I’m sitting on the floor of my room, fighting my way through 200 pages of Miroslav Volf and looking forward to class tomorrow which will consist of another 6 hours on the Theology of Work. I have a headache, an upset stomach, a hurting ear and a very un-vaccuumed floor. The tea in my mug disappeared in moments, that milky brown colour of black tea with soy and my computer is very nearly dead after 13 pages of typed notes during class today. Have I lately said that I love school? Because I do, it’s simply fantastic. Someday, I’ll even learn how to not be so anxious on the first day of a new class, but for now, I just love it so much I’ll endure the nerves as I walk into the unknown for the next couple of weeks while we settle back into spring semester.
As Ethan merrily set out this morning to work (yes, we’re still sharing a car, it’s easier now that he lives close and still a nice way to start the day), I was dreading class, feeling grumpy and in general overwhelmed. We did one of those “tell us why you’re here” introductions and why the class interested us. I had about ten minutes to formulate my thoughts on why I had decided to take a class that satisfies a requirement…. When the discussion finally rounded the corner to our section I heard myself talking about the man who’d dropped me at school after a a rather frustrating drive.
My man, I said, builds houses. He owns a construction business. Some people don’t think that’s ministry, but I do and I’m not quite sure why. I just think that it is. I want to talk about theology of work because there’s more to vocation and calling than being a pastor and, after all, the Jews didn’t have pastors so why do we seem to think that’s a high and mighty thing when Jesus was a carpenter, a tradesman, a blue collar man like mine? But I want to learn about this whole idea of “theology of work” so I can better explain to the people who look at me and seem to pity us as though we’re doing something less holy by building homes for people to live in rather than preaching to an already over-educated-glassy-eyed-elite.
I didn’t finish with that snarky of a sentence because one of the two professors teaching still sort of terrifies me despite several conversations with him which have assured me of his humanity.
You see, we sometimes elevate certain “careers” or “vocations” as though God calls people to higher work than others. We fawn over people becoming pastors and denigrate those who are lawyers. But what about assuring that children are placed with the right parent after a divorce (no matter how sad the reality of divorce may be)? How is that any less important than counseling that same child as a later adult and leading them into a healthier marriage than the one they saw fall apart? How is building homes and tilling the land any less than exegeting the scriptures about the importance of the resurrection–the rebirth of life that we see each year on a farm, in nature, cultivated by man?
Those are my questions going into the course and I’m looking forward to developing my thoughts about E’s work, about my work, about how we are building the kingdom in our apartments, our conversations, our businesses and our writing. Maybe, by the end of the week, I’ll have something a bit more articulate put together; something about work being ministry no matter the field.
For now, however, I’ve got to get back to Volf so I can get started on that paper. . .