This evening marked the first presentation of the Oikonomia Network gathering sponsored by the Faith, Work and Economics initiative at the Kern Family Foundation. The Oikonomia Network represents a group of scholars and educators engaged in seminary education around the United States, all working on projects to prepare seminarians to take seriously the place of work and economics as part of their ministry. Greg Forster, the Program Director of the Faith, Work and Economics initiative at the Kern Family Foundation, shepherds this network. Forster opened the gathering this evening reminding scholars that in our world where there’s never any shortage of greed, materialism, sloth, pride, envy.
Yet seminaries remain called to educate pastors:
- just to teach God’s people that God is with them in their work
- to make disciples who do fruitful work that blesses our communities;
- to make disciples who can point our communities to hope and economic wisdom in the midst of so much despair and unwisdom;
- above all, to love our communities.
As redeemed people in Christ, we live for the love of God and neighbor, not for ourselves.
Forster reminded this sixty plus gathering of educators and scholars of Dallas Willard’s presentation two years ago, where Willard admonished love for neighbor and the fruit of the Spirit require us not only to do good work, but to develop wisdom about economic systems and practices. Forster reminded us this fundamental commitment to love God and neighbor… no matter what it costs us. And the understanding, which Dallas articulated, that human flourishing means being in right relationship with God and neighbor rather than satisfying our natural desires. These values remain at the very heart of everything we do in the Oikonomia Network.
Good words as we begin this retreat.