The spectre of consumerism has trumped communism in late capitalism, but the iron cage of the modern workplace keeps us in its grasp. This course will put religious understandings of work and wealth in dialogue with social theory to examine the power of work and the current context of consumption and globalization on contemporary life. The first part will survey influential philosophical, theological, and political writings on the work and wealth in the Christian West—including Aristotle, Clement, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Marx, Weber, and Catholic social thought. The second part will draw on contemporary writings in religion, ethics, and the social sciences on the disparate effects of the new global economy by race, class, and gender; migration and immigration; diminution of worker rights and justice; intergenerational justice between young and old workers; and practical spiritual, theological, and political solutions to problems of anomie, insecurity, and injustice in contemporary economic life.
“This Woman’s Work, This Woman’s Time: Sermon on the Feast of St. Martha,” Sermon at All Saints Episcopal Church, Brookline, MA, July 31, 2005.
“Studying historical theology, this course helped me to make the bridge to present day society. Stimulating, lots of opportunities for students to think through and formulate ideas and thoughts.”
“Useful—I do women’s studies, so the economic angle in combo with the theological aspect was great.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to do and think about practical theology.”
“Extremely vital. Could be expanded into two semesters as required part of HDS curriculum.”
“Essential to those expecting to be pastors–content, importance, method, and material.”
“Stimulated thinking on contemporary issues. Interesting, relevant, applicable.”
“One of the best courses I have ever taken.”