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New booklet on work and rest is now available

   

May 13, 1999

Winnipeg, Man.—"Mennonites are known for their work ethic. That is good much of the time, but it can also be detrimental. For that reason... we need to give attention to the blessings and curses of work," writes Helmut Harder in about a recent booklet written to encourage Mennonites to look at the strengths and pitfalls of their work ethic.

Work and Rest in Biblical Perspective, written by Old Testament professor Waldemar Janzen, lifts out the major biblical principles of work, looks at contemporary attitudes to work, and encourages us to value work as good and God-given. But Janzen also identifies the pitfalls of our modern work ethic, encouraging us to develop a healthy concept and practice of leisure.

Janzen, who recently retired from teaching at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg, devotes one of the five chapters to the topic of retirement. Work has a tendency to become idolatrous and oppressive-is this the same for retirement? How does one prepare for retirement? asks Janzen.

Other chapters are on What the Bible says, Our work situation, Living more biblically, and The Sabbath.

Intended for group study in Mennonite congregations, the booklet comes with two pages discussion questions. In addition, Janzen's writing style is one that provokes the reader to question his or her idea of work and rest.

This booklet was commissioned by the Council of Faith and Life of the Mennonite Church Canada. Harder, who sits on the council and serves as general secretary of the conference says, "The Council on Faith and Life offers this study pamphlet for personal and group study. May the insights nurture your Christian pilgrimage."