10 Updates
Christmas Reflection: Can Good Christians Make Good Businessmen And Women?
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Christmas Reflection: Can Good Christians Make Good Businessmen And Women?

Dec 23 2013, 4:47pm CST | by

“… [T]he chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

30 weeks ago

Christmas Reflection: Can Good Christians Make Good Businessmen And Women?

Dec 23 2013, 4:47pm CST | by

“… [T]he chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.” –Calvin Coolidge , 1925 

We all know the reason for the season: It’s to put America back to work, by boosting the economy through shopping sprees and travel plans.

And we increasingly know about the thick and thorny tangle of related issues:

  • While economic development has been solid (and at times breathtaking) in recent decades, the divide between the haves and the have-nots has been growing even faster. President Obama spoke earlier this month about the problem of growing inequality, whereby “a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country.”
  • Even The Economist, one of our great champions of the free market, has brooded increasingly over whether enough may finally be enough.
  • Some scholars have argued that trust —the glue that binds a democratic society—breaks down as the distance between the rich and the poor grows, and that this trust even breaks down at a chemical level within human bodies, resulting in a breakdown of measures of social good.  (See the famous TED talk by epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson).
  • And economic development itself may not be environmentally sustainable and may turn future generations into have-nots. As The Economist noted a few years ago, our concept of economic development may make the planet implode once it houses 9.3 billion by the year 2050.

Against this backdrop, there’s the matter of clashing values that have historically guided most Americans. These values are often frighteningly contradictory when it comes to business and money.

Stewart Davenport, a history professor at Pepperdine University, bravely addressed the elephant in the room a few years ago in Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon : Northern Christians and Market Capitalism 1815-1860: 

Americans are and always have been some of the most voluntarily religious people in the world as well as some of the most grossly materialistic. In other words, Americans simultaneously and paradoxically subscribe to both the Christian ethic of humility and selflessness, and the American liberal-capitalist ethic of competition, success, and self-promotion.

It is almost as if many Americans have gone about trying to understand themselves and their world with the Bible in one hand and John Locke in the other. Reconciling the two, however, has never been an easy task. One told them that ‘ye cannot serve God and mammon,’ while the other unabashedly encouraged them to pursue lives of material happiness.”

In Unrighteous Mammon, Davenport observed three different groups in America’s past wrestling with what economic development meant:

  • One group of religious leaders simply welded capitalism onto Christianity, without embarrassment or apology.
  • Another group was reactionary, arguing that society should resist the evils of no-holds-barred capitalism.
  • And a third group attempted to find a middle position, in which new economic realities would arise without dismantling the entirety of the Christian ethic.

I find the first group to be at times morally tone-deaf. I admire the second group’s moral resolve, but I suspect it’s too hopelessly naïve to affect how people live.

The third group, in the time of Adam Smith and today, may be the one that has something meaningful to bring to the discussion of how morality and prosperity intersect.

Principled … But Pragmatic

These people are principled but pragmatic.  They know they’re living in a complicated world. They try to make peace with that complicated world, and they try to make that complicated world a little better, knowing that a perfect world is beyond their reach.

Unlike the first group, they don’t pretend that the structure of this complicated world is ideal. Unlike the second group, they don’t keep closing their eyes and imagining utopian fantasy realms in which there are no winners or losers.

In that sense, good Christians (and Buddhists and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Wiccans and, yes, secular humanists) can be good businessmen and women, combining a sober sense of humility and duty with the “moving impulses” that Calvin Coolidge ascribed to Americans. In fact, all of them may need to be both “good” and “good at business,” if our current concept of an American lifestyle is to remain a viable model in the coming years.
/>

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

"GOLDEN ASIA" Tokyo Premiere Press Conference
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by r ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

The Prince Of Wales Visits The Royal International Air Tattoo
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejec ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Mi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compensat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohame ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

6 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

6 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sch ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

6 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

China's rotten meat scandal spreads to Japan (Roundup)
Beijing/Tokyo, July 22 (IANS) A rotten meat scandal which led several fast food chains to withdraw some of their most popular dishes in China this week spread to Japan Tuesday, as McDonald's announced it had stopped selling fried chicken.
 
 
Study reports worldwide drop in HIV cases
Sydney, July 22 (IANS/EFE) The number of people with HIV has dropped by 18.7 percent since 2012, according to a report made public at the 20th International AIDS Conference being held in Melbourne.
 
 
China seals McDonald's, KFC supplies after scandal
Beijing, July 22 (IANS) Authorities in China have rushed to seal up suspicious meat products in fast food chains, including McDonald's and KFC, after one of their suppliers was accused of selling stale meat.
 
 
Rotten meat scandal in China hits Starbucks
Beijing, July 22 (IANS/EFE) The US coffee chain Starbucks has withdrawn some of its sandwiches from its stores in China following a scandal affecting one of its meat suppliers, Shanghai Husi Food Co., which was shut down by authorities for selling expired meat.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

'Mary Kom' to have world premiere at TIFF
Toronto, July 22 (IANS) Priyanka Chopra-starrer "Mary Kom", based on boxer M.C Mary Kom, will have its world premiere here at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the organizers announced Tuesday. The 39th...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
EU sanctions more entities against Syria
Brussels, July 22 (IANS) The European Union (EU) Tuesday expanded sanctions against Syria over the government's "violent repression" of its civilian population. According to the Council of European Union statement,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN Security Council slams IS for persecuting minorities in Iraq
United Nations, July 22 (IANS) The UN Security Council Tuesday condemned the persecution of minorities in Iraq by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and warned that such acts may constitute a crime against humanity...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Adam Levine and wife performed at wedding
Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo both performed at their wedding reception. The Maroon 5 singer was joined by his bandmates and Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks to serenade guests at Flora Farms in Los Cabos, Mexico, on...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jada Pinkett Smith wants to help women
Jada Pinkett Smith wants to help rape victims after her niece was recently drugged. The 'Gotham' actress feels grateful that nothing serious happened to her young relative because she was with a ''responsible'' group of...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Emma Stone worries people will leave her money
Emma Stone is worried people will ''f**k with her'' by leaving money around. The 'Magic in the Moonlight' actress recently spoke of her belief her late grandfather leaves her quarters, and is now concerned other people...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Beyonce and Jay Z treat 'On The Run' crew to skating session
Beyonce and Jay Z treated their 'On The Run' crew to a skating session. The singer and her rapper husband are currently touring Canada and the United States as part of their 'On The Run' stadium tour and were feeling...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
This $30 spray will make you iPhone or Android phone waterproof
Sony isn’t exactly enjoying smooth sailing in the global smartphone market right now, but it did start an awesome trend. Following the Japanese electronics giant’s lead, a number of smartphone vendors are now focused...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Gaza toll 609 as US blames Hamas for crisis (Roundup)
Gaza/Jerusalem/Cairo, July 22 (IANS) The relentless Israeli military campaign dubbed Operation Protective Edge targeting the Gaza Strip, which has lasted for more than two weeks, has killed over 600 Palestinians even...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
MH17 victims' bodies reach Ukraine government-controlled city (Roundup)
Donetsk/Kiev/Moscow, July 22 (IANS) A refrigerated train carrying the bodies of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash victims arrived Tuesday in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine as Russia and...
Read more on Politics Balla