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7 Responses to “Getting Ahead of the Curve”

  1. John Helmberger says:

    “Only a virtuous people, people of good conscience, can produce virtuous capitalism.”

    To your point, the problem is not capitalism; rather, it’s capitalists. Unchecked by the transformative power of the gospel, sin corrupts every system.

  2. marble says:

    Yes, what John Helmberger said.

    As a professor of Business Ethics, I am routinely in conversations with my students about ‘corporate responsibility’ – and my students routinely sneer at Friedman, and thrill to companies like Starbucks and to TOMs ‘buy one/give one’ model, that has been accused of dismantling any hope of a sustainable shoe manufacturing business in the countries the CEO has targeted for his largesse. . . .

    In order to have a business that incorporates the value of a “good” purpose, you must also have a “good” purpose. Apart from God’s purpose, however, there is no such thing.

    That’s the problem. Not the system. We can change the system, and that underlying problem will still ultimately dismantle anything you replace it with. Conversely, I suspect that within a community of faithful followers of Jesus, they could make pretty much any “system” work. [but I haven’t thought about this beyond the thought of writing it here – right now – so I’d be open to being talked back from that ledge. 🙂 ]

  3. Mike Metzger says:

    Marble:

    Allow me to talk you back from a few ledges.

    When you say apart from God’s purpose, there is no such thing as a good purpose, I reply: Maybe. I suppose in the 35,000 foot Grand Scheme of Things you are correct. But Christians can read your comment and assume that, unless you know God, you can’t have a good purpose. I disagree. Everyone is made in God’s image, so anyone could have a good purpose w/o knowing a lick about God. You might want to walk back a bit from that ledge you’re on.

    Second, God created everything good but everything is susceptible to corruption. So, to suspect that believers could corrupt a system is nothing new. But it’s also nothing gained. Better to hope that some believers will recognize a good system and align with it (rather than “make it work” for them). As a friend, I’m talking you back from the ledge of suspicion.

  4. Glenn says:

    Mike, I share your heart for hoping that Christians can be increasingly innovative–ahead of the curve. God is the grand innovator, and we are created in his image. Christians used to be known as innovators (universities, science, law, art, etc.). Innovation–as an expression of bringing glory to God and loving our neighbors–seems to be a marginalized element of our faith in mainstream Christian circles. Thanks for keeping that in focus.

    Regarding the question about capitalism and economic systems, I would recommend a biblical study guide titled “The Economy of God, published by Global Commerce Network. It takes us to the source–the Scriptures–in a thoughtful, compelling manner. If anyone in your circle would like a free copy, just send me a note at glenn@globalcommercenetwork.com and I’ll send it.

  5. Bob Robinson says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for this helpful guidance toward a third way.
    FYI, there’s is increasing research evidence discounting the left brain /right brain concept. So you might want to articulate your views in other ways rather than perpetuating what may be a myth. Google it.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/right-brainleft-brain-right-2017082512222
    I say this because your argument here is sound but it is undercut by using the concept of left brain / right brain.

  6. Kyle M says:

    Bob, if I may inject about the right/left brain concerning McGilchrist’s view of the brain. He repeatedly refers to the reciprocal manner the the brain’s hemisphere receives, processes, and responds to the outside world. I found his book very insightful after reading it a couple years post my wife’s craniotomy to remove a tumor on her right frontal lobe. I must admit that I’m kinda clueless when it comes to capitalism, but for troubleshooting, problem solving, and marriage very beneficial and highly recommend it. I would also recommend James K. A. Smith’s books, “Desiring the Kingdom” and “Imagining the Kingdom”.

    Thanks again Mike for sharing your thoughts with us.

  7. marble says:

    Thanks for the response, Metz. My suspicion is not so much about believers mucking up a system, as it is a suspicion that it’s not the ‘system’ that’s wrong, but rather the lack of God. That’s also the point I was trying to make in the difficulty of finding a “good” purpose. Apart from God, of course, there is no such thing.

    Thus my point: apart from God, there is no “good” purpose, and no system will change that. Therefore, the presence of believers will ultimately have to also bring about a focus on God to enable both a “good” purpose, but also to have any hope of running any system.

    My suspicion is not of believers, dear friend. It is of an attempt to make things ‘good’ – but still apart from God.

    Hope that clarifies my thinking!

    Best. . . .

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