Theology of Work

Hope: Making Our Mark on Heaven

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HOPE: MAKING OUR MARK ON HEAVEN

 

"How can Christianity call itself catholic if the universe itself is left out?"
Simone Weilxxiii
 
"I cannot think of a greater tragedy than to think that I am at home on earth...."
Malcolm Muggeridgexxiv
 
"Only the heavenly-minded are of any earthly use."
C.S. Lewisxxv

Years ago Leslie Newbigin said that "mankind is without any worthwhile end to which the travail of history might lead."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, or refuse to think about it more than they must. The seeming resultlessness of history erodes the nerve of modern persons including, I must add, Christians who have more reason to embrace the future wholeheartedly than anyone. Whether world-weariness and future fright comes from the terrifying prospect of ecological doomsday, or, as is often the case with Christians like the Thessalonians, from the conviction that Jesus will probably come tomorrow, 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.

Love: Recovering the Amateur Status of the Christian

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LOVE: RECOVERING THE AMATEUR STATUS OF THE CHRISTIAN

"To discover God in the smallest and most ordinary things, as well as in the greatest, is to possess a rare and sublime faith. 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."

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."

Martin Luther

"Does God work?" Willie MacMichael asks his father in George Macdonald's book for children.

His father answered biblically:

"Yes, Willie, it seems to me that God works more than anybody - for He works all night and all day and, if I remember rightly, Jesus tells us somewhere that He works all Sunday too. If He were to stop working, everything would stop being. The sun would stop shining, and the moon and stars; the corn would stop growing; there would be no apples and gooseberries; your eyes would stop seeing; your ears would stop hearing; your fingers couldn't move an inch; and, worst of all your little heart would stop loving."

[Provided by] From Chapter two, Disciplines of the Hungry Heart (Harold Shaw, 1993)

On Being Kingdom People: Regents of Our God and King

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REGENTS OF OUR GOD AND KING
"Today we cannot claim to know the end and goal of history. Therefore the question of meaning in history has become meaningless."
Rudolf Bultmanni
 
"Now the situation of the Christian in the world is a revolutionary situation. His share in the preservation of the world is to be an inexhaustible revolutionary force in the midst of the world."
Jacques Ellulii

Now we must turn to the intriguing and usually neglected first-half of the phrase "royal priesthood." 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). 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.

A View from the Ground: The Great Commandment Company in the Philippines

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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. This is not an extensive research on the “state of work” in the Philippines. Points below, however, are not at all an ignorant man’s unfounded conclusions based on uncritical and gullible perceptions. 

I used to be the Market Development Manager of an American multinational company SC Johnson and Sons, then the Regional Business Director of the British multinational company Danka, then the National Sales and Marketing Manager of the Australian office CDT Asia, before finally becoming my own janitor, utility man, messenger, maintenance engineer, marketing and sales, customer relations person, and president, all at the same time, of my own company.

Reading the Bible in the Global Marketplace

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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.

Organizational Culture and Change

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Culture is a dimension not only in the life of countries and ethnic groups but also in organizations. Every organization has a corporate “feeling” or environment that communicates to new and old members what is important and what is permitted. This is true of businesses, small groups, clubs, churches, nonprofit and parachurch organizations. The minute a person walks into the meeting room, the store, the office or the sanctuary, he or she picks up a nonverbal message that is more powerful than such mottoes as “The customer is number one”; “We exist to give extraordinary service”; “This is a friendly, family church.” Culture turns out to be profoundly influential in determining behavior, expressing values and enabling or preventing change.

Work

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Work, whether in its presence or absence, is a pervasive part of everyday life. One of the first things we want to know about people is what they do. The waking time of most adults is taken up with work, and a person’s passing is often noted in terms of their workplace achievements. Work and worth, industry and identity, are very closely related in contemporary culture. This article deals with work in this modern context. It will examine (1) a wider definition of work, (2) a biblically integrated view of work, (3) the disintegration of work and faith, (4) reintegrating spirituality and work and (5) redirecting Sunday towards Monday.

A Wider Definition of Work

Over the last two centuries work has become equated with a job.

This is a seismic shift in our understanding of ourselves, our world and even our God. It has had earthquake like effects on people’s emotional, family, social and spiritual life. The tremors have been felt hardest by the overworked, the unemployed, housewives, the forcibly retired and the attention-deprived children.

Theology of Work – Executive Summary

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Executive Summary

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. This shortcoming basically arises out of a less-than-comprehensive theology of creation, redemption and eschatology.

God the Worker

God not only authored work but he himself was a worker (Gen 1, 2; Jn 5:17; Rev 21:5). Throughout the Bible, we see different images of God as a worker namely, shepherd (Psa 23), potter (Jer 18:6), physician (Matt 8: 16), teacher (Psa 143:10), vineyard-dresser (Isa 5:1-7) etc. God is as active and creative today – creating, sustaining, redeeming and consummating – as God was when this five billion light year universe was begun.

Partners Worldwide Blog

Curing Sunday Spectatoritis

Curing Sunday Spectatoritis

New Book Helps Church Leaders Make Church Meetings More Participatory

TOW defines the  Church in terms of the Gathered Church (on Sundayor whenever the church meets) and the Scattered Church (sent out to work in all sectors of society the rest of the week).  However, when the church gathers on Sunday seldom is there any learning from or active participation by or informative reporting about what God has done through the scattered during the week.  Dr. Larry Peabody, who wrote his first book about Theology of Work in 1976 has written an insightful book on how Pastors could involve the scattered church on Sunday mornings in practical and meaningful ways.  If you want to begin merging these two arms of the church on Sunday, this book will give some ways to make that happen.

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