First off, I’m posting this a resource and saver for some really good stuff on business and how the church has mucked it! Working within a business environment, I see the disparity between church and the workplace. I really enjoyed reading through these posts and hope you’ll take the time to read carefully through them. Michael Kruse is summarizing a book that I’ll be using for one of my doctoral courses (at some point): “How the Church Fails Businesspeople (And What Can Be Done About It)”, by John C. Knapp. I haven’t read it yet but am really looking forward to it.
We need more ways to live our lives in public ways! We need more robust, creative theology to help us do that.
“When a recent Pew survey asked what gives Americans a sense of meaning, thirty-four percent mentioned their careers—making this the second most common answer after family. As theology scholar Jonathan Malesic writes, in the United States, finding meaning through work is a concept that has been closely associated with Christianity. But Christian theology may also offer reasons, and methods, to make work less central to our lives.”
We express our humanity and image of God-ness through work (co-creating). The Monks were creative about work and saw it as a penitential, but also looking for ways to keep the monasterary running. They also wanted to make time for communal prayer so they came up with effeciency type of tools to carve out time.
Genesis thus reveals God as a worker. Yes, God’s way of working is distinctive. Nevertheless, God works. And, as we see repeatedly in the text, God appreciates the good work God does (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).
As part of this good work, God creates human beings as workers. This is revealed, first of all, in the fact that humankind is made in God’s “image” and “likeness” (Gen 1:26). Theologians debate the precise meanings of these fertile terms. But, in the narrative of Genesis, God’s image and likeness are closely connected to God’s working. This is confirmed by the first commandment given to God’s image bearers: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . .” (Gen 1:28). Notice God’s first instruction to human beings was not “Build an altar,” “Think rationally,” or even “Love the Lord.” Rather, God told the beings created in God’s own image to get to work.