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Title: Reimagining work : explorations in integrating a theological vision of work into the discipleship programme of a parish church
Author: Belder, Jacob John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 2060
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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The majority of Christians spend a significant amount of time each week in work, and yet the church has infrequently focused on work as an area of discipleship. In the last century, renewed attention has been given to the theology of work, but even with the availability of a considerable amount of popular resources on the subject, it remains a peripheral issue in many churches. As a result, Christians in work are not being supported in being enabled either to reimagine the significance of their work, or to faithfully practice their work. To address this issue, and to consider how the church might respond, a case study method is used to explore what happens when ten participants from a parish church encounter a theological vision of work in the context of the church’s discipleship programme. Using a phenomenological methodology, the study found, first, that participants exhibited a general ambivalence towards work, and struggled to find meaning in their work, particularly being unable to conceive of their work as having any theological significance. Second, the research showed that an encounter with a developed theological vision of work, rooted in the Reformed tradition, and delivered in the context of a small-group course, was insufficient to help participants begin to reimagine the significance of their work. In the end, drawing on resources from sociology, philosophy, and theology, the primary contention of the study is that, as the postures towards and practices of work are shaped by deeply rooted social imaginaries, churches must give sustained attention to liturgical formation to reshape these imaginaries with a renewed theological perspective rooted in the gospel if they are to support their parishioners in enabling the faithful practice of work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Th.M.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available