I am in the middle of reading Shiley Cloyes' and Dorothee Soelle's book To Work and to Love: a theology of creation. Much of the book right now serves as a pretty strong criticism of Capitalism which borders on communism at some points. There are major issues I have with some of her biblical interpretation, although I understand why she's seeing things the way she is, but nevertheless I am inclined to forgive the disagreements because the things I do agree with are so profound and helpful. I guess if my opinion changes by the time I am finished I will let you know but so far I would recommend this book. Here are some quotes:
"A genuine affirmation of God's good creation encompasses more than a tourist's perspective. To love God's good earth is to know about the hunger and exploitation of those who share the earth with us. Idealistic spirituality is blind not only to bodily reality but even more so to social reality. Affirmations of beauty lack truth if they exclude the vast majority of our brothers and sisters. They are false praises, mere abstractions that are isolated from reality" (page 32).
"If we are serious about acting as co-creators with God to fashion a more just world, then we must eliminate the evil of alienated labor. If we are serious about reflecting on work in a theological way, then we have to treat work as part of our being created in the image of God. And if we are earnest about this endeavor, then we have to de-ideologize from one of the most prevailing ideologies of our time, which is that work means paid work... As we cleave to this ideology, we impoverish the meaning of work. We reduce it to a commodity, something devoid of meaning apart from the marketplace" (page 60).
"Sin is the state of alienation of the worker from his work, from his fellow humans, and from humanity's historical project... Speaking of alienation as a modern term for sin is not an attempt to wash ourselves of guilt but to reconceive the interrelation between guilt and fate as they operate in human sin" (page 71).
"'There's nothing we can do about it' is a customary response to, for example, the preparation for nuclear annihilation. It is the response of the nonbeliever. It is the response of the spiritually dead person... the voice of practical atheism" (page 72)
"The image of the vineyard in the Song of Solomon stands for erotic pleasure and lovemaking. This image also functions in the Bible as a symbol of peace in the abiding relationship between Israel and their God (Isa. 5:1) and as a symbol of economic justice, looking to the time when planters shall enjoy the fruit of the vine and the oppressors shall be driven away (Jer. 31:5, Isa. 27:2;55:1). There are actually three dimensions to this image, which provide us with a humanizing, liberating theology of work. The three dimensions are self-expression, contribution to or relatedness to society, and reconciliation with nature through work. To be created in God's image means growing into these most fundamental dimensions of human existence. It means becoming co-creators through work and love" (page 81).
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