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Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Since the rise of modern industrial society, work has come to pervade and rule the lives of men and women. Although there have been many popular books on the Christian understanding of work, this is the first scholarly effort to articulate a developed Protestant theology. Volf interprets work from a new perspective--in terms of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit--and explores ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 27th 2001 by Wipf & Stock Publishers (first published April 1991)
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4.01  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Andrew Han
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The problem of work, I think, can be stated as follows. Work, since it occupies a solid part of our waking lives and is necessary for individual sustenance and a functional society, is a particularly influential force in shaping our identities. In this respect, work is what Volf calls a "fundamental dimension of human existence." However, much of work in modern industrial society is deeply alienating.

Volf believes that this is a problem so fundamental that it can only be adequately addressed on
...more
Daniel Supimpa
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good treatment of the topic of work. Volf is helpful for his analysis of primary sources of both Adam Smith and Karl Marx's texts on the topic (which is helpful not only for his own Eastern European context, but for me as a Brazilian), and his exploration of the relationship between the via ativa and the via contemplativa in the Christian tradition are insightful and interesting. Significant to me were his comments on the necessity of an ecological perspective in work, and a biblical view of une ...more
Nathaniel
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it
What would it mean if the starting point for a theology of work was the Spirit and charisma instead of creation and vocation? Theologies of work have been dominated by the latter two motifs, neither remains inadequate, but at the same time, Miroslav Volf argues that neither is comprehensive enough. For a Christian theology of work Volf suggests a shift “from the vocational understanding of work developed within the framework of the doctrine of creation to a pneumatological one developed within t ...more
Rob Markley
Sep 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: christian
Volf is obvious confused about the Holy Spirit! Seems to confuse the human will (as in having spirit) with the Divine. Completely missed the boat - shame.
Donovan Richards
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Why Do We Hate Work?

Do you like your job? For most, the answer to that question is an unequivocal, “no”. What does it mean to work? Is it merely a means to an end – the exchange of labor for money? In Work in the Spirit, Miroslav Volf seeks to answer these questions.

In quest of a theological case for work, Volf splits his tome into two sections. In the first portion, Volf discusses current conceptions of work – mainly highlighting the difficulties of the modern employee – and continues by explor
...more
Circle of Hope Pastors
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doing-theology
"Volf details secular theories of work, both critiquing Adam Smith and Karl Marx's view points, while also delving into the ethics of modern work. He develops a pneumatological and eschatological argument for Christian work: cooperation with God that is an expression of our giftedness (charism). It is something that defeats Marxist alienation and engenders community. We want to help make service in the church such an expression."--Jonny
Jonny
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Volf details secular theories of work, both critiquing Adam Smith and Karl Marx's view points, while also delving into the ethics of modern work. He develops a pneumatological and eschatological argument for Christian work: cooperation with God that is an expression of our giftedness (charism). It is something that defeats Marxist alienation and engenders community. We want to help make service in the church such an expression.
Curtis
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
The 'towards' in the title should have tipped me off to the primary focus of this work. Volf here sets the parameters and starting points for a theology of work from a pneumatological perspective. Much of the language and discussion is technical and left me wishing I was reading something without 'towards' in the title.

He does however cover much ground in moving towards this theology. Arguing for and adopting the perspective of the eschatological transformation of our world, over against its fin
...more
Adam Shaeffer
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it
In his concluding chapter Volf writes, "If, however, work is an end itself, then the process of working has as much value as the results of work." This, more than anything else, is my take away from this book. Volf has helped to redefine work for me, and that is a good thing, by giving a new context for understanding it and its intention. The process, as in the rest of life, is as much the point as is the result.
Neil White
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Miroslav Volf has a lot of really good insights in this work but it is a technical work that engages both philosophical and theological sources. I find his insight of work as charisms 'gifts of the Spirit' rather than the more static concept of vocation enlightening as well as his final section which deals with the alienating nature work can have and what work in a Christian context might look like.
David
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Challenging, insightful, and really helpful for sorting through all the issues related to work. This book has to be one of the best out there on a theology of work. Volf covers Adam Smith, Marx, Aquinas, Luther, and many others in detail. His careful, scholarly attention to all the issues, however, makes it rather inaccessible to the broad church. I wish there was a more "popular" version available.
Dion Forster
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another exceptionally thorough examination of the relationship between faith and work. I was encouraged, challenged, and inspiring by this book. I also quoted this one extensively in my Winter School lecture on faith at work at the University of Stellenbosch.
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Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. “One of the most celebrated theologians of our time,” (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury), Volf is a leading expert on religion and conflict. His recent books include Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities, ...more