On Monday, July 18, students in the Doctor of Ministry in Workplace Theology and Ethical Leadership (WTEL) program will visit the Human Flourishing Program to consult on their research into the theological dimension of work with Program Senior Philosopher Dr. Jeffrey Hanson.
Consistent with Gordon-Conwell’s commitment to “equipping Church leaders to think theologically, engage globally, and live biblically,” the WTEL track looks at the biblical, theological, and pastoral implications of life in the global marketplace, including: the quest for purpose and meaning at work, the impact of technological innovation, the ethics of financial management, and sustainable stewardship of the natural environment. In 2022, a new cohort of international scholars will explore these issues by engaging with global thought leaders and cutting-edge research. Convening in Massachusetts, this cohort will consider the intersections of faith, work, and technological innovation. Meeting with Dr. Hanson, they will explore what it means to be created in the image of a God who is always “at work” but also the relationship between work, wealth, and human flourishing. Dr. Hanson’s recent work, Philosophies of Work in the Platonic Tradition: A History of Labor and Human Flourishing, explores a major tradition in reflection on work and its contribution to human flourishing.
For the Platonic tradition work is never the ultimate purpose of human life, but a complete human life will necessarily include work. Work is conceived herein as an expression of the practical life, which responds to reality as it is cognized and appreciated by the theoretical life. This tradition allows us therefore to steer between two extremes, one we might call with Derek Thompson of The Atlantic “workism” as a religion, and the other we might call elitism. For the Platonic tradition work can never replace religion or be the source of all human meaning, but neither can we look down upon or hold in contempt work that is done honestly and well as if it were unworthy of the highest human callings. This study will serve as an important source of inspiration and a springboard for ongoing discussion and reflection for the cohort as they begin their important educational journey here in Boston.