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Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle.Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The result is one of the most informed and practical studies on our day-to-day activities.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 octobre 1995
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781441206107
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Other Books by Leland Ryken
The Apocalpytic Vision in Paradise Lost The Literature of the Bible Triumphs of the Imagination The Christian Imagination (editor) Milton and Scriptural Tradition (co-editor) How to Read the Bible as Literature The New Testament in Literary Criticism (editor) Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective Culture in Christian Perspective Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible Words of Life: A Literary Introduction to the New Testament Work and Leisure in Christian Perspective Effective Bible Teaching (co-author) The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Christianly about the Arts Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective Contemporary Literary Theory: A Christian Appraisal (co-editor) A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (co-editor)

© 1995 by Leland Ryken
Published by Baker Books
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P. O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287
Ebook edition created 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
ISBN 978-1-4412-0610-7
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
To Philip, Lisa, and Josh, who work and play in the Spirit
Cover Other Books by Leland Ryken Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Preface Introduction: Why We Need to Think about Work and Leisure Part 1 Understanding Work and Leisure 1 “There Is No Fine Thing But Needs Much Laboring”: The Many Faces of Work 2 It’s Not as Simple as You Think: Toward an Understanding of Leisure Part 2 The Trouble with Work and Leisure Is . . . 3 Time’s Wingéd Chariot: The Time Famine 4 The Experiment That Failed: Trying to Get Too Much out of Work, and Getting Too Little 5 The Unfulfilled Promise: How Leisure Has Failed Us Part 3 Lessons from History: How We Got Where We Are 6 The Swinging Pendulum: A History of Attitudes toward Work 7 Ill at Ease: Leisure through the Ages 8 “We All Know That the Puritans . . . ”: The Original Protestant Ethic 9 “Honest Mirth and Delight”: Did the Puritans Ever Play? Part 4 Inadequate Solutions 10 Hoping for the Best but Not Achieving It: Contemporary Secular Thinking about Work and Leisure 11 Missed Opportunities and Wrong Messages: The Church’s Failure Part 5 Recovering the Lost Keys: What the Bible Says about Work and Leisure 12 What Does God Do All Day? God at Work and Play 13 “And It Was Very Good”: Work and Play in the Created Order 14 After the Fall: Work and Leisure in a Fallen World 15 The Heart of the Matter: Work and Play As a Christian Calling 16 “Whatever You Do”: All of Life Is God’s 17 Why Work and Play? Motives and Goals for Work and Leisure 18 Work in the Spirit: A Christian Work Ethic 19 “Richly All Things to Enjoy”: A Christian Play Ethic 20 Redeeming the Time: How the Bible Encourages Us to View Time Conclusion: The Divine Harmony: Work, Leisure, and Christian Living Scripture Index Subject Index

W ork and leisure are God’s gifts to the human race. Attitudes toward them in our society are dominated by a secular outlook. Within the Christian church they are topics of neglect. In our thinking moments we know that work and leisure deserve better than this.
This book attempts to fill several gaps that I quickly noted as I got into the subject. Most of the writing on work and leisure is the product of secular thinking. While it delineates the contemporary issues to which the Christian faith speaks, it offers almost no help in thinking Christianly about work and leisure.
Of course secular writers do not hesitate to make negative comments about the role of religion in the history of work and leisure. “The Protestant ethic” has long been the favorite whipping post, in Christian circles as well as secular ones. A small part of my enterprise has been to set the record straight regarding the unjustly maligned Puritans.
I have written from the presupposition that the Bible is the final authority on the issues about which it speaks. Of course it is important to adduce the biblical data that is actually relevant to the subjects of work and leisure. I have read books and articles that bombarded me with biblical verses but left me wondering what the relevance of the data was to work and leisure.
The most distinctive feature of this book is that it combines the subjects of work and leisure. There are lots of books on work and many on leisure. But it is self-defeating to keep these in separate compartments. Work and leisure together make up a whole, and they derive much of their meaning from each other rather than by themselves. They also influence each other, partly because they compete for our time.
The divisions of this book suggest the logic that underlies it. I begin by describing work and leisure as they are in themselves. Then I analyze the contemporary crisis in work and leisure, accompanied by a historical survey of how we got where we are. Having looked at proposed solutions that are failing, I turn at last to Christian solutions to the problems of work and leisure. The underlying principles are thus integration of social data with the Christian faith and a problem-solution format.
This book is a sequel to my earlier book Work and Leisure in Christian Perspective , which has been out of print for several years. For this sequel, I doubled the scope of my research, added four new chapters, incorporated over a hundred additional sources, quoted the Puritans at first hand rather than from secondary sources, added an analysis of time, and completely repackaged the material that appeared in the earlier book to accentuate the interconnectedness of work and leisure.
Why We Need to Think about Work and Leisure

W ork and leisure have forced themselves on the agenda of contemporary concerns. Businesspeople know all about the problem of work, as Chuck Colson and Jack Eckerd’s book Why America Doesn’t Work makes clear. [1] Surprising as it may sound, America doesn’t play any better than it works.
Christians have their own version of the contemporary crisis in work and leisure. They feel guilty about their work and they feel guilty about their leisure. They do not understand either of them very well.
Mixed Messages

Our society at large displays contradictory attitudes toward both work and leisure. Workaholics have turned work into their religion. One writer found that they spend nearly half their time seventy hours per week or more working at their job. [2] But two of my acquaintances who have sat next to business executives on plane trips tell a different story. Employers generally think that the work ethic is either dead or dying. The head of a business with branches throughout the country said his company tries to hire workers from the Midwest because they tend to have a better work ethic and work habits.
We betray our impoverished work ethic by our slogans. I was passed on a Kansas interstate by a truck with the following jingle painted on the back: “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” Here, in rather crude form, is a dominant attitude toward work today. It views work in mercenary terms as the thing that makes our acquisitive lifestyle possible. Or consider the sign that I saw on the office door of a colleague: “I’d rather be fishing.” Here is another prevalent attitude toward work: work is a necessary nuisance and unpleasant duty. Leisure is what we value. Work is something we put up with as a means to that end.
We signal our uneasiness about our attitudes toward work by our quips.
“Work fascinates me I can sit and watch it for hours.”
“Thank God it’s Friday.”
“Hard work may not kill me, but why take a chance?”
“I’m not lazy I just don’t like to work.”
A mail-order catalog advertises a license plate frame that reads, “Retired no more worry, no more hurry, no more boss.”
Work is a problem for nearly all of us. We do not go around saying, “Thank God it’s Monday.” When we overwork we feel guilty about the way work robs us of time for other areas of life, including family activities and religious activities. At other times we feel guilty for disliking our work. Who does not resonate with Thoreau’s comment that the laboring person “has not leisure for a true integrity day by day. He has no time to be anything but a machine.” [3]
Our slogans may seem to indicate that work is our problem and leisure the perceived solution. But the messages we send regarding leisure are as contradictory as our attitudes toward work. If we valued leisure as much as our complaining about work seems to indicate, why do we make so little time for it? If we think that leisure is the antidote to our overwork and dislike of it, why do we feel guilty about the time we devote to leisure rather than work?
The Church’s Silence about Work

The church should be proclaiming a clear message on a subject of such universal concern as work. It once did. For the original Protestants and Puritans, work was a favorite sermon topic, as surviving sermons show. New England Puritan Cotton Mather preached about the uses of leisure during the winter months. When was the last time you heard (or preached) a sermon on work?
The church is responsible to relate Christian doctrine to all of life in terms that are understandable and relevant to lay people. There was a
time when it did so in regard to work. But work has become one of the “lost provinces of religion.” [4] The time has come to enlarge the province of Christianity so it again influences the public forum on the subject of work.
The result of the retreat of Christian thinking about work is that attitudes toward work among Christians are not much different fr

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