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Spirituality and Work Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
Consumerism by Craig M. Gay
Sample
The word consumerism is occasionally used to denote the consumer movement and advocacy on behalf of consumers vis-à-vis the producers of consumer products. The term is also infrequently used to refer to the economic theory that maintains the growth of consumption is always good for an economy. Normally, however, consumerism is lamented as a significant behavioral blemish in modern industrial society...
English
Virtues by Iain Benson
Sample

Virtue is a term that is being recovered from Greek philosophy to become part of contemporary discussions on ethics. There is good reason for this: both in ancient literature and in the Bible, virtue is a fundamental dimension of ethical living and moral character development. While the concept of virtue predates Christianity, it has been greatly influenced and deepened by the Christian faith. It is also true to say that the thinking of Christians, especially in the Western church, has been influenced by these Greek sources.

Few would deny that moral education is a pressing need today. Unfortunately the concept of virtue has, over the years, deteriorated and, like a host of other terms (tradition, heritage or even right and wrong) has lost its vibrancy. More commonly we now tend to speak of personal “values” rather than virtues. And we create our own “values” rather than conforming ourselves to “virtues” as the categorical “given” aspects of an overall (therefore shared) goodness. So the questions of what virtue is and how we can and why we should become virtuous are crucial considerations for everyday life.

English
Calling and Social Transformation by Jon Escoto
Sample

These are my “bridge thoughts” on these two important topics.   I have two reflections.  Part I and Part II.  They are not totally related to each other.

Part I (On Machiavelli and Teresa of Avila)

Social Transformation, or simply put, “change”, is largely dependent on two very vital assumptions of the change agents, or on a larger scale, the “society changers”.  They are their accurate:  (1) diagnosis of the problem, and, (2) vision of what and where society should be. 

English
Treatise on Callings by William Perkins
Summary

William Perkins – Treatise on Callings: A Puritan Approach to the Doctrine of Vocation

Its value:

  1. It is Biblical.
  2. It is vocational counseling - concerned with how people are to live and make choices concerning their vocation.
  3. It is practical – concerned with the realities of life in this world as Christians – it is the context of everyday life and work that our true spirituality is expressed.
  4. It is lay-oriented – he makes no distinction between the experience of the ordinary Christian of the “call of God” and the person who serves as a minister of the Gospel.
  5. It is heart-directed – concerned to evoke a deep personal spirituality that results in Christian character (so he deals with such things as covetousness, envy and impatience).

(All references to pages in The Works of That Famous Minister of Christ in the University of Cambridge by William Perkins (London: John Legatt, 1626).

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Toward a Theology of Profit by Don Flow
Sample

TOWARD A THEOLOGY OF PROFIT by Don Flow

Profit, as defined by the accounting profession, is the excess of total revenues over total costs. Economists define “pure profit” as the amount of money remaining after making all payments for productive services and raw materials after the going rate of payments for the capital invested has been deducted. Profit is the estimated claim on wealth that can be used as capital for new efforts to create wealth. A Christian perspective on profit requires a correct understanding of what profit actually is, how it is created, who has a just claim on it, and what role it plays in a business, all in the context of a biblical understanding of human nature, stewardship, justice, and community.

Understanding Profit

Profit in an organization must be understood in the context of the productivity of capital. In the long term, the return on invested capital must exceed the cost of capital to the organization. If the firm fails to do so, it is technically a destroyer of all kinds of wealth in society -- finances, intellect, and humanity.

English
Business as a Calling and Profession Part B by Gordon Preece
Sample:

Having surveyed the relatively positive biblical view of material work and clarified the difference between status wealth then and now and productive wealth, it is important to examine some of the Greek philosophical and historical factors disparaging work and business, against which Protestant notions of vocation subsequently reacted.

English
Business as a Calling and Profession Part A by Gordon Preece
Sample:

Note: adapted from the above title in Samuel Gregg and Gordon Preece, Christianity and Entrepreneurship; Protestant and Catholic Thoughts.  (St. Leonards NSW: Centre for Independent Studies, 1999) printed here with permission. 

All Bible references are NRSV unless noted.

Introduction

            A retired Protestant businessman told me recently how he had once spoken about business at an Anglican church only to be told by two young men that a Christian could not possibly be engaged in such a sordid activity. They would not be alone. A large number of Protestant Christians today would be uneasy with the claim that business can be an avenue of one's Christian calling. Given the bad press that many transnational business corporations get, and some deserve, this feeling is understandable. Yet, I will argue, it is ultimately misguided, representing an amnesia about one of Protestantism's great distinctives, the doctrine of the universal calling or vocation of all believers, in whatever biblically lawful places of service these believers find themselves.

English
Marketplace Theology Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
Toward A More Biblical View of Matter by L.T. Jeyachandran
"C. S. Lewis has remarked that if he had not turned to Christ from atheism, his other alternative was Hinduism. This comment is striking because he made it in the 1930’s, long before eastern religions and philosophies had come to be the influence they are today. Lewis perceived that only these three alternatives are possible: No God; Christ is God; All is God.  My plea in this essay is to identify the most plausible of these three views that would bring about the right perspectives on work. In rather paradoxical ways, both the atheistic and Hindu views deny hierarchy in matter. Atheism is reductionistic and therefore sees nothing other than matter in the entire universe. Hinduism, on the other hand, elevates all of matter to the level of the divine. It will be clear as we go along that views that deny hierarchy in the nature of matter eventually end up introducing hierarchy in work and thus ultimately affect our attitude to work. "
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The Soul of Entrepreneurship by R. Paul Stevens
Sample

The Soul of Entrepreneurship

 FROM MAX WEBER TO THE NEW BUSINESS SPIRITUALITY

            _______________________________________________________________________________

[There can be] no capitalist development without an entrepreneurial class; no entrepreneurial class without a moral charter; no moral charter without religious premises.[1]

            In the classic film “Wall Street” Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) typifies the entrepreneur for many.  “The lesson in business,” he tells Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), is “don't get emotional about stock, it clouds the judgment.”  Gekko is constantly in a telephone conversation, using language such as “block anybody else’s merger efforts,” “Christmas is over, business is business,” and “I want every orifice in his body flowing red.”  In a famous scene, Gekko redefines greed: “Greed is good, greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures that essence of the evolutionary spirit.”  It is interesting that Gekko uses the word “spirit” in a film that exemplifies the secular humanism that has been the dominant cultural environment of business in the Western world for several decades.  But there is a change in Western culture that makes the question of a moral charter for entrepreneurship and even the search for a religious/spiritual foundation apt if not urgent.

 


[1] Gianfranco Poggi, Calvinism and the Capitalist Spirit: Max Weber's Protestant Ethic (London: Macmillan, 1983), 83.

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The Creation of True Wealth by R. Paul Stevens
Sample

The Creation of True Wealth

R. Paul Stevens

God came to earth as a worker. Jesus was born in the marketplace, in fact in a hotel. Not actually in a nicely prepared suite but in the underground parking garage because the inn already had full occupancy. He was wrapped in a towel provided by the laundry service and placed in the back seat of a car.  He grew up in a working-class home. As a young man he learned a trade and before he had worked a miracle or preached a sermon he pleased the Father so much that at his baptism the Father said, “You are my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  Of Jesus’ 132 public appearances in New Testament, 122 were in the marketplace. Of the 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context. Jesus called 12 normal working individuals, not clergy, to build His church. And some of them had questionable professions (tax collector, zealot). How can this be? Can we be human beings that are rich toward God and be so in the marketplace? What does it mean to create true wealth? And what is the true meaning of our lives, especially our lives in the workplace? Jesus doesn’t merely welcome these questions. He positively demands that we ask them, and he does so through parables.

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