Work in the Spirit 12

imgresMiroslav Volf offers six critiques of Luther’s understanding of work as vocation in Work in the Spirit.

The first is that it is “indifferent toward alienation in work.”

To Luther, “every type of work can be a vocation, no matter how dehumanzing it might be” as long as one is called to it (i.e., it has a divine origin) and one serves others through it (i.e., service is its purpose).  While this understanding can give comfort to people who are in fact engaged in dehumanizing work, it does so “only at the expense of the transforming potential for overcoming alienation in situations where transformation is both necessary and possible.”

In other words, one danger in embracing the Lutheran understanding of work is that it pressures people to think the only right thing to do is to accept dehumanizing, alienating,  mindless or degrading “types of work in industrial and information societies” when a more appropriate stance is to seek to overcome the alienation and transform the work.

5 thoughts on “Work in the Spirit 12

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