An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Cultural callings 5: work, calling and vocation

Slides from cultural callings session 5.

Dorothy L. Sayers on work and vocation and the business of the church

It is the business of the Church to recognize that the secular vocation, as such, is sacred. Christian people, and particularly perhaps the Christian clergy, must get it firmly into their heads that when a man or woman is called to a particular job of secular work, that is as true a vocation as though he or she were called to specifically religious work. The Church must concern Herself not only with such questions as the just price and proper working conditions: She must concern Herself with seeing that work itself is such as a human being can perform without degradation – that no one is required by economic or any other considerations to devote himself to work that is contemptible, soul destroying, or harmful. It is not right for Her to acquiesce in the notion that a man’s life is divided into the time he spends on his work and the time he spends in serving God. He must be able to serve God in his work, and the work itself must be accepted and respected as the medium of divine creation.

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) 'Why work?' (1942)

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Odds and sods

Bob Robinson reviews What is Vocation? My review is here.
Novice philosopher gives some great advice on buying second-hand books
Saving Leonardo the new book from Nancey Pearcey
Bible study on line courtesy of logos: Biblica.comj
Resources for studying the book of Revelation
Themelios 35 (2) is now out with an interesting piece on Warfield and evolution
What is the Bible basically about? [HT Collin Hansen]

Chris Wright discusses The Mission of God's People

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

An educational creed (ARSS)

Believing that Scripture reveals certain basic principles intensely relevant to education, we confess:

1. LIFE. That human life in its entirety is religion. Consequently, scholarly study unfolds itself as service either of the one true God or of an idol.

2. SCRIPTURE. That Scripture, the Word of God written, in instructing us of God, ourselves and the structure of creation, is that integral and active divine Word or Power by which God, through His Spirit, attaches us to and enlightens us in the Truth, which is Christ.

3. CHRIST. That the Christ of the Scriptures, the Word of God incarnate, is the Redeemer and Renewer of our life in its entirety and therefore also of our theoretical thought.

4. REALITY. That the essence or heart of all created reality is the covenantal communion of man with God in Christ.

5. KNOWLEDGE. That true knowledge is made possible by true religion and arises from the knowing activity of the human heart enlightened through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, Thus religion plays its decisive ordering role in the understanding of our everyday experience and our theoretical pursuits.

6. SCHOLARSHIP. (a) That the diligent pursuit of theoretical thought in a community of scholars is essential to the obedient and thankful response of God’s people to the cultural mandate, The task of the scholar is to give a scientific account of the structure of creation and thereby to promote a more effective ordering of the everyday experience of the entire community. (b) That because of God’s gracious preservation of creation after the fall, men who reject the Word of God as the ordering principle of life provide many valuable insights into the common structure of reality; nevertheless, the central religious antithesis of direction in life remains. We therefore reject the possibility of the synthesis of scripturally directed thought with any other system of thought.

7. ACADEMIC FREEDOM. That scholarly pursuits are to be undertaken. In the God-given freedom of a complete and voluntary submission to the Word of God and the divine laws that govern human life. The responsible freedom of the scholar must be protected against any constraint or domination of church, state, industry or other societal structure.

8. SUMMARY. That all scholarship pursued in faithful obedience to the divine mandate will heed the normative direction of God’s Word, will acknowledge His Law to which creation in all its spheres is subject, and will bow before Christ’s Kingship over all scientific work.

From Paul G. Schrotenboer (ARSS) 'Integral Christian scholarship' Appendix A.
Lecture delivered at an ASA meeting in August 1965 at The King's College, NY, USA.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Business ethics - David Batstone

David Batstone is a business entrepreneur, journalist and editor of Sojourners magazine. In these short video clips he looks at some issues in business ethics.

Relationships at work

A soul deadening job?

What if I don't fit in at work?

Meteor shower with Sigur Ros soundtrack [HT @sigurros]

Joshua Tree Under the Milky Way from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

Peter Heslam: transforming business

Peter Heslam looks at how entrepreneurial business can help eliminate poverty. He briefly looks at George Cadbury as a model.

Resources for a Christian approach to business

Antonides, Harry 1982. Renewal in the Workplace: A Critical Look at Collective bargaining. London, Ont: CLAC

Antonides, Harry 1978. Multinationals and the Peaceable Kingdom. Toronto/ Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company. 

Jeff Van Duzer 2010.  Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) Downers Grove: IVP Academic.

Bob Goudzwaard

Wayne Grudem 2003. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2003.

Peter Heslam:
2002. Business &Freedom, Gospel & Our Culture Network, Summer 2002
2003. Global Economic Justice & The Sabbath Principle, Greenbelt Insight, Oct 2003

2015. The Spirit of Enterprise: Abraham Kuyper and Common Grace in Business. Journal of Markets & Morality, 18(1):7–20.

Heslam, Peter S. and Wood, Eric A. S. 2014. Faith and Business Practice amongst Christian Entrepreneurs in Developing and Emerging Markets. Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 79(2).

Online resources by Peter Heslam, the director of Transforming Business, that relate to the transformative role of business include the following:
  • 'Transformative Business', Spirit in Work, issue 3, Jan 2005. Briefly introduces Transforming Business at the launch of the project. Here.
  • 'George and the Chocolate Factory' - on the transformative potential of the chocolate industry. The articles recalls the work of George Cadbury and was sparked by the launch of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sept 2005.Here.
  • 'The Corporation' - on the film The Corporation, which infuriated many business leaders because of its sheer negativity about big business. Peter Heslam used this opportunity to provoke a more fruitful discussion about the role of business in today's complex world. Connecting with Culture, Nov 2005. Here.
  • 'Standing up to Big Business' - on David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK, who claimed that as Prime Minister he would stand up to big business. Connecting with Culture, Jan 2006. Here.
  • 'Ending the History of Poverty', Spirit in Work, issue 6, March 2006. Here.
  • 'Prosperity Through Economic Empowerment', Faith in Business, vol 10.1 (Spring 2006). Here.
  • Review of John Ashcroft and Michael Schluter (eds) Jubilee Manifesto, Faith in Business, vol 10.1 (Spring 2006).Here.
  • 'Buffeting the Gates of Heaven: Can Philanthropy save the Poor, or only the Rich?', Faith in Business, vol 10.2 (Summer 2006). Here.
  • 'Enterprise Solutions to Climate Change', Spirit in Work, issue 7, July 2006. Here.
  • 'Musings of a Market Moralist' - an interview with Dr John Meadowcroft (Institute of Economic Affairs) about his bookThe Ethics of the Market (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006), Enterprise Excellence, 2. Here.
  • 'A Convenient Truth' - a response both to Richard Branson's pledge to give Virgin profits to developing green technology and to An Inconvenient Truth, the film by Al Gore, Connecting with Culture, Sept 2006. Here.
  • 'Banking on the Poor: The Banker who is Changing the World, One Micro-Loan at a Time', Faith in Business, vol 10.3 (Autumn 2006). Here.
  • 'An Affluence for Good' - prompted by the decision by the Governor of the Bank of England to print an image of Adam Smith on new £20 notes, Connecting with Culture, Nov 2006. Here.
  • 'Doing Business with Purpose' - reflecting on the legacy of the Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman on the occasion of his death, Connecting with Culture, Nov 2006. Here.
  • 'Universal Affluence: Adam Smith's Radical Vision', Spirit in Work, issue 8, Dec 2006. Here.
  • 'William Wilberforce: How Transforming Business can Turn the Tide of History', Faith in Business, vol 10.4 (Winter 2006-07). Here.
  • 'Setting the Captives Free' - a reflection on the relationship between spirituality, enterprise and poverty alleviation, drawing on the vision of William Wilberforce, Connecting with Culture, March 2007. Here.
  • 'Entering the Circle of Exchange: Catholic Social Teaching and the Role of Business in the Eradication of Poverty', co-authored with Ben Andradi (CEO of Servita). Published on the website of the John Ryan Institute, University of St Thomas, Minnesota, USA. Here.
  • 'Can Christianity give a Positive Value to Wealth: An Engagement with the Early Church Fathers. Published on the Transforming Business website here.
  • 'Flirting with Corruption' - a discussion of the development implications of Paul Wolfowitz's admission that he showed favouritism towards an employee who was also his female companion, Connecting with Culture, April 2007.Here.
  • 'A Silent Revolution' - a reflection on the way in business is embracing social and environmental concerns as a strategic opportunity, Connecting with Culture, July 2007. Here.
  • 'The Emerging Wisdom-Based Economy', Spirit in Work, issue 9, July 2007. Here.
  • Anita Roddick - a tribute to Britain's most successful female entrepreneur, Connecting with Culture, Sept 2007.Here.
  • 'Tomorrow's Global Company: Rewarding Humility', Faith in Business, vol 11.1 (Sept 2007). Here.
  • 'Enterprise with Attitude: Anita Roddick, Great Dame of British Business, Faith in Business, vol 11.2 (November 2007). Here.
  • 'The Business of Peace: The Role of Commerce in Peace-Building', Faith in Business, vol 11.3 (Autumn 2007) Here.
  • 'Thrift as Solution to the Credit Crisis', Faith in Business, vol 12.1 (October 2008). Here.
  • 'Unleashing Entrepreneurship' - a reflection during Global Entrepreneurship Week on the role of entrepreneurship within the current economic malaise Connecting with Culture, Nov 2008. Here.
  • 'Creating Wealth to Build Peace' - prompted by the 2009 New Year message on peace through commerce by Pope Benedict XVI, Connecting with Culture, Jan 2009. Here.
  • 'Entrepreneurship: Spreading the Spirit of Enterprise', Faith in Business, vol 12.2 (January 2009). Here.
  • 'Magnanimity and Magnificence: Entepreneurial Responses to the Economic Crisis, Faith in Business Quarterly, vol 12.3 (May 2009). Here.
  • 'From eBay to Social Entrepreneurship' - on Jeff Skoll, the founder of eBay, Connecting with Culture, 27 March 2009. Here.
  • 'How I Caused the Credit Crunch', Connecting with Culture, 1 May 2009. Here.
    'Godly Globalization: Why do faith and business seem to go together like oil and water? New Wine magazine, Autumn 2009, pp. 42-43. Here.
  • 'The MBA Oath', Connecting with Culture, 2 October 2009. Here.
  • 'Getting Tough on Poverty: How pocket-sized solar panels and investments in agriculture are changing the fortunes of Africa', Faith in Business Quarterly, 12.4 (Dec 2009). Here.
  • 'Democracy is Changing', Connecting with Culture, 16 April 2010. Here.
  • Transforming Capitalism: Entrepreneurship and the Renewal of Thrift (Grove Books, 2010). At only 32 pages, this book is designed for busy people and is available either for download as an ebook (click here) or as a hard copy (clickhere).

G. J. de Klerk 1993. ‘Can the business of any business be only business?’ Integral Christian Scholarship: Exploratory Reflections on the African Situation. Orientation vol 67-70. Potchefstroom: IRS.

L O K Lategan 2003. ‘What is business ethics?’ Journal of Christian Scholarship

L O K Lategan 2004. ‘Good business or good business? The role of values in business Journal of Christian Scholarship

R Paul Stevens 2006. Doing God's Business: Meaning and Motivation for the Marketplace. Grand rapids: Eerdmans.

B. J. van der Walt 1993.6 ‘Do we not perhaps need more than (business) ethics?’. In Window on Business Ethics: a Challenge to Christians/ Venster Op Bestuursetiek. Reeks F3 no 43. Potchefstroom: PU vir CHO.

Vanderkloet, Ed, Roos, Neil J., and Antonides, Harry 1976. Beyond the Adversary System: Essays on Industrial Relations. Toronto, ON: CLAC.

Verkerk, Maarten J. 2013. Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing. Philosophia Reformata 78(2):209-221.

Verkerk, Maarten J. 2004. Trust and Power on the Shop Floor. An Ethnographical, Ethical, and Philosophical Study on Responsible Behaviour in Industrial Organizations. Delft: Eubron Academic Publishers.

Verkerk, Maarten J. and Hoogland, Jan 2018. Ecclesiastes for Managers: Worldly Wisdom for Managers and Professionals.

Kenman Wong and Scott B. Rae 2011. Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace. Downers Grove: IVP Academic.

Journals and Organisations 

Cardus business articles

Faith in Business The Journal of Faith in Business and the Industrial Christian Fellowship

Transforming business – a research and development project based at Cambridge looking at issues such as: 

  • How does the convergence of Christian faith and enterprise help tackle poverty?
  • How do Christian business leaders understand their vocation and how can they inspire and equip those considering a call to business?
  • What would a theology of entrepreneurship look like and what practical value would it have?
  • How does Christian belief and practice foster innovation, integrity, responsible risk-taking and entrepreneurial aspirations, especially amongst young people?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Gordon Spykman on the Bible

"Scripture as living Word of God serves as the abiding religious norm which undergirds the total educational enterprise, giving direction to the entire teaching-learning process and shaping all the activities of the school. The Christian character of the school depends most fundamentally upon this perspectival function of the Bible. The fidelity of the Christian school depends upon how fully and consistently the Bible is brought to bear upon the total operation and allowed to function comprehensively in shaping the entire educational enterprise.

"The Bible is the dynamic, overarching standard which governs the life of the school in a comprehensive way. The basic convictions upon which the school is founded and the religious perspectives within which it operates are anchored in the Scriptures. Its fundamental articles of faith as formulated in principles of education arise from the Biblical teachings concerning God, man, and the world."
Gordon J. Spykman

Two new articles by Gordon Spykman, both dealing with the use of the Bible in education, have now been added to all of life redeemed. Available here.

1977. 'The place and role of the Bible in school'. In G. J. Steensma and H. W. Van Brummelen (eds.) Shaping School Curriculum: A Biblical View. Terre Haute: Signal Publishing ch 1.

1977. 'Biblical studies'.  In G. J. Steensma and H. W. Van Brummelen (eds.) Shaping School Curriculum: A Biblical View. Terre Haute: Signal Publishing ch 7.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Woodbine Willie on God in church and factory

"If finding God in our churches leads to us losing Him in our factories, then better we tear down those churches for God must hate the sight of them."

Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy (aka Woodbine Willie)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Lesslie Newbigin on cultural callings

Jon Swales and I are doing a series of seminars at St Michael's Stoke Gifford on cultural callings. Here is the handout from the first session.
Jon has the slides from the second session here.

Nothing is irrelevant

"You cannot evade the issue of God, whether you talk about pigs or the binomial theory, you are still talking about Him. Now if Christianity be. . . a fragment of metaphysical nonsense invented by a few people, then, of course, defending it will simply mean talking that metaphysical nonsense over and over. But if Christianity should happen to be true - then defending it may mean talking about anything or everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true."
    G.K. Chesterton Daily News 12 December 1903