As many of you are aware, prior to my ordination as a Minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, I was involved in the trade union movement for about 20 years – as a workplace delegate, as an elected honorary official, and finally as a paid official. I worked for both blue collar and white collar unions, negotiating on behalf of union members, undertaking research into industrial issues, and even representing the unions I worked for at industrial tribunals.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone that the connection between the life of faith and the world of work is an important one to me. I believe this connection is important for a couple of reasons:
- Firstly, work – that is, waged labour – has acquired a central place in modern life, to the extent where it has not only almost completely colonised our daily lives, but has in fact become the dominating paradigm of human worth and value
- Secondly, the dominance of waged labour in daily life means that other forms of human work have become marginalised and de-valued
- Thirdly, there is a strong historical connection between, on the one hand, the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel and, on the other hand, workers’ struggle for dignity and justice in work
- Fourthly, despite the historical connection above, the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have witnessed a retreat by the Church from the world of work, abandoning the field of work and economics to technocrats, politicians, and those with vested interests to push
- Fifthly, despite it’s dominating position in modern life, waged labour has become a source of suffering and oppression for many; or has otherwise become a highly problematic presence in human life due to the deskilling effects of technological innovation, and the marginalising effects of market-based economic theories
- Sixthly, because the retreat of the Church from the world of work has facilitated a separation between the “public” realm of work and the “private” realm of faith – whereas my own experience is that many Christians (especially younger Christians) long for an integrative theology of life that weaves their experience of faith into and through their experience of life in the wider world (including the world of work)
As a result, I have decided to create a podcast to try and fill the gap which the Church’s abandonment of the realm of work has created. It’s called Ergasia (from the Greek, meaning “work” or “employment”) and it’s available through the Podbean hosting site, or on iTunes. It also has a Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Here are the links:
The podcast is still in its early days – but I hope you come on board as a follower and listener to each episode. At the moment, I’m covering a few basic topics – but in the longer term I hope to do things like interview people already operating in the work/faith interface, as well as review relevant books and publications.
Which isn’t to say this blog is disappearing. But it would be great if you were also able to support my podcast as much as you’ve supported this blog! (For which I am very grateful). 🙂