Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why Don't We Pray For Business: Mark D. Roberts

Presbyterian pastor and author Mark D. Roberts is writing a thought-provoking series on his blog entitled Why Don't We Pray For Business?

Here are the first 3 reasons he discusses:

PresbyBlogger and chair-elect of the General Assembly Mission Council of the PCUSA Michael Kruse responded to the first post with the following comment:
...Their (pastors') mindset is the zero-sum game of the biblical world. They believe capitalism and the market economy is based on greed, selfishness, and hoarding. They are ambivalent toward business people because they see the market place as unseemly. Thus, when business is mentioned in corporate prayers it is almost exclusively in the sense of restraint, circumscribing bad behavior, and repentance. We are all called to repent from greed and be generous. The enormous additive contribution of business is not in view.

It is ironic to me that pastors who can so readily appreciate how recent experience has reshaped our ethical understanding to embrace inclusion of women in leadership or biological evolution, continue to hold to pre-Nineteenth Century views on business and economics."
For the full text of Mike's comments go here.

It seems to me Mike is spot on in his observations and that Mark's series brings a much-needed focus to a neglected issue. I look forward the rest of Mark's series on the subject.

Why don't we pray for business in our churches? What do you think?


Michael Kruse said...

Thanks for the link! Mark is creating a good discussion.

Recovering Baptist said...

I guess because "capitalism and the market economy is based on greed, selfishness, and hoarding." What are we supposed to pray for? I can see praying for an individual but I can't see the point of praying for a corporation except that they would change their capitalistic and free market ideas... and the politicians would never allow that. I don't see mention of business in the "lord's prayer".. isn't that supposed to be our model?

Quotidian Grace said...

Roberts never advocated praying for a corporation ,which is merely a legal construct , but for those individuals who engage in business endeavors. My prayer for them would be to remember who they are and whose they are. No economic system is perfect because all are carried out by sinful human beings who are "standing in the need of prayer."

Recovering Baptist said...

Ok, I agree with that and I certainly pray for Fergus that all his dealings would be glorifying to God. Does the author invision Pastors praying for business folk in general or those who are part of the church? I guess I should not be so lazy and walk myself upstairs to the computor so I can read the article :-)

Recovering Baptist said...

I read the article... I suppose I never thought about it but wonder whether in spite of the fact we believe in a Sovereign God, we think business is too capitalist and media too liberal for prayer to help. Could it be they got this way because we didn't pray.. just a thought.

Denise said...

I think we should be praying for people in all vocations--and we need to expand our notion of vocation beyond that of word and sacrament. But the underlying issue in churches is that seminaries generally either demonize power and money or else teach a sort capitulation to "corporate knowledge" that does not ask hard questions that do indeed need to be asked in relation to capitalism and our relationship with power and money. I think Jesus suggests another path. Luke Timothy Johnson's book "Sharing Possessions" is the best resource I know of in that regard. Tied into all of this is the reality that pastors need to get more savvy about these issues in order to be pastorally present and helpful to the people in the church--most of whom live their lives immersed in issues of power and money. And they also need to become more savvy about it because much of the important theological and pastoral "stuff" in church is mixed in with power and money issues--for good and for ill. Too often part of that "stuff" is messing with the pastor in relation to compensation, etc. Pastors need to learn to be more honest, open negotiators on issues like that for not only their own health, but for the health of the church. All that is to say it is an important topic. I'm glad there is discussion about it! Thanks for linking to it.

Kelly said...

Good discussion. Just a thought though: Is business/private enterprise more likely to be influenced by greed, selfishness and corruption than the Federal Government? I have often heard prayers lifted up in church for our government and our elected officials. Businesses employ people which allows them to earn an honest living and gives them the opportunity to work together to create a product or service that can benefit customers. A portion of this money is often given to churches in the form of tithes or gifts.

Last time I checked the government doesn't donate anything to the church.

I work in media ad sales and once had a pastor make it clear to me that he did not like the work I was doing; that it was inherently wrong or immoral in some way.