Resources

Books and Articles

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Marketplace Theology Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
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
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 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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The Church and The Marketplace by Steve Brinn
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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.

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Organizational Values by R. Paul Stevens
Sample

In organizational life, values determine what is cherished and important and how an organization is shaped and managed. The human body operates on blood; an organization operates on values, whether good or bad. Ideally these values are thoughtfully conceived and clearly stated in a document that can be read by members of the organization and recipients of the organization’s service. Sometimes the real functioning values of an organization are in conflict with the advertised ones. So the process of getting people to clarify what values are actually operating and what values should be foundational is one of the most important exercises that can be undertaken in organizational life.

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What Makes a Business Christian? by R. Paul Stevens
Sample
What Makes a Business Christian
Article published in Christian Week
R. Paul Stevens
 
The presence of a Christian in a business does not necessarily mean the business is Christian, as some Christians keep their faith and daily work in separate compartments.
Here are 10 things that can mark a Christian business.
1. The presence of Christians with a sphere of influence. Owners, managers and employees can “incarnate” their values into every aspect of a business. Clerks, for instance, can draw an imaginary 30-foot radius around their work station and regard it as their “parish” where all people, structures, equipment and interactions are within their circle of prayer and influence.
2. A product or service in harmony with God’s creational purpose. Adam and Eve were called to be priests of creation, to “work it and take care of it” as trustees and stewards (Gen. 2:15). They (and all of us who are restored to our human vocation through new life in Christ) had three full-time jobs: communion with God, community-building, and co-creativity with God (the latter including productive jobs and trade). Almost no place in the work-world is so demonized that a Christian might not be called to serve there (exceptions being businesses that thrive on prostitution, drug traffic, weapons and the exploitation of the poor). ...
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The Intrinsic Value of Work by Siew Li Wong
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The Intrinsic Value of Work
In the Light of the Doctrines of Creation, Redemption and Eschatology
By Siew Li Wong

Introduction

The aim of this paper is to provide the theological bases for the intrinsic value of work by considering the doctrines of creation, redemption and eschatology. While noting that all Christian doctrines are relevant for all of life (Banks), the discussion in this paper is limited to three doctrines only. These doctrines were chosen for embodying the breadth of God’s action in history from beginning to end. They are important for our purposes because “if we are to understand what human existence is, and what human beings are destined or called to be, we must see these human beings as belonging within the allembracing coherences of God’s history with the world” (Moltmann, God, 189).

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Money in Christian History by John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
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Money in Christian History

by John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Many medieval manuscripts blossom with splendid decorations: fabulous animals frolic within huge capital letters; lush vegetation curls through margins; and intricate abstract patterns form dazzling frames. By the year 1300, however, gothic manuscripts began to present more distasteful sights. In one of these drawings, a worried-looking ape crouches and defecates three coins into a golden bowl. In another, a monster-head vomits gold coins into a golden bowl. The subject of money—the subject Jesus is said to have addressed more often in the Gospels than any other—now shows up graphically in Christian reflection.

It shows up, furthermore, in all of the strong ambivalence that has characterized Christian views of money through the ages. Money is shiny and beautiful, but also somehow related to filth, waste, and evil. Sigmund Freud drew modern attention to the linkage between money and excrement. Our own colloquial speech makes plain our ambivalence and even antagonism toward money: that man over there getting out of the limousine is "filthy rich" or "stinking rich," while the poor fellow leaving the casino penniless has been, ironically, "cleaned out."

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Reading the Bible in the Global Marketplace by R. Paul Stevens
Sample
Reading the Bible in the Global Marketplace
R. Paul Stevens
Professor Emeritus, Marketplace Theology,
Regent College

“What do you teach at Regent College?” This seemingly innocent question was broached by the guest master of an Orthodox monastery. I had undertaken a four-day pilgrimage on Mount Athos, the monastic peninsula of the Eastern church. In the course of praying my way from monastery to monastery I struck up a soul friendship with one of the guestmasters. “Marketplace theology is what I teach.” “What’s that?” - his inquisitiveness now aroused by something foreign, he thought, to the spiritual life. “It is the integration of Christian faith with work in the world.” “It’s not possible,” he retorted.  “That’s why I am a monk.” I can understand how he came to that erroneous view. It has to do with how we read the Bible, how we regard the spiritual life and whether the God-coming of Jesus was really into the work-a-day world that we inhabit.

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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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