Louis Markos on the Transformative Power of Mere Hobbies
The Protestant work ethic, Max Weber famously argued, led directly to the spirit of capitalism. Though one can dispute Weber's cause-and-effect thesis, he is no doubt correct that America has been both blessed and cursed with a sometimes manic work ethic that produces personal and societal shame when it is not satisfied and recognized.
That shame often afflicts American Christians when they indulge in the kind of leisure activities that a far wiser German thinker (Joseph Pieper) celebrated as the true basis of culture. That is to say, though we are good at encouraging our fellow believers to make full use of their spiritual, God-given talents, we are often less eager to champion the exercise of their earthly, man-made hobbies.
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Louis Markos , Professor in English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities. His 19 books include Lewis Agonistes; Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis; On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis; and From A to Z to Narnia with C. S. Lewis.
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