Early in Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give, written by Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt with help from Brian Fikkert, the authors talk about a method often used by the church to respond to needs in their communities: So often, the metaphor for our compassion becomes the soup kitchen. We line up on…
Reprinted from the Oikonomia Network
Each session at Karam Forum 2018 was hosted by a leader from our community who framed the session with a 7-8 minute mini-talk. Like our Economic Wisdom Project Talks, these mini-talks are packed with catalytic insight. Check them out below and mark your calendars for Karam Forum 2019, featuring Miroslav Volf, David Miller and Mark Greene!
Vincent Bacote: “Seminaries or Cemeteries? A Mission as Big as Life Itself”
Vincent Bacote told the audience that, being in Los Angeles, they were sitting not far from the most influential seminary in the world: Hollywood. The movies win hearts and minds by showing people an imaginary world on a screen for two hours. Theology may not have big special effects budgets, but it can do something even more impressive than the movies; it can show us the real world. Bacote argued that theological education needs to recover a sense of how big the mission of theology is – a mission as big as the whole world, as big as life itself. Only then will it reverse its reputation as a storehouse of lifeless abstractions and decaying formulas.
Greg Forster: “Discovering Oikonomia: A Christian Life of the Mind”
Introducing Charlie Self, the event’s closing speaker, Greg Forster described how his conversion to the faith as an adult forced him to reevaluate what it meant to live the life of a scholar and educator. In a universe where God cares about building bridges and feeding the hungry as much as he cares about knowledge and insight, how can we have a Christian life of the mind? Forster argued that reason must have a place in the oikonomia theou, God’s plan for all things, because we use reason to discover the oikonomia theou. Everyone in the kingdom of God, in all vocations, has valuable knowledge; nonetheless there is an indispensable role for those who live the life of the mind – as Self put it, raising up poets and prophets for God’s people and world.
P.J. Hill: “Theology and Economics: Getting Past Cognitive Dissonance”
P.J. Hill shared the story of his journey as an economist who slowly discovered that moral and even theological questions were not secondary to his discipline; they were right at the heart of it. From a starting point where he struggled to connect his faith to his economic studies, producing “cognitive dissonance,” Hill eventually concluded that economic understanding had to begin with questions of justice, rights and morally ordered desires. Hill also described some insights the economic discipline provides on market economies that can inform theological evaluation of their functioning, such as the role markets play in coordinating social activity among people who don’t know each other well.
Chris Armstrong: “Flourishing: More than Souls on Sticks”
Gremlins sabotaged the audio feed at Karam Forum 2018, but this memorable mini-talk will be re-recorded and released at a future date – stay tuned!
Chris Armstrong argued that a well-rounded Christian view of human flourishing is essential to the faith in the coming generation. Too often, the church has treated people as if they were “souls on sticks” – addressing their eternal fate, but not their whole lives. Many young people leave the church today not because they think Christianity is false but because they think Christianity is irrelevant to anything they care about; our problem is not so much “intellectual atheism” as “practical atheism.” Bringing in delightful wisdom from C.S. Lewis and pointing to its origin in the earlier ages of the faith that Lewis studied, Armstrong made a case for Lewis’ maxim that “because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world better than those who know no other.”
I want to recommend a new podcast that is exploring connections between faith, work and rest: “The mission of the Surge Faith, Work and Rest Initiative is to help people discern their vocations and reimagine their occupations for the good of their neighbor and the glory of God. We produce this podcast to curate opportunities for people to listen to…
Book Review and Interview: From Relief to Empowerment – How Your Church Can Cultivate Sustainable Mission
I am pleased to introduce you to a book that invites the church to a journey toward a more holistic method of mission and poverty alleviation. Laceye and Gaston Warner have written From Relief to Empowerment: How Your Church Can Cultivate Sustainable Mission. The Warners support the idea that mission flourishes when relationships are characterized by mutuality—a difficult, but important, balance to…
by Edward L. Lee, reprinted from Living God’s Mission Tom and Brenda Ray Little notice has been made in The Episcopal Church of the death of Tom Ray on February 6, preceded just three days earlier by that of his wife Brenda. Tom was the bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan from 1982 to 1999. Both died quickly after…
The Servant from ServiceMaster: Al Erisman Tribute to Bill Pollard at 2016 Dallas Faith at Work Summit
The purpose of the Faith@Work Summit is to gather active participants and leaders in the faith at work movement from every industry sector to learn from each other and work together to extend Christ’s transforming presence in workplaces around the world. The next Summit will be in Chicago on Oct. 11-13, 2018. Go to fwsummit.org to sign up for updates and to learn more about the Summit. Register for the Summit here!
William “Bill” Pollard joined ServiceMaster in 1977 and has served not once but twice as its chief executive officer. During his leadership of the company, ServiceMaster was recognized by Fortune magazine as the No.1 service company among the Fortune 500, and also was included in its list of most admired companies and achieved market leadership in each of its markets and substantial growth in shareholder value.
He is the author of several books including: The Soul of the Firm, The Heart of a Business Ethic and Serving Two Masters? Reflections on God and Profit. In April 2004, he received the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Business Ethics at Notre Dame.
Albert M. (Al) Erisman is the Executive in Residence and the past Director for the Center for Integrity in Business in the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. He teaches business ethics and business and technology both at the undergraduate and the graduate level. He is also executive editor of Ethix magazine. In April 2001, Dr. Erisman completed a 32 year career at The Boeing Company.
I am excited to introduce you to a book that, while not a faith and work book, has serious implications for the future of the faith and work movement, John Seel’s The New Copernicans: Millennials and the Survival of the Church. I realize that is a strong statement; please read on. John is a cultural renewal entrepreneur and social impact consultant. He…