Spirituality and Work

Envy and Leadership Insecurity

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Envy and Leadership Insecurity

Jon Escoto

 
Leadership + Insecurity = Corporate Suicide
 
I haven’t had so much Math since I graduated from my Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering.  I’ve always consigned the work of deriving mathematical formulas to the Galileo’s and Pythagoras’s of this world.  Not until today.  I just wrote one above as I reflected on the following drawing...

 

Drivenness

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Drivenness is behind one of the most respectable of all addictions—workaholism. But it is also expressed in a wide variety of addictive behaviors not covered in this article: chemical abuse, religious zeal, sexual addiction, perfectionism and fitness, which are all subject to the law of diminishing returns as people try to meet their deepest needs in these ways. The condition of drivenness usually arises from sources deep within the human personality, as well as systemic problems in our society. Drivenness reveals a spiritual dysfunctionality usually associated with a failure to accept the unconditional love of God. Driven people tend to focus all their energies on an activity that feeds their inner dysfunction, and this activity becomes an addiction.

Day at Work: Love-Recovering the Christian Amateur

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LOVE: 

RECOVERING THE AMATEUR STATUS OF THE CHRISTIAN

"To discover God in the smallest and most ordinary things,   as well as in the greatest, is to possess a rare and sublime faith.  To find contentment in the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will in the succession of all the things to be done and suffered which make up the duty to the present moment."
Jean-Pierre De Caussaude[i]
 
"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God."
Luther[ii]

"Does God work?" Willie MacMichael asks his father in George Macdonald's book for children. His father answered biblically:

"Yes, Willie, it seems to me that God works more than anybody - for He works all night and all day and, if I remember rightly, Jesus tells us somewhere that He works all Sunday too. If He were to stop working, everything would stop being. The sun would stop shining, and the moon and stars; the corn would stop growing; there would be no apples and gooseberries; your eyes would stop seeing; your ears would stop hearing; your fingers couldn't move an inch; and, worst of all your little heart would stop loving."


[i]. Jean-Pierre De Caussaude, The Sacrament of the Present Moment Kitty Muggeridge, trans.(Glasgow: Collins, l981), 84.

[ii]. Martin Luther, quoted in Roland Bainton, Here I Stand......

Day at Work: Hope-Making Our Mark in Heaven

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HOPE:
MAKING OUR MARK ON HEAVEN
            "How can Christianity call itself catholic if the universe itself is left out?"
                                        Simone Weil[i]
"I cannot think of a greater tragedy than to think that I am at home on earth...."
                                        Malcolm Muggeridge[ii]
"Only the heavenly-minded are of any earthly use."
                                        C.S. Lewis[iii]

 

            Years ago Leslie Newbigin said that "mankind is without any worthwhile end to which the travail of history might lead."[iv] A few believe we are heading into a new world order and paradise on earth but most people nurse a deep foreboding about the future, or refuse to think about it more than they must.  The seeming resultlessness of history erodes the nerve of modern persons including, I must add, Christians who have more reason to embrace the future wholeheartedly than anyone.  Whether world-weariness and future fright comes from the terrifying prospect of ecological doomsday, or, as is often the case with Christians like the Thessalonians, from the conviction that Jesus will probably come tomorrow, the result is the same for Christians: all work in this world except the so-called "ministry" is viewed as not very significant or enduring. 


[i]. Quoted in Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion and the Healing of the Global Village, Humpty Dumpty and Us (Minneapolis, Mn.: Winston Press, l979), iv.  Check for original reference - footnote 3 in Fox preface.

[ii]. Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered....p.

[iii]. C.S. Lewis, .....p.

[iv]. Leslie Newbigin, Honest Religion for Secular Man...p.

Day at Work: Faith-Discovering the Soul of Work

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"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the   greatest of these is love." 
1 Corinthians 13:13
 
"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."    
1 Thessalonians 1:3

FAITH: DISCOVERING THE SOUL OF WORK

LOVE: RECOVERING THE AMATEUR STATUS OF THE CHRISTIAN

HOPE: MAKING OUR MARK ON HEAVEN

FAITH:

DISCOVERING THE SOUL OF WORK

            "There is no work better than another to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a souter (cobbler), or an apostle, all are one, as touching the deed, to please God."

William Tyndale[i]

            "Do you like your new job?" It was a foolish question, a very Western question to ask a Kenyan.  But Esther had been my student in a rural theological college in East Africa for three years.  She had hoped, like the others, upon graduation to be placed as a pastor of a church.  Instead she was given the enormously demanding task of being matron for three hundred girls in a boarding school.  It was a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week job with little recognition and limited remuneration.  So I had reason to ask.  But her answer revealed a deep spirituality, one which I covet for Christians in my home country and myself.  She said, "I like it in Jesus."

 


[i]. William Tyndale, "A Parable of the Wicked Mammon," (l527) in Treatises and Portions of Holy Scripture (Cambridge: Parker Society, l848), 98, 104.

Consumerism

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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...

Calling and Social Transformation

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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. 

Business as a Calling and Profession Part B

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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.

Business as a Calling and Profession Part A

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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.

Boredom

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.”"...

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