Category: Transparency

Andy Crouch, What Does the Faith and Work Movement Need to Hear?

In early February, I probed the thoughts of Andy Crouch, author, blogger, and speaker. Crouch had just resigned as executive editor at Christianity Today and moved to the John Templeton Foundation as a communication strategist. His books and speaking engagements have made him a thought leader on culture, and connected him notably to the faith and work movement. I was…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: Apprehensive Individualism

In my last post, I talked about how many professionals, even Christian ones, define themselves in relation to the symbolic image of the Mercenary—a person who is oriented towards “apprehensive individualism.” What does that mean? Individualism isn’t simply self-centeredness; as many scholars such as Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor have pointed out, it can also be a moral vision. But…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: The Professional as Mercenary

While studying global corporate workplaces in India and the Middle East, I came across a peculiar set of ideals, norms, and expectations that were widely shared across companies. Together, these constitute a distinct “representative character” that (thanks to Ashwin, the IT professional I mentioned in my previous post) I call the Mercenary. What’s a representative character? It’s a recognizable symbolic…

“America! America!”: Faith, Work, Law, and Liberty at the Inaugural Prayer Service

America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law! –America the Beautiful (Katharine Lee Bates) It had been a long glorious morning full of adrenaline, symbolism, and splendid pomp and circumstance. Then we sang the second stanza of the hymn “America the Beautiful.” Confirming my soul in self-control and confirming my liberty in…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World

“In corporate industries, we’re all mercenaries,” laughed Ashwin Mathews. “We work for the money. Honest—honest truth! I don’t work for loyalty, right? I’m not loyal to the company. I work for the cash!” I interviewed Ashwin (not his real name) in India in 2012 when I was conducting research for my PhD dissertation in sociology. By that point, I had already…

An interview with Katherine Leary Alsdorf, part I: “Who wants a start-up church?”

Katherine Leary Alsdorf is co-author with Timothy Keller of Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work (Dutton, 2012). She came to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City in 2002 to establish the Center for Faith and Work to help people nurture a meaningful integration between their faith and their professional work. Prior to this ministry role at…

Why the election is a faith and work crisis

  I’ve told the story before how a chance phone call from Chris Armstrong in late 2013 involved me, a nice moderate United-Methodist-turned-Episcopalian mainliner who was doctrinally orthodox but not culturally evangelical, in the faith and work movement. Even as a not-particularly-liberal mainline type, one of the barriers to involvement in this space that I had to overcome was my…