Sensei JFK licks his wounds after trying to convince a class of MBA students that the Sermon on the Mount and Leviticus 25 might just have some bearing on the way Christians should do business. Money quote:
Most, if not all, felt that while the teachings of Jesus to care for the poor and marginalized is interesting, the pragmatism of our current state of economics, in particular the current ‘whatever it takes to get out of the recession’ mentality, leaves little to no room for strategic let alone imaginative visions for business let alone society. ”Jubilee is purely utopian” was one comment. ”Jesus is arguing for only those called to serve in ministry – not those called to make a profit to fund these ministries” was another. ”How could a city like New York ever survive under a Jubliee mandate?” was yet another. Over and over the repose was a blank stare, checking the balckberry for texts, and the glint of solitare backlit in the glasses from the laptop upon which ‘notes’ were being taken.
Ouch. To be fair, even Scripture takes exception to Jubilee laws in urban areas—inside a walled city it wasn’t a mandate. But still, I imagine that for a professor, getting lots of blank stares back from an idea that you find compelling has to be one of the most torturous experiences around.
The article he links to, by the way, is worth reading, too: it’s Jonathan Rowe’s testimony before a Senate subcommittee, in which he challenges the assumption that a growing GDP (Gross Domestic Product) necessarily indicates a healthy economy.
Personally, I don’t know how any Christian can read, say, the Gospel of Luke without acquiring a great deal of suspicion toward amassing any kind of wealth. When businesses understand their sole responsibility to be delivering some kind of profit to its shareholders, we’re going to have big problems trying to integrate that kind of assumption into a Christian worldview.
But surely, there must be some way to do business faithfully in modern America?