Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

After Sunday: A Theology of Work

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

After Sunday: A Theology of Work

Article excerpt

After Sunday: A Theology of Work. By Armand Larive. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. ix + 198 pp. £50.00/ $85.00 (cloth); £12.99/$21.95 (paper).

After Sunday is a superb, at times brilliant, and engrossing book. In it Armand Larive addresses a neglected and abused theological topic: the significance of work. His systematic theological exploration of work is set within the framework of the doctrine of the Trinity. Larive brings his background as a teacher of philosophy, an Episcopal priest, and, more recently, a carpenter in the Puget Sound area to his text. His substantial theological analysis is apt and comprehensive, practical and philosophical. Although ethics and spirituality are not his primary focus, he concludes this book with spiritual, ethical, and ecclesiological reflections on work.

Larive begins by reviewing the reasons that work has been devalued, including assessing traditional theological barriers against work. These include the neglect and, in some instances, the repudiation of natural theology; a misplaced emphasis upon perfection; apocalyptic teaching that places the kingdom of God at some future end-time; and the Protestant emphasis on faith over work, which prohibits work from being seen as a means of salvation. Augustine and Luther, as he frequently notes, put up theological "fire walls" that bar work from positive soteriological significance in the kingdom of heaven. He also eschews an assumptive theology of a God "who is only active in church" or in the private reflections of each human heart (p. 61).

From the outset Larive presents "work" as a positive component attuned to the gracious, cooperative character and image of God. At the heart of After Sunday is the doctrine of the Trinity. Drawing on Miroslav Volf, Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), Larive deepens and extends Volf's distinctions "of the Son as eschatological, the Father/Mother as protological, and the Spirit as pneumatological" (p. 7). The three chapters, one each devoted to a dimension of the Trinity, lead the reader toward fresh Christological expressions as well as sound critique that culls theological assumptions that are no longer helpful for postmodern theological practice. …

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