Friday, August 31, 2007

New Book by David Miller on the Theology of Work

There is a great new book out by David Miller of the Yale Center of Faith and Culture on the theology of work. The book is enitled " God at work". Here are a few reviews on the book:

"The most thoughtful attempt so far to take both religion and business seriously as partners."--Harvard Business Review"As both a theologian and a business person, David Miller provides a unique perspective on the faith/work movement. This book contains a scholarly review of its roots, a careful and thorough description of its current momentum, and a thoughtful critique of its future. It is a must read for the person who wants to understand how God and worship relate to the reality of the workplace." -- C. William Pollard, Chairman Emeritus, ServiceMaster

"Rather than celebrate late life atonement to compensate for careers of corruption, David Miller shows a long, proud tradition of leaders who reach for purpose in their work and compassion in their workplace. This richly textured, historically accurate and spiritually uplifting book should be read not only by those who need it the least and will love it, but also by those who badly need it and don't know it." --Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Yale School of Management and co-author of Leadership and Governance from the Inside Out

"God at Work, by David W. Miller, is an important contribution to the discussion of the growing role of religion in business life. It ought to find its way into MBA courses on human relations, business ethics, and marketing, among others." --Robert W. Fogel, Charles R. Walgreen Professor of American Institutions, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, and 1993 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

"David Miller explores the next major chapter that most companies are wrestling with on the Diversity and Inclusion journey --- religion in the workplace. He provides excellent insights. " --Steve Reinemund, Chairman, PepsiCo

"God at Work draws on Miller's background in corporate management, theological training, and extensive research to provide an insightful analysis of recent efforts to bring religious faith into more active engagement with the complex decisions of the contemporary workplace. At a time when corporate scandals have rocked the nation, this inside look at the ethical challenges facing top executives is sorely needed. Miller shows that local congregations have seldom provided guidance for members with managerial responsibilities and academia has rarely provided a hospitable environment for discussions of faith and ethics in the business world, either. Still, there are some hopeful signs that this neglect is changing. Miller's engaging discussion helps chart the course." --Robert Wuthnow, author of The Crisis in the Churches: Spiritual Malaise, Fiscal Woe

Interview: Bruce E. Winston, PhD at Online Degrees Online

There is a great interview with my dean and mentor, Dr. Bruce Winston at Online Degrees Online:

Working with Dr. Winston has been one of the most transformational events in my life. I am deeply grateful. The following is one of those deeply inspiring Winstonian sayings on leadership:

"A leader is one who can clearly communicate a vision and motivate others to who discovers and maintains a lifelong pursuit of God's truths to positively impact individuals and the world."

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me

Blood of Christ, inebriate me (refresh me)
Water from Christ's side, wash me

Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Your wounds hide me

Suffer me not to be separated from You
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto You
That I may praise Your with Your saints
and with Your angels
Forever and ever

14th Century Christian Prayer

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bridging Sunday and Monday: Making Faith Really Matter in Business: Seattle Pacific University

This is from an online brochure of the Christian Business Faculty Association:
Over the past two decades the Christian community has seen an explosion of activity around the subject of the “ministry of our daily work.” The growing number of books on this subject is one piece of evidence. Pete Hammond (with Paul Stevens and Todd Svanoe) published an Annotated Bibliography in 2002, and maintains an exploding database of books and other publications on the subject. The Marketplace Ministry report from the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism conference in 2004 demonstrates the international nature of this activity. Marketplace ministries have “sprung up” in cities around the world. It appears that God is truly at work stirring passions and insight regarding the wholeness of the gospel and the destruction of the “sacred/secular” divide. Theology of Work is even finding its way into a few seminaries.
From this foundation, we seek to go deeper. If God cares about our daily work, does he also care about its institutions: government, education, the medical field, and business? And if so, what do the Scriptures have to say about how this work should be conducted? And if Christians can grasp what the Bible is saying about this work, does this insight translate to a secular world where the authority of the Scriptures is not recognized?

For those of us in business, the development of faith and work integration provides the foundation for developing a biblical view of business. At the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University, we started this discussion in earnest in 2002. The result was a paper published in 2004 on our view of the biblical purpose of business, [Van Duzer, et. al.].
Using biblical language, the paper demonstrated that God cares about the institution of business and has called people to that field to carry out his work in this world. The fundamental conclusion of that paper was that the purpose of business is to serve. Two vital ways that businesses serve are to distribute goods and services that are needed in the world, and to provide meaningful work enabling people to respond to God’s call for them to work. This is a vastly different conclusion than Milton Friedman drew, and many people accept today, that the purpose of business is to maximize the shareholder value subject to the constraints of the law and ethical norms.

We also believe that when something is true, it is true even for those who don’t recognize biblical authority. We have found that our conclusion about the purpose of business can be discussed using different arguments for audiences who don’t look to biblical authority for answers, such as Rotary, universities, and general business groups. Since most ethical problems in business over the past decade have come from greed rooted in the bottom line, these ideas on purpose offer hope through another way of thinking about business.

Now the question is this: can we go another step deeper? If biblical insight can help us understand the purpose of business, can it also help us understand the practice of business? Can we look at areas of business such as leadership, organizational culture, marketing, finance, human resources, and corporate social responsibility and gain biblical insight about them? And if the answer is yes, can we take this insight another step further to develop business theories that can be communicated in a secular language, offering insight to business leaders for all sizes of businesses, from all cultures, and all types of industry.

That is what the conference “Bridging Sunday and Monday” is all about. We put out a Call for
Papers and selected responses from 14 universities (both general universities and those that call themselves Christian) with research ideas in these areas. We had numerous responses from faith-based practitioners in business who have found insightful ways to carry out their work in honor to God. We organized sessions for the presentation and discussion of these ideas on October 4, 2007 in Seattle.

Our goal for the conference is to bridge two gaps. The first is between Sunday and Monday. Can we create a strong link between biblical faith and the practice of business? Of course this means acting ethically, and finding ways to demonstrate our commitment to Christ. But it means more than this, in demonstrating the missional value of business as more than a means to some other end.

The second gap we sought to bridge was between those in business and those in the academy. Many academics have not had to deal with the day to day challenges of being in business, while many people in business have not sought to ground what they do in solid theory. So sometimes these groups talk past each other, or don’t talk at all. By having strong representation from both communities at this conference, in each session, and in the presentations, we looked to create a dialogue.

Ultimately, however, Jesus calls us to be stewards of the resources he has given us, and to be accountable for our work in the world. While we believe that business is a worthy calling, some recent activity in business has been far from worthy. The identification of new and better practices for business can bring healing and help to a hurting world, with the end, that “they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.
A one day conference, October 4, 2007 7:00 am—4:30 pm (includes breakfast and lunch)Seattle Pacific University. For more information click on this link or any of the links below.

I. Introduction, why the importance of the subject, what else has been done

II. The Purpose of Business—Jeff Van Duzer

III. From the Viewpoint of a Person of Christian Faith in Business

A. Don Flow—CEO and Owner, Flow Automotive Customer Service

B. Jack Van Hartesvelt—Executive Vice President, Kennedy Associates Negotiations

C. Sherron Watkins, former Vice President of finance, Enron Dealing with Crises

IV. Business Leadership

A. Gerard Beenen, Carnegie Mellon University, and David Miller, YaleUniversity “Do Biblically Consistent Models of Leadership Work?”

B. Corne J. Bekker, Regent University “Sharing the Incarnation: Towards a Model of Christological Leadership”

C. Carter Crockett, Westmont College “In Search of a New Language and Model for Business”

D. Kristi Nelson, Seattle Pacific University “Using Power for the Greater Good”

E. Rick Franklin, Biola University and Regent University“ Authentic Leadership from the Image of God”

V. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A. Dan Lawson, Ashland University “Applying Christian Values to CSR and Workplace Ethics”

B. George S. Babbes, Azusa Pacific University “In Search of a Sustainable CSR Business Model”

C. Samuel Seaman, Pepperdine University “A Personal Ethic to Sustain Virtuous Business”

D. Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Yale Center for Faith and Culture “A Case Study of Cascade Engineering Company”

VI. Human Resources Practices

A. Mark Russell, Asbury Theological School, and Jeff Russell, YaleUniversity “A Theological Foundation for Off-Shoring Practices”

B. Jay Gary, Regent University“ Does Forgiveness Fit in the Workplace?”

C. Oneita Burton, Abeline Christian University “Faith-Based Approach to Organizational Communications Research”

D. Sean McHugh, Vice President, Block Imaging International “Designing and Leading Company-Wide Spiritual Development Programs”

VII. Organizational Values

A. Robert Eames, Calvin College; Stacy Jackson, Todd Steen, andSteven VanderVeen, Hope College “Making Values Matter in Organizations”

B. Tom Buckles, Biola University “Teaching Values in a Christian Business School”

C. John Kilroy, Emerging Concepts LLC “Values from the Beatitudes”

VIII. Marketing

A. Gary Karns, Seattle Pacific University“ A Theological Reflection on Exchange and Marketing”

B. Steve Strombeck, Azusa Pacific University “Corporate Integrity and Communication Strategies”

C. Marketing Business Leader—not yet finalized

IX. Finance

A. Tom Cottrell, University of Calgary “Resolving the Scriptures and Corporate Financial Markets”

B. Grant Learned and Herb Kierluff, Seattle Pacific University “Sources and Uses of Wealth from a Christian Perspective”

C. Finance Business Leader—not yet finalized

X. Conclusions and Panel Discussion: Denise Daniels, Chair; Don Flow, Jack VanHartesvelt, and Sherron Watkins

How to Register - Through the CBFA conference site

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Immersed in the River of God

"But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14, NIV)

"[A] mature contemplative is far more simple than any child or any novice, because theirs is a more or less negative simplicity-the simplicity of those in whom potential complications have not yet had a chance to develop. But in the contemplative, all complexities have begun to straighten themselves out and dissolve into unity and emptiness and interior peace.

The contemplative, nourished by emptiness, endowed by poverty and liberated from all sorrow by simple obedience, drinks fortitude and joy from the will of God in all things.Without any need for complicated reasoning or mental efforts or special acts, the contemplative's life is a prolonged immersion in the rivers of tranquility that flow from God into the whole universe and draw all things back to God.

For God's love is like a river springing up in the depth of the Divine Substance and flowing endlessly through His creation, filling all things with life and goodness and strength.All things, except our own sins, are carried and come to us in the waters of this pure and irresistible stream."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 266.
Photograph by Thomas Merton.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

John Michael Talbot - Psalm 42 - Live

Psalm 42
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Forecasting Patterns of Change

My good friend and colleague, Jay Gary ( is hosting a one day foresight seminar on September 20, 2007. Graham Molitor will be the main speaker.

Mr. Graham Molitor is a foremost authority on forecasting government policy, is president of Public Policy Forecasting, and former vice president/legal counsel of the World Future Society. He headed lobbying staffs at General Mills and Nabisco, chaired a legislative Commission on the Future, directed research for the White House Conference on the Industrial World Ahead, served on the White House Social Indicators Committee, and served in elective, appointive or advisory capacities in each government branch -- executive, legislative, judicial, and independent regulatory. Graham is the editor of the Encyclopedia of the Future (1996) and author of over 100 journal articles and essays on social and technological forecasting. Molitor will be offering seven 30-minute lectures on September 20th to a Doctoral residency, in a video-taping format.

The seminar topics will include:

  • Scanning the Environment
  • Framing the Issues
  • Advancing the Issues
  • Resolving the Issues
  • Cyclical Patterns
  • Bellweather Jurisdictions
  • Next Five Economic Eras

Here is a link to the seminar's web page:

Mentoring vs. Discipling Followers

Leadership Talks feature a new recording done by Dr. Bruce Winston and myself:
The write-up for the recording is as follows:
As a leader, mentoring or discipling followers is vital to the future of your organization. But, is either one better than the other? What are the differences between mentoring and discipling? How do each of these relate to succession planning? Join Dr. Bruce Winston and Dr. Corné Bekker as they address these questions and more in their discussion regarding the biblical and present day use of mentoring and discipling followers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Adventus Redemptoris (The Coming of the Saviour)

I will complete a course with a few Ph.D. students this month, on the leadership of the historical Jesus in the Gospels.

What does the coming of the Jesus (pre- and post-Easter) means to our understanding of leadership?

This short video is of John Michael Talbot's "Advent Suite." It is his contemplation of what it means that the Messiah has come. What does the coming of Jesus means for you today?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Leading in Chaos

I have the privilege this year to work with Jeff Hale on his dissertation in our Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. Jeff and his family have faithfully served years in West Africa as transformational leaders in the work of God there and their example has been deeply inspiring to me and many others. Jeff is proposing a fascinating study and the working title at present is: "What does it mean to organize and lead in chaotic times? Interpreting the Apocalypse through hermeneutic phenomenology."

Here are a few beginning thoughts from Jeff on his research proposal:
"The chaotic times of the 21st century make the traditional forms of organizing and leading obsolete because the ontological and epistemological assumptions of these forms are undermined. Consequently, the fundamental problem for 21st century organizations and their leaders is the rediscovery of meaning. Faced with this crisis of meaning, scholars and practitioners turn to symbolic interpretive and postmodern ontology and epistemology, as reflected in Chaos Theory and theories of spirituality, to make sense of their world. Unfortunately, there is not a philosophical framework for leading in chaos to guide scholars and practitioners in appraising and developing theory and practice. This study proposes one way of defining a philosophic framework in relation to the research question.

'What does it mean to organize and lead in chaotic – even apocalyptic –times?' This research question confronts the Revelation to John, also known as the Apocalypse, through hermeneutic phenomenology as developed by Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur’s work is well suited as a methodological framework for this study. His emphasis on metaphor, narrative, and understanding of hermeneutics as 'the art of deciphering indirect meaning' works well with the literary nature of the Apocalypse. Ricoeur’s four characteristics of text and social action offer the possibility of discovering spirituality in the text that is not dependent on The Apocalypse’s status as a religious text. Ample examples of Ricoeur’s application of hermeneutic phenomenology to biblical texts serve as guides in the research process. Significantly, this methodology offers a way to link, within the hermeneutic process, the meaning of the text with the meaning of social actions of organizing and leading. "

Here is a link to Jeff's blog:

Friday, August 03, 2007

Admonitions on Christ-like Leadership

One of our current Ph.D. students, Louis Morgan, is working on an elective course with me on the leadership principles in the medieval document of the "Admonitions of Francis of Assisi." Here is a link to Louis' blog: Louis is not only a deep thinker but someone who deeply desires to emulate Christ in his own leadership.

The following is a small excerpt from Francis' admonitions on the importance of walking in the Spirit, resisting the sin of envy and call to love:

Chapter VII. That good work should follow knowledge
The Apostle says: "The letter kills, the spirit, however, vivifies" (2 Cor 3:6). · Those have died by the letter who desire to know only the words, 17 so as to be held as wiser among others and be able to acquire great riches to be given to relatives and friends. · And those religious have died by the letter, who do not want to follow the spirit of the Divine Letter, 18 but rather desire only to know words and to explain them to others. · And those have been vivified by the Divine Letter, who do not attribute every letter, which they know and desire to know, to the body, 19 but in word and example render them to the Most High Lord God, of whom is every good.

Chapter VIII. On avoiding the sin of envy
The Apostle said: "No one can say, 'Lord Jesus,' except in the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3); · and "There is no one who does good, not even one" (Rm 3:12). · Whoever therefore envies his own brother because of the good, which the Lord says and works in him, 20 tends towards the sin of blasphemy, because he envies the Most High Himself (cf. Mt 20:15), who says and works every good.

Chapter IX. On love
The Lord says: "Love your enemies; [do good to those who hate you, and pray on behalf of those who are persecuting and calumniating you]" (Mt 5:44). · For he truly loves his enemy, who does not grieve because of the injury, which he did to him, · but, concerning the sin against his own soul, burns for the sake of the love (amor) of God. 21 · And he shows love (dilectio) for him from (his) works.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Turn to Spirituality and Downshifting

I wrote a chapter for a new book coming out on the subject of downshifting (simple living/ simplicity). The book will be published in October of this year by ICFAI University Press and is entitled: "Downshifting: a theoretical and practical approach to living a simplified life." My contribution deals with the world-wide turn to spirituality and its implications for the emerging trend of downshifting by examining examples of spiritualities that support and facilitate voluntary simplicity.

Here is a small part of my concluding statements in the chapter:

The current and broad turn to spirituality finds echoes in the rising phenomena of downshifting. A cursory overview of spiritualities that support and facilitate downshifting shows that these spiritualities all consider simplicity, voluntary poverty, solidarity with the poor, frugality and mutuality as core, “inner” and spiritual values. These “inner“ values operate as motivating and facilitating agents in these spiritualities to effect personal and communal transformation. In some established school of spiritualities, downshifting is viewed as an ascetical discipline that facilitates moral development/holiness (as in Fourth century Egyptian monasticism), in other schools downshifting is seen as a mode of mystical and kenotic union with God (as in Clare of Assisi) that allows for radical solidarity with the poor. The Southern-African social philosophy of ubuntu, as an example of a primordial spirituality, makes use of downshifting stances to express the values of mutuality and social respect. The Puritan and Quaker calls to simple living, frugality and downshifting are counter-cultural calls to authentic spiritual and human witness.

Downshifting as a spiritual phenomenon is part of the on-going quest for the “ultimate meaning of life”. It is part of ancient, spiritual wisdom that facilitates mystical union with God, moral development, the formation of authentic witness, and mutuality and solidarity with all of humanity. It is a call to balance and fullness of life.

"Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD '
or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.”
(Proverbs 30:7-9, NIV)