating food he had not paid for. yet ready for the Lord to come at any moment. hope and love. Being heavenly‐minded allows us to work on insoluble problems in the world with hope but without being messianic about our own contribution.not eat. or burning out in discouragement while we try to make the perfect future happen. hope and love: it is not the pure intention alone. The last book of the Bible ‐‐ the Revelation ‐‐ is also a book about last things. These last!" xxx Another passage that points to the same perspective is 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore. stand firm. working night and day not to be a burden. We are told in Scripture what will last until the End: "And now these three remain: faith. That is the basis of the Christian's hope. They both slept with impunity when there was a delay." he says.13) A Catholic scholar. "It seems. hope and love residing unexercised as three infused theological virtues in a person that last. but rather works done in faith. Just the reverse: Christian hope makes sense out of both short‐term and long‐ term planning because we have a certain future in the coming Kingdom of God. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord." (2 Thess 3:10) Paul modelled what he taught." (1 Cor 13. Ready for the Long Haul Luther once said that if he was sure Jesus would come tomorrow he would plant a tree today." (Rev. The Kingdom has come and the Kingdom is coming. The only discernable difference between the wise and foolish virgins waiting for the wedding celebration is that the wise were ready for a long wait for the Lord to come again. "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Therefore like the apostle Paul on the ship in the great storm we can say "I have talked with my God and I know we will land on shore safely" (Acts 27:21‐26). because you know that your labour in
. But the wise had enough oil for the long haul (Matt 25:1‐13). 19:6) The Christian has a worthwhile end to which the travail of history will lead. Both the wise and the foolish wanted the Bridegroom to come soon. and the daily tension in which we live. hope and love in themselves that last. It tells us how the world looks to a person in the Spirit. nor is it faith. comments on this other occurrence of the triad of marketplace virtues. Believers are invited by faith to work today as though they had a long‐term future. But having a strong sense of the End need not incite us to abandon planning and pray for speedy evacuation.
"Creation's hopes will not be mocked by annihilation any more than ours will be. The oft‐quoted landmark statement of Dr. or a dichotomous approach to secular and sacred work.14).26).12‐15). The Transfiguration of the Universe Far from contributing to a hunger for instant evacuation. on government.the Lord is not in vain. Paul envisions a situation in which the person's works are burned in the final fire. in some way that takes me beyond mere rationality. "The kings of the earth bring their
. But even these included such mundane things as "helping" and "administrating"." xxxiii The present will be factored into the future. Romans 8. but an artistic expression of the mind of God. these works cannot simply be ecclesial (or religious). The God who created with no materials will one day recompose the first creation with the materials of that creation over time including the work of human beings. Perhaps many of my lectures and sermons will be burned like hay and stubble on the last day because they were judged not to be done for Jesus. xxxiv How this will be done is not told us but we are invited to consider which of our works will last (1 Cor 3. as Lightfoot says. In a larger application Paul is assuring his friends that what makes all their labour ‐‐ whether homemaking or bridgebuilding ‐‐ free from resultless is that fact that it is "in the Lord". 1. Further.19‐21 pictures a continuum of the present in which creation "groans" with a future without groaning. "Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious the remedy must also be religious. But eventually Christ will save all creation. First Christ saves people. Creation is not a commodity. Lynn White about the source of our environmental disaster goes part way.15‐23). but the person himself is saved (1 Cor 3. culture. neighbourhoods. All the visions of the new heaven and the new earth are in terms of what we know and do now (Rev 21. it is not "impersonal"." xxxii we can say that creation is Christian. on the principalities and powers. the New Testament invites us explore the greatest hope imaginable for the world: Christ is Lord of creation (Col." Obviously Paul's first reference to "the work of the Lord" pointed to the various ministries engaged in by the Corinthian believers. She says." xxxi If it is true that Jesus is Lord of creation then we must honour his intentions for the rest of creation. The final vision of the Bible is one remarkably connected to our life now. In view of the scope of recreation envisioned. Ironically. while the deck I built. But let me press this line of thinking farther. will survive the last judgement. "that unity and solidarity which makes it a cosmos instead of a chaos. This is the missing note in all environmental concerns ‐ the note of redemption and hope. but not far enough. As John Haughey puts it. The Bible hints that in some way beyond our imagination our marks are permanent. families. Making Our Mark On Heaven It is apparent that through our daily work we leave our mark on the cosmos and our environment. Now that Christ holds all creation together "impressing upon creation".
15) and first born from the grave (1. They were transfigured along with the rest of his physical existence into something truly beautiful even though. and not just missionaries. on the environment. there were still scars. Our hope is that we confidently look forward to a time of exquisite transfiguration. workplace and nation. well‐manicured gardens.58) but if Christ is the first‐born of all creation and the first‐born from the grave. whether home‐making or being a stock‐broker. though the scars were not now merely signs of faith but had been transformed to become a means of faith for people like Thomas (Jn 20. only what's done for Jesus will last." (21:26) In one sense our environment is going to heaven.
"Only one life. Our violent acts against nature and culture may not be erased by the final Armageddon and the final consummation of the travail of history at the second coming of Jesus. cedar decks and satellite receiving stations. the good and the bad of what we are doing in this world. business. then all work has eternal consequences. This is part of our hope. city. and cannot undo the violence we have committed against the cosmos. our crafts and our work. His resurrected body bore scars in historical continuity with his life in the flesh. Work That Will Last This brings new meaning to those whose toil is located in so‐called secular work. And the practical application of that hope is that we are invited in Christ to leave beautiful marks on creation. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. When we cannot do this. We have only to think of the resurrected body of Jesus to realize that there was a historical continuity between the body with which he walked in Palestine and the body which ascended to heaven. But there will be a transfiguration. in arts. The theological truth that undergirds this fascinating and challenging line of exploration is the statement that Christ is the first born of all creation (Col 1. family. cultural and political scars we have left through our work. The resurrected body of Jesus is a powerful. social. especially as it relates to the physical environment. Through transcendent reasoning we can imagine that the marks we leave in this life and in this world last: open pit mines. are shaping the future of creation in some limited way. He was recognizable."
. twill soon be past. politics. education. So is our culture. we have faith in Jesus that one day he will transfigure even the environmental. the environment and the home. Not only are ordinary Christians priests of creation past and present. Most Christians think that only religious work will not be in vain (1 Cor 15. And the most remarkable points of recognition for the apostles were the scars. pastors and Christian educators. remarkably.18). They.splendor" (Rev 21:24) into the New Jerusalem (a city we have known on earth) and "the glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. our government.27). but may by God's grace be transfigured. evocative Biblical symbol of the way this life is connected to the next life.
worst of all your little heart would stop loving. it seems to me that God works more than anybody ‐ for He works all night and all day and. Willie. "You are right. Willie." "Yes ‐ you wouldn't love us any more than if you were asleep without dreaming."
"Not you and Mamma. If He were to stop working. your fingers couldn't move an inch." said Willie. as well as in the greatest." cried Willie. if I remember rightly. To find contentment in the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will in the succession of all the things to be done and suffered which make up the duty to the present moment." Martin Luther "Does God work?" Willie MacMichael asks his father in George Macdonald's book for children." Macdonald ends with this insightful comment:
. it must be a fine thing to work." "Indeed you would.LOVE: RECOVERING THE AMATEUR STATUS OF THE CHRISTIAN
"To discover God in the smallest and most ordinary things. The sun would stop shining." "That would be dreadful. I'm sure." "No. your ears would stop hearing."
"Yes. your eyes would stop seeing." "Then if God works like that all day long. So you see how good God is to us ‐ to go on working. "I shouldn't stop loving. it would. Papa. Jesus tells us somewhere that He works all Sunday too. as God's work does. the corn would stop growing. there would be no apples and gooseberries. everything would stop being." Jean‐Pierre De Caussaude "What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. if it comes of love. that we may be able to love each other. His father answered biblically: "Yes. is to possess a rare and sublime faith. and the moon and stars. It is a fine thing to work ‐ the finest thing in the world. and.
" Paul asks.This conversation made Willie quite determined to learn to knit. To make communion a part‐time occupation is to make Christianity into another religion. The first two chapters of Genesis describe the man and the woman experiencing the uninterrupted enjoyment of the presence of God in a relationship of loving awe. 3:8). Their first work is described rather than prescribed. where you have been. though like all relationships there were seasons of special intimacy. what you do for a living. downy lining to the stockings. and my work will not touch people for God. perhaps not a very good one. the motivation of love. and their neighbor as themselves (Matt 22:34‐40). "amateur" described the person who does something for love. Within that single love vocation they were given three full‐time expressions. he went on knitting a pair for his father." while Christian ministry is essentially an amateur activity. the way of love. and to darn the stockings he had made. soft." George Bernard Shaw once said that every profession is a conspiracy against the laity. In secular society. In Christian ministry this conspiracy has dealt a fatal blow to the ministry of every member of the body of Christ since the tendency is to leave ministry to the paid professionals "who know how to do it better. he would work too. how much money you make. and learned to work with a needle as well. my soul will be like a withered leaf. naming the hippopotamus or numbering the trees. like an invisible. And although the work he undertook was a very small work. xxxvii No activity was intended to take them away from their center.
. professionalism has robbed the worker of one of the strongest spiritual motivations to turn ordinary work into a sacred ministry. we have simply to ask what it is she loves and how she loves it." So if we want to know who a person is. But there is a better way to relate work and identity. instead of asking what a person does. but have not love. Adam and Eve simultaneously celebrated their creatureliness and their God. In the marketplace. but the word has come to mean unprofessional or unqualified ‐ the opposite of "professional. What is work without love? "If I give all I possess to the poor. it was like all God's great works. 13:3). If I burn myself out achieving professional excellence but have not love. The text suggests that the garden was a sanctuary‐garden and a place of real meeting with God. Whether in love‐making or laughter. xxxvi Augustine and Jesus would make us amateurs and restore us to the genuinely human existence we enjoyed in the very beginning before sin marred our identity and our work. and. That law was written on their hearts. When it comes to work there is something more excellent than excellence: love. To become unemployed is to face the ultimate identity crisis. If God worked. Implicit in their humanity is the commission to work at communion with God. The practice of the presence of God is not the exclusive vocation of professional ministers and cloistered monks because nothing on earth before the Fall should take us away from God. The Prototype Amateurs Adam and Eve needed no commandment to love God with all their heart. identity is established by who you know. Walter Hilton expounds a statement attributed to Augustine and ultimately derived from the Gospels: "Man is naught else but his thoughts and his loves. "and surrender my body to the flames. I gain nothing" (1 Cor. as natural to them as breathing. And after those. most important of all. for every loop he made had a little love looped up in it. xxxv In its original meaning. as suggested by God's walking in the garden in the cool of the day looking for his creatures' love (Gen. all of which are acts of worship.
The second full‐time work is also described but not prescribed. echoed in the thought of the contemporary theologian Moltmann. 4:1) embraces all of life: work. They were to work not only for God but with God in making God's world work. People‐making (Gen." Each sex evokes the other's sexuality. and our health is in finding our down‐to‐earth God right where we are in the business of ordinary life. "God is lover. They were made for the world." xxxviii So human beings. The truth is that Christian vocation demands our all. that is incidental because earth‐keeping is everyone's full‐time job. xl They were made regents. family‐building and caring for the environment. God's first negative statement in the Bible is that "it is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. and congregation. just as preaching and other forms of traditional Christian service will become idolatrous if separated from home‐making. as I have said. to express neighborliness. God makes humankind innately social and inevitably sexual. Together they enable humanity to become a mysterious expression of God's own social experience and his covenant relationships (Eph. Humankind is invited continuously to celebrate cohumanity. doing our three full‐time jobs and giving ourselves exclusively to none. not the world for them (Gen. This brings new meaning to the affirmation that "God is love" (1 John 4:8). if we want to find out who we are. So we were meant for the whole. The Search for Loveable Work
. 2:5). In this figurative account of a literal event. living in grateful awareness of the fact that neither male nor female can be the image of God alone but only in relationships. we need to ask who or what we love. Adam and Eve's third full‐time job is co‐creativity. Eventually. family. the beloved and the love itself. 1:28) gives Adam and Eve the further privilege of making people in their own image (Gen. Some will earn their salary in community building by being town‐planners or family counselors. We must never let our occupations become as all‐consuming as our vocation. runs on love. The human task of cultivating and enculturating the earth included everything from farming to genetic engineering. made in God's image. all the time. 4:21). The family becomes God's prototype community on earth and is part of every person's vocational calling. from landscape architecture to playing the flute (Gen. Adam's children would do some of these things for a living. But it will become an idolatry if it is separated from community‐building and communion with God. as we shall see in the chapters on "the Day with the Other Sex. for it expresses the symmetry of the relational life within God as Trinity and the relational life of his creatures. 1:27). 2:18).3) as God made them in his. This brings deeper meaning to the proposal that. The way one earns one's living turns out to be incidental. whether one remains single or gets married. politics. earthly rulers representing the interests of a heavenly king. xxxix The call of God that comes to every believer (Eph. to celebrate cohumanity ‐ in a word. As Augustine said. not the part. 5:32). "Male and female he created them" (Gen. and so do we. For example. to love. We dare not relegate this to discretionary time activities. This makes our sexuality contemplative. So community‐building is every person's second full‐time job. are built for love. So humankind's duty and destiny is to build community. just as others will earn it by prayer or evangelism. neighborhood. But. The world was made in love. it would be dangerous for me to think of myself as a part‐time husband or a part‐time grandfather. 5.
But now I see it is mostly all grey with a little white and black at both ends. a ministry. As he said. It is the same thing with work. so others go from job to job looking for fulfilment. But there is no escape from the dilemma there either. Just as some people go from spouse to spouse looking for love. even one that initially seems to be a "perfect fit. Falling out of love with one's work is like falling out of love with one's spouse: it is more of an excuse than an explanation. but these are obvious examples and it is socially acceptable to reject these. the kind of effort love makes. a complicated challenge that is viewed very differently in other cultures. Embellishment is one of the love‐works that make the daily round interesting and. But I do not think any job. can she still work for love? Some parachurch workers struggle when they are required by their mission organization to raise their own financial support. Most of the people are very. yet almost every wooden doorpost and lintel is rendered beautiful and interesting by exquisite Swahili carvings. And normally it is a good thing to search for a job that fits personal longings reasonably well (although half the world has no occupational choices at all). Where is the love in that? A
. They feel they are compelled to "sell" their ministry to friends and family." will sustain our love for long without spiritual effort on our part. While there are obviously some jobs that are not ways of loving our neighbours as ourselves." Instead he affirmed them for being people whose "labor (was) prompted by love" (1 Thess 1:3 emphasis added). Obviously there is no particular merit in staying in an unsatisfactory job if change is possible. xli Much more complicated is the range of jobs in the "grey areas" ‐ like a stock broker or a collections agent who sells people's furniture from under them. a much deeper thing. each design unique. Is there a place for love in such a business? This pitiful list is enough to drive anyone to apply for the professional ministry. at least potentially. "When I started this work I thought there would be a large area of white. I feel like telling them they are lazy. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians he did not affirm these Christians for "loving their work. If people cannot find some lovable dimensions in their daily work it is often because they are expecting lovableness to be presented ready‐made rather than discovered through prayer and hard work. and a small grey area. When people tell me they no longer love their spouse. Prostitutes and drug‐pushers cannot love their neighbours in their work. Not everyone loves his or her work. a soldier. very poor. As I write this I am perched in a guest house in a tiny Islamic village on the Indian ocean in Kenya. Can a pastor be a minister of neighbour‐love when the job description requires him or her to work in areas of personal weakness rather than strength? If a person does not love her work. an executioner. but love can turn even routine jobs into ministry by finding new ways to accomplish old tasks or incorporating the extra flair that love inspires. or an ambassador for a corrupt government? An international buyer will find that success sometimes requires kickbacks. I think the list is shorter than some would imagine. That required effort." Can these be done for love? Does the politician's work allow for love ‐ or the work of a revolutionary. A graphic artist was asked to design an advertisement for jewellery that used sex. Normally we should find it right where we are. a large area of black.
"If a man will not work." as Luther would say. and co‐creativity). He worked hard to look after himself and his companions as a love gift to the people he served. whether it is mothering. in writing to the Ephesians. sometimes only for love. But some Christians are sustained by the thought that while the product they are manufacturing does not seem to meet a real need ‐ it could be some trivial electronic device to complicate people's lives even further ‐ there are people in the workplace they can love. Unpaid homemakers are also working for love. There is no safe haven anywhere in the world or the church. They have to work at play and cannot play at work. xlii In the same way virtually all occupations offer the possibility of loving service to other people. I dare say that no one works for love all the time. It often becomes misdirected worship as they use work to fill the god‐shaped vacuum in their souls. In the same way Paul. Viewed this way the idlers in Thessalonica were unloving. Some Christians are sustained day by day in the workplace by the thought that the product they are manufacturing meets a real need in the world. administering. usually the "co‐creativity" part in society. and the monk. selling. "Why work. This last point deserves some consideration because the Thessalonian church was having some problems getting some people to make the connection between work and love. instead of providing for themselves and their families as a loving act. Love. he shall not eat" (2 Thess 3:10) was made in the context of a church that expected Jesus to come back any moment. But workaholics invest all their energies in one part of the human vocation. or there are people at home who are receiving a loving benefit from their work. Workaholics are consumed by this inner drivenness and cannot play without feeling guilty.poorly‐paid professor in a Christian college is obliged to take on outside work because of his family's needs. the prostitute. Some of them were thinking. so are workaholics today. surprisingly. nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it" (3:7‐8) ‐ a truly extraordinary statement from the lips of a travelling Christian worker. Work is too serious a matter. most of us live in a perpetual state of "sinning boldly but believing in Jesus more boldly still. According to Luther virtually all occupations are modes of "full‐time" service to God except those of the usurer. But there are few jobs where the opportunity to love does not present itself. We were meant to experience a balanced life of living wholly and completely for God. But. Working for love is hard everywhere. We live by grace and by practising continuous repentance.
. The reasons are well‐documented. Idleness and Workaholism Paul's shocking statement. In all honesty. if the whole story will be consummated shortly and our work in this world will be rendered obsolete?" So they went from home to home living off the generosity of those who did work. Workaholics want to find their identity and fulfilment in only one of their three full‐time jobs (communion. A definition of idolatry is simply making something one's ultimate concern. commands the thief to stop stealing and to work "that he may have something to share with those in need" (Eph 4:28). but he does so for necessity. Usually raised in non‐ affirming environments. workaholics are attempting unconsciously to prove worthy of the approval of their parents and others. His teaching was equally radical: "keep away from every brother who is idle" (3:6). not love. or preaching. One Christian reason to work is make a love‐provision for oneself and one's family. counselling. community‐building. Paul confronts this heretical practice both by example and teaching. "We were not idle when we were with you.
other than the One who is ultimate. peaceful. Workaholics have nothing to give because their love of work consumes all other loves. we discover happily that God is easier to please than our parents. church. Thus a Christian man who lives in this confidence toward God knows all things. and even more than is necessary. Ultimately it is God we must please in our work. Except for money they have nothing to give to those with whom they live: no affection. neighborhood and society. But the outside effect of the workaholic is the same as the idler: they are a burden to all around them. When a husband and wife really love each other. more than half in despair and often makes a fool of himself. He does the great and the important as gladly as the small and the unimportant. and thoroughly believe in their love. worries and starts looking for ways and means to do enough and to influence God with his many good works. what they are to do or not to do. not that he may gain merits and good works. But where there is any doubt. then a distinction of works arises by which he imagines he may win favour. content that his service pleases God. and is an absolute willing companion to the woman. But the inside comparison fares no better. he does them all in a glad. or is in a state of doubt. They are emotional and relational thieves in the family and the community. Even on vacations (if they take then at all) workaholics plan the next piece of work. He is like a prisoner. Amos may be describing them when he rails against the people who spend their sabbaths figuring out how to make more money as soon as it is over (Amos 8:5). ventures everything that needs to be done. and does everything gladly and willingly. but because it is a pleasure for him to please God in doing these things. what they are to think? Confidence alone teaches them all this. can do all things. So idlers and workaholics have some similar qualities when viewed from the outside ‐ their effect on others. They require those around them to adjust their lives and priorities to the all‐consuming nature of the workplace. As a vocation it is not something we choose as a way of finding fulfilment. no joy. a comparison that illuminates the spirituality of work and the amateur status of the Christian. no love. he searches within himself for the best thing to do. say or not to say. Moreover. The Much‐Loved Worker A passage written by Martin Luther is especially eloquent on this theme. xliv
. Luther compares the love relationship between husband and wife and the love relationship between God and his children. he who is not at one with God. or even ourselves! So both the idler and the workaholic must become contemplative workers: true amateurs who allow the love of God to inspire their work. it is our response to a divine summons that includes our whole life: workplace. and vice versa. For such a man there is no distinction in works. He simply serves God with no thought of reward. Both the idler and the workaholic are guilty of moral laziness. no friendship. a calling. And yet he goes about it with a heavy heart and great disinclination. xliii Neither has gone deep enough to see that the reason to work as Christians is not simply for personal expression and to meet personal needs. no companionship. family. have pleasure in each other. Work is a divine vocation. Rather. to our surprise. The whole of life is oriented around what becomes one continuous work‐week. and confident heart. On the other hand. who teaches them how they are to behave one to another. And.
During the so‐called hidden years. How could he have known what he knew and yet done such menial things in the carpenter's shop? Yet the Father said. Disciplines of the Hungry Heart (Harold Shaw." (Luke 3:22) when he had not yet preached a sermon or worked a miracle. 1993)
.Christ himself must have experienced this freedom within love. with you I am well pleased. he sanded and planed wooden cradles while he carried in his great heart the knowledge that the world was hell‐bound. From Chapter two. This was probably not the first time God the Father assured Jesus of his love and thus liberated him to do little things for his pleasure before he went on to much bigger things. "You are my Son. whom I love.
raised by her cousin Mordecai during the Jewish Exile in ancient Persia. She did this at the direction of her adoptive father. and often in mistakes made against us. “Stay in your cell.” Translated into contemporary English this means:”Don’t go promiscuously from job to job looking for the perfect fit. Can God work through a pagan empire? A secular business? A beauty contest? A multinational corporation? Each woman had a one‐night stand with the monarch. Mordecai keeps in touch with his niece and daughter by spending time in the courtyard of the palace and here uncovers a plot against the king himself. was chosen for beauty treatments in preparation for her night with the king (who was looking for a new queen). in all the details of our everyday experiences as well as our life‐long work trajectory. Mordecai. we think. King Zerxes was “attracted to her more than any of the other women” and chose her as his queen. But Esther. After twelve months of preparation Esther went into the king. And the Creator has been involved. orphaned. we were somewhere else. and wants everyone to bow down to him. It will teach you everything. This obeisance toward another human being. Meanwhile an egotistical Haman is raised by the king to become second in command. But our life is not a bundle of accidents and there is a divine providence at work in even seemingly meaningless or mundane moments. He informs Esther through an intermediary. secretly it often seems. kept her identity as a believer in the living God and as a member of the people of God. even in our mistakes. is something which Mordecai refuses to do. those spiritual athletes who took to the desert to find God. No biblical story shows this better than the story of a poor. Jewish girl who was thrust into the maws of a gigantic corporation. Esther. a half‐truth and a lie that the whole Jewish people scattered throughout his empire
. Maybe even married to the wrong person! If. often told one another. and now Queen of a pagan king. There is a life‐giving divine purpose in your life right where you are. and knowing that Mordecai is a Jew. he persuades the king with a truth. a Jew.” A North American Business Person
At some time or other every one of us feels that we are in the wrong place. like Joseph in Egypt. and the assassination of the king is avoided. This galls Haman deeply. an orphan. But the reality is that God has a providential purpose in our lives right where we are.Providential Work: Esther
“I have had five jobs already and am still searching for satisfying work. doing something else we could be useful and deeply satisfied. The king makes a note of this in his journal but does nothing at that moment. especially one so vile and self‐centered. a secret. at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. The early desert fathers and mothers.
For if you remain silent at this time. weeps and wails.” Haman is humiliated and his friends that night tell him he is finished. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (4:14 TNIV) Now Esther becomes an initiator. ‘This is the person the king honors. He goes early to the court and just as he enters the king asks. “Nothing. She takes the risk of going to the king uncalled for.5.should be eliminated. the king cannot sleep and lulls himself by having his journal read to him. He is rushed off to the second feast where Esther tells it all. During the night. providentially. Eventually he gets word to Esther who apparently is unaware of all this. Meanwhile Haman falls on Queen
. When he discovers that Mordecai has saved his life he asks what has been done for him.And spare my people…. And he sends a message to Esther that she should go into the king’s presence and beg for mercy for her people.4. whom she now knows is the enemy of the Jews. He raises his scepter and asks to know her request and offers even half of the kingdom. ironically. but you and your father’s family will perish. “Grant me my life….’” “Well. So he says. “Where is he ‐ the man who has dared to do such a thing?” asks the king. relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place. “What should be done for a person the king delights to honor. And she requests another feast the next day at which she will make her request fully known. Cleverly Esther invites the king to a feast and includes Haman. Mordecai hears of the edict.” Haman is so egotistical that he thinks it must be a reference to him. She sends back a message that it is not allowed to go into the king’s presence on pain of death unless he lifts his golden scepter.For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed. Esther answers. dons sackcloth and mourns. Haman is boasting to his family and friends how honored he has been to be the only person invited to Esther’s banquet and yet how incensed he is that Mordecai will not honour him. and so confident is she of her plan that she has the feast already prepared. killed and annihilated. you do it. So he arranges to have a gallows built to hang Mordecai and plans to get the king to agree to his death the next morning. During the same night.” (7:3.6 TNIV) The king is enraged and leaves the room to figure out what he will do because the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be changed. a huge sum which might have been attractive to a king about to wage war. At the feast Xerxes asks her again what she wants. “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman. and it has been thirty days since the king has called for her. and a worshipper of Yahweh. for Mordecai. “Have him ride on the king’s horse and have someone go through the streets ahead and say.” Esther reveals her true identity as a child of God.” is the answer. Mordecai replies in words that are the centerpiece of the book: Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. He sets a day for this holocaust a year later and promises to pay for all the costs.
This should stimulate confidence. We are saved from arrogant egoism and cringing fear. are not “accidental but part of God’s good and gracious purpose for us. and orders him to be hanged on his own gallows. Providence means that our placement. circumstances and even in the choices made by human beings. Esther then persuades the king to arrange for a second edict. to allow the Jews to defend themselves on the day appointed for their destruction a day selected by throwing a dice (the pur. God has seeded is into significant locations “for such a time as this. providence means that where we are is not accidental and that we should know where we are. Providence asserts the directional and purposeful character of human history and personal history. Career decisions are rarely irrevocable. just as Joseph was in Egypt – a Jew. The Greek version of this book includes her prayers in which she says to the Lord how much she loathes the symbols of her position and the bed of the uncircumcised. The first edict could not be revoked but the second allowed the Jews to arm themselves to prevent the carrying out of the first edict. universities. sold into slavery in Egypt and then being raised to senior governmental responsibility until much later: “It was not you who sent me here. written this time by Mordecai. family background. but God” Joseph said to his brothers (Gen
. our work.Esther reclining on her couch and pleads for mercy. hospitals. businesses. educational opportunities. so he thinks. But it does not mean that human beings are helpless pawns being manipulated by a sovereign God. So providence is counterpoised with the following errors: deism (God is detached from the present workings). Esther was placed providentially in the court as queen. She was in exile. the talents and abilities we bring to the workplace. Human beings are to a limited extent free agents. Soren Kierkegaard. Which is what happened. It means that God is more interested in our life‐purpose than we are. fatalism (which depersonalizes human action in impersonal forces) and chance/luck. And the weight of decision‐making is reduced. thus the celebration of the Jewish feast of Purim). the gallows Haman had prepared for Mordecai. even our physical or emotional handicaps. It means that God is determined to bring the whole human story to a worthy end should inspire hope and risk‐taking. a believer. providence means that God is involved in our work and workplace for God’s own good purpose.” Probably we will not see this “at the time” just as Joseph did not discern the providential purpose of his being rejected by his brothers. Mordecai then takes Haman’s place as second‐in‐command. gratitude and faith. providential? First. How is work. responsible and accountable for their actions. The king comes in and finds him molesting his queen. And yet strategically placed to be an influence. Second. the Danish philosopher once noted that life is lived forward but understood backwards. This happens in events. We too are sent out Monday morning into schools. placed in the second most powerful position in the nation. Thus even mistakes get incorporated into God’s overall purpose.
45:6. dare we say something “holy” in being present with the present. when he seizes it. so much on to the next thing you are going to do – in business or in our personal planning ‐ that you are not really present at all – something I have personally wrestled with. not only this day. He is saying that there is something beautiful going on. letting the present slip by without seeing its beauty.” Our sovereign God is at work breaking into time and inviting us to seize the moment. he finds greatness. were originally entitled. In the translation from the French he says. but this minute. or this hour. “There comes a special moment in everyone’s life. That special opportunity. It is his finest hour. The notes of Jean‐Pierre de Causade. or being so future oriented.”
. In that moment. Self‐Abandonment to Divine Providence. “The sacrament of the present moment requires us to do our duty whatever it may be. will fulfill his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. Oswald Chambers says. a Jesuit spiritual director in the eighteenth century. There is something aesthetic that calls forth “Aha” or “Oohs and ahs” in us. a carrying out of God’s purpose for us. But this hint about the beautiful moment points rather sadly to its opposite: not being present. celebrate the possibility and respond to his gracious intervention. this very minute – now.” Winston Churchill once remarked. as the Professor in Ecclesiastes notes (3:11). a moment for which that person was born. 50:20). “Never allow the thought I can be of no use where I am because you certainly cannot be of any use where you are not.
For instance. has the power to offer alternatives to the currently reigning views of nature. He recently earned his Ph. For example. We can learn in them of a more respectful way of being with nature and natural beings than we commonly display today. since there are so many other possible interpretations of them. although glamorously
. our Greek and Judaeo‐Christian traditions. on their own. The Bible. and taking up with things are the creation stories of the Bible and the vision of wild creation in Job. Montana. nearly everything we confront on a daily basis is either already under control or it is viewed as something to bring under control and to be made use of. Wild things in these passages are already as good as they can be. Have at it! I hate to see it go to waste.' “ Why. 171 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
especially. can. On the sixth day He put humans on the Earth and said. interpreting.The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
David Strong “In our age. 'I didn't quite finish the job. but this commodity‐fueled happiness. nonetheless. Yet no one in these earlier traditions would have predicted that we would interpret the texts of these traditions the way we do. He has essays forthcoming in the journal Research in Philosophy and Technology and in the volume Falling in Love With Wisdom. Wild things in these passages do not need to be rearranged. In direct opposition to this way of seeing. even our American pioneering tradition.' or made use of before they reach the fullness of their being. A fundamental issue of our age is whether or not we will come to terms with technology and its promise to provide a good life. Develop it into something. “ It is easy to blame the way we dominate nature in our age on our Greek and Judaeo‐Christian roots.
David Strong is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. teach us much about the shortcomings of mistaking power as residing in our own right arm. makes one receptive to afresh and refreshing vision of our existence. Technology promises to make life good through the consumption of commodities. Build! Reshape it. as full of conquest and an adversarial relation to nature as it is. pausing and lingering unselfconsciously before them. then. Recognizing them in their own right. do we read this kind of interpretation back into the tradition? Thoughtfully reconsidered. from Stony Brook. 'developed. may teach us a great deal about meeting the deeper issues of our age more resourcefully. none of the Hebrews would have guessed that the “message” of the creation story in Genesis 1 would have been heard by the movers and stompers of our age as: “In the beginning God formed a big ball of raw material. The Odyssey.D.
is flawed at its core. we can willingly relinquish consumerism and may adopt ways of life more in harmony with the earth. I Nowhere does the Bible teach what Albert Borgmann. In contrast. by way of the domination of nature. p. and grace.
Albert Borgmann. you will live a free and prosperous life. Hence. thus enabling us to meet this issue of technology and to come to inhabit the earth in ways that make sense spiritually and ecologically. and to enrich our lives…. Yet the items most traditional religions point to are usually beyond the will. and much religious language focuses on the renunciation of control and on an openness to events that are beyond our control. The only trait that the promise and goods of technology shares with the promise and blessings of the Bible is people's devotion to them as ways of life. that are more and other than we expected. possession. 172 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
creation. to liberate us from misery and toil. [More accurately]. the language of commodities is that of bargain. and fingertip control. miracle. insight. the covenant might read something like this: “If you dominate nature. blessing. through poetic illumination of the goodness of creation and the possibility of wholeness. However. but we are admonished that we cannot serve both God and mammon.attractive. Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. yield liberation and enrichment. and those reservations often arise because of the teachings of the Bible. There we are not told to consume in order to be happy. healing of spirit. religious language is the language of inspiration. The Bible.1
If Borgmann's language of the “promise” of technology is correct. gift. generally.” How? By becoming liberated from suffering and toil and by being provided with all the fruits of the earth. One need only consider the technological achievements of the last century or glance at a few advertisements to realize how plausible and attractive this promise seems. and the Book of Job in particular. 36. implied in the technological mode of taking up with the world there is a promise that this approach to reality will. Following the promise of technology. 1984). we can see that our culture has made an implicit covenant with technology. we seek the blessed life through items that are possessed and under our control. If we have an alternative understanding of what is good in life and of what makes us whole.
. We have them at will. help us to envision this alternative way. Cast into Bible‐like terms. many people have serious reservations about this technologically‐fueled view of freedom and happiness. calls the promise of technology:
Technology promises to bring the forces of nature and culture under control. in Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life.
the Book of Job shows the friends to be worried about themselves. “The Love of God and Affliction. Since Job is being punished and is perishing. when. power experienced as genuinely divine is found from an entirely unsuspected direction. my teachers at the University of Montana. In the prologue and epilogue of the Book of Job. more earth‐denying. More deeply. Job's friends read Job's condition through their theory of God and the universe. 1959). pp. the Book of Job gives us an opportunity to see how important things (and in Job it is “wild things”) are in at least one strand of the biblical tradition. God restores Job's body. God seems to be able to coerce anything at will. and they do so by setting Job apart.” To the contrary. both the good and the evil. something would be wrong with God in terms either of goodness or of the power to control. and doubles his wealth. overpower nature and natural beings.” Waiting for God (New York: Capricorn Books. Divine power is assumed to be manifested as the exercise of coercive power. written in a mythological style. 117‐136. than miracles or God's intervention in history. the rewards and the punishments. God grants permission to Satan to bring on calamity and to touch the body of Job. too. Were not such the order of the creation. Job. Both Job and his friends assume God exercises this kind of power over creation. deliberately downplays the importance of “things. Because God is in control. 173 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
. generally. God's power is made out to be the exercise of this coercive power overpowering creation. The righteous and good prosper. nothing seems more unnatural. There must be something wrong with him. II The Book of Job is better thought of as a meditation on the character of divine power rather than as a meditation on divine justice or as an attempt to justify God. Job's affliction presents them with a possibility of human existence to which they are vulnerable. I am also indebted to Simone Weil. meaning the ability to manipulate. one may wonder if the Judaeo‐Christian tradition is too other‐worldly to provide a coherent view of our relation to the earth. great wickedness must have occurred before. as it turns out. that come to humans are justly deserved by them. But the second calamity will not
For my reading of the Book of Job.2 At first. It may seem that the Judaeo‐ Christian tradition. while the wicked are punished and perish. I'm indebted to Henry Bugbee and John Lawry. brings him new children. tries to avoid any new way of being by rationalizing the first calamity that befalls him.Still. trying to avoid idolatry. Taken literally. one they wish to avoid. control and.
that is. where things are as they are without reason. The greatness of Job is his unwillingness to accept a false answer. when its young ones cry to God. who maintains and defends his integrity. to bring rain on a land where no one lives. Merely having his sores removed and recovering his wealth would not fully heal Job. not from a God exerting absolute control. whatever answer Job finds in the revelation. it is certainly not from an expected direction. which is empty of human life… ? (Job 38:25‐26). The character of this difference needs careful analysis. cannot deny this possibility of a way of being that should be impossible within the framework of a good God exerting overpowering control of creation. Job. although the meaning of that healing remains a question. it does so because Job is somehow answered. “Who provides for the raven its prey. surprisingly. these restorations are in fact unnecessary for a true healing of Job's deepest condition. Secondly. when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together?” (Job 38:37‐38). this is not even a biocentric creation. and a way for the Thunderbolt. Yet. Suffering now touches his body inescapably as affliction. Somehow. on the desert. implies he understood something through direct acquaintance. The text. It deals
. To the contrary. and lets them be warmed on the ground. that the view of creation expressed in this revelatory speech is not anthropocentric:
Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain. Job has been healed. It would be more accurate to say that this is a world without center. This speech begins by invoking creation. We need. then. thus. Job repents of having “uttered what I did not understand” (Job 42:3). if a warrant for Job's affirmation and healing is generated in what comes to pass in the Book of Job. that would only compound his affliction. if a true healing takes place.
Neither is sentient life the center of creation. and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41).allow him to stand at a safe distance. Finally. rather than understanding merely in conformity with the wisdom of the tradition. For it leaves its eggs to the earth. So. then there must be something that occurs in the revelation that answers a person of Job's integrity in his condition. forgetting that a foot may crush them. It seems unintelligible that such a person could be healed through an overwhelming display of coercive power. though its pinions lack plumage. “Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens. explaining (and justifying) to Job why he suffers. In fact. as his friends do. Humiliation is not what heals Job. thirdly. rendering this possibility of being undeniable for him. to attend closely to the address to Job out of the whirlwind. he still believes that an answer is possible. First. His friends recognize his having been healed and having been answered. We notice. according to the text. a man whose integrity has been challenged. and it remains throughout a kind of creation story. and that a wild animal may trample them. the revelation of the voice out of the whirlwind makes all the difference to Job. and it is only this possibility that keeps him alive. If this is good drama.
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The ostrich's wings flap wildly. even in these impossible conditions.
172. as if it were not its own. in which. though its labor should be in vain. Here we are not presented with a biocentric universe. then. thereby. I take it. but only at the price of its divine or religious character. in their being what they are. which falls on the desolate ground. estranged. heals Job. The vision of Job is essentially a vision of wilderness and wild things: “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars. quite apart from both being for us or being assisted by us. We see in fact that the rain. we are not simply left with the characterization of the ostrich suggesting the nonsense of creation.3
Similarly. and resigned Indian finds a healing touch in a rainstorm. such character is seen either as so much raw material or worthless. Things have a dignity that calls on us to behold them: “Things too wonderful for me. 1986). Wild country and wild things are what they are. dry summer in the enormous distances of the Montana plains. Fine. I thought. It's not like you'd expect. something unexpected is coming to be. an order that aims at touching Job with affliction. and spreads its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high?” (Job 39:26‐27). “What good is it?” “I hate to see it go to waste. it could not be. a determination to live:
Some people. nothing like you'd expect. The problem of evil is resolved through a dissolution of its premises. “When it spreads its plumes aloft. we may expect Job to take just such a position. a miserable. one may rejoin. quite apart from human assistance.
If this is a creation where intention is absent.cruelly with its young. p. but with poetry. and. In a culture where things are viewed as needing to be reshaped. is the distance from which creatures appear and are acknowledged in their own right in Job's vision. The world may be this way. yet it has no fear … (Job 39:13‐ 16). The insights Job comes
James Welch. But such resignation on the part of Job would preclude the possibility of remaining open to what can speak to his condition. Indeed. is what. which I did not know” (Job 42:3). will never know how pleasant it is to be distant in a clean rain. not being over them.” And yet the fresh vision of things in their created wildness. Winter in the Blood (New York: Penguin Books. it laughs at the horse and the rider” (Job 39:18). the driving rain of a summer storm. Yet to say this is not yet to enact it. The effect of this line is not unlike that of a passage near the ending of James Welch's novel Winter in the Blood. also makes “the bud of the tender herb to spring forth” (Job 38:27‐KJV). 175 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
. after a long. What is this fresh vision of things stripped of their everydayness? Allowing creatures to be. heedless force of nature is indeed heedless. At the same moment that these negating steps are carried out in the revelation. The coercive.
held me there. in a way that recreates him. Job is healed. After the initial jump.to are known neither by theoretical speculation nor by observation and the method of induction. though they may well have registered its significance in the eyes and face of Job. too. which alerted me to his presence. yet I found myself overtaken with awe and fascination. We may not be ready for or have had the kind of experience that would yield the disclosures presented to Job by the voice from the whirlwind. wondrous. Adversity plays an essential
176 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
. Wild things in Job have re‐creating powers. This power is known not by theoretical belief. a sense of goodness resonant with the Genesis 1 creation story. with what I imagined was anger and possibly contempt. Divine power here is not the exercise of coercive power over creation. I believe. Such an experience may transport us to a different place and let us know all is well. because he is restored to the goodness of creation. on a hike. The sense of being found in Job is a staying with creation and creatures. the answer is not arrived at by either a careful analysis of the text alone or by following some proper procedure. It follows that the reader is in this position as well. the revelation and its healing effect on Job are set forth as something to be realized in experience through living the questions themselves. The sense of being here is a sense of restored creation. but the beautiful. They are discovered in their own right as independent. Delicate yellow pollen dusted lightly the gleaming black hair of his powerful shoulders and back. they reach Job in a way he can acknowledge as good. restored for both creatures and self. These are insights that Job comes to. their re‐created goodness. “Behemoth” leaped to my mind. Not the fearful. wild. In their re‐created presence. For instance. He is restored to this sense of creation through a vision of wild things in their own right. what about Leviathan and Behemoth. Job finds himself created again and made whole. The mightiness of divine power is seen by what it can do in a spiritual way: healing this person who is suffering affliction. It is important to see that the re‐creating powers of things do not play the only role in Job's enlightenment. his head swung around. those strange monsters? Why are they included in the whirlwind's revelation? What effect do they have on the healing of Job? Once. not susceptible to possession. but by direct acquaintance. It is through the re‐creating address of wild things that Job finds his way into being again. perhaps. Accordingly. where divine power is most manifest. Job's friends may not have heard the voice from the whirlwind at all. In fact. they stand out in their createdness. I was ready to drop my pack and run for safety. he could not have grasped them at first because he lacks both the preparation that readies him and the experience that funds these insights. or. to eye this undersized creature who had surprised him. and. for the first time. Through his response to the re‐creating powers of wild things. Certainly. I startled a massive bull moose in a small meadow. Stripped of their everydayness. Rather. as wild. it is the renewing and restoration of the with‐relation.
They. Mexico. Ultimately. 182‐185. as the Hunter cook called it. or South America had not the land itself (he had no religious convictions) claimed him.4 As we will see later. Usually. inform our existence in today's world? Before headway can be made here. too. There. close enough to the river for game and wood. it empties and opens him to creation. a renewal that kept pioneering alive and defined. affliction forces the assumptions of his thinking to come forward and be. so. pp. The Flats. the conquest of nature at this early time is very different than the domination of nature in the twentieth century. 1955). it is easy to blame them on the pioneers. Old Jules (New York: Hastings House. was absolutely bare. on the hard land that must be black and fertile. Jules saw his house and around him a community of countrymen and other home seekers.5
Borgmann. nonetheless. this healing. even when they did not formally understand this to be the character of divine power. III How can this sense of restored wholeness and restored creation. challenged. In this way. What we find in her narrative account is not merely a record of actions. Wild things and the wild land still had these re‐creating powers for the pioneers. So. Affliction readies him to hear the re‐creating address of wild things. we must be sure that we have come to terms with another. There
would grow up a place of orderliness. intermingled in peace and contentment. those who were capable of participating in it. as genuine pioneers. and violence might have time and again carried him away back to Zurich. recreating powers of things. p. impetuousness. too. theirs was a time when the wild land was brought under control and tamed. just as it is easy to blame our attitudes toward nature on the Bible. Indeed. but a portrayal of a man whose ambivalence. we view the pioneers' relationship to the land as consistent with the domination of nature in our time. The novelist‐historian Marie Sandoz's account of her pioneering father in Old Jules exemplifies the most profound attraction of the wild country. 19. and renewed and deepened its claim upon him after each estrangement:
But the land straight ahead. where corn and fruit trees would surely grow. However. without a house. or on to Canada. Affliction makes him confront in an undeniable way possibilities of being with which he would otherwise be too patient. 177 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
. refugees from oppression and poverty. The wild country of the American West confronted the pioneers as an adversary to be struggled with and overcome. even a tree‐a faint yellow‐green that broke here and there into shifting aspects of small shimmering lakes. as he was in the prologue. earlier way that the wild land and wild things appealed to many of our ancestors.role. this difference is most tellingly true with regard to the loss in our century of an awareness of the divine. with sturdy women and strong children to swing the hayfork and the hoe. discovered the goodness of creation. rudimentary mirages. Marie Sandoz.
. with a long. p. not to Estelle and Knox county. Jules saw that and sat up. Eighteen days later. relating a reunion with his brother. both of whom suffer and yet regain a sense of the goodness of things.Yet even within a few days he gets discouraged:
Suddenly he flung the dark liquid and cup from him. 8 Ibid. Suddenly a little valley opened before them. “You cut off my foot. the antelope bounding away from the trail. Sandoz writes.” His spirit broken for pioneering. There was nothing but his clumpy foot….
Against his better medical judgment. So. and I shoot you so dead you stink before you hit the ground. In a later incident. the tinge of green spreading over the buffalo‐grassed hills. and his spade into the wagon. and piled his plough. 43. Though he had periods of estrangement. He is rooted in a reality that will stand when the war and its hysteria are gone. Reed did not amputate. he was unwilling even to go back to Europe: Even an animal hid from its kind when injured…. a sort of Moses working the soil of his promised land.8 Here we see the land bringing Jules back to life. As his two friends pull him to the top of a sixty foot well. his bloodshot eyes glittering.. the rope breaks and his foot is crushed in the fall. who was trained as a doctor in Switzerland. as the young Dr. is called upon by the circumstances to deliver the baby. thin strip of sod stretching over the prairie. Jules thought of himself as a “miserable cripple. to stop curiously on a knoll when there was no pursuit…. As a lifelong acquaintance said of him: There was something of the prophet in him. p. even for a man with a bad ankle.10 However. 22. which he just finished digging. Often he could be quarrelsome and ruthless with others. Walter Reed prepared to amputate the foot.. A wagon with a husband and a pregnant wife emerges from the shadows. a prophet who remains to make his words deed. to Neuchatel and to Zurich… . a bug‐like speck that was a team with a ploughman creeping along the edge. Jules never lost this faith in land to the very end.
Ibid. this does not mean he was always respectful of others or other things. here we see the kinship of Jules with Job. He did not see the brilliant web of prairie sun. A few pages later. returning to the site of his homestead. p. Jules himself. In the morning he would go back. doctor.”9 This good world and his affirmation of it echoes the Genesis 1 creation story. suffers calamity. Five months later. the nearly unconscious Jules came alive:
His gaunt cheeks flushed a violent red under his beard. 57. his axe.6
Still renewal occurs that very night. “And the world became a good place once more. like Job. Ibid.
He can drive the plough through the nigger wool. and I. 178 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
especially women. The land leaves its hard mark upon them. like a coat and a cap he can never take off. without the struggle with these threatening conditions of human existence. stooping under the weight of hoe and fork. and through conditions of necessity that exact from one what one would not give them otherwise. what seems to have disappeared
. build him a fine house and wear the stiff collar. Expecting a further answer from God seems similar to expecting an answer from astrology. In this age. we expect a physician to help. other things. to beings with dignity and worth welcoming in their own right. Some became heroes. Ibid. indeed. been relieved by science and technology of many of the harsh conditions of life. and earthquake insurance. for one. p. Some went insane. am thankful for this change in the human condition. If our skin breaks out with sores. “The trees look fine. A foot and ankle injury may call for an ambulance. They change from adversaries to partners. wild land. he must always carry the look of the land as it was. However.” Jules predicted. Others left embittered and with animosity toward old friends. p. Yet this redefinition and self‐transcendence does not come easily. It comes about with struggle and hardship. The land. unlike that of Job's. at least for the present time. Yet. And now. Through an encounter with adversity and adversarial nature a selftranscendence and redefinition of things takes place. make fields and roads go every way.9
Ibid. at last he said we. in old age. IV In today's world. His egotism was unsurpassable. for instance. and other people are met in ways that steadily deepen the relationships. even his family members do win acknowledgment in small but telling ways:
He dropped his hand on Mary's rounded shoulder. As another character in Old Jules says:
One can go into the wild country and make it tame. we seem to have lost touch with the possibility of healing and renewal in a profound spiritual sense. but. Some died. looming. We have. plums ripening on rows a quarter mile long.12
One must not read these lines romantically but closer to what war means for Heraclitus.. 406. but possibly not much of the virtue of endurance. fire. without the desolate.11
What has been won through here is a kind of American Odyssey.. and cruel to his family. A couple of years and we'll have one of the finest plum and cherry orchards in the state. 61. we have medical. and yet he will always look like the grass where the buffalo have eaten and smell of the new ground his feet have walked on. Misery and toil were good for the full maturing of human beings in past ages.
healing. insatiable appetites. Wild things in these
. 375. 388. it would not be intelligible or desirable. we seem to need a spiritual healing without having to pass through the fires of affliction and genuine suffering.” or made use of before they reach the fullness of their being. and lead unexamined lives. Healing this with‐relation is where Job and other works in the tradition have much to offer us. now and then. In our age. p. p. “developed. isolated from others. what we do not seem to have discovered in a consequential way is the manifestation of divine power in any alternative mode. In the prevailing technological culture. consumption as a way of life seems to evoke only the more superficial qualities of our humanity and leave us with voracious. nearly everything we confront on a daily basis is either already under control or it is viewed as something to bring under control and to be made use of. We stand in need of a different re‐creation. So. frills. Dread in the face of this nothingness calls for a different way to be with our technology. The acquisition of more commodities means we will fill our time. fill our human condition. 179 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
is the reliance on any powers other than human ones in order to be healed. and renewal than the one we receive from modern medicine. Most people look forward to‐not many turn down‐a high and rising standard of living. We have become disengaged from things. and taking up with things are the creation stories of the Bible and the vision of wild creation in Job. V How can this healing take place in our time and in a way appropriate to the benign changes in the human condition? Where can we know of the re‐creating powers of things by direct acquaintance and not just what we have overheard from the tradition? Job is healed of his affliction by a vision of wild things and a wild creation. harsh conditions nor in seeking to live a good life does the divine power disclosed in the Book of Job play an important role in consumer life. Should we seek out and live with these conditions in the present so that divine power can again flourish? Even if such a return were possible.. In spite of all our excitement we have become disengaged. Ibid. and glamour. More money means more commodities. interpreting. That is not to suggest that this state of affairs is as it ought to be. with objects that are designed just for us and that are completely under our control. On this side of the Enlightenment.
Ibid. In direct opposition to this way of seeing. For all its thrills. to lose its shiny appeal and show its emptiness. restless. Such a life is bound. Wild things in these passages do not need to be rearranged.. neither in coming to terms with frustrating.
passages are already as good as they can be, on their own. Recognizing them in their own right, pausing and lingering unsetfconsciously before them, makes one receptive to a fresh and refreshing vision of our existence. Such a transcendent (but not nonmaterial) encounter with wilder‐
180 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
ness and wild things can happen in our time, too, because we have voluntarily not brought everything under control, having for some time now protected from this unsettling, rearranging process, wild places in the form of legal wilderness areas, wildlife reserves, and national parks. The experience of the profound goodness of these things and places is found in the inspired and enthusiastic accounts of many people. Thoreau, for instance, speaks of such consummatory encounters with wild things as the tonic of wildness. We see such encounters as Thoreau greets sunrise, sunset, the first signs of spring, a balmy spring day or a delicious evening. It is manifest in wild things: midwinter pickerel, geese, owls, nighthawks, and even, paradoxically, the rooster's crow. Yet there are other kinds of encounters with this tonic of wildness, this healing, restoring, refreshing, and invigorating quality of wild things. Often one cannot say exactly where one has become reacquainted with animating nature or the tonic of wildness in a consummatory way. Hikers sometimes carry it out of the wild like the yellow pollen fallen on the back of the moose. Colin Fletcher tells of arriving at the end of a road and feeling he had gone as far as someone could go:
So I stood there looking out beyond the edge of the world. Except for a thick wall, I am no longer sure what I saw, but I know it was wild, wild impossible country…. All at once, without warning, two men emerged from that impossible country. They carried packs on their backs, and they were weatherbeaten and distilled to bone and muscle. But what I remember best of all is that they were happy and whole. Whole and secure and content… . I talked to them briefly in considerable awe…. Then they walked away and I was left, still awestruck, looking out once more in the huge black mysterious wilderness. The awe I felt that day still hangs in memory. But my present self dismisses it. I know better. Many times in recent years I have emerged from wild country, happy and whole and secure and content, and I have found myself face to face with astonished people who obviously felt they were 13 at the edge of the world.
What do we make of such experiences? Thoreau sees that such encounters and an openness to such encounters are missing in those around him who are so busy building America, building the technological society. This is why much of his writing in Walden is criticism directed against this endless, pointless building. Such pointlessness, he thinks, makes life vacuous and restless. On the other hand, his walks to the “holy land” are the awakening keynotes in his life, which harmonize everything for him. They are momentous events, which enable him to affirm his life in a way that would conform to Nietzsche's standard of the eternal return of the same. After speaking of such an encounter mythologically as visiting a noble family, Thoreau writes, “If it were not for families as this, I think I should move out of Concord.”14
Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III (New York: Knopf, 1984), p. 5. Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” The Portable Thoreau, edited by Carl Bede (New York: Penguin, 1975), p. 323. 181 ‐ The Promise of Technology versus God's Promise in Job
The tonic of wildness keeps him where he is in Concord, in life. Without it, the passage suggests, he would report the “meanness of life to the world”15 and move out of it. Just as significant, it keeps him from leaving this local, particular place with a proper name. The tonic of wildness serves both as foundation and as keystone for the building of the life Thoreau sees himself constructing. Unlike the building of his neighbors (who are not willing a world worth living in), this building has in view dwelling, living well in the here and now, inhabiting earth. What difference does it make? The appetite driven rationality of the technological existence keeps us on the go without ever getting anywhere. Wildness can bring us to a pause. It can enable us to affirm life. As a consequence, it teaches us to affirm life in the here and now, to make room for, and to be on the alert for, the experience of this tonic. Through an understanding of what is good in life, what is worth living for, and what won't play us false, we are enabled willingly to give over consumerism as a way of life, and we are persuaded to adopt gentler and more compassionate attitudes and ways toward the Earth and all its inhabitants. Since commodity production is no longer held as ultimate, the quality of our lives and the quality of the environment will not be seen in conflict with one another as they are now. The dissolution of this conflict will make the most significant gains for coming to inhabit the earth in a way that is at peace with it. Moreover, having a more compassionate attitude and simpler ways will help the cause of an altruistic regard for nature and natural beings where such altruism is called for, that is, when there is genuine conflict between natural beings and our own well being. Wilderness areas, wild places, and wild things seem to me to be rich metaphors for what we need in our time, a time which, in its systematic effort to get everything under control, threatens to exclude them altogether. We need things to counter our pointless, always overtaking, rushing about. We need a cynosure around which even the heavens turn. We need room in our lives for sacred places where and sacred times when we learn to be receptive of that which overtakes from behind, healing, enlivening, harmonizing, and enlightening us. “That man that does not believe each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way.”16 Not the Bible alone, but the Bible surely does, through its poetic illumination of goodness, the goodness of creation, and the possibility of a good world, yield insight into the wildness that preserves the world.
“Walden,” The Portable Thoreau, p. 344. “Walden,” The Portable Thoreau, p. 343.
Theology Today Vol 48, No 2 (July 1991)
To be human is to be a being in communion. Women tend to gain their self‐esteem from relationships.” But for the man there was
. and even the church. There has been a lot of helpful research on the maturing of the women’s movement (and the corresponding men’s movement).” seems to answer an implied question. In the beginning God made human being in two genders to resemble himself. As Jack Balswick notes the latest model is supported by research evidence that males and females are normatively different in: • • • Moral decision‐making Styles of conversing and relating The basis on which one gains self‐esteem
There is more to this than mere gender stereotyping. business. processing information through the gut and responding intuitively rather than just rationally.Gendered Work: Eve
R. which is an act of human sovereignty and creativity. The second chapter of Genesis. “She has the constitution of a cement mixer but she simply will not do. men from success in their work. sometimes called the “second creation story. something in the creative purpose of God. but to the fact that men desperately need women not only in the home but in the workplace. But one thing seldom appreciated in all the celebrated liberation is that women have something distinctive to bring to the workplace and leadership. So to explore the meaning of Eve in the earliest account of the human race is critical not only for how women work and what work means to women. modelling in the home. being more sensitive to the emotional and relational tone of what is going on. Son and Spirit. Paul Stevens One of the great things that has happened in my lifetime is the substantial liberation of women in the north and west of the globe to give leadership in politics. “Why does it take both male and female to be in the image of God?” In Genesis two the first negative word of judgement by God is a negation of human solitude: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). While gender stereotypes come from the media. The man looks at the hippo and says. we are dealing with something innate. and literature. So God awakens in the man a desire for a partner by bringing all the lesser creatures to him for Adam to give names. God is a social unity of Father. a Being in communion. the church. And it all started with Eve. The specialness of femininity in the workplace is variously described as developing a web of relationships rather than seeing relationships in a hierarchical way – more complementary than competitive.
Further the text of Genesis 2:18 actually states that the women is equal and adequate to the man. not “this is my lost rib” but “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). who controls (spiritually) the wife. • • Both men and women are made in the image of God. is unbiblical and destructive. who is over the children. Ruth takes initiative in securing a husband. And Deborah is a superlative leader of Israel. In creation (Genesis 1‐2) men and women were ontologically (in their existence) equal.
Creational Perspectives on Gender Distinctiveness
. his rib – and this is a figurative account of a literal event – God makes the woman.
Further some stereotypes to which Scripture is fraudulently used as support include the following: • Men must always be the ones to take initiative. Neither men nor women are the image of God by themselves. As the father of the bride God brings her to the man and he cries. And before sin messed up their relationship they were completely transparent with each other. but the man was governmentally superior. says the narrator of the story. Both men and women are blessed by God (Genesis 1). It was God’s calling. It is essential to affirm that women and women. That was the first hymn of praise in the Bible. women are to be responders. The husband is not responsible for his wife’s spirituality. Therefore. cleaves to his wife and the two become one flesh. not as subordinate. So God decides ‐ for that is the meaning of putting Adam to sleep ‐ to provide Adam with a suitable partner. But Moses’ wife intervened in circumcising their son and so saved his life (Exod 4:25). And from his side. Eve is Adam’s helper. hear the voice of God (Genesis 3 and the rest of the Bible) and are accountable to God (Genesis 3 and Acts 5:1‐11). to which the wife responds by revolting (Gen 3:16). But “helper” is a word used for God and there is no hint of subordination until sin enters and makes the husband the ruler of the wife. “naked. a cry of relational joy in the presence of God: “At last” (roughly equivalent to “Hallelujah”).no suitable partner to be found among the giraffes. from the point of view of Scripture are ontologically equal. crocodiles and lions. not a human invention. The Syrophoenician women insists on Jesus’ healing (Mk 7:24‐30). a man leaves father and mother. But humankind needs not only intimacy but adventuresome enterprise.” with true intimacy (Gen 2:25). Humankind is a social icon of the triune God. The “chain of command” theology that God speaks to the husband.
with his sexuality. have souls but are souls. even more objectively. that someone will know us for ourselves.`` But these needs can only be met in a relationship of heroic proportions – in covenant love of the Creator. As the popular book
. normally turns to relationships? Both men and women have a need for adventure that requires something of us and a need for intimacy. as shown in Scripture. not immortal souls imprisoned in evil bodies (the Greek idea) but ensouled bodies or embodied souls. Women are determined by a monthly cycle and live spiritually in a more circular way rather than in a linear way. Does this mean that the male normally turns to the work of his hands and mind and the women. “Archetypal symbols used to portray this cyclical aspect of feminine spirituality are the vessel. The male sexual organ is “outside” his body and he is identified differently.Men and women. Women give birth. frustration in her relationship to the man. think act and live spiritually in a more linear way. the circle. Second. Men. We do not have bodies but are bodies. taken from man’s side. Men penetrate women in the sexual act. have spirits but are spirits. • Women are receptors of the husband’s organ and seed. not determined by a monthly cycle. in creation the assignment to subdue the earth and take care of it (Gen 2:15) was given to the man even before the women was created (though in Gen 1:26‐28 that calling is given to humankind male and female). In the sexual act a woman allows a man to enter her person and she must feel safe and loved for this to be satisfying and not a violent act.” Women have wombs and breasts and are naturally nurturers. are whole persons. As Curtis and Eldredge note in The Sacred Romance ``the emphasis is perhaps more on adventure for men and slightly more on intimacy for women. and with the woman. Women have a more wholistic experience of their sexuality.
• • • •
Scripture on Gender Distinctiveness First. He can penetrate a woman when he is angry or as an act of violence. when the first humans sinned the curse is experienced by the man in frustration in his work. the moon and the ocean. As Nancy Ring affirms. Consequently our spiritualities – which are our wholistic response to the seeking God in all of life – does correspond in some measure with our bodyness.
but finds it cursed ‐ “by the sweat of the brow you will eat your food”(Gen 3:19). have a richer personal spirituality. Undoubtedly some of the failure in the world’s leadership. and the woman turns to relationships. Scripture strongly affirms co‐spirituality. a union frequently described in sexual imagery. The writings of such women mystics as Teresa of Avila and Katherine of Siena recognize the basic dynamics of prayer as response to the initiative of God which leads to union. with the acceptance of pain as intrinsic to bringing forth life.” and waiting. David. in the workplace as well as the home.” “attentive. Moses. complementarity of male and female in work. are initiatory. prophetically pointing towards the new heaven and new earth. Mary. We also demonstrate to the world something beautiful for God. life and spirituality. but finds them politicized: “Your desire will be for your husband” (not a positive desire but the same word as in Genesis 4:7 – the desire to overmaster) “and he will rule over you” (Gen 3:16). and feminine spirituality is expressed mainly in relationships? Third. interdependence. May it be to me according to our word”–the contemplative posture. co‐humanity. and active.
. the man in his brokenness generally turns toward his work to find meaning. Is what God originally intended that masculine spirituality is expressed perhaps mainly towards one’s work. and demonstrating redemptively the work of Christ in healing the war of the sexes. In so doing we reflect the image of God. the mother of Jesus said. Yet Scripture shows men being contemplative – for example Moses and Paul – and women being initiatory – Esther. Fourth. “I am the Lord’s servant.The Shack alludes. This means welcoming and depending upon the uniqueness of the other without requiring the other to become the same as oneself. such as Paul. So men and women need each other. In contrast men. while men are more initiatory and active. Deborah and Priscilla. is the failure to see Adam and Eve as complements. richer work life and a richer experience of church leadership. Junia. the models of men and women in Scripture point generally but nor absolutely to women being “receptive.
. are “nothing but molecules in motion. This view does present the world’s diversity in all its glory.Towards a More Biblical View of Matter
LT Jeyachandran C. but with a world of matter to be ruled over by humans. The reason for looking after nature is purely utilitarian again. The atheistic perspective cannot explain the beauty of the world because humans. All is God. A correct theology of matter and the material world must precede a correct theology of work within the confines of that world. This comment is striking because he made it in the 1930’s. both the atheistic and Hindu views deny hierarchy in matter. his other alternative was Hinduism. It will be clear as we go along that views that deny hierarchy in the nature of matter eventually end up introducing hierarchy in work and thus ultimately affect our attitude to work. who alone are capable of appreciating this beauty. elevates all of matter to the level of the divine. S. but it lacks a unifying framework that provides the basis for the harmony and interdependence we see in nature. My plea in this essay is to identify the most plausible of these three views that would bring about the right perspectives on work. Atheism is reductionistic and therefore sees nothing other than matter in the entire universe. except in a purely utilitarian sense – manipulation for the use of humankind. not with the creation of the spirit‐world. Lewis perceived that only these three alternatives are possible: No God. Lewis has remarked that if he had not turned to Christ from atheism. on the other hand. Carl Sagan.” in the words of the late Cornell astronomer. In rather paradoxical ways. Hinduism. and is stated as the survival of the human race. The Atheistic Perspective The view that matter is all that exists – the atheistic perspective – does not actually do matter a great deal of honor. long before eastern religions and philosophies had come to be the influence they are today. It is not an accident that the Bible begins with a not‐so‐religious theme – a world of matter! It seems to be preoccupied. Christ is God. The theology of matter as laid down for us in the Bible is thrown into relief as we contemplate the two competing views of matter. No specific purpose or meaning to the mosaic of the universe exists.
Son and Holy Spirit as distinct persons ‐ endorses the reality of the diversity in the universe. when the community celebrates a festival called Vishwakarma Puja. Thus.The Pantheistic Perspective The New Age view holds that all reality – including the divine and the spirit ‐‐ is of one essence. September 17 is an important date in the calendar of the engineering community in India (of which for many years. The real diversity in God – Father. we have the capacity to order and reorder matter in order to achieve productivity and efficiency. the two verbs (in the NIV) work and take care can be translated more accurately (but not in the English idiomatic sense) as serve and guard or keep. we need to look after our environment. the Nature of Ultimate Reality underwrites the nature of created reality:
. Thus. nature is deified and is considered outside the pale of responsible manipulation. Because of the hierarchy in creation. thus. the inhabitants. popular Hinduism encourages devotees not only to worship forces of nature but also to worship implements of work. the Trinitarian Perspective The Trinitarian understanding of creation straddles the truths in the two opposing views mentioned above. Unity and diversity in the effect – creation ‐‐ requires unity and diversity in the Cause – the Creator. However. there need be no distinction within the different manifestations of matter – say between vegetables and humans. or total interpenetration within the Trinity. The idea is that we must do so in respect of nature and not in a commercial sense. In elevating matter to the divine. Here again. we are to do it in a way that reflects the character of the Creator. the unity in the perichoresis. because the world is one with us in every sense. guarantees the underlying harmony and interdependence in the created order. In Gen 2:15. This celebration involves worship (Puja) of the machines and other instruments. Unfortunately. Similarly. In Contrast. those who worship these instruments are not necessarily the ones who wield them most efficiently! I must hasten to clarify the phrase responsible manipulation. I was a part). The world of matter we inhabit and we. are all seen to be extensions of the divine essence.
Behind every finite event. dry land as earth. The same cause must produce the same effect under the same conditions. one’s approach to the world is not selfless. The world functions in a reasonable way. waters as seas. We can therefore conclude that the variety in creation is real. the doctrine of the Trinity emphasizes the real diversity in nature. Humans have enough reason to comprehend the world.”(Darwin). Results of an Atheistic Perspective on Matter • First. dry land from the oceans. diversity in nature is not one of purposeless confusion triggered only by the evolutionist’s infamous dictum: matter + time + chance. none of these assumptions would really be possible in an unintelligent or purposeless world. There is a real world. Whether regarding the environment or work. Behind the mosaic of variety is the ordered. purposeful. and aesthetic design of unity. one construes matter as a byproduct of a huge cosmic accident.•
First. there must be a cause. or they talk about work itself being worship and end up as workaholics. their views of the world and work are flawed. Second. the Son is not the Spirit. At three points in the account of creation in Genesis 1.
• Second. God divides existing reality – darkness from light. 5. harmony. and beauty. Similarly. the Spirit is not the Father – the doctrine of the transcendence of God is implicit within the Godhead without it needing to depend upon creation to be actualized. 3. not illusory.
• Third. 1.
When workers ascribe to popular views of matter. He calls light as day and darkness as night. 2. the motive is selfish – for the sake of descendants ‐ and pragmatic. the words transcendence and immanence upon the lips of the theologian acquire fundamental meaning when rooted in reality. Either they worship instruments of work – so common in India – but do not conscientiously commit themselves to work. however. Accountability to a Creator‐God does not figure in the thinking of the technocrat who takes this outlook. Science has to make five major philosophical assumptions about the material world for its inception and development. perichoresis ensures the immanence of the Creator in his creation. 4. waters above the expanse from those below the expanse. They tend to either deify or idolize work in two wrong types of ways. Because of the sense of otherness within the Trinity – the Father is not the Son.
. It is not without reason that the evolutionist has been piqued by beauty ‐‐“The sight of a peacock’s feather makes me sick.
The next step is fatalism. we recklessly plunder our resources in the absence of the One to whom we are accountable. Thus we begin to lose a sense of moral responsibility. A sound theology of matter has to be the bedrock of any involvement of God’s people in God’s world. If we take the other idolatrous approach and believe the world is the only reality there is. we sink not only into idolatry but also into a patent disregard of the world. we have to be under its authority. even the position of the planets – the basis for astrology – could influence our decisions. Conclusion The world of matter is God’s gift to humankind. So. • Third. Third. If we adopt a deified idea of the world.
. Second. Advanced civilizations that cradled polytheistic or pantheistic views of matter could not birth modern science and technology. We have a responsibility to manage it ‐‐ not only in the present world.
How Perspectives on Matter Affect Work Our view of the material world affects our outlook on work. in some way. one pursues unbridled growth with purely materialistic and economic considerations. one adheres to a fatalistic approach to the world and carries a slothful and lackadaisical attitude to work. Stewardship is only possible with a hierarchy in the world of matter ‐‐ humans presiding over it as responsible stewards under their Creator. but in the new heavens and the earth as well. Failure to believe in a Creator‐God obviates the need for accountability in the management of His creation – the only standards are then pure unbridled consumerism! Results of a Pantheistic Perspective on Matter • First. one fears the responsible manipulation of the material world. If matter is divine. one idolizes the instruments of work.
Still others “may say that the pastors. Given the bad press that many transnational business corporations get. Many business people are spiritually rudderless in navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of transnational commerce. Yet Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order argues that the major world conflicts today are increasingly religiously and culturally based. It is vital therefore to address this more explicit religious dimension in economic affairs and multinational corporations as we move out of our parochial Western. Aristotle. They are concerned that the title of “calling” may dignify a dirty business or perhaps offer a Christian blank check to a morally murky area. this dis‐ease about business is justified rationally.
Introduction A retired Protestant businessman told me recently how he had once spoken about business at an Anglican church only to be told by two young men that a Christian could not possibly be engaged in such a sordid activity. may have callings but not the managers. (St. Protestant and Catholic Thoughts. Some may be skeptical of the relevance of religion in general and Protestantism in particular to a global business environment. this feeling is understandable. Leonards NSW: Centre for Independent Studies. it is ultimately misguided. such as Islamic nations (McCann. Marx. marketers. Increased secularization in public life has left the Protestant
. For some. financiers and accountants” (Lambert. A large number of Protestant Christians today would be uneasy with the claim that business can be an avenue of one's Christian calling. but implicitly religious secularism into regions where religion matters much more publicly. and some deserve. Anabaptism. physicians and social workers . My aim in this paper is to retrieve the Protestant doctrine of vocation and the related concept of profession in order to affirm contemporary business and guide it in a more ethical and accountable direction. I will argue. Some others simply have a gut reaction that business is only about filthy lucre. in whatever biblically lawful places of service these believers find themselves. 1). They would not be alone. Christianity and Entrepreneurship. This is even more pertinent post September 11. teachers. Yet.BUSINESS AS A CALLING AND PROFESSION: TOWARDS A PROTESTANT ENTREPRENEURIAL ETHIC
Note: adapted from the above title in Samuel Gregg and Gordon Preece. 3). All Bible references are NRSV unless noted. drawing on a range of sources ‐ Scripture.. But are the former occupations intrinsically better than the latter? I think not. representing an amnesia about one of Protestantism's great distinctives. the doctrine of the universal calling or vocation of all believers.. 1999) printed here with permission.
The Bible. Not until AD 1000 did capital inventions and innovative processes begin to expand production in ways that caused some to think of continued growth as a possibility (55‐58). Wealth and poverty.] who attempts to speak of business matters does not know whence certain of the deepest patterns in modern business derive unless that person knows something about Scripture (Stackhouse. Preece 1998. rather than merely giving alms to alleviate it. and increasing work mobility has rendered the notion of one vocation for life rare (Volf 1991. In subsequent articles. business people have difficulty connecting Sunday to Monday because they suspect their work is unspiritual and cannot be a calling (Lambert.doctrine of vocation unacknowledged. The new
.. Reformed theologian John Schnieder (24) agrees. 1. Currently. Yet people hunger for a sense of personal and public coherence in an increasingly fragmentary postmodern society that tears them apart. Malina notes how biblical and Mediterranean economies did not exist in themselves but were embedded in kinship and political contexts of belonging. Deut. Biblical anthropologist Bruce J. Preece 1995. Jim Halteman. that engagement in wealth creation is not a valid biblical calling. 2. Recovering and revising the doctrine of vocation for a mobile society provides a richer resource for this task than contemporary new age quests for a spirituality of work. the Bible. ongoing selves with their changeable working roles. The manager [etc. vi). 3‐5. In an effort to address this difficulty. I will begin with this article by engaging with our basic text. we should beware of anachronistically reading back our economic structures into Scripture. Poverty was seen as something always with us. 268‐69). Differences Between Biblical “Wealth” and Contemporary Productive Capital Some people make a common assumption. They were top‐down. leads naturally to strong admonitions against accumulated wealth and to a concentrated focus on income distribution questions rather than production questions . were evaluated by whether they brought honor or shame in kinship and political terms. We will therefore look at the Bible for light on business. concerning economics and business. including the prohibition of interest for loans to Israelites (e. autocratic systems. Ancient economic systems failed to create freedom and wealth for the majority. Diehl. For anyone concerned with modern economic life who has not wrestled with the biblical materials that have shaped our society is not yet fully professional. The idea of arming people to eliminate it. 23:19‐20). Recovering a sense of vocation helps make the Sunday‐Monday connection real. a. They want to connect their real.. Wealth and Business Protestants are people of the Book. profitable for a few. an Anabaptist economist (a more anti‐capitalist Protestant group). 105‐9. backed by biblical texts.. notes that: [A] no‐growth subsistence orientation .. 37). is relatively recent. trickle up. v. I will address the development of the idea of vocation throughout church history and apply the concept to contemporary business and corporations.g. Yet.
However.. In Genesis God is depicted in personal. it is inappropriate to condemn a wealthy business person today by using the anti‐wealth passages of Scripture if his wealth is accumulated in productive tools for socially desirable output and he successfully resists the temptations of being rich . this view becomes an individualistic “health and wealth” gospel (God wants you wealthy!) which brings about a consequent reaction from South American and other liberation theologians. Without this democratized dominion. above all the humanity of Jesus. the Christian business person often seeks scriptural texts. However. As Tolkien says. In its extreme forms. through Noah (Gen 9:1‐17). we are “sub‐ creators. divine prerogatives (Gen 3:1‐7). entrepreneurial beings. “What has God called us to?” It must be answered in a corporate not individualistic way. The danger of idolatry is present in all times. Work and birth both became literally hard labor (Gen 3:16‐19). Genesis 1 depicts God's delight in the sheer extravagance of creation and creativity and his invitation to humanity to exercise “dominion with delight” (Schnieder).. Though understandable given their contexts. despite continuing deficiencies.
. usually in Proverbs. Humans were made to be enterprising.political order of democracy and economic order of capitalism gave many people unprecendented wealth and control of their circumstances. Most of all. each with its own identity. In determining whether we’re being productive for the kingdom or hoarding our wealth. In reaction to those who link today’s productive wealth to the hoarded wealth of the first century (and thus oppose it). 2). though modified.” imaging God by developing and keeping the earth (Gen 1:26‐28. even if fallen. However. ch. God risks by making a distinct creation and a free humanity to rule it. to show that Scripture is not anti‐wealth. relational. also considering our local and global context and connections. God ventures on a partnership with humanity ‐ God bets on humanity. almost entrepreneurial terms as “The God Who Risks” (Sanders). gospels. a key question is. In Genesis. prophets. wisdom. b. And yet the mandate to develop the earth is renewed. . law. the image of God and dominion is ascribed to all. as Halteman (62‐63) wisely notes western consumer junkies are not let off the hook: It would be inappropriate to downplay the sharp condemnation of wealth in Scripture simply because productive wealth is now more common than hoarded wealth.. neither approach understands the whole biblical context in a balanced way. The dominion or cultural mandate unleashes the universal creativity and initiative of every man and woman. modern technologies or economies are inconceivable.. Genesis ‐ God's Great Risk on Human Dominion Over Creation To understand the whole biblical perspective on business and wealth it is best to quickly work our way through its main forms of literature. and epistles from beginning to end. in partnership with God and each other. this God‐given sense of initiative is soon directed away from creation in a futile quest for infinite.
e. and deny you. and worshipped wealth and other gods. This loss happened. and honesty grounded in respectful fear of God. they were exiled into landlessness for forgetting God as the source of their salvation and its outward sacrament ‐ land and material blessing. Proverbial Wisdom Perhaps the most business‐friendly biblical traditions are found in Proverbs. d. and productivity probably has more in common with democratic capitalism. but rather the people's narcissism and callous indifference to the poor (Amos 6:1‐7). or I shall be full. Wealth is good. God's demonstration of dominion over the Nile and the Red Sea in liberating Israel from Egypt ended their exploitation and opened up the possibility of true dominion over creation again in an Edenic “land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8 NRSV). Proverbs provides a strong middle‐class ethic of family loyalty. though tempting. Prophets and Profits Many today assume that Israel's prophets were against profits. He was the Creator God.. thunder God's wrath at the oppression of the poor. However. they adopted an Egyptian way of life. Instead of practicing Exodus principles of material and social liberation and solidarity. to develop a rigid retributive scheme which turns generally descriptive proverbs into prescriptions claiming that honesty and hard work always pay. Yet Amos does not condemn delight in the good things of life in themselves. Job. however. Like most ancient civilizations. ‘Who is the Lord?’ or I shall be poor and steal. while poverty is bad and tempting. forms of economic domination over others’ means of production or land soon arose. hard work. the enshrining of freedom and democratic dominion into the very fabric of its social and economic life. unlike Israel. but if they forgot God and their less fortunate fellows in their newfound prosperity. However. It is dangerous. than proposed alternatives. “Give me neither poverty nor riches. according to jubilee principles. thus. . they were to be judged and exiled. lending. and say. at its best. Egyptian rulers believed dominion was only theirs. their prosperity would soon vanish (Deut 8:7‐20).. however. theirs was built on the backs of slaves (in this case Hebrews). God liberated Israel into a life of extravagant productivity. individual liberty. The Exodus and Jubilee Laws of Economic Liberation Unfortunately. God's people would return. irrevocable property rights and banking.c. especially in Amos. refined. and profane the name of the Lord my God” (Prov 30:8‐9 NRSV). But the Jubilee laws were developed to counter it. Israel's laws are extrapolations of the Exodus. Satan the utilitarian claimed Job only feared God for what he could get. Numerous texts. The problem is that capitalism has still to be properly democratized. their vision of justice. and the liberty and justice of the Jubilee laws would be proclaimed (Is 61:1‐2). Job's friends pushed this literalistic line ‐ Job's suffering was due to sin. to unprecedented fertility and abundance (Amos 9). held to his integrity and was finally
. While neither socialistic nor capitalistic.
slavery. But the evil structures of Roman power included totalitarianism. while taking sin seriously and the West's complicity in such structures. f. militarism. The commercial system is thus. entrepreneurial or socially activist. it is important to stress that he primarily constructed God's kingdom and his main business was God's business (Lk 2:49).. good road systems. mystery and freedom to flout rigid rules. in a way. not a rigid utilitarian contract. legal order. on creative. Though Jesus announced a Jubilee upon the Jewish and Gentile poor (Lk 4:18).. redeemed through his economic person . even revolutionary. This fact relativizes all earthly activities. and this was apparently part of what expressed his perfection as a human being.rewarded: first. but it is not God. Jesus' birth was not only attended by the poor shepherds but also by the well‐off Eastern astrologers bringing expensive gifts (Mt 2:1‐12). 26‐27). John Schneider (112‐13) highlights the implications of the locus of Jesus' incarnation. simply slip out of the system. Jesus “benefitted from the stability of peace.. Jesus' First Followers Many assume that Jesus' followers were mainly poor. productive work and on the sort of personhood that goes with it. does not fit the evidence. that improved standards in his own region” (Schneider. and occasional genocide. with much more than he lost before (Job 38‐42). and second. Jesus' middle class‐ness probably helped him to move inclusively across classes. Jesus and Wealth The common romantic picture of Jesus as a rustic Galilean peasant. extortionate taxation. stimulated cash flow and building projects . his followers came from all walks of life. This observation of the life of Jesus discredits a rigid rule of perfectionism or withdrawal as a criterion for Christian economic and vocational life. While not rich. To think that Christians must stand somehow outside the system of sinful economic structures. g. unappreciated by many contemporary ethicists and church leaders: Jesus' chosen place in his society as a tradesman reflects a certain goodness on property. The first group. part of the Galilean middle class of skilled workers (Hengel. and Jesus did not. in the light of what Karl Barth calls “the revolution of God” against all unrighteousness (544‐5). relational covenant with humanity. Yet having earthed Jesus economically in the Galilean construction industry. 115). He was a builder and a businessman. he probably had ample work on the big construction projects at the sophisticated Greco‐Roman city of Sepphorus a few kilometers away (Batey). Job’s story illustrates God’s wholistic. Jesus belonged to a small business family of builders (Mk 6:3). and the Creator God still sustains and blesses the sinful world. possibly even a Che Guevera or Zealot revolutionary.
. downplays two key facts: we cannot.. to identify with the poor crowds and the rich tax collectors alike. Business is good. with a vision of God's transcendence and creative and spontaneous delight in the diversity of creation with all of its inherent riskiness..
While Jesus challenged his followers to disinvest in this world's ways and invest their resources and talents in his reign. Jesus took both the relatively privileged and underprivileged and created a rich and vibrant Jubilee community (Mk 10:28‐31). The second group who followed Jesus supported him and his disciples from their relatively well‐ off positions (Hengel.e.” They see Gospel ethics as descriptive then. Yet they catch themselves in a paradox if the poor are blessed and yet Jesus comes to bring them out of their economic poverty or “blessing” (i. who take vocational vows (of poverty. included poor and rich. To follow Jesus they left behind relative wealth and security. feeds the hungry. included middle‐class fishermen with their own boats and servants ‐ one of the biggest businesses on the lake – and a wealthy tax collector (Lk 5:29). if poverty is so blessed why take them out of it?) (Schneider. He miraculously calms storms. His reign is the best risk. Jesus’ commands are to be taught to all baptized disciples (Mt 28:20). we often confuse the means ‐ disinvestment and self‐denial ‐‐ with the end. A third group.the disciples. but radically relocates it in relation to one's whole life and his kingdom. He was condemned as “a glutton and a drunkard. The calling to be disciples of Jesus in the business world involves great tension between these different principles of profit. Jesus does not deny the principle of “profit”. tax collectors like Zaccheus (Lk 19) were people of high status inconsistency ‐‐ high in economic but low in social status. now gone wrong. more than prescriptive now. but to venerate. Protestants often limit Jesus' poverty to the unique circumstances of his mission.. and the wealthy women ‘who provided for them [Jesus and his disciples] out of their resources’” (Lk 8:3). the crowds. and more loosely to emulate. These include “Peter's mother‐in‐law. He spends much of his time feasting. The latter. 129‐30).
. how should we interpret his life of poverty and his blessings upon the poor and woes to the wealthy (Lk 6:20‐27)? Catholics distinguish between the counsels of perfection for an elite. Jesus was crucified even for the way he ate and who he ate with. wealthy men like Joseph of Arimathea. But if Jesus did not condemn the material world as evil. with delight and compassion. like Jesus and the disciples. This opened them up to Jesus. Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. Liberation theologians working with the poor rightly question these two groups’ means of voiding Jesus' demands. chastity and obedience) and ordinary Christians in “secular” jobs with families to support. a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners’” (Luke 7:34 NRSV). an extravagant experience of God's abundance for all (Lk 18:28‐30). the best bet. 27). the best investment. “What does it profit them if they gain the whole world. His poverty is “not for us to imitate. However. heals blind eyes. but lose or forfeit themselves?” (Lk 9:25 NRSV). An alternative reading sees Jesus as the true human who fulfils the dominion mandate to rule creation. but no more than in any other area of life.
P. Edinburgh: T. Jesus called his followers to lives of redemptive sacrifice and celebrative delight. Market Capitalism and Christianity. Lewiston. The Viability of the Vocation Tradition in Trinitarian and Reformed Perspective.. Halteman. Lambert. 1997. 143‐44). W. G. and how the church has understood it. M. Princeton Theological Seminary. Bibliography Barth. Preece. Property and Riches in the Early Church. Grand Rapids: Baker.R.A.In sum. Preece. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Grand Rapids: Baker. In studying how this sense has travelled through the centuries. Malina. Batey. ed. Jesus and the Forgotten City.” Zadok Paper S76. (Schneider. K. On Moral Business. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. D. J.. F. 1995. G. London: Pocket Books. trans. Princeton Theological Seminary Ph. E. W. Diehl. dissertation ms. Hengel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Torrance. Bowden. Church Dogmatics III/4. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1976. G. M. This is the agenda for the next article I will present in Vocatio. ed. McCann. 1988. Stackhouse et al.” in On Moral Business. ed. we will lay a greater foundation of knowledge and insight from which to present a contemporary case for vocation in the workplace. “A Word to the Reader. 1998. Stackhouse. NY: Edwin Mellen. “Wealth and Poverty in the New Testament and its World. J. Available from UMI. Called to Business: Management as a Profession of Faith. especially Zacchaeus. God and Real Life..D.R. Perhaps the outer ring of followers. L. 1961.
. MI. R. is the best “type” for professional [and business] people . Bromiley and T. Ann Arbor.” Interpretation 41:4 (October 1987): 354‐66 and in M. Conclusion Probing the biblical text for its insights into wealth and business provides the first step toward recovering a sense of vocation. 1995. 1963. 1998. “Everyday Spirituality: Connecting Sunday and Monday. Clark. M. Huntington S.J. B. 1992.&T.
. The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence. ed. 105‐9. IL: InterVarsity Press. Godly Materialism: Rethinking Money and Possessions. J. Downers Grove. 1994. Stackhouse.L.. 1995. IL: InterVarsity Press. et al. On Moral Business: Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. J. M. Downers Grove.Sanders. Volf 1991. 1998 Schneider.
serve roles which people undertake in civic life or commercial enterprise. My church has never once offered to improve those skills which could make me a better minister. My friend William Diehl puts it this way in his earlier book. or commission to. nor has it ever asked if I needed any kind of support in what I was doing. But behind some of this occupational transition is not only the question. The subject is of some importance to Regent since a significant number of people come to Regent from business life but leave it and find their way into pastoral or parachurch ministry. Paul Stevens “The Christian Church has never found it easy to come to terms with the marketplace.” a call within the general call that all Christians have received. often. on the basis of what Calvin called “a secret call. By and large the church honours the call of the pastor and missionary but does not speak of.” Brian Griffiths xlv INTRODUCTION This subject is of great interest to me because I grew up in a business home where my father conducted himself in business as a company president as though this was a calling of God. Is business my calling? But is business anyone’s calling? This question is certainly important for the church. But he never spoke of it that way. xlvi ABSTRACT In this paper I will attempt to trace in broad brush strokes the rise and fall of vocation historically in the West ‐ the history of the church’s antipathy toward and occasional love‐affair
. my church has never once suggested that there be any type of accounting of my on‐the‐job ministry to others. A few go the other way. Christianity and Real Life when he was sales manager for Bethlehem Steel: In the almost thirty years of my professional career. I must conclude that my church really doesn’t have the least interest in whether or how I minister in my daily work. or whether I seek to communicate the faith to my co‐workers. There has never been an inquiry into the types of ethical decisions I must face. In fact he always verbalized that it would have been a better thing for him to have gone into pastoral ministry. In short. They do this. I have never been in a congregation where there was any type of public affirmation of a ministry in my career.IS BUSINESS A CALLING?
DOES SCRIPTURE WARRANT REGARDING ENGAGEMENT IN COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AS A PARTICULAR CALLING OF GOD? R.
lv and it is the best real hope of the poor of the world through their being raised rather than patronized. save all we can and give all we can. first textually and then theologically. services and philanthropy.” Additionally there are a few articles seeded in Max Stackhouse. transforming human life for the better or the worse. he is not sure that a world in which all were like John Wesley. there are chapters in the four Navpress volumes on Biblical Principles
. Finally I will ask what it all means. Though he speaks of business in “Reformational” language he is actually drawing on his Thomistic tradition by arguing that business is a virtuous activity. li it is able to build praiseworthy forms of community. because it brings satisfaction to people. And there is a rich resource on the doctrine of vocation or calling. And. I will not have dealt with the important question of how one would go about discerning a call to business. On Moral Business: Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life. he claims is a morally serious enterprise. xlix Business. THE LITERATURE The literature on business as a calling is sparse. liii it is a source of endless personal challenge. lvi This last point has been the most hotly contested not only by opponents of the World Trade Organization and the IMF but in the public press and thoughtful theologians. Francis. a cynic might argue. the market economy) and winner of the Templeton Prize. lviii With further regard to literature I note the unpublished but comprehensive paper on “Business as a Calling and Profession: Towards a Protestant Entrepreneurial Ethic” by Gordon Preece of Ridley College.with business as legitimate Christian vocation . And in due time we will refer to the seminal work by Max Weber. the title of a fine course taught by Craig Gay. xlvii Novak is arguably the leading Christian theologian of capitalism (or more accurately. There is a Ph D dissertation at Princeton Theological Seminary by Lake Lambert III on “Called to Business: Corporate Management as a Profession of Faith. as evidenced in the bibliography. through the new wealth generated. Then I will explore whether the Bible supports the idea of business as a calling. that it because it isn’t a calling! The most significant book in print is Michael Novak’s Business as a Calling. who preached that we should “gain all we can. especially in the Developing World. Perhaps. As Gilbert Meilander notes in his perceptive review of Novak’s book. of course. Novak defends business as a calling because people find an oughtness about it. and because it is a strategic way of serving our neighbours near and far. l it is a morally noble enterprise even though there are major patches of ambiguity. Melbourne. xlviii Put differently. presented at the international consultation on marketplace theology hosted by Rob Banks and myself in June 2001. additionally. lii it is creative. liv it enables people. And. Dennis McCann et al. There is a wealth of literature on Christianity and the economic order. to give back to society through goods. But there is very little on business itself as a calling.” lvii is as attractive as a world in which some are like Wesley and a few like St.
” lix But serious examinations of business as a calling in a biblical framework are few and far between.” lx It is important to distinguish the question of whether a Christian might work in business from she or he might be called into business. the fool of such lures. Eusebius (about AD 315). “The doctrine of vocation has fallen into desuetude for a number of reasons. stated in a classic way the great opposites of spirituality and materialism. even enfolded. “We need to see. To explore this we put the question of calling into a historical context.” lxiii While trades are needed for maintaining the fabric of this world (Ecclesiasticus 38:34) the scribe/philosopher has chosen the better way. lxi Plotinus. and say. If one were called that person would not only be permitted to work in business enterprise as an acceptable human occupation but actually summoned by God to this work to fulfill God’s will and purpose.” lxii Trade to Aristotle was essentially suspicious if not downright perverted. among them one written by J.) seems to have been alone in taking a positive view of entrepreneurship and capital. priest and pastor who reject ordinary work in the world. nun. lxiv By and large the two‐level regime was followed universally.” The Sage. and one who profoundly influenced Augustine and Western Christianity.D. Work itself was a curse and the citizens of Thebes were even forbidden to work! The influence of the Greek world which surrounded. “Anybody who does anything for pay is by nature not a truly free person. Most of the early church fathers took on this “upper and lower” approach to life: the higher for the monk. The central idea of calling (from the Latin vocatio or voco) is that for there to be a callee there must be a caller. THE RISE AND FALL OF CALLING The Greek World and the Middle Ages The Greek world had no concept of vocation. will wear away the “tyranny of the body…by inattention to its claims. and the lower for the person who works in the world.and Economics and Biblical Principles and Public Policy edited by Richard Chewning. and so apt to this world that he may rule the entire human race: still there can be no envying of him. leaving those who are considering business or those who eventually become business leaders without a critical resource to understand what they do and how they should do it. Clement of Alexandria (150‐215 A. Why? As Lake Lambert says. in contrast. “The pleasure demanded for the Sage’s life cannot be in the enjoyments of the licentious or in any gratifications of the body…. The obvious question is. Packer in which he says. that business life is as much a calling from God for some Christians as missionary service or pastoral ministry for others.Let the earth‐bound man be handsome and powerful and rich. the single most influential philosopher of the ancient world. put it this way:
.I. and that caller is God. the early church is well known.
lxv This became incarnated in the supremacy of medieval monasticism. at the same time. more humble. Ordinary Christians had no vocation. Karl Barth’s summary is apt: “According to the view prevalent at the height of the high Middle Ages [secular work] only existed to free for the work of their profession those who were totally and exclusively occupied in rendering true obedience for the salvation of each and all. In one of his Christmas sermons Luther said. The monk elected a superior way of discipleship – a self‐chosen path to follow the evangelical counsels. more human. lxviii Martin Luther It is well known that Luther’s radical universalizing of calling to all human occupations except that of the monk was a reaction against medieval monasticism and. But in the late Middle Ages German mysticism challenged the monastic monopoly on having an “inner voice” or “feeling God’s presence” and even Max Weber observed that Johannes Tauler held both spiritual and worldly callings as equal. to the world‐denying Anabaptism.Two ways of life were thus given by the law of Christ to His Church. one is called. child‐bearing. wholly and permanently separate from the common customary life of mankind. permits men to join in pure nuptials and to produce children.
. property nor the possession of wealth. and it is for them that times of retreat and instruction. but. devotes itself to service of God alone in its wealth of heavenly love!… Such then is the perfect form of the Christian life. And the other. As the historian Karl Holl notes.” lxvii This is not far from the contemporary idea that business people in the church are “walking cheque books” needed to support the pastor. “I should rather be one of the shepherds tending the flocks in the field than to be canonized by the Pope. The one is above nature. more secular interests as well as for religion. and beyond common human living. nun and priest had callings. And a kind of secondary grade of piety is attributed to them….” Luther urged people to accept the position in which they found themselves. God made them high and lowly. “The seizure of the title vocation by monasticism prevented for a long time in the West the development of a proper religious evaluation of secular occupations and made it possible for the word vocacio to become customary for them. The poor man at his gate. lxx He was addressing a fairly stable society represented by the children’s hymn: The rich man in his castle. it admits not marriage. and days of hearing sacred things are set apart.” lxvi The result was that by the fifteenth century only the monk. to give orders to soldiers fighting for right. lxix But it was based on a fundamental biblical truth. whereas the nature of Christian discipleship is that one does not elect. the way of Mary over and against the way of Martha. to undertake government.
usury. lxxvi The highest is pastor‐preacher.” Only if a station is inherently sinful should it be abandoned. right and honesty must perish. then teacher. that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community. monks and nuns. even as all the members of the body serve one another. All callings and estates sin daily. maid‐servant. probably without understanding what he was condemning: lxxviii This is why no one need ask how he may in good conscience be a member of a trading company. If the trading companies are to stay. ruler. superintendent. Lake Lambert finds him dismissive of Christian involvement in trading companies. the trading companies must perish. etc. know such a work is not good. certain offices in themselves are of greater significance than others. as they are at present.And ordered their estate. and scholars of the liberal arts. serve good and necessary purposes even though some of them may involve evil men and seemingly evil actions. Nevertheless there is debate about how medieval or modern was Luther’s attitude to business. citizen. Here is where Luther (and later Calvin) expounds on 1 Corinthians 7:17: “each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. then worldly government.” lxxiv Luther put it this way. a farmer. wife. bishops. cardinals. because divinely decreed. public women. judge.” lxxii Vocation is given “structure by God through ‘orders’ and ‘offices’ which. lxxix John Calvin
. lxxi In every station in life there are opportunities for service with absolutely no expectation of reward either from God or man. writer. if right and honesty are to stay. “When I speak of a calling which in itself is not sinful.” lxxiii Thus the Christian should remain in his station rather than try to escape it.…by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other. as for example. officer. Along with medieval theologians Luther saw usury as an important problem and this was a very hot theological topic until a hundred years ago. a smith. While Christians may with equal confidence hold the lowest and the highest offices. but I mean the calling God has instituted is not opposed to God.” lxxv Thus being a monk was not a calling and not good work. man‐servant. then below. and. the pope. physician. “If you find a work by which you serve God or His saints or yourself and not your neighbour. lxxvii And Luther was concerned about the emerging mercantile system. My only advice is this: Get out. priests. secretary. marriage. they will not change. who neither preach nor listen to preaching. “A cobbler. I mention as sinful stations in life: robbery. lord. I do not mean that we can live on earth without sin.
especially in business. noticed of course by Calvin’s followers whom Max Weber studied.Calvin’s teaching made calling closely related to predestination. “. with what fickleness it is borne hither and thither.. “Thus. Your election is confirmed through your vocation. lxxxii In particular Calvin read the parable of the talents (Matt 25) in the more literal sense of economic stewardship. that persons should not lightly leave their callings. lest there be confusion. And even more important: the religious valuation of restless continuous. he has named these various kinds of living “callings. . lending for production and enterprise with low rates of return [up to 5%] was acceptable. For he knows with what great restlessness human nature flames. lxxxiv Drawing on the Puritans and Deists like Benjamin Franklin. how its ambition longs to embrace various things at once. A passage in Calvin’s Institutes is illustrative: The Lord bids each of us in all life’s actions to look to his calling. while lending for consumption at interest (usury) was a crime akin to murder. lxxxvi
. Weber argued that Calvin’s view of the transcendence of God and his concept of predestination served to ratchet up the anxiety level of believers who were motivated to prove they were among the elect. lest through our stupidity and rashness everything be tuned topsy‐turvey. while for Calvin it is for the proper ordering of the world. all the Calvinist faithful’s ethical eggs were placed in the basket of his calling. Thus. They disagreed in that Luther said that God gives a vocation to encourage a life of loving service. and at the same time the surest and most evident proof of rebirth and genuine faith. . must have been the most powerful conceivable lever for the expansion of that attitude toward life which we have here called the spirit of capitalism. with the monastery door closed as the most direct way to prove one’s salvation. lxxx 2 Peter 1:3‐11 is a case in point: “Therefore brethren be the more zealous to confirm your call and election…. lxxxi Unlike Luther.” Therefore each individual has his own kind of living assigned to him by the Lord as a sort of sentry post so that he may not heedlessly wander about throughout life.so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom…” Calvin and Luther agreed that all are called. as the highest medium of asceticism. Therefore.” lxxxv The attainment of [wealth] as a fruit of labour in a calling was a sign of God’s blessing. he has appointed duties for every man in his particular way of life. believers were thrust into this‐worldly activity. lxxxiii Calvin’s influence on the Puritans and the capitalist spirit as observed by Max Weber is a matter I have considered elsewhere. that all stations enjoy divine approval.” says Weber. And that no one may thoughtlessly transgress his limits. Calvin recognized the burgeoning world of commerce as an arena of legitimate activity for a Christian and this had much to do with the direction vocation took in Reformed Protestantism. systematic work in a worldly calling. But.
says: The meanness of the calling does not debase the goodness of the work…for God looks not at the excellence of the work but the heart of the worker. while Weber was wrong about many things he was certainly right in saying that spiritual motivation is a critical factor in enterprise. xciii One’s particular calling was simply that person’s occupation. there is a difference betwixt washing dishes and preaching the Word of God. whose consummate work on calling is the epitome of Puritan reflection on the subject. Gianfranco Poggi puts it this way. namely to invoke the name of Jesus and become his disciple. whereas the best works for their kind (preaching. in his kind. are loaded with curses.” lxxxvii At the same time Calvinism. God loveth adverbs and careth not how good. and the individual into a ‘tensed‐up being’. undermined as it was by war and wealth. And the action of a shepherd shearing a sheep. xc Both the general and the particular are from God. could plausibly be said to have offered such an inspiration. The English Reformation and the Puritans This sense of universal calling continued in the English Reformation. relentlessly working that field in the pursuit of a dynamic design. William Perkins. xcii When the Puritan commonwealth collapsed after the English Civil War. there is no difference at all. is crowned with an ample reward. as Charles Handy has aptly observed.” lxxxix The Puritans divided calling into two parts. though it be but to plow or to dig. whether magistrate. complex (“it comprises a number of discrete points. the very thing necessary for capitalism to thrive.Now if we compare work with work. Poggi’s conclusion is apt: Weber’s argument is partial (addressing only a distinctive part of a large historical problem). pastor or business person. “Only a religious vision that turns worldly reality into a field of experimentation. the general call which comes to all. if done in obedience and conscious of God’s commandment. but as for pleasing God. connected by a correspondingly high number of steps or transitions”) and momentous. most important of all. the particular calling got separated from the general call and became secularized. but how well. self‐chosen and executed without an overarching commitment to faithfulness as a Christian called to
. Joseph Hall said: “The homeliness service that we do in an honest calling. homemaker. offering Evangelical sacrifices) if without respect of God’s injunctions and glory. And it is this which calling primarily addresses. lxxxviii And. xci And all particular callings are holy. is as good a work before God as is the action of a judge in giving sentence…or a minister in preaching…. and the particular calling which is one’s special contribution to serve God and the commonweal. praying. performed as I have said. espoused an asceticism of self‐denial and this meant that the fruits of entrepreneurial activity would be held back and reinvested.
“Calling” is reserved for those who are going into “full time ministry” (as though a part time option were available!). all too brief. Spokesman for the displaced souls of the twentieth century [and we could add. The Old Testament The first call in the Bible is the summons of God to Adam and Eve to find themselves (“Where are you?” – Gen 3:9). certain aspects of Protestant theology. c Humankind is called to develop the potential of creation and to cultivate the world. Earlier in Genesis. as Lambert summarizes. Thus co‐creation and procreation. God mandates the man and woman to rule and have dominion over the rest of creation and to take care of it (Gen 1:28. This involves everything from agriculture to genetic engineering. without using explicit “call” language. and its English equivalent. we turn to the Scripture. ‘calling. Further. “While Luther and Calvin sacralized the secular by liberating vocation from the monastery. a path normally chosen for personal fulfillment rather than the public good. 2:15). uncertainty. may have inwittingly contributed to the secularization of calling. notably post‐ Calvinism. built for community. the twenty‐ first] is Franz Kafta. “Vocation” is now identified with career. Probably it is the very forgetting that gives rise to a certain melancholy. indeed he has actually forgotten what he once represented. to bless the land and to bless all the
. unrest. xcviii find the church unsupportive except for financial contributions business people can make to the church budget. darkening the present. xciv As Weber has pointed out.” xcv Calling in a Post‐Vocational Era xcvi The current situation in the Western world is not hard to read.discipleship. The term ‘vocation’ now has only traces of a religious meaning. To this end Abraham was called (Isa 51:2) to be blessed himself.” xcix IS “BUSINESS AS A CALLING” WARRANTED IN THE TEXT? From the historical survey. from hedge‐clipping to business enterprise. a certain longing for vanished ages. stewardship and community‐building are fundamental to the human vocation. humankind was created male and female in God’s image. and told to be fruitful and multiply. Thus. asking once again whether call language in the Bible is used for business enterprise. Calling has been secularized in the world and clericalized in the church.’ has been largely exiled to an ecclesiastical ghetto. xcvii Business people like my friend William Diehl whose main service to God is outside the gathered life of the church. Kafta pictures us as makers of the tower of Babel attempting to scale heaven but cutting ourselves off from God and creating self‐enclosed structures of purely human meaning. As Kafta describes the person this way: “He no longer has even his old vocation. their later followers secularized the holy.
to live holy lives and to serve God’s purposes in the world. 10:1‐4. 6:29. 10:37ff. God gave an inviting and compelling summons to some for the sake of the whole. Luke 5:1‐11). As with qahal. See also 9:4. The root of ekklesia is the noun klesis. Mark 1:16‐20. The apostolos of the gospels was the shaliach or fully appointed agent of the Hebrew community – sent to act with full legal authority.” ci As we turn to the New Testament there is continuity with the Old Testament: the people as a whole are called (as before). to belong to God. In John the vocation of Jesus is expressed in terms of work. The Call of Jesus Jesus was called (Luke 4:18‐19): “The Spirit of God is on me…anointed me to preach good news to the poor…[and] sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. ecclesia is a people summoned by God for a unique purpose ‐ witness. meaning the call or the calling. “God raises up the prophets to give vocational guidance to his people in the hope that Israel may fulfil her destiny. out of the people as a whole some individuals were called to special functions: the patriarchs. While Abraham was one person he was to be the prototype of a royal priesthood that would represent God’s interests on earth (Exod 19:6). “It is assumed throughout the Gospel that the author and his readers belong within the same chain.nations.” The people were the kahal – the assembly – those called. priests and princes.” cii The Call of the Disciples In the Synoptics the men called by Jesus were first called “learners” (disciples) but after a decisive moment of sending them out on a preaching mission they were called “apostles” (Matt 9:9‐13. continuing the sequence of glory. knowledge. While the “average” Israelite did not have a personal “call” (except as part of the whole). love. Paul Minear notes.) There is a one to one correspondence between the works of God and those of Jesus. Generally in the Old Testament the people as a whole were called of God. The New Testament word which gives the apostolic calling significance is the word “authority” – over unclean spirits. John uses “disciple” throughout. The Son does greater works (5:19ff) and the disciples do greater works. 5:19ff: 10:25ff.” This suggests that there is calling within the Triune God. and of being sent and doing the same works. as witnessed in Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son. But there is also discontinuity: now each and every person in the people is a called person. Donald Heiges says. 17:4. It starts with Jesus. But. In an MCS thesis for Regent David Falk
. 5:36. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me. prophets. In John’s gospel “send” is used 32 times of sending within God and by God. and to accomplish his work” (Jn 4:34. I have surveyed the many instances of “call” in the Old Testament in chapter four of The Other Six Days.
examines the critical question whether the call of the disciples in the Synoptic gospels functions paradigmatically for leaders of the church today. Calvin took this approach. “The ministers of the Word ought, in a particular manner, to be directed by this example, to lay aside all other occupations, and to devote themselves unreservedly to the Church, to which they are appointed.” ciii In contrast Falk argues, These first four disciples [Matt 4:17‐22] participated in an historical event never to be repeated, and demonstrated metaphorically the meaning of total allegiance to Jesus….Therefore, using this periscope to legitimize a ‘call to the Ministry’ as many pastoral theologians do violates the literary purposes of the Evangelist. Instead, Matthew calls everyone to follow Jesus with the same commitment the disciples exemplify. civ This interpretation is implicit in Whittier’s hymn: In simple trust, like theirs who heard Beside the Syrian sea, the gracious calling of the Lord, Let us, like them, without a word, Rise up, and follow Thee. The Call of the Church and Paul in the Acts cv When we come to the call of Paul we have a particular problem. Many support the “call” to professional ministry either on the basis of the Older Covenant witness to the calling of prophets (prior to the universal call of all under the Newer Covenant) or they support it on the basis of the call of the apostle Paul. But Paul never uses his call, narrated over and again in Acts, as a paradigm for the call to church leadership. Paul is called to be an apostle (Rom 1:1‐7) but there are two parts to his call, one repeatable and the other unique. The first (repeatable) is the call to conversion – the call which comes to all Christians – and then (unique) there is a commission to be an apostle to the Gentiles, a call unique to Paul cvi Again, Calvin, commenting on 1 Corinthians 1:1 uses Paul’s second call as a model for the pastoral call: “But two things are required in anyone who would be heard in the Church and occupy the position of a teacher; he must be called by God to that office, and be faithful in carrying out its duties.” cvii In contrast with Luther, who argued that the call to pastoral leadership comes from the church, a mediated call, cviii not directly from God, Calvin spoke of a “secret call” known only to the person so called to the ministry of Word and sacrament. cix In so doing Calvin effectively transferred language previously used for the priesthood in the Roman Catholic system, to the minister of Word and sacrament, leading in result to a two‐level calling: higher for the “doctors and ministers of the church” and lower for others. cx Tragically, in my view, the evangelical church has gone generally with Calvin rather than Luther on this matter.
The Call of Believers in the Letters of Paul The primary sense in which Paul uses “call” language is the call into fellowship with his son (1 Cor 1:7). The call is primarily soteriological. Paul refers to the members of the church as “called saints” (1 Cor 1:2) – chosen ones and beloved (Col 3:20). In his ground‐breaking work, Toward a Theology of the Laity, Hendrik Kraemer says, “All members of the ekklesia have in principle the same calling.” cxi We are also called into holiness (1 Thess 4:7), to freedom (Gal 5:13), called to hope (Eph 1:18; 4:4), called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18‐9), called “according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28) – that we would become conformed into the image of his son (8:29). Thus calling involves belonging to God (a relationship), being (a way of life) and doing (serving God and God’s purposes). Before we are called to do something we are called to Someone. 1 Corinthians 7:17‐24 is a critical passage in the question of whether God calls to a specific occupation including, of course, business. The NIV offers a nuanced difference between verse 17 (“the place in life…to which God has called him”) and verse 20 (“remain in the situation which he was in when God called him”), suggesting that the call is both to a place (v. 17) and that the place is the location for receiving a larger call (v. 20).This apparent distinction seems not to be supported by the original language. cxii Verse 20, however, is a critical verse for the Reformation doctrine that each person is called, some to be magistrates and some to be scholars. “Every one should remain in the state [klesei] in which he was called [eklethe].” Luther translated klesei as Ruf and eklethe as berufen ist. Commenting on the crucial implications of this for the Reformation, Heiges says, “For all practical purposes Luther uses vocation (Beruf) to cover both calling into the church and calling into a station.” cxiii Gustaf Wingren notes that non‐ Christians have a station (Stand) and office (Amt or Stelle) but only Christians have a Beruf or vocatio. “Beruf is the Christ’s earthly or spiritual work.” cxiv Both Luther and Calvin leaned heavily on this verse to argue for a worldly calling, as did the Puritans later. But the point Paul is making is that change, which the Corinthians wanted, whether in marriage, ethnicity or social‐economic, is not spiritually significant. Christ sanctifies the place they were in when he called them. Gordon Fee interprets this way: “Under the theme of ‘call’ Paul seeks to put their ‘spirituality’ into a radically different perspective. They should remain in whatever social setting they were at the time of their call since God’s call to be in Christ (cf. 1.9) transcends such settings so as to make them essentially irrelevant….Thus one is no better off in one condition than in the other.” cxv This is in contrast to the way the Reformers interpreted this verse. On this point Paul Marshall observes, “The interpretation of calling as ‘external conditions’ would mean that Paul was using klesis in a sense nowhere else in the New Testament. Indeed, it would be a usage without parallel in the Greek of the period. He would have to be coining a new term….This means that the Bible does not contain a notion of vocation or calling in one of the sense in which these terms were used in Reformational theology.” cxvi
That being said, 1 Corinthians 15:58 (“your labor in the Lord is not in vain”) means that each person’s achievements will be taken up into the new order. Their own activity is not just his activity but carried on “in demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Cor 2:4‐5). So rather than setting up a dichotomy of sacred and secular work Paul sees all directed to the new life in Christ and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. In his study of human achievement and vocation in Paul’s writing, W. A. Beardslee shows how the divine call may use and fulfil the human striving for achievement which can only be frustrated unless it becomes a response to God’s call: “In his view of work, obedience to Christ is the only factor that gives work any enduring or ultimate meaning, and this obedience, specified by the figure of Christ himself, has the content of self‐denying love and is oriented toward the confrontation of God and toward the vision of a society of men freely giving of themselves to each other….The old work takes on a new significance. Since it is informed by a new Spirit, it is seen in an entirely new structure, and it can serve concrete ends in the new community. Paul opposes the tendency to set up specific patterns of ‘Christian’ work. Instead he insists that only as man’s activities are authentically directed toward the distinctive goals of Christ are they real work, and if they are so directed, many of the traditional activities can be taken up into the new pattern of obedience.” cxvii Summarizing, we do not find a textual basis for speaking of business as a calling. There is not a single instance of a person in the New Testament being called into a societal occupation by an existential encounter with God ‐ not Paul the tentmaker, not Lydia the textile merchant and not Peter the fisherman. Nor is there a single instance of a person being called to be a religious professional ‐ not Timothy, not Barnabas, and not Priscilla. Nevertheless, Scripture witnesses to people being led into positions of societal service where they could make a difference without a supernatural call: Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel, Esther, Priscilla and Aquila. Further the only person in the Old Testament of whom it is definitively said that he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” was the craftsman Bezalel (Exod 31:1‐5). The Bible shows us God as a vocational director but not a director who, apparently or normally calls people to service in various occupations just as God called people like Amos and Elijah to serve as prophets, or Paul as an apostle. God may, of course, exceptionally give an existential call to persons for any specific service. IS THERE A BIBLICAL THEOLOGICAL BASIS? While our textual study does not lead to a positive conclusion I intend to show, in contrast, that biblical theology does. And this is demonstrated primarily with the doctrine of creation, and secondarily with the doctrines of salvation and end times. The story of vocation has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Of the beginning we ask: “What were God’s basic intentions before the foundation of the world? What disturbances since then
” We are created in community to build community. human beings are social beings. providing a relational context for ministry often deeper than the local church or the neighbourhood. cxix What work is worthwhile? What work will last? And how shall we then live? The Business Side of Creation Kenneth Kantzer argues that “being in business is itself a divine call. now partially redeemed. “a praiseworthy form of community. as Michael Novak rightly asserts. never intended to live alone. business is. therefore. Jubal – the father of those who play the harp and flute – implying culture Tubal‐Cain – who forged all kinds of tools of bronze and iron – implying crafts (Gen 4:20‐22). interdependent and. But neither can one say that God is not glorified and creation is not served and developed by trade and the development of goods and services.” cxxi Within the context of a good creation (including the principalities and powers). necessarily dependent on exchange.” notes Novak.” cxx He insists that Scripture speaks of the conduct of business not in a direct textual way but as a corollary of the creation ordinance. as Minear does.have distorted these intentions? What have been the long‐term effects of those disturbances upon the present human situation?” cxviii How does business fit with this? In the middle we note. the three crucifixions – Christ. Exchange is built into our very nature. we are specialized (each person is in one sense unique). “By creation. Business and commerce are implicit in the creation mandate ‐ subduing and caring for creation. Because of our social nature. self and the world. “From its very beginnings. To say that business will always be good work is saying more than we can in this fallen and partially redeemed world. And this is business.” The corporation is a community – literally a company is “com” – “pani” (shared bread) – a community of shared life and enterprise.
. This seems apparent from the list of occupations of the descendents of Cain: Jabal – the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock – implying commerce. Of the end we must ask what final goal God has for creation and creature and what must we do and be as we anticipate that End. the unity and unifying of all and the call to be agents of reconciliation. There must be congruence between the beginning and the end. the miracle of the new humanity. once corrupted by sin and Satan. There is the overpowering of the powers. “Male and female he created them. and into which God calls his people to serve cxxii we may speak of the human vocation and business as a calling in three senses: First. to embellish and enhance human life and to glorify God in so doing. business is a legitimate part of undertaking the stewardship of creation to humanize the earth. Second.
and the development of creation) sought “to restore a measure of conformity to the original economic purposes of God in creation. We are to do so in an environmentally responsible way as this is what being stewards implies – a matter with which business has a tarnished record. coffee or telephones.“the modern business economy was designed to become an international system. But business also is a partial expression of God’s call to participate in the work of redemption. And in a continuing act of divine condescension God invites us to join with him in God’s own work. It was by no means focused solely on the wealth of particular individuals.” cxxiii Whether pencils or automobiles.” cxxiv Reflecting on Col 1:15‐20 and Romans 8:29‐23 Paul Marshall says “the scope of redemption in Christ is the same as the scope of creation. cxxviii Business can be an agent of the kingdom of God bringing in some measure shalom to people and to nations. social way. and is. we are in fact co‐workers (though not of course as equal partners) with God in the continuing work of creation. seeking to solve problems of economic life and thereby to serve humanity. superior to it. God is as creative today as God was when the universe was first being made. Biblically we should speak of a single mission rather than prioritizing evangelism and social action/stewardship of creation.
. in announcing his ministry in terms of the Jubilee (Luke 4:18. The Business Side of Redemption In the same way the doctrine of redemption points in the direction of a this‐worldly and whole‐ person mission. to exercise responsible stewardship of creation and to engage in spiritual warfare against Satan’s dark kingdom.” cxxv It started with God’s work under the Old Testament. to show love and compassion. concerned with raising the “wealth of nations. God’s redemptive purpose through Israel (which includes the stewardship of the land. While some will shrink from using the word co‐creativity for our engagement with God in the work of creation. We know from Leviticus 25 that this involves even economic shalom. Lev 25). Philip J. “attending to business matters practically and creatively. most goods cannot be created through the work of an isolated individual and require cooperation of several. towards a common goal.” all nations. can surely be a worthy ministry for may Christians to undertake. business being a small part of that. Wogaman says.” cxxvii Turning to the New Testament we discover that Jesus. in a systematic. All human work that embodies Kingdom values and serves Kingdom goals can be rightly termed as Kingdom ministry. preferring to speak of sub‐creativity.” cxxvi The failure to see the unity of the testaments (OT/NT) has contributed to the erroneous view that “the New Testament is more ‘spiritual’ than the Old. As agents of the Kingdom the people of God are to proclaim the Word of God. because of this. often many. declared the full extent of his Kingdom ministry – to make people fully human and to humanize the earth. economic laws. Gospel work and so‐called “secular work” are actually interdependent.
far surpassing the openings created by parachuting into a new neighbourhood in door‐ to‐door visitation or short‐term missions. to the honour of the Lord your God. business is one way in which we are called. business is a consummate context for witness. a relational context (usually we are working with people eight hours a day).” The human race is one. As R. with Abraham and his seed. when criticized for plying his trade. life‐purpose. ethical and existential issues in the marketplace (openings for the Gospel and pastoral care ‐ identity. And business is a mission field. 2 Tim 3:10). Hock has indicated in his study of Paul’s tentmaking. He drew on the text in Isaiah 60:9: “Surely the islands look to me. shows forth as a material sign the “mystical body of Christ. Every Christian called to declare the wonderful deeds of God (1 Pet 2:9‐10). is the material bond among peoples that exhibits. not as a tower of Babel but perichoetically. since education is essentially an imitation process and students become “like” their teachers (Luke 6:40)? Or what cultural transformation that would come if every local church were to commission her servants in the marketplace? Second. with their silver and gold. so much so that. credibility. proximity to people in times of crisis and life‐centredness. far from being at the periphery of his life “Paul’s tentmaking was actually central to [his life]…and “his trade was taken up into his apostolic self‐understanding. Opportunities abound for relational evangelism in which a person may hear the Gospel not only be word but in the lived‐out behaviour of the witness. the unity of the human race – or. bringing your sons from afar. relationality. priorities.” cxxx The reasons for thinking that the marketplace is a key mission field are so obvious that one could only think that an enemy has blinded our eyes to the possibilities: access (professional missionaries cannot enter most workplaces). he came to understand himself as the apostle who offered the message free of charge. as if symbolically. success and failure). The
. John Chrysostom. through bearing the cost and through taking the blame.F. Novak addresses this eloquently: Commerce. as he dared to put it in mystical language. as several of the Eastern fathers of the Catholic church wrote. in the lead are the ships of Tarshish. to bless the nations and to build unity interculturally and internationally. cxxxii What would happen if every theological student preparing for pastoral ministry were to spend a semester in the workplace listening and learning how to empower people for full‐time service in the marketplace? What gain could be made in modelling if every theological faculty included people who modelled full‐time ministry in the world. for he has endowed you [Zion] with splendour.First. through the creation of new beginnings.” cxxxi In his fine study of business theology Richard Higginson suggests that we enter into the Lord’s redemptive work in a quasi‐redemptive manner through humble service. In this context note Paul’s emphasis on “my way of life” (1 Cor 4:17. cxxix William Carey envisioned the gospel going into all the world through the means of international trade. notably St. the Holy One of Israel.
however. and a temptation. that Americana and Europeans spend 17 billion dollars a year on pet food. business can have a redemptive purpose in alleviating poverty. And that is one of the noblest callings inherent in business activities: to raise up the poor. Globalization of business holds. It is in the context of secular affairs that the mighty power released into the world through the work of Christ is to be manifested. business activity in the creation of wealth points to the end when the kings of the earth come marching in (Isa 60:3. people are better off today than they were because of enterprise. Psa 73:12‐13). as we have already seen. Michael Novak has probably overstated the case: “Business is. Integra (Eastern Europe) and Opportunities International are stunning illustrations of the redemptive value of work in business. and inventors and originators needs to create new industries.international commerce that shows forth the interdependence of all parts of the human body knits the peoples of the world together by the silken threads of a seamless garment. “It is in the ordinary secular business of the world that the sacrifices of love and obedience are offered to God.” cxl But is there a business side of the ultimate end of it all? The Business Side of the Eschaton First. however. that the richest 20% of the world’s people consume 86% of all goods and services. the poor need jobs. and enhancing human existence. cxxxvi The September 27 issue of the New York Times noted that the three richest people in the world have more than the GNP of the 48 poorest countries. and that Americans spend 8 billion a year on cosmetics.” cxxxv This point is particularly difficult to make in the context of a world where the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. prospective employees need to find employers. And globalization has been more the homogenization of culture rather than a rich unity through diversity ‐Unitarian rather than Trinitarian. and commerce is a sign of human solidarity all too often. the seamless garment is a Western one. In the Bible wealth is a blessing. cxxxiii While it is true that we eat our breakfasts from all around the world. cxli Jacques Ellul speaks of the “scandal of wealth” since God gives it indiscriminately. Wealth creation is not evil as some preachers have asserted. Wealth is not only
. even though huge discrepancies exist.” cxxxix The work of MEDA. a sacrament.3 % of all goods and services. creating new wealth. his being 4 billion more than what is needed to provide basic health care and nutrition for everyone in the world. bar none. the best hope of the poor. Rev 21:24‐26). Lesslie Newbigin asserts. cxxxiv Third. cxxxvii Generally. sometimes even to the wicked (Job 21:7‐21. It is part of bringing shalom to people and the world as Brian Griffith ably shows in his The Creation of Wealth. that the poorest 20% consume 1. cxxxviii But Novak is right: “to rise out of poverty. both promise and peril. 2 billion more than needed to provide basic education for everyone in the world.
may last and contribute to the new heaven and the new earth: (1) There is continuity between this life and the next ‐ the new Jerusalem is related to this world – a city. this
.Vocation is a communal movement from Christ’s coming to Christ’s coming….” cxliv The doctrine of the last judgement means that we are accountable for our use of talents and the stewardship of our lives (Matt 25:14‐30). Typically the church has taught that only soul work lasts. According to Ephesians 4:1‐16. (8)1 Corinthians 3:10‐ 15 indicates that our work will be tested by fire and may even survive! (9) Romans 8:19‐22 proclaims that the earth groans and waits for liberation from bondage. (3) the glory and honour of the nations is found in the Holy City (21:26). including business enterprise. this communal vocation provides the vantage point from which one can comprehend virtually every basic Christian conviction…. cxliii Moltmann refers to eschatology as the “doctrine of the return to the pristine beginning” through which God will achieve His purpose for creation in “’the new creation of all things’ and [in] the universal indwelling of God in that creation. It points to the final consummation when our wealth will be taken into the Holy City. even business activity may last and find its place. Such a vocation has the power to redefine the meaning of life for each disciple…. The resurrection of the body as the Christian’s future means that “our labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58). The question of what work lasts is a vital one. “the continuity or discontinuity between the present and future orders is the key issues in developing a theology of work. (4) the Old Testament prophesies that during the reign of the Messiah we will not cease to work: “my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands” (Isa 65:21‐22). resultful and significant.” Paul Minear speaks of calling as being a movement from Christ’s first coming to Christ’s second coming: Christian vocation comprises a calling and sending by the living Christ whose presence is manifested both in inner compulsions and in outer tasks. Judgement and accountability mean that our work and lives are meaningful. the land (Rev 21‐22): (2) the kings of the earth bring their glories into the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:24). purged of sin.a free gift of God in this life.There is only one calling and only one hope that motivates that calling. t’will soon be past. (5) the resurrected body of Jesus bore scars from this life – but these scars were transfigured (John 20:27). in the new heaven and the new earth. Only what’s done for Christ will last. (6) in the final judgement Jesus declares that he personally received even humble acts of service in our everyday life (Matt 25:31‐46). cxlv As Miroslav Volf notes. cxlii Second.” cxlvi There are ten biblical reasons why we can expect that some of our work in non‐gospel activity. (7) the fire of judgement (2 Pet 3:7) does not mean annihilation but transformation for “in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13). “Only one life.
T. A. Marks. cxlvii Miroslav Volf wisely cautions that while God will somehow include our efforts in the new creation. H. 1961). Ray S.A. Rather.’” cxlviii Along the same lines and with consummate wisdom Lesslie Newbigin says: We can commit ourselves without reserve to all the secular work our shared humanity requires of us. Minding God’s Business (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Anderson. trans. 1961). and yet knowing that as we offer it up to the Father in the name of Christ and in the power of the Spirit. Beardslee. knowing that everything – from our most secret prayers to our most public political acts – is part of that sin‐stained human nature that must go down into the valley of death and judgement. In conclusion I return to the perceptive comment by Gilbert Meilander in his review of Novak’s book. Parker.A. T.L. No 2 (Spring 1984): 131‐140. namely that he is not sure he would want to live in a world in which all were John Wesleys gaining all they can (translated as a world composed of all business people). Vol IV.’ in Church Dogmatics. he asserts. knowing that nothing we do in itself is good enough to form part of that city’s building. BIBLIOGRAPHY Louis T.being associated with the revelation of the sons of God. Knight. Human Achievement and Divine Vocation in the Message of Paul (London: SCM Press. vol 3. W. (10) Revelation 14:13d indicates that the deeds of the Christians will follow them ”the indelible imprint” of their work on their lives (Volf). Kennedy. and not excluding the calling to business. and J. H. Karl Barth. But not for everyone. cxlix Is business a calling? Yes. including.” Word and World. he would want to be in a world with some like Wesley and some like St. it is safe with him and – purged in fire – it will find its place in the holy city at the end. we must not imagine that the “results of human work should or could create and replace ‘heaven. For the persons so engaged and so called business and economic enterprise can be purposeful and one way of serving God and God’s kingdom in full time ministry. 1986).H. Almen. “Vocation in a Post‐Vocational Age. Mackay. Francis. part 4:595‐647 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark. But this merely underscores the gift that each calling of God is to the commonwealth. ‘Vocation.
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ii. The Community of the King (Downers Grove. Ed.
. Ill. Living as the People of God: The Relevance of Old Testament Ethics (Leicester: Inter‐Varsity Press." Novum Testamentum 11. p. cit. cit. 131. H. Ibid. Vol 1. For a detailed analysis of the options for interpreting basileion see Ernest Best. the primary meaning of Jesus' statement about the coming of the Son of Man is to his own enthronement at the inauguration of his kingdom rather than its completion at the time of his second coming. Chewning. 235. ix. Max Weber. 1958). 29. 1993). 75-84." Phila. Alan M.: 1990). Christopher J. Thus France proposes we view the coming of kingdom as a process rather than a simple event. viii. iii. The Gospel of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Divine Government: God's Kingship in the Gospel of Mark (London: S.. Philip J. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (Fall 1987).K. Talcott Parsons (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. and the New Creation: Toward a Pneumatological Understanding of Work..cit. R.: InterVarsity Press. 37‐50. NOTES ON BEING KINGDOM PEOPLE
i. ii. quoted in Fisher. 1990).” in Richard C. vi. _____________. 1991). "Christian Liberty. “Christian Faith and Personal Holiness. op. p.T. ed. France. op. 15. trans.. “Human Work. 1998).. 1977). History and Eschatology. Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work (New York: Oxford University Press. 270-293... The Presence of the Kingdom (New York: Seabury Press. ). 1967). Robert A.Miroslav Volf. Ibid. No. Jacques Ellul. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 25.. Wright. quoted in George Eldon Ladd. Wauzzinski. 42.C. vii. 4 (1969). France. Biblical Principles and Business: The Foundations (Colorado Springs: Navpress. 1979). v. 120. Howard Snyder. Divine Spirit. Wogaman. 298. Between God and Gold: Protestant Evangelicalism and the Industrial Revolution 1820‐1914 (Rutherford: Furleigh Dickinson University Press.P. 103-104. Stibbs.T. op. France. The First Epistle General of Peter (Tyndale. R. France masterfully analyses Jesus' use of the "son of man" language in the gospel of Mark and concludes that while there is not a complete divorce of enthronement and parousia language in relation to Daniel 7. 12-13. pp. 232. 175 (173‐193).
x. iv. 12. "1 Peter 2:4-10--A Reconstruction.
The First Epistle to the Corinthians. 30. 200.. F.. 3767.7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.: Winston Press. 104. Converting Nine to Five: A Spirituality of Daily Work (New York: Crossroads. xxix. 143...Louis: Concordia. xviii. Quoted in Ibid.. "Christian Liberty. and St. The Fabric of This World. John W. l989). The New International Commentary on the New Testament. 232. l957). 31. Paul Stevens.
xi. published in Seven Days of Faith (Navpress). Science 155. trans. xxv. Jacque Ellul.S. Fee. HOPE AND LOVE
R. 298. Rasmussen trans. xv. ii. cit.viii.. cit. no. 1956-75. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row. 235.. xix. Lewis. Luther on Vocation. xxviii." Phila. 2000). Carl C. xxxi. 1967). cit. iv.
NOTES A DAY AT WORK: FAITH..p. 1203-1207. Humpty Dumpty and Us (Minneapolis. xiv. xiii. 242. Craig Bartholomew (Toronto: Tuppence Press. xii.F. 294-295. Aristotle. "A Parable of the Wicked Mammon. Lee Hardy. xxiii. March 10. Most of the foregoing appeared first as an article in The Regent World (May 1990). Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. op. Jesus Rediscovered. (St. Lynn White. Bruce (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. eds. Vol. The Presence of the Kingdom (New York: Seabury Press. l987).. xxii..9. Luther's Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. xvi. 98.." (l527) in Treatises and Portions of Holy Scripture (Cambridge: Parker Society. xxvi. quoted in Fisher. 136. Quoted in Matthew Fox.. Nichomachean Ethics. op. xx. Check for original reference . 13. See his discussion of the Reformers refusal to address the hierarchical/institutional view of the church of their day on p. Malcolm Muggeridge.p. xxvii. 106. I. A Spirituality Named Compassion and the Healing of the Global Village.. Gustaf Wingren. 30. l848).p.. Leslie Newbigin. ed. quoted in Snyder. “Christian Workers Unite!” in In the Fields of the Lord: A Calvin Seerveld Reader. and was later published in Marketplace (January 1992). Mn. 45. pp. xxiv.footnote 3 in Fox preface.. 70. 1954). Calvin Seerveld. Ed. xxi.. ed. C. Politics.p. xvii. Ibid.. Gordon D. Newbigin. .
. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. Life Together... op. l967. Lehman. Ibid. 41. l979). Honest Religion for Secular Man. William Tyndale. X. xxx.. John Haughey. 321-322.
however. Byron. Arguably the only two prohibited occupations in Paul's letters are prostitution and extortion (1 Cor 6:9-10). a list which by the time of the puritans included such things as fashion design. xl. "Treatise on Good Works. Byron. Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life (New York: The Free Press. xxxvii. xxv. some dangers. Christianity and Real Life (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Gibson Winter. and fits the post-modern cultural framework of the day with its ecological-mystical reformulation of religious traditions. 1976).. Matthew Fox. Joe Holland. The Fabric of This World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. in Walter Hilton. Though the idea of co-creativity has been co-opted by such authors as Teilhard de Chardin.. 1991). Margaret Kohl (San Francisco: Harper & Row.. Luther's Works. S. xxxv. William J. 104. and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (or burned up). When soldiers came to John the Baptist he did not tell them to leave the military but to be content with their wages. The Creation of Wealth (London: Hodder and Stoughton. S. David L. 18-20. 1996). 1990). It was not long. “Business:
." (2 Pet 3:10) is not the total annihilation of the cosmos but the purifying of the created order as ore in a smelter... But he makes the important point that "Jesus's gospel speaks to the work process not because he grew up in a carpenter's family but because he proclaims a new creation. xxxiii. Thomas Nelson. v-vi. before the church started to develop a list. UK: Paternoster Press. William E. Quoted in Expositors Greek Testament on Col 1. The Trinity and the Kingdom. pp. 1984). 1999). the elements will be destroyed by fire. One Christian author. xlii. The Genius of Willie MacMichael (Wheaton: Victor Books. Jurgen Moltmann. Chalene Spretnak. Creation and Covenant (Nashville. xxxvi. who draws on character as “the internal source of external behavior” and cites the virtues of compassion. Vol 44 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press.. George Macdonald. 48. Toward a Perfect Love. 32 xxxix. Lambert notes that a similar approach is made by William J. Haughey. Martin Luther.A. 58. Cumbria. Diehl. Remarkably the Bible does not give us a list of unacceptable occupations. xxxiv. however. 38. 9. seems to lose sight of the Biblical perspectives of the transcendence and immanence of God. 26-27. Lambert..J. Work and Ministry in a Biblical Perspective (Carlisle. The Abolition of the Laity: Vocation. 1966). James Atkinson. trans." Joe Holland. 1987).. Brain Swimme and Thomas Berry. xlviii Virtue in general is a prominent theme in Catholic moral theology. cit. Jesus welcomed the tax collector and even with his extraordinary sign of repentance. xxxviii. See chapter four in Stevens. ed. 1984).. The medieval definition of "sloth" as one of the seven deadly sins was "too much" as well as "too little" work! xliv. trans. xliii. There are. xlvii Michael Novak. cit. xli. It is possible that the meaning of "The heavens will disappear with a roar.
NOTES: IS BUSINESS A CALLING?
Brian Griffiths.trans. Jeffrey. op. op. it would be tragic to label all thoughts of co-creativity as "New Age" or "post-modernism". Lee Hardy." W. Creative Communion: Toward a Spirituality of Work (New York: Paulist Press. William J. Dumbrell. humility and trustworthiness as virtues needed in business. and comes dangerously close to deifying human creativity and diminishing God's. did not tell him to get an honourable job. 1989).
‘Vocation. Brill. 53. p.
. Vol XXIV. 20.” Lake Lambert III. 1995). liv Novak. Novak. p. p.
Klaus Bochmuehl.A. No 3 (September 1988): pp.J. 90. p. Christian Vocation (New York: Scribner’s 1953). et al. pp.” Crux. 136. June 2001). xlix This is a point well developed in the review by Lisa Klein Surdyk in Christian Scholar’s Review. Chewning. A. Talcott Parsons (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. p.
B. 1996). p. pp.
The German word Beruf may have been generally used to describe someone’s status or profession in society but Luther was almost certainly the first to use the Latin word vocatio in this way.
Heiges. PA: Villanova University Press. Parker. vol 10 (Minneapolis: Lutherans in All Lands Company. lxxii Works of Martin Luther. II. O. Gordon. p.” in The Professions in Ethical Context. 1996). Heiges. lix J. Quoted in Max Stackhouse et al.” Christian Century (December 4. 212. quoted in Donald R. Lambert wonders “why we should listen to Aristotle on the subject of virtue when we must ignore is comments on money and trade. 69 (“An Open Letter to the Nobility”). 37. quoted in Heiges. “The Christian’s Purpose in Business. Novak. 27. The Economic Problem in Biblical and Patristic Thought (Leiden: E.. 1989). A Kind of Life.
Howard C. 125ff. quoted in Preece 2001. Kennedy. pp. On Moral Business: Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. lxiii Quoted in Gordon Preece. Shroyer. “Church Postils. H.’” Review and Expositor. 3. 15. 22. Philadelphia Edition. 1962). 30‐1.T. 194-7. trans by William Hazlitt (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society. Marks. Forrester. lvi Novak. “Called to Business: Corporate Management as a Profession of Faith. 53. T. 447. The Christian’s Calling (Philadelphia: United Lutheran Church in America. 1961). 36. p. p. H. p. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. liii Novak. p. Packer.
lii lxi li
See Lee Hardy. “The Use of Money. 8. p. 130. and J. p. 50-1. pp. italics mine.’ in Church Dogmatics. The Fabric of This World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. eds. Vol 55 (1958). 8.A. 1997. Eigo. 1986). 36.” (PhD Dissertation. 14. trans.” in The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther.
A Vocation to Justice and Love. “Recovering Vocation Today. Knight. 1990). 1905). p. lxv Quoted in W. lviii Gilbert Meilander. “Business as a Calling and Profession: Towards a Protestant Entrepreneurial Ethic” (unpublished manuscript delivered at the International Marketplace Theology Consultation. Princeton Theological Seminary. pp. Vol XXVII. (Villanova. part 4:601 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark. lxvii Karl Barth. 58. 119ff. Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life (New York: The Free Press. 54.” in Max L. Francis A.R. 1873). Vol 2. lxviii Max Weber. Mackay. 84. ed. 1990). Kee and Montgomery J. 1958). p. 1204.” in Richard C. l Michael Novak. Biblical Principles and Business: The Practice (Colorado Springs: Navpres. quoted in Heiges. Lambert. trans. 87.L. ed. 18. Stackhouse. “The History of the Word ‘Vocation. On Moral Business.S. “Professing business: John Paul meets John Wesley. 11.. 36. available through UMI Services). p. vol 3. p. pp. lx Lake Lambert. quoted in Marshall. lxxv Martin Luther. lv Novak. The Bible and God’s Call: A Study of the Biblical Foundation of Vocation (New York: Cokesbury – The Methodist Church.I.H. lxvi Karl Holl. Sydney. 43. lvii John Wesley. 1958). 39. p. Luther’s Table Talk. 78. No 1 (Fall 1997): 265-6.
No 2 (June 2000). quoted in Kee and Shroyer.R. Graham. Surrey: Eagle. Lehmann (Philadelphia/St. Morton. Aristotelian Analysis of Usury (1984).
Heiges. advice and interest of the soul”). A Kind of Life Imposed on Man: Vocation and Social Order from Tyndale to Locke (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 79-80. 1996). Paul Marshall. “Vocation in a Post-Vocational Age.
William Perkins. 272. XX. xcvii Novak argues that calling can be secularized. H. trans. 61. doing what they sense inwardly they are here to do and in so speaking. While Poggi argues that the set of conditions Weber described were not sufficient to account for the rise of capitalistic entrepreneurship. Steele articulated a ‘vision of the calling to business which many Christians had sensed and enacted. suitability. p.
. Holy Observations (London. 172. “Vocational Conversion: An Imaginary Puritan‐Baby Boomer Dialogue” Crux. lxxxi John Calvin. 61. No 4. 22‐33. 15. 974. Scholastic Analysis of Usury (Harvard University Press. Almen. xcix Franz Kafta. xcvi See L. Called to Account: Adding Value in God’s World . Collected Works (London. 11. Calvinism and the Capitalist Spirit: Max Weber's Protestant Ethic (London: Macmillan. 79. 1957). 48-53.T. lxxxiv “The Spiritual & Religious Sources of Entrepreneurship: From Max Weber to the New Business Spirituality. Vol 45. see Steele. Crux. they are witnessing to calling even though they may be uncomfortable with religious language. Vol XXXVI. Paul Stevens.F. Louis: Concordia and Muhlenberg/Fortress Press. xci See R. lxxxiii W. p. 63. A Discourse Upon Usury (1572/1925) and John T. The multiple factors essential for a capitalistic economic system to emerge from feudalism are considered in Brian Griffiths. p. reprinted in Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice.
Joseph Hall. 22-23. p. 1987). “Steele affirms business as a calling for Christians if “His devotion disposes him for business. p. 94. quoted in Preece. Novak. xcv Lambert.
Weber. finding what they ought to do. 724. 2001. lxxx Heiges. 38. Vol 4. p. pp. p. 66 and Lambert. People speak of knowing themselves. 1612-13). 1955-76). XXXVII (December 2001). 82-83. p. p.” Luther’s Works. quoted in Heiges. Vol 9. God’s Frozen People (Philadelphia: Westminster Press. 259. Noonan. 1965). p. quoted in Kee and Shroyer. xcviii See the distinction between Christians active in the church and those active in the world in Mark Gibbs and T. 1984). Institutes.” Although not strong on the Reformed meaning of vocation and simplistic in his criteria for selecting a calling (“lawfulness. The Great Wall of China (London: Secker.T. says. 8. Issues 1 (Feb 2001):2‐11. while the “special call” which God gives to believers alone is the inward illumination of the Spirit which enables the preached Word to dwell in their hearts. 1960). 54. pp. 11. 6. It is noteworthy that in Calvin’s teaching the “general” call is the invitation of God that goes out to all through the preaching of the Word. 66. Resources on the scholastic discussions of usury include Off Langholm. lxxix Martin Luther. 2‐8. lxxxii Heiges. Novak. 1983). vols 31-55 ed. 107ff. 37-9. and his business makes devotion welcome. lxxxviii Poggi.” in Word and World. xciv Gordon Preece notes that one who tried valiantly to resist the secularizing trend was the Puritan Richard Steele (1629-92) who wrote The Religious Tradesman. pp. lxxxvii Gianfranco Poggi. lxxviii Lambert. 1933). Weber described “a necessary part” in these phenomena. Business. Thomas Wilson. III. The Creation of Wealth (London: Hodder and Stoughton. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Weber. Preece comments.Integrating Christianity and Business Effectively (Guildford. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press.” Preece. 1607). 124. 1993). p. A fine study of usury in Scripture and business today is found in Richard Higginson. “Trade and Usury. III. The Constructive Revolutionary: John Calvin and His Socio-Economic Impact (Michigan State University Press. 13. No 2 (Spring 1984): 131-140.
14. Vancouver. 1535. cxxii In his Minding God’s Business (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. civ David John Falk. BC. Work and Ministry in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. “Although he comes very close to seeing the setting in which one is called as ‘calling’ itself. The Other Six Days. 49. 107. 3. 160.A. “’Equipping’ Ministry in Ephesians 4?” JETS. Am. IV. These passages are explained in Stevens. The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. ed. p. p. 1957). The First Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Corinthians. Torrance (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. David Gordon. It is “each as God called” in verse 17 and “remaining in the situation in which he was called. This has led. cxi Hendrik Kraemer. Fee notes. Chapters 1-4”. 1986) Ray S. 27. quoted in Heiges. 1-11. nor is the created order to be despised as unworthy of our attention. pp. trans.
I develop this in The Other Six Days: Vocation. Luther on Vocation. p.” in verse 20.. p. pp. pp. 310-1. as God created and intended it to exist as part of the world order. Chewning. 1:244. p. quoted in Falk. 15. he never quite makes that jump.
cxviii cxix c
Minear. Mark. pp. pp. Biblical Principles and Business: The Foundations (Colorado Springs: Navpress. 1958). 1996). 1999). cxx Kenneth C. p. Vol 1. p. 135-6. this order is determinative for the existence of human persons (social order) as well as of the world order….” (23)
.” T. ed. 135. Matthew.” p. 1062. to an attempt by one New Testament scholar to disprove that Ephesians 4:11-12 is not about equipping the saints so that the saints can do the ministry but rather keeping the ministry with the “minister. cxxi Kantzer. 49. David W. The Other Six Days. Fraser.’” (22) “The created cosmos is intended to serve as an environment of space and time for the preparation of human society to be the people of God. 309. cix Calvin. cv For a more complete study of New Testament instances of “call” see Stevens.’ There is no intrinsic evil embedded in the created order. Appoint. in recent time. 1960. Institutes. cxiii Heiges. Beardslee. 24. 2. Vol 37. 1956).The present order of human society. cxvi Paul Marshall A Kind of LifeImposed on Man: Vocation and Social Order from Tyndale to Locke (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 85ff. cxv Gordon D.. Anderson’s offers four theses that summarize the doctrine of creation: Thesis 1: The existing cosmos is a world order originally designed by God as Creator and Lord. 1977). pp 89ff. Fee. ci Heiges. cxvii W. p. Jaroslav Pelikan. Trans. Human Achievement and Divine Vocation in the Message of Paul (London: SCM Press. cii Paul S. eds. 1987). A Theology of the Laity (Philadelphia: Westminster Press. cx Ibid. Rasmussen (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press. trans. p. and Dismiss Teachers Established and Proven by Scripture. Kantzer. 19‐20. cviii See Martin Luther. Carl C. is ‘good. 115. Christians sometimes forget this. (pp. No 1 (March 1994):69-78. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists.” Luther’s Works. Ed. p. and Luther’s Works. “God Intends His Precepts to Transform Society. and Luke. cxii Gordon Fee maintains that this strong distinction is not maintained by the original. “A New Testament Theology of Calling with Reference to the ‘Call to the Ministry’” (MCS thesis. Minear. 98-9. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. III..” in Richard C. “That a Christian Assembly or Congregation has the Right and Power to Judge all Teaching and to Call. 1990). 136. 17. cxiv Gustaf Wingren. and make the mistake of thinking that the ‘business’ of the world is basically evil and therefore cannot be ‘of God. 1990). 307. 1961). p. Torrance and Thomas F. ciii John Calvin. “Lectures on Galatians. XXXIX. cvii John Calvin. Regent College. Minear. John W. 29. 10. IV. To Die and to Live: Christ’s Resurrection and Christian Vocation (New York: Seabury Press. 13-78) Vol 26 (1963). 154-5. cvi Minear.
See Michael C. 89. and finally through Jesus Christ as the new humanity. 139-141. NY: Orbis Books.
Thesis 2: “The existing cosmos has suffered a radical disorder that cannot be renewed through the natural world itself. Bosch. Vol 4. Carey says. Novak.
Higginson. This present and continuing ministry of Jesus Christ takes place through the provisional forms of the church and its organizations as a sign of the kingdom of God. first of all to Israel as his new order of humanity. “Back to the Future of Missions. in the latter days.68. Biblical Principles and Business: The Foundations (Colorado Springs: Navpress. “This seems to imply that in the time of the glorious increase of the church. p. 1792). p. Wright.” in Richard C. as they can through the Mediterranean. 50. No 2 (April-June. An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (Leicester. cxxv Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert.” “As to their distance from us. 37.” (26) “We know how bad it really is only when we know how good it is meant to be. both human society and the cosmos are brought back under the creation mandate. 46. 125. p. cxxxiv Meilander notes. Business. 46-7. No 2 (December 2000). with any colour of plausibility in the present age. 1996). 1998). Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll. No 3 (September 2001): 7‐16. 1201. this disorder alienates both social and cosmic structures of creation from their created order and destiny. 1998. “And so it will not be capitalism per se that will offer the
. pp 1-6. Wogaman. Chewning. Rene Padilla.J.” p.” Transformation Vol 1. or any lesser Sea. Business. pp. Philip J.” (26) Thesis 3: “Through God’s intervention by the giving of his Word. Yea. p. p. Men can now sail with as much certainty through the Great South Sea. p.” Vocatio. commerce shall subserve the spread of the gospel. ed. and providence seems in a manner to invite us to the trial. September 27. cxxxvi In his review of Novak’s book Prabo Mihindukulasuriya notes that while earlier migrations to North America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s show the superiority of the capitalist system. p. 67. 19. William Carey.R. that “the very same business that testifies to and encourages human solidarity becomes – or can become – a means by which we acquire the wealth that gives us a considerable measure of independence from others. Vol XXXVII. “Christian Faith and Personal Holiness. thus actually hindering the development of healthy economies in those countries. Living as the People of God: The Relevance of Old Testament Ethics (Leicester: InterVarsity Press. in critique of Novak’s assertion that commerce binds people together and is what people do when they are at peace. H. 1998). Vol 1. though under the power of the new and creative order established through Jesus Christ. cxxvii D. “The Mission of the Church in the Light of the Kingdom of God.
Novak. whose commerce lies in many of the places where these barbarians dwell.” Ibid. nothing can be alleged for it. cxxxv Novak.. p. p.” (34). as there are to our knowledge trading companies. continues to suffer a tension between the new and old order. 16. 405. McLoughlin.” “Professing Business. 1984).
New York Times.” (30) Thesis 4: “This present world and social order. cxxvi Christopher J. Heaven is Not my Home: Learning to Live in God’s Creation (Nashville: Word Publishing. 1990). cxxviii C. cxxix See my “The Marketplace: Mission Field or Mission?” Crux. whatever objections might have been made on that account before the invention of the mariner’s compass. p. the current economic migration from developing countries are composed of predominantly skilled workers and elites.
175 (173-193). p. trans. p. cxxxix Novak.C. 46. The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology. pp. 175-179.” in Robert Banks and R. Vol XXXIV. Regent College.” (unpublished paper for Marketplace Theology Seminar. “Human Work. The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 230. 1952). cxliii Minear. cxlix Lesslie Newbigin.” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (Fall 1987). cxlviii Miroslav Volf. 66.
See my student’s study. trans. Neff (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 89-90. L.” Prabo Mihindukulasuriya. It is in the resurrection of Christ that we find the final vindication of all the work we do in this life. Divine Spirit. our assurance that all our toil and struggle and sufferings possess abiding worth. “The Global Economy and Global Free Market Capitalism: Towards a Christian Perspective. November 2000). 1997): 1102-1106. 92. p. cxli See my “Wealth. Paul Stevens. 60.” Alan Richardson. Morrow. 1991). 1984). p. “Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life. Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press.” (review) Crux. 58. John A. p.
solution to Two-Thirds world development. No 2 (June 1998). “Human Work. 57. The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Money and Power. Volf contrasts the view of work as cooperation with God in creatio continua (which has dominated Reformational theology) with work as cooperation with God in transformatio mundi. cxliv Jurgen Moltmann. Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work (New York: Oxford University Press. p. The Biblical Doctrine of Work (London: SCM Press. cxl Lesslie Newbigin. 1989). p. and the New Creation: Toward a Pneumatological Understanding of Work. cxlvii Volf. Business. 136. 1986). cxlv “The resurrection of Christ redeems from meaninglessness the whole of our life and work. cxlvi Miroslav Volf.” pp.
. 1996). cxlii Jacques Ellul.