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May 21, 2008

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Dennis Sanders

Michael,

Regarding the contempt for business, I think there are a few things going on here.

For one thing, I think the main thinking in many mainline seminaries is a disdain towards business and the market in general. There is no talk of how it can be redeemed or used to fulfil God's justice, just that it's bad and rapes the earth and all that. My guess is that stems from a quasi-Marxist understand of society, which is funny since most professors and pastors have 403(b)s which funds their nice retirements. It's not like there is some retirement fairy out there bypassing the market.

Second, I think this is changing, but I tend to think a lot of pastors have tended to come from non-profit backgrounds, having no experience in the corporate world. It's easy to put down the business world if you have had nothing to do with it. Now that there are more second-career pastors, that might change, but maybe not.

Finally, is the ethos in mainline denominations. They tend to be very institutionalized and not open to "religious entrepenuers." Having grown up in a Evangelical/Black Church setting, there is a lot of willingness to start new endeavors that is very akin to a new business starting up. Mainline Protestants have invested in institutions and are loathe to starting something without the institutional blessing, be that a Presbytery, General Assembly or local congregation. That ethos is directly tied to a political ethos in large goverment institutions that look down on entrpenuers.

Business is not perfect and can be do great harm, but so can governments or churches. I think instead of villifying them, we should find ways to see how they can be redeemed, how they can be part of the new creation. For example, while government does have a role in protecting the environment and dealing with issues like global warming, I think businesses can be part of the solution. Businesses that produce "green technologies" can earn profit and help the earth as well. This is an example of businesses being part of heralding the new creation.

What's sad is theologians like Wright tend to ignore such things.

Dennis

Michael W. Kruse

Your last sentence is my main disappointment. We are material beings created to work in a material world. That is our eternal destiny. We exhibit the image of God in our creativity and I believe that God takes great delight in creativity. An engineer is every bit as creative as sculpter. So is the entreprenuer who establishes a successful business. I think you have nailed very well many of the issues that prevent this from being observed.

neil

Thanks for this review, I've been unsure as to whether I would read it but you've sold me on the need to do so.

Scot McKnight

Michael,

That's what Cosden's books do ... apply Wright's eschatology to the work questions.

Michael W. Kruse

Neil

Thanks. I'll be contacting Wright to see about my commission. :)

Scot

Exactly! As I think about it, I should have mentioned his books in the context of this post as well as Volf. I’m getting ready to review Stackhouse’s “Making the Best of It,” who does get into some of this stuff. Maybe I can make brief note there about these books.

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