Thursday, October 26, 2006

One Market, Under God – Part Four: Christian CEOs, Rise Up!

The final section in Dick Doster’s article “The Kingdom Work of the Corporate World” (byFaith Magazine, October 2006) is called “Transforming Business for the Kingdom.” In it Doster highlights various Christian artists—such as Suzy Shultz, Bret Lott, Bach, and U2—who have created some of the world’s best art, and then asks, “Where are their business counterparts—the entrepreneurs and corporate executives who, with the same passion, reshape the world through business?” He continues:

“God’s people can, as agents of his redemptive plan, transform business, stripping it of selfish ambition and pursuing instead what’s best for their neighbors. Through business, God’s people can harness mankind’s creative activity, and with it nurture his creation, developing products that make life better.”
I’ll list the unspoken and unproven assumptions for you, just in case you missed them all: 1. Business is supposed to be “transformed”; 2. The transformation of business is something Christians are responsible to do “as agents of God’s redemptive plan”; 3. Business and “selfish ambition” are things that the corporate executive can and should separate; 4. What is “best” for our neighbors is business (and everything that goes with it); 5. The products that business creates “make life better.”

Doster then ends his article with the incredible statement that many regretful Christians, on their deathbeds, may (rightly) gasp: “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

I will exercise Herculean self-restraint here and merely point out that such confusion of kingdoms is alarming to say the least. When God’s redemptive plan is equated with what The Gap does, or conversely, when the latter’s vision statement begins to resemble the church’s Great Commission, then what we are left with is a Social Gospel that may be relevant, but only at the expense of its holiness.

In short, when Christ's kingdom is trivialized and the culture sacralized, what we are left with is earth instead of heaven....