Resources

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Spirituality and Work Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
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. "
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The Soul of Entrepreneurship by R. Paul Stevens
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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 Recovery of Creation Theology by Philip Wu
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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
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
Advertising: A Roman Catholic Perspective by Jon Escoto
"We had a very interesting discussion on Advertising, slanted towards its feeding on the “greed” of man.  I found the Catholic Church’s Handbook on Ethics in Advertising” quite interesting.  As I browsed through it, I found the following points significantly striking:..."
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The Creation of True Wealth by R. Paul Stevens
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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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Advertising by R. Paul Stevens

and Richard Pollay

"Years ago Marshall McLuhan said, “Ours is the first age in which many thousands of our best trained minds made it a full-time business to get inside the collective public mind . . . to manipulate, exploit, and control” (p. v). Given its pervasive and persuasive character, advertising is without doubt one of the most formative influences in popular culture, shaping values and behavior and telling people how and why to live. It is estimated that the average North American is subjected to over one thousand advertisements daily in one or other of the media (television, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, direct mail) covering everything from perfume to automobiles, from fast food to insurance."

English
Marketplace Theology Resources
Title & Author Language Links Tags
What Makes a Business Christian? by R. Paul Stevens
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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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Organizational Values by R. Paul Stevens
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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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