Theology of Work Project Statement on Racial Justice and Reconciliation Towards a More Just World of WorkBlog / Produced by TOW Project
The Theology of Work Project is committed to bringing the Bible into the lived experience of work in every sphere of society. We recognise injustice anywhere as violating God’s life-affirming will ‘to do justice, and to love kindness’ (Micah 6:8) coupled with Christ’s mission to advance ‘life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10).
We join the innumerable voices within and beyond the Christian community that denounce the deeply rooted racial injustice in our world of work magnified through the murder of George Floyd by police officers on the job. Though this tragedy occurred in Minneapolis, MN in the US, racial injustice in its many forms constitutes an everyday reality for the vast majority of workers around the world. We affirm that Black lives matter because we know all too well that in our lived reality all lives do not matter. We affirm that Black lives matter because we know all too well that in God’s reality all lives matter (Genesis 1:26-27).
The work of justice in general, along with the everyday and systemic dimensions of injustice, form part and parcel of the Theology of Work Project, as can be noted in the following instances within our resources:
- Doing Justice, Leviticus 19:15-16 from the TOW Bible Commentary
- The Invisible Burden of Being a Black Woman in the Workplace – Podcast discussion with Austin Channing Brown
- Faith and Public Policy Interview with William H. Gray, III
- Does God Care About Social Justice? Reflection by Mark Roberts
- Discriminating Against the Poor and Currying Favor with the Rich (James 2:1–13) from the TOW Bible Commentary
- “Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness” (Matthew 5:6) from the TOW Bible Commentary
We as an organisation welcome this kairos moment as an opportune time to reflect anew on our theology and practice of work within prevailing systems and situations of injustice. We see this as God’s call to deepen and enhance our prophetic responsibility in the world of work.
We lament the historical pain and suffering that Black lives and other oppressed communities still endure. We lament the complacency and complicity of Christian believers and workplaces in perpetuating the status quo where systemic racism reigns. We lament the life-denying abuse of certain biblical texts to harm the dignity and rights of people of colour. We lament those cases where our solidarity lies with the privileged and powerful, instead of those deemed voiceless, disposable, and devoid of agency in our places of work. We lament the selective commitment to racial reconciliation apart from racial justice. We lament the limited progress we’ve made towards a more just world of work. We lament any weaknesses within our organisation that delay our justice-work for the Kingdom of God.
Even so, we look forward in faith, hope, and love because of our confidence in the just God revealed in the Scriptures and ultimately in the person and work of Christ (Luke 4:18-19). When people turn to God and humbly seek his will, history reveals that he employs even flawed people like us to overturn the ‘principalities and powers’ of evil (Ephesians 6:12). We recommit ourselves to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:25) to envision, embody, and practice God’s justice-work in church and society.
We believe that good theology is essential for the transformation of hearts and minds, as well as systems and structures, in Christ. Given the urgency of our prophetic responsibility towards a more just world of work, we must invest more deeply in discerning ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches’ (Revelation 2:29) and learning how to act more justly in and through our organisation. We are thus committing ourselves to enhance the input and participation from Black and other marginalised communities within and beyond the US. We are committing to amplify Black voices in our organisation. We are setting near- and long-term goals for strengthening racial diversity on our Boards and other structures–as a precious gift of the Body of Christ. We are committing to increased contributions by marginalised people to frame, shape, and write our resources.
We implore God to give us grace not simply to speak about these issues, but to practice them in all of our day-to-day activities, even in situations where we are not in charge. Jesus calls us to make a difference everywhere we work when he says, ‘let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).
Unanimous statement of the Board of Directors of the Theology of Work Project, June 25, 2020.