At this month’s meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, two innovative sessions will focus on core Oikonomia Network themes: summoning theology to work for human flourishing, and asking challenging questions about how systematics can inform and improve our theology of work. We want to make sure you’re aware of these sessions – mark your calendar for these important conversations.
And mark your calendar for Karam Fourm on January 5! Because several of these authors will be present to discuss their work on these topics in our scholarly paper session. See the story in this month’s newsletter for more details.
Session: Theology for Human Flourishing
For this session, a lineup of leading theological scholars – all of them familiar in the Oikonomia Network! – have uploaded papers on how theology can and should serve human flourishing. On Thursday, November 19 at 2:30pm eastern (1:30 central, 11:30 Pacific), these scholars will gather online to discuss their papers in a one-hour session.
The moderator for the session will be Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary. Here’s a peek at the paper topics:
Richard Mouw, “Why We Need a Theology of Human Flourishing”
This paper will explore the “added value” of focusing theologically on the idea of human flourishing. What could thinking about how humans can flourish add to what is already included in, say, being “blessed,” or living the life of “joy in Christ”? Thinking about flourishing can open up new theological areas of dialogue and scholarship.
Anthony Bradley, “A Theology of Human Flourishing in an Age of Tribalism and Identity Politics”
The paper explores the importance of recovering the Bible’s account of the human person and human flourishing when Christianity communities are pressured to organize human flourishing in terms tribal identities like race, class and gender identity.
Darrell Bock, “A Hole in Systematics: A Key Missing Link in Anthropology”
This paper explores why systematic theology should give more study to stewardship as a central category of theological anthropology. An examination of Genesis 1 is supplemented by a look at marriage and money as two case studies of why this concept matters so much.
Brent Waters “Creaturely Flourishing”
The Bible portrays humans as creatures comprised of animated dust who are little lower than the angels. Humans flourish, then, as both embodied and spiritual creatures. Too often, however, Christians have tended to emphasize the spiritual over embodied, thereby diminishing the prospect of flourishing. This paper examines the doctrine of the incarnation as a resource for correcting this emphasis.
Session: Theology of Work
The one-hour practical theology session on Thursday, November 19 at 8:30pm eastern (7:30pm central, 5:30pm Pacific) will include two papers on theology of work by longtime Oikonomia Network partners.
Don Payne, Daniel Steiner and David Buschart, “Finitude: Rethinking the Grand Narrative for the Theology of Work”
This paper, part of a long-term research agenda by the authors, challenges our theology of work by reframing it in light of our finitude as creatures. Typically, advocates of theology of work contrast the seeming vastness of our callings before the fall with the limitations we find ourselves under after the fall. But we were finite creatures before the fall, and knowing our limits has always been part of our calling.
Michael Wittmer, “Are Some Vocations More Equal than Others?”
The author takes on one of the thorniest, and oldest, questions in the doctrine of vocation. Wittmer gave one of the most provocative systematic-theology talks in the ON’s library of EWP Talks, arguing that the call to receive Christ in the gospel and the call to do good works in the world are “the same call,” so you won’t want to miss this discussion.