How the Church Fails Businesspeople
by John C. Knapp
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A year or more ago my Stewardship Committee chair requested that we do something on the intersection between faith and work. Our staff recently planned an upcoming worship series with the theme "Make Our Work Worthy" that will focus on vocation and spiritual gifts. For an accompanying study, I read this book, which I had seen well-reviewed in The Christian Century. I will use the book for the study.
The title isn't the best and suggests the book is less meaty than it is. There are good discussions of the church's theological traditions on work and money. The main focus of the book is that people compartmentalize work and faith and that the church (and business) have not helped people to integrate these aspects of their lives.
I most enjoyed the early chapters which explored the differing natures of business and church and some of the church's theological tradition. The noticeable lack was anything about the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on work.
The second part of the book wants to move toward coherence. It begins with a chapter on rethinking Christian vocation, drawing on the teaching of Luther and Calvin. I thought this chapter could have been longer and stronger. The next chapter was a good approach at developing a moral theology of work.
The last two chapters weren't very engaging. The penultimate discussed the faith at work movement, which seems to primarily be a phenomenon for conservative evangelicals. I learned things in this chapter, but didn't find it spiritual or theologically interesting. It will prompt some interesting discussions when we read it at church though.
The final chapter was supposed to be about the church's potential in helping to integrate faith and work. Most of what was covered had already been (except for an interesting section on Charles Sheldon). I expected more in this last chapter than what was presented.
The book will be good at generating discussion and raises all the issues that I'd like to raise as we explore this question at First Central.
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