Pandemic-adapted classrooms are a struggle. Our library of Economic Wisdom Project Talks provides invaluable tools for the new pedagogical reality. Banish “Zoom fatigue” in your digital or blended class! Cultivating real learning in chunks of 20 minutes or less isn’t easy. Our talks are not just rich and catalytic in content, they’re short – and they’re professionally edited to maximize viewer comfort and minimize visual weariness. They’re easy to find on our new EWP website.
For all our talk about the “unprecedented” times we live in, there’s never been a better time to refresh our wisdom from deep sources in what God has done for his people in the past. History is a deeply integrative discipline, connecting the church’s study of the Bible and its development of doctrine with its practical life – and the changing world within which it lives. Check out our playlist of talks on History – see below for our full list of videos on that topic.
In a classic EWP Talk, “Vocation? Whatever!”, Chris Armstrong shares his personal history of struggle with attitudes about rest, home and work. Connecting his own experience to struggles God’s people have always experienced, Armstrong draws upon major historical sources – Gregory the Great and Martin Luther – to present a fresh, compelling vision of why a theology of vocation must be central to the life of faith.
Armstrong’s talk can be viewed on our new website featuring the complete Economic Wisdom Project Talks series. The Economic Wisdom Project takes an innovative approach to helping faculty and students develop a cohesive theological understanding of whole-life discipleship and vocational faithfulness. Consider how these visually stimulating talks might enhance your digital or blended classroom in the Age of Zoom Fatigue.
By the way, Fun Fact: Armstrong is the only speaker with two talks in our library. Both of them are humdingers, and both of them are on our History playlist. Check out “God’s People, Christ’s Body, Spirit’s Temple: Being a Sacred Church.”
In “Vocation? Whatever!”, Armstrong argues that the tension we experience between work and rest goes right to the heart of what it means to live a meaningful and purposeful life. But the standard advice to seek “work-life balance” fails, both scripturally and practically – it leaves us with anemic theological grounding either to fulfill our responsibility of loving God and neighbor or to give our rest meaning and purpose. Armstrong shows how the pursuit of “balance” is not the same as the faithful pursuit of God’s call in every area of life.
Armstrong begins with his own story, sharing how at different times in his life, he has experienced both the emptiness of turning away from meaningful vocation, seeing work as mere drudgery, as well as the burden of workaholism. But this is not just his story. It’s a struggle as old as humanity itself. As Armstrong points out, Adam and Eve turned away from their calling, and sought a place to hide from the Lord. We, too, are seeking to hide from God – either by hiding from work or by hiding in work.
Armstrong turns to Martin Luther’s life story and theological work to paint a picture of an important theological shift that came with the Reformation. Having a vocation would no longer be seen as the exclusive provenance of priests, as many in the late Middle Ages were saying. All God’s people were to be seen as participants in God’s mission of redemption. Faithfulness in ordinary, everyday work was again seen as an arena for faithful way to listen to God’s call. This shift in doctrine had a vast, transformative impact on the way the church lives and impacts the world.
However, this aspect of the Reformation – like every aspect of the Reformation! – was building on earlier doctrine, practice and experience in the church. Gregory the Great had been living happily as a monk, but was forced against his will to serve as pope. He lamented how his life of contemplation had been overwhelmed by work and service (“administrivia”). After years of struggle, Gregory eventually realized that work and contemplation are interwoven and mutually sustaining. They are interdependent elements of a faithful response to God.
Christians are called to a rhythm of serving our neighbors through our work, and rest that allows us to contemplate and appreciate God and his good works and world. In this rhythm, we seek a seamless life, in which “whatever” we do is worship of God. Our work can help heal the brokenness of this world by responding to God in every portion of life, and our rest reconnects us to God and restores our response to him.
This video and others in the History series can be accessed on the Economic Wisdom Project’s new website. Come check out our entire library, and consider sharing an EWP Talk with your learning community!