With dire warnings of a jobless future in America I'd like to suggest it's time to review the "protestant work ethic" and our theology of work in general. Have we, as Christians, got something to say about overwork as well as underwork? Have we got something to say about play? What about domestic work and volunteer work? And here's an important one for me, what about task focussed work (eg engineering, IT, property management) as opposed people focussed work (eg healing, teaching, counselling). Can they equally be in the service of God or is there a holy hierachy? I mean, churches often celebrate particular professions like there is it biblical? What are your thoughts about work and unemployment?

4 thoughts on “Unemployment. What’s spirituality got to do with it?

  1. I.T. in the sense of, say, wiring computers together, may be task focused, but programming is conceptual in its essential nature. Concept focus doesn’t collapse into to the people-task dichotomy.
    While task-focus can be invibed with help, servanthood and excellence, in a Christian value framework, concept-focus is infired by co-creation with God, curiosity, completeness, symmetry and insight into the nature of reality.
    The mental or intellectual part of our existence is just as theological as any other.

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  2. I’ve often said that it’s appalling that some are overworked while others are out of work. Now that I think of it, it’s just like some Australians being overweight while some overseas starve. Moderation on the part of the haves will not automatically supply the have-nots, but it at least is healthier for the haves.

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  3. I sometimes struggle with the split between domestic/unpaid work and a professional career. I’m one of the small-but-growing number of stay-at-home dads. On the one hand I find great satisfaction in parenting and homemaking; on the other hand, I sometimes envy those who are ‘validated’ by a pay check (even though I know that’s not really true!)
    I think that role someone finds themselves in, the important thing is what they contribute (directly or indirectly) to the people around them, rather than how it benefits the individual.

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve argued that this needs to be reconsidered in my chapter on Cybersociality and the play of God in the new book Halos & Avatars (Westminster John Knox, 2010) which includes hints of an apologetic from play and imagination.

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