Resources

Books and Articles

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Spirituality and Work Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
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
Boredom by R. Paul Stevens
Boredom is part of The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity
"Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times expounds the dilemma of boredom in the workplace: routine, meaningless, repetitious, mindless work that results in fatigue. Such boredom at work has not been alleviated by increased technology or by the introduction of the information society—a cultural shift that may have escalated the problem by overloading people with information. Not even a challenging career can guarantee freedom from boredom. Executives reach the top and, with nowhere else to go, ask, “What is it all for?” Culturally North America is “bored to death,” “bored stiff,” “bored to tears,” “bored silly” and even “bored out of one’s skull.” Surveys indicate that up to half of North Americans are either temporarily or permanently bored (Klapp, p. 20), a trend that is all the more disturbing for a society that is saturated with fun industries. Perhaps that is part of the problem. Being “amused to death,” to quote Neil Postman’s penetrating analysis, does not seem to offer anything more than a cultural placebo. Klapp (p. 30) suggests the analogy of aspirin: frequent usage means not the absence but the presence of extreme pain. “Bored? How could you be bored when there is so much to do?” the exasperated father shouts at his teenagers. And for the Christian hardly any more damning comment can be made at the conclusion of a worship service than “It was boring.”"...
English
Theology of Work – Executive Summary by R. Paul Stevens
Sample

Executive Summary

Most of the difficulties we face in mobilising the people of God towards marketplace ministry are due to an inadequate understanding regarding the theology of work. This shortcoming basically arises out of a less-than-comprehensive theology of creation, redemption and eschatology.

God the Worker

God not only authored work but he himself was a worker (Gen 1, 2; Jn 5:17; Rev 21:5). Throughout the Bible, we see different images of God as a worker namely, shepherd (Psa 23), potter (Jer 18:6), physician (Matt 8: 16), teacher (Psa 143:10), vineyard-dresser (Isa 5:1-7) etc. God is as active and creative today – creating, sustaining, redeeming and consummating – as God was when this five billion light year universe was begun.

English
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. "
English
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.

English
Against the Powers of Death by Bert Cameron

The role of a Christian health professional in high technology health care

Bert Cameron

Head of the Division of Nephrology, University of British Columbia.

Board of Governors, Regent College

 

All health care professionals in the high technology medical system of western culture are confronted with an array of conceptual and ethical challenges. However, Christian health professionals have a particular challenge. They are called to develop and to project Christian perspectives that are relevant to social and moral issues of advancing  medical technology. In this context, one of the most significant issues is the technologic battle that modern medicine is waging against the power of death. This article comprises personal reflections about the nature of our health care system and the qualities of thought and action that Christian health professionals bring to this institution that is dedicated to the extension of physical life through technology....

English
The Recovery of Creation Theology by Philip Wu
Sample

The Recovery of Creation Theology as the Horizon of Marketplace Theology Movement

Philip Wu

President, VocatioCreation Ltd., Hong Kong

In this essay, I try to stretch in very brief terms the possible relationships between creation theology and marketplace theology movement from my experience as an advocate of the movement, a business executive, and a student of the Old Testament.

There are at least three incidents or resources that cause me to consider the possible close relationship between OT creation theology and marketplace ministry. The first one goes back to my seminary years and in fact continues into the present moment. Over the past several decades, a shift in emphasis has taken place in OT theological studies. This change marks a paradigm shift from a once exclusive stress upon the mighty salvation of God in history to God’s formative and sustaining ways in creation. On a related front, we notice another important development in OT scholarship, namely, a renewal of wisdom studies. It is fair to say that wisdom studies had long been an orphan in OT scholarship. Starting from the 1960s, however, a vigorous new effort in wisdom studies was undertaken. In a general analysis, wisdom theology has the ongoing, generative order of creation as its subject, and itself is a confessional reflection upon creation, its order, its gifts, its requirements, and its limits. The recovery of creation in OT theological studies seems timely to the emergence of marketplace theology movement.

English
Marketplace Theology Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
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.

English
The Church and The Marketplace by Steve Brinn
Sample

The Church and the Marketplace:

Naming the Reality and the Challenge

Steve Brinn

An Unhealthy Détente

Over the past 37 years, as several close friends worked faithfully in church and para-church positions, my own journey unfolded in the marketplace. I practiced law, managed a real estate and resource investment company, operated a 3500-acre ranch and currently am leading a medical imaging software start-up. All along the way I have struggled to keep my faith vitally connected to my labors.

I am hardly alone in this: far more saints report every day to work outside the church than inside it. It is true that women and men in all vocations (including priesthood) face the same daily challenge – holding fast to hope in Christ and showing up for work with eyes open, without despair. Yet this common struggle, to approach daily labor with hope though the world groans for salvation, almost always is more difficult for the working laity than it is for their shepherds, for several reasons.

English
Guide de l'animateur by Glenn Smith
Document Description: 

 

A leadership guide on how to lead missional communities in the marketplace.
French

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