Monday, July 10, 2006

Jobs and the Kingdom of God

Due to my own lack of permanent work, other than the school where I'm a youth worker, I've been thinking a lot about jobs, not only how I can get one, but what God has to say about the whole area of vocation and work.

It's something that is perhaps not always talked about in church, but I've just been realising lately how much of a big deal it is for so many people. That probably sounds a bit stupid, but having studied all the time since school, its never massively come up for me.

But when families are out on there own, single parents trying to bring up kids, or two parents in low paid jobs, its a big issue. For me, I'm young, there's a few jobs I'm able to do, I've got a car, I still live at home, really the situation isn't too bad. But for some, its so much more serious.

People often ask questions about here is God in natural disasters and sickness, but I wondered the other day-where is God in the injustice of 300 workers losing their jobs in a factory, in people getting used and abused by their jobs, being fired for no reason, working so hard they never see the family they're supporting? And what should our response as Christians be?

Should we be taking more notice of these new IR laws (something I really know bugger all about), should we be doing more about sweatshops in China, should we be writing letters about people losing their jobs-not just overseas poverty? Is there anything we can do to change the 'system' or should we just make the best of it as it is?

Should we all, as Ash Barker once mused, work and survive on four days a week, so as to create more jobs?

What would the Kingdom of God look like if it came more fully for the jobless, for those stuck in mind and soul-draining jobs, for those working three jobs and no home life? What does Jesus have to say to them?


mase said...

I think about this too sometimes. I guess in terms of me and my 'career', i have to have a job that i can justify putting so much time and energy into. But that's probably a luxury or perspective many people have - they just need to money to get by. I dunno, i love ash barker's idea, and besides, probably leaves more room for trusting God, and more time and energy to be putting into intentional kingdom building stuff that can't be done if you're working flat out all week. I tend to probably be a little too impractical in my thinking (when i'm talking about the future, mum often says 'don't forget, you're going to need money!'). But i definitely think it's an area that we as a church would do well to nut thru and talk about more often, because a job/career takes up so much of your time/energy etc. all the best with it dino!

mase again said...

*a luxury or perspective NOT many people have :P lol.

Gary said...

Before I write I must make it clear that what I say may be in ignorance. That said, I believe the jobless problem, or the job frustration syndrome, is caught within a system of middle-class policies. Essentially, some people with certain skills flourish, while others languish. Our system of society has no respect for the minority in difficult circumstances. So what is our response? The Kingdom (or whatever you want to call it) includes liberation within such systems. As Jesus followers, I believe we have a cultural mandate to demonstrate a radically different lifestyle to the prevailing culture, one of simplicity. We can learn to flourish on less while still being active in culture (in the world but not of the world). I'm only just looking at doing this right now. It seems that if we lose our 'affluenza' (another Clive Hamilton book title), we can be a positive influence for change towards those in difficult circumstances.

And on Clive Hamilton, I just discovered a relevant resource:

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