Document: Paul Marshall, Edward Vanderkloet, Peter Nijkamp, Sander Griffioen, Harry Antonides, Labour of Love: Essays on Work (Toronto, ON.: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1980).
Excerpt: This collection of essays is a sequel to A Christian Union in Labour’s Wasteland published by Wedge in 1978. While both books proceed from the same outlook on modern society, their focus is different. The first publication found its origin in the history of the Christian Labour Association of Canada and contains essays written specifically in connection with the twenty-fifth anniversary of that body. Its orientation was practical and immediate, with an eye to the struggles of a small christian labour union in a quite hostile social environment. The present collection takes a certain distance from the immediate problems of unionism, and considers the issue of labour in the wider context of western society. The labour scene is explored in greater depth and from a variety of angles. The essays in effect fall into two groups. The first three contributions are primarily of a historical nature. They pay attention to the place of work itself in the respective stages of western society, to the various theories of work, and to the valuations of work in human life. The last three essays deal with the future of labour in the light of the problems we have encountered in the past as well as the present. Griffioen’s and Nijkamp’s reveal the theoretical background of the authors. But the reflective character of their analyses only adds depth to their concrete suggestions. They also provide a background for Antonides’ final chapter, which discusses alternative directions for concrete problems in industry. There is no pretension here that the phenomenal problems of our highly industrialized societies are dealt with in an exhaustive manner. As a matter of fact, this little book shows that there are no easy answers to the vexing malformations in the western socioeconomies. Instead, the authors of the respective essays urgently suggest that Christians of evangelical conviction should be much more involved than they have been in the recent past with the concrete struggle in searching for new directions and more adequate solutions. Labour of Love wants to contribute to a new sense of the meaning of work. If we are to find our way out of the impasse our daily occupations so often confront us with, work must again become an expression of love—to God and fellowmen.
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