Huffington Post Business: Faith and Business - Michael Jinkins
The church has a knack for depreciating the vocations of the laity. Well, perhaps not all vocations of the laity. The church routinely blesses vocations like the helping professions and education, especially if they are in the not-for-profit realm. But the church is ambivalent, at best, when it comes to blessing the vocations of those folks whose business is, well, business. I find this troubling, since the overwhelming majority of Christians I know are working in the business world just making a living.
The problem the church has with business has as much to do with an ignorance of economics as a flawed theology of vocation. When pastors and theologians begin talking about economic matters, I often cringe, not only because of their lack of knowledge in the fields of financial and economic matters, but because of the thinness of the theological reflections. Usually such conversations reflect little more than the individual's biases dressed up in theological language to dress down someone else's interests. ...
Michael Jinkins is the president of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. I can't tell you what an encouragement it is to hear a Presbyterian seminary president come forward and raise this issue. I have made the case in public and in private for just this emphasis for nearly ten years as I have served the denomination at the national level. I have made the case that church renewal begins when people begin to see the connection between what they do in their daily lives and God's mission. I occasionally caught an ear here and there but largely what I experienced was acute indifference. To hear the president of one of our seminaries acknowledge the deprecating (and I will add "demonizing" in some contexts) attitude toward people in business and lack of economic acumen is such an encouragement. Blessings on you, Dr. Jinkins, and may your tribe multiply among our denomination's hierarchy.
Jinkins mentions Presbyterian John Knapp's (now president of Hope College) How the Church Fails Businesspeople (and what can be done about it). I blogged through the book two years ago both here and at Jesus Creed. The index is here.
If you are interested in a couple of books about basic economics from a Christian perspective I would recommend Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics, written by John Stapleford, a professor of mine when I was at Eastern University.
Also, Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices by Victor Claar and Robin Klay.