Friday, June 04, 2004

business stuff and god stuff

len hjalmarson quotes (can't find a permalink - it's the Thursday 3 June 2004 post) John Piper's new Brothers, We are NOT Professionals. Let me say clearly that I haven't read this book. But based on Len's quotes of the first chapter I am concerned that John (who I respect and admire) has collapsed "business" down to some of its worst characteristics. I believe a balance is possible as we find in folks like Max DePree. I am a business man. When was leading small groups @ Cedar Ridge Community Church I honestly didn't know whether I had learned more about how to do that from Grace Theological Seminary or from USA TODAY, where I've worked for 15 years. My own personal interest in business is learning from it how organizations can be more effectively missional. In other words, I genuinely believe that fantastically run businesses can teach us how to love others better. But, if this isn't so obvious it's not worth saying, I don't at all believe business teaches us "the stuff". The Holy Spirit and the God's Truth provide the stuff. The organization is the context. As I've said elsewhere, if I have to choose between the two, I'll take the stuff in a inefficient context rather than the reverse! But that doesn't mean we can't learn from businesses, non-profits, clubs - any great organization - better ways to set up better contexts. Though, I will say, when I read Max's vision for business community, this strict dichotomy I'm setting up seems to be challenged. I believe balance and priorities are the watchwords here.

All that being said, I need to read Piper's book to get his full take. Perhaps some of you have read it and can give me more light. And, of course, feel free to push back if you think I need a course correction.

1 comment:

Len said...


Piper is talking about professional ministry, not profession as in business, unless I am mistaken (haven't yet read the book)... so I'm not sure your concerns really apply? Max de Pree is terrific, btw.