Business As Mission, Poverty, and Epistrepho!

Even though this work week was a short one, I experienced many different events that continues to demonstrate to me that I am moving in the right direction. I made mistakes, had some victories, but all-in-all I learned several life lessons. I was telling someone the other day my story. In 1977 I had a very clear call to move to the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, I had a very clear call to retire from the Boeing Company and begin teaching fulltime at Warner Pacific. However, when it comes to my upcoming retirement, 5/31/2018, I did not have a clear sense of call or direction. I know myself well enough that I did not want to just play golf, travel, and get fat. I know I need something a bit more academic and mission oriented to give my final years on this earth meaning. Every day the next call gets a little clearer.

I would like to share with you the Kingdom Impact Statement for the Epistrepho Business Group. The name of my activity is a work in progress. I am not totally satisfied with this title. The kingdom impact statement states that “we support for-profit business and economic development internationally, for-profit small business development nationally, and locally we will work for the development of individual skills to improve employment opportunity. All this will be done under the umbrella of Business As Mission. The question is why do I want to do this?

I have had the opportunity to travel around the United States and Internationally. Every place I go I see the need for business development that will employ people at a fair wage, therefore helping them have a flourishing life. In the United States many jobs go unfilled because people do not have basic, or advanced, skills that will help people attain the careers needed for a full life.

I have traveled to Russia, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Honduras and observed first hand the need for for-profit economic development. In Kazakhstan I was able to observe the hangover of decades of Communist rule that continues to impact the people’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit therefore hindering the country from advancing at a faster pace. In Honduras I saw a desire, but the lack of resources due to many different issues such as corruption, greed, and selfishness. However, I saw a wonderful spirit in the hearts of people who want to be productive. Somehow I want to support that.

To prepare for whatever comes my way, I am reading and planning. I am also listening to my wife. I truly believe without for-profit businesses there would be no ability to help people in need. This is why I want to focus strictly on for-profit endeavors. Venezuela is a public laboratory where we can observe the effects of a command economy which adheres to a socialist political system. Many people in that country do not like what the government is doing, but the government is starving its people in a way that “Food is controlled and votes are bought, food is used as a political weapon and is at the center of the hurricane” (Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ). Through for-profit businesses we can fight corrupt governments and poverty in a way that can give people hope for the future.

Another way that I want to provide hope is by addressing the two Americas. According to Angus Deaton and Anne Case, who were both interviewed at a recent WSJ CEO Council their research has demonstrated that people with at least a Bachelor’s degree are doing well, while those without are not thriving. According to Anne Case, drug overdoses, suicide, and alcoholism is increasing for people without bachelor degrees, and the continued decrease of heart disease has stagnated. All of this, in my way of thinking, can be connected to the inability to have a good paying job. I want to impact that, and to do that I will be using the umbrella of Business As Mission (BAM).

BAM adopts a holistic development approach. In a paper from BAM is described as a “sustainable holistic approach by mission agencies, development agencies, and business.” It also operates on a premise of business being a force for good. Even Henry Ford once said “A business that only makes money is a poor kind of business.” My experience tells me that people who work in business want to do good, but sometimes the drive to make money gets in the way. Therefore, the motive needs to change. Practice wealth creation, but use that wealth creation to deal with the many social issues facing our society. As Lausanne states, “Economics is a fundamental sphere in the process of social development and without it human existence could not be feasible. From a scriptural perspective, human life should be oriented by specific values, the values of the kingdom of God. Therefore, any aspect of social life must be evaluated in the light of such criteria.”

I don’t know where this goes from here. I know that through my future endeavors I want to provide individuals with the skills they need to work and be employable, I want to help create for-profit kingdom businesses in the United States, and I want to do the same internationally. I think that will make for a fulfilling retirement.

And that is my thought for the day!

The Holy Calling Of Business

Every morning I have a ritual. I make my pot of coffee, sick my bread in the toaster, get the peanut butter and jelly ready (with a knife), and get my newspapers from the front porch, so when the toast is done and I coat it with PB & J, I can poor my coffee and sit down to read the local paper and the Wall Street Journal. After I read the local paper, I check my email, Facebook, Instagram, and other news feeds. Then I read the Wall Street Journal. I know it seems boring, but it is what I do every morning, along with my devotions.

This morning I saw something on Facebook that was pretty cool. Several of my previous students thanked their professors for helping them to think, so they could do good in the community. I was one of those professors they acknowledged. I have to say it made my morning. Therefore, it go me thinking about my phase three strategy. I am working on trying to clarify my actions after retirement. Although I don’t want to do phase three fulltime, I do want to have some fun, I want to continue making a difference in people’s lives so they can go out and change the world. I want to do that through Business As Mission.

Today though I want to focus on four traits of a strong BAM endeavor. I am basing my thoughts on a great book, Business As Mission: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God by Michael Baer. I agree with him that there are four traits associated with a strong business. First, seeing your business as a high and holy calling. Second, to be great you must discover and execute the purpose of your business. Third, you must have a set of vital relationships. And fourth, you must run your business with operational excellence. Let me break those down a bit.

It seems sacrilegious to say that your business is the result of a high and holy call, but if we are called to a vocation of some sort, then doing that vocation as service to God somehow sanctifies it. The word I keep coming back to is stewardship. As a steward I have been given the responsibility to properly use whatever resources I have to the glory of God. My life, and everything I do with it, is a gift. As a gift, I am responsible to do with it whatever I can to make a difference. Thus, if I own a business, or if I am an intrapreneur, then I must do my best to complete the task. Thus it is a high and holy calling.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a well known Old Testament verse. It states, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope.” This is one of those promises we hold on to when times are rough. There is some question to what this verse is referring to, but for the purposes of this paper, I am using it to make the point that if God has a purpose for each of us, then finding this purpose through inquiry and then executing a plan in line with the purpose is as point one states, a high and holy calling. The Alchemist said, “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Although this may not be completely true, I think it is important for us to find our purpose, but not just dream about it but do it. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan told us years ago that it takes discipline to get things done (Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done), therefore if we are true stewards we will fulfill our purpose.

As I stated a couple of blogs ago, I don’t think that anyone can make it alone. None of us is an island. Therefore, our success as Business people (wanting to make a difference in this world) is correlated with the number of strong relationships we have developed. There is an old Native American saying that we have two wolves warring within us. The one that we feed will be the strongest. This is true with our external relationships too. If we have strong ethical business people around us, we will be ethical businessmen and women, but if we have people around us that we don’t value and can’t trust that will detract from good business practices.

Lastly, if we want to create value in our communities as business people, then we need to run our businesses well. This means we practice proven business steps, treat our employees well, and remember that the customer is important. Whenever I think of operational excellence I think of Johnson and Johnson. In J&J’s company credo, which has served the company well since 1943, we see that J&J believes its first responsibility is to its customers, doctors, nurses, patients, mothers and fathers who use J&J’s products. Its second responsibility is to its employees, “the men and women who work with us throughout the world. . . We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate and working conditions clean, orderly and safe.” The credo goes on to mention how it is the company’s responsibility to listen to its employees.

I also think that operational excellence involves loyalty to the community in which the company is located. Hershey’s is an excellent example of operational excellence. However, it is because of its operational excellence it can give back to the community. In 2015 alone Hershey’s employees volunteered for more than “98,000 hours at local non-profits, raised over $400,000 for Children’s Miracle Network and donated another $1.3 million to the United Way.” They would not be able to do this without operational excellence.

I used a phrase earlier, value creation. I’d like to define it. Value creation is first relational. It involves people working together to improve how we interact. Second, it is about having money left over to be able to do something good with. People are paid enough money to take care of their families, who in turn take care of their communities, who in turn take care of those who don’t have the same opportunities. What I am describing is in part what Business As Mission is all about. I am sold on Business As Mission, and I believe that as a Christian it is my responsibility to recognize my high and holy calling, to execute the purpose I have found, develop the best relationships I can, and do everything to the best of my ability. I intend to accomplish this, and I hope you will too.

And that is my thought for the day!

Arjay Miller, Businessman And Do-gooder!

Over the last few months I have been developing the foundation of what I want to do during retirement. I am not one to sit around and watch Game of Thrones over and over, and I can only play so much golf, so I have been thinking about what I am passionate about, and how I would like to use that to keep myself busy during my senior years. I have been in business for forty-eight years, and enjoy being able to create successful and productive outcomes for the good of people and the community. I am also passionate about my faith in Jesus Christ. So I have been thinking about how I can combine those two passions and do something memorable while I am retired.

Business As Mission is that thing I have been looking for. There are many implications associated with this concept. I think of the family that owns Chik-Fil-A, and how they express their faith in the way they run their business. They treat their employees with respect, close on Sundays, and make sure their restaurants are clean. There are many other examples too of Christians who run their business in a way that demonstrates that it is a kingdom business.

In today’s Wall Street Journal William Galston pontificated about a previous CEO of Ford Motor Company, Arjay Miller, who ran the business in a way that exemplified the concepts I have been writing about. Arjay, who recently died at 101 years old, ran Ford from 1963 to 1968, after which he moved on to be the dean of the business program at Stanford Business School. At Stanford he created a world-class business program, which now has a Masters in Social Impact. The business school was known for its diverse faculty and student body, and how it expanded the curriculum to include ethics and public policy.

I do not know Arjay Miller, and I certainly don’t know if he is a Christian, but I do know he thought that business could create positive social change as evidenced by his actions. The question is what did he Do?

During his reign at Ford, the management system was modernized. I can only guess what William Galston meant by that comment in his editorial today, but I would guess that this means that Miller helped move the Ford management style for coercive to participative, less autocratic to more democratic, and less task focused and more people focused. Miller also introduced the Mustang. However, what is most interesting to me is Miller’s emphasis on vehicle safety. He was the first to introduce safety belts, which “he defended as the right thing to do.”

This emphasis on the right thing to do was also demonstrated by his founding of the Economic Development Corporation of Detroit created to help the revitalization of the city of Detroit. Miller also support “black-owned and operated businesses, and backed a negative income tax to reduce poverty.” I do like this quote that was attributed to him, “Making money is the easy part, making the world a better place is the hard part.” You see, there are business people out there that use their platform to do good!

Galston does a good job of prescriptively exploring what business should do in this current environment. As I look at his points, I would have to say I agree. You see, I think that people in business should take the high road in their endeavors. This means instead of just focusing on maximizing shareholder value, this includes social value as well. I think all of us are concerned with stagnant wages. I truly believe that a workman is worthy of a livable wage. I also think using creative accounting to steal from the tax official is not worthy of the noble businessperson.

I was trying to find who made the statement about the sound of guillotines getting closer, but was unable to find who said it. This person who said it was wealthy and was worried that every time the stock market ticked up, they could hear the sound of guillotines moving closer. The time for using business to create positive social change is now.

Bottom line, I think business is a calling, and the best way to look at is as being a steward over resources given to the business person to not only make a living, but to do good in your community. After reading Galston this morning I am convinced that wealth creation through business can create positive social change. But I also am convinced there are many people out there that wants to “get er done.”

And that is my thought for the day!

Without For-Profits There Would Be No Non-Profits

This morning someone posted a comment on Facebook that got me thinking about the relationship between Non-profit organizations and For-Profit organizations. I came to the conclusion that without for-profit organizations that create wealth, there would be nothing left for non-profits. For good to happen in our communities, there needs to be abundance, wealth, that will allow people to have something left over to help others. Even as I write this I think of the woman that gave two mites and how Jesus commended her because she gave all she had, while others gave from their abundance. But the fact is, because there is wealth there is something left over to help those who have need.

In 2012 President Obama stated that there was no such thing as the self-made person. “If you were successful, someone along the line gave you help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Although I disagree with his premise, he did have a point that there is a relationship between the individual and collective that demonstrates the importance of wealth and care for the other. As John Donne once said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Just as the previous paragraph is true so is my point, without for-profit organizations there would be no non-profit ones, and as they say without margin there is no mission. This illustrates what I have thinking and writing about lately, wealth creation. As the Lausanne Movement states, “Wealth creation is not a Western or rich-world phenomenon. Many men and women are making a difference through businesses on all continents.”
According to Philanthropy Roundtable “of the $358 billion that Americans gave to charity in 2014, only 14% came from foundation grants, and 5% from corporations. The rest, 81%, came from individuals.” These individuals are both wealthy and not so wealthy. In the section “Giving by Income Level” the Roundtable states, “People with means, as you might expect, are substantial givers. Middle class Americans donate a little less. But the lower-income population surprises by giving more than the middle – and in some measures even more than the top (as a percentage of available income).” However, in “absolute dollars, those in higher income groups give much, much more money.”

Philanthropy Roundtable identifies the reason behind Americans giving more than any other industrialized nation is our religious back ground, “Religion motivates more than any other factor.” De Tocqueville, who wrote Democracy in America, also noted second reason for our giving, our tradition of mutual aid. But there is a third reason that relates to this blog. It is the “potent entrepreneurial impulse in the U.S. which generates overflowing wealth that can be shared.”

The Lausanne Movement, and BAM Global, has captured this spirit in their Wealth Manifesto. “Wealth creation is rooted in God the creator, who created a world that flourishes in abundance and diversity. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-give gift, which is commended in the Bible.” This is not what was recently called a prosperity doctrine, this is focused on the ability to be efficient, entrepreneurial, and self-responsible. Through my blog, I am focusing on this to identify how we can be stewards of what God has given us and called us to use.

I believe the reason people give to charity is because it is the right thing to do, but I also believe they give because it is their choice. It is a personal decision to help those who need help and help them weather the difficult times they are in. I think this is what Pope John Paul II was referring to in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis when he stated, “In place of creative initiative there appears passivity, dependence and submission to the bureaucratic apparatus which, as the only ordering and decision-making body – if not also the owner – of the entire totality of goods and the means of production, puts everyone in a position of almost absolute dependence. . . which provokes a sense of frustration and desperation. . .” He also states this is also an illustration of the exploitation of the worker-proletarian by the capitalist. However, his point is because we are free, and partakers of a system that can create wealth, we can choose to use that wealth for the common good, everyone is better off. His emphasis was our ability to choose.

Because we have free choice, own the means of production, and can benefit from the fruit of our labor, we are free to choose to share out of our abundance. This means that non-profits can thrive and help people who are in need. Thus without for-profits, wealth creation, there would be no non-profits.

And that is my thought for the day!

A Different Perspective On Politics And Wealth Creation

As a more senior individual I have told myself I will not be that old curmudgeon sitting on the front porch whining about the changing world. However, as Simba was told in the Lion King, it is the circle of life (laugh). Moving up in years gives you a perspective on things. As for me, I hope it is a perspective based in love and wisdom. I hope my thoughts come across, not as ranting, but as thoughtful, respectful, and poignant reflections. My thoughts this morning are related to the concept of Kingdom values and wealth creation.

As I look around I am concerned that many of the believing community are hoping that by using worldly systems, such as politics, they can bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is that we cannot trust the world to have God’s best interest in heart. Those who think they can create the Church in political movements will find themselves sorely disappointed. Politics will never replace spirituality.

When it comes to Biblical values and wealth creation we are on a safe and solid foundation, any other is sinking sand. In Romans 12:2 we are told by the Apostle Paul, to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Therefore, what would be those renewed understanding of wealth creation?

Obviously, in God’s economy we are not accumulating wealth for our selfish pleasure, but creating wealth for the good of those around us. Yesterday I wrote about the values of efficiency, entrepreneurship, and self-responsibility, and today I will write about the “big-picture” context of how Christians should think Biblically about wealth creation in relation to culture” (Lausanne). There are specific “attitudes” that wealth creators should pay attention to the process of global wealth creation.

As I demonstrated yesterday there are values that transcend culture. Those are the values, characteristics, or truths reflected within the actions of God. As a believer, I get this and embrace this, however, others are a bit more diffident. Rushworth Kidder, from the Institute for Global Ethics, was one of those individuals who wanted to see observationally if there were common cross-cultural values. His research identified several cross-cultural absolutes: honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness and compassion. I have discussed his work for years in my classes. I think the above are critical characteristics that play a role in the appropriate view of wealth creation, but I also think God demonstrates characteristics that transcend culture and should be identified as we discus wealth creation.

Nobody likes corruption. In fact, one of the most devastating characteristics of governance is corruption. Many poorer countries throughout the world are negatively impacted by the corruption of their leaders. As we see throughout scripture God is a God of integrity. What He says He will do is what He does. Wealth creators need to be people of and practice integrity. A second characteristic involves hard work.

Proverbs 24:33 warns that “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” Thus, hard work, characterized by God is another wealth creation absolute that transcends culture.

As I have stated in my blogs, every organization needs to be run effectively and efficiently to have something left over so it can buy new equipment, give raises, etc. In other words, there needs to be profit. In Matthew 25 we are told about the parable of the talents. Using our resources to create surplus is a positive value. By creating this surplus, wealth, poverty can be defeated. Lausanne/BAM has “identified three poverty eradication myths: we can donate people out of poverty, urban-centered industrial growth and national GDP will solve rural poverty, and big business will end poverty.” I will develop each of these at a later date.

Lastly, and as I constantly state over and over in this blog, good business means good relationships. “Biblical wealth creation not only prioritizes profit, it prioritizes relationships.” As a Christian I see wealth creation not as concerned about money as much as on what that money can do. It can provide new jobs, better wages, more taxes to fund schools, and much more. Jeffery Sachs demonstrates the power of profit in the ability of communities to improve economically, socially, and educationally in his wonderful book “Poverty.” It is well worth the read.

Over the last year, too many of us who are a part of the Church have looked to the world to create solutions via political mechanisms. Others within the Church have attempted to use Marxist philosophy advocating the creation of a benevolent state to solve our national problems. In both cases we will be horribly disappointed. It is time to repent and allow our minds to be renewed to find solutions to our problems that will work. Time for me to get to work, I hope the same will be true for you.

And that is my thought for the day!

The Ubiquity Of Business

For years we have been hearing about colonization, and the effects of Capitalism on indigenous culture. I know that is a huge discussion, and I really don’t want to specifically address that, but I do want to address the absoluteness of certain market-centered principles that are rooted in something bigger than one culture or another.

To begin this discussion I want to tell you that the Business As Mission Global movement, and specifically the Lausanne papers on wealth creation, have be enlightening for me. I have enjoyed reading them and this blog is greatly influenced by this wonderful endeavor. What I would like to focus on today is the market-centered principles of efficiency, entrepreneurship and self-responsibility, and the fact that these are cross-cultural and not destructive to cultural uniqueness.

The Lausanne Movement would argue that these principles are actually centered in the person of God, therefore valid across all tribes and people, and not a “cultural imposition of capitalist neoliberalism.” I would agree with this assumption, and I would like to develop this thought by exploring what the Lausanne authors wrote about these words.

Let’s begin with the word efficient. The dictionary definition of the word is “performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.” Is this a western concept used by capitalists to colonize non-western countries? I don’t think so. And as the Lausanne authors stated, “God Himself is efficient.” God’s creation, God’s plan, is efficient. Therefore, since God transcends culture and He is efficient, the concept of efficiency transcends culture.

Efficiency leads obviously to success. “Success is not simply a Western value. One thousand six hundred years before Christ, the Egyptians valued it” (Lausanne). And as we read in the Old Testament, God recognizes the concept of success. He demonstrated this in the life of Joseph while he was at Potiphar’s house, and “the Lord gave him success in everything he did” (Gen 39:3).

The second word is entrepreneurial. I would agree that efficiency and success is resident in the very nature of God, but I would also agree that God is an entrepreneur. I have looked at entrepreneurship all over the world, and everywhere I go there is some form of entrepreneurial thinking. I do believe this is a reflection of the creative nature of God. The Lausanne authors state, “There are many definitions of entrepreneurship, but at its core is a mindset. A way of thinking and acting.” Many have discussed this as a new way of thinking, or seeing a process as it is and having the ability to see it being done a totally different way. Lausanne states, “It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value, or seeing an opportunity and gathering resources to turn possibility in a reality.” This is the nature of God we see in creation, and I would also argue that it is observable in many different cultures.

The last word, or phrase in this case, is self-help. This one may be problematic for some. Some would say that some people cannot take care of themselves. They need to have help to put food on the table, etc. And there certainly are cases of that, but we all want to help ourselves and provide for ourselves. A better way to say this is self-responsibility. God is self-responsible and thus wants us not to rely on others, or a state, but to rely on Him.

In these three words we see that God is an exemplar in what we can, and should accomplish. Some would say that these words are contrary to what being a Christian is, and are too capitalist! The fact is, God has meant us to be productive, creative, and participating in a system of social and economic value creation for the good of others.

Each of us has relational, emotional, physical, spiritual, and economic needs. Therefore, wholistically, we need to create social and economic value. This is why I am adamant that business can create positive social change. Others argue that capitalism only exploits people. I would agree that certain expressions of capitalism do that. But the basic premises associated with capitalism are really quite simple. First, we have the right to own our own property. Second, we have the right to a return on our investment, profit. Third, the customer is supreme. If there are no customers for what I am tying to sell, then I will not be in business long. Fourth, Competition will drive quality and change. Fifth, we have the right to choose are own business.

It really is that simple. Although this economic system is not perfect, the fact that we have a choice and can be efficient, entrepreneurial and self-responsible, we can create social and economic value in a way that all are better off.

And that is my thought for the day!

The Communist Century And Business As Mission

I am retiring on 5/31/18. It is not what I am retiring from as much as it is what I am retiring to. I have found a new passion, Business As Mission (BAM). With BAB comes a Spiritual/philosophical understanding of what is called Creation Theology, as associated with wealth creation, which coincides with my thought processes over the last few years. I have been quite involved with the concept of social entrepreneurship, and find it refreshing, but have found that its Spiritual/philosophical foundations are not fulfilling, at least for me. Now with the addition of BAM, I found completed the circle and now can go into phase three of my life, whatever that entails.

I’d like to take some time writing about this foundation. I’ll begin this discussion with a recognition and reflection on the Communist Century, Social Justice, and BAM. A bold endeavor for sure, but I am trying to develop a coherent understanding of this that is consistent with my philosophical connection to Democratic-Capitalism and my Christian faith. So here we go.

When my maternal grandparents came to this country, they immigrated from Russia in the early 1900’s in an attempt to escape the Bolsheviks. My grandparents were both Volga River Germans, came from families that were quite industrious, and whose parents saw the promise of the new world. I have always admired them for what they accomplished in their lives. I was reminded of my grandparents in a WSJ article.

Stephen Kotkin, a professor of history at Princeton, reflected this morning on the Communist Century in the WSJ. He recognized some clear realities. “Communism entered history as a ferocious yet idealistic condemnation of capitalism;” he also recognized the human cost associated in Russia, China, and even now in North Korea, Cuba, and I’ll add Venezuela. Kotkin illustrated this by saying “Since 1917 – in the Soviet Union, China, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Indochina, Africa, Afghanistan, and parts of Latin America – communism has claimed 65 million lives.” Names associated with culpability in these examples are Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim.

What I found very interesting in this article was this comment, “The Bolsheviks, like many of their rivals, were devotes of Karl Marx, who saw class struggle as the great engine of history. What he called Feudalism would give way to Capitalism, which would be replaced in turn by Socialism, and finally, the distant utopia of Communism.” Marx and Engle stated in the Communist Manifesto in 1848 that their goal was the eradication of private property. As I reflect on current movements, I see this goal reemerging.

The historical failures of this system are clear. Centralized planning of an economy has been unsuccessful, and by “the dispossession Capitalists” there was “also an enriched class of state functionaries” and secret police needed to “handle the arrest, internal deportation, and execution of class enemies.” However, I agree with Kotkin’s poignant recognition that “the siren call to transcend Capitalism persists among some on the left.”

This is what concerns me about the current social justice movement in this country. For some reason I have had a hard time accepting the phrase social justice. At least as it is used in the circles I run within. It is not that I don’t believe in social justice, but I am not too sure what is meant by it. I have my own ideas of justice, but it is centered within my faith and individual expression of that faith. I am exploring this phrase to decide what I think it is. Michael Novak, an author I greatly admire and who has convinced me of the appropriateness of Democratic-Capitalism, says this about Social Justice, “Social Justice is not a building up of state bureaucracies which are impersonal, inefficient, and expensive” . . .”Social Justice is a virtue whose specific character is social in two ways: the skill in forming associations and the aim of benefiting the human community.”

As we see from the last 100 years of communism, relying on the state to benefit people is a dangerous proposition. My first sense of social justice is related to my call as a Christian, for Jesus was very clear on how to exercise justice. “for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in (Matthew 25: 35-40). I do not see this as being connected to a progressive or conservation agenda, but to my call as a follower of Jesus Christ. This brings me to the last portion of this blog post, BAM.

A colleague of mine alerted me to the Lausanne Movement. I have been reading its papers on the power of wealth creation. I will be developing this concept over the next few blogs. However, to end this blog I would like to identify affirmations associated with this movement, and why I think they are important.
1. Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.
2. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.
3. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible
4. Wealth creators should be affirmed by the Church, and equipped and deployed to serve in the marketplace among all peoples and nations.
5. Wealth hoarding is wrong, and wealth sharing should be encouraged, but there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created.
6. There is a universal call to generosity, and contentment is a virtue, but material simplicity is a personal choice, and involuntary poverty should be alleviated.
7. The purpose of wealth creation through business goes beyond giving generously, although that is to be commended; good business has intrinsic value as a means of material provision and can be an agent of positive transformation in society.
8. Business has a special capacity to create financial wealth, but also has the potential to create different kinds of wealth for stakeholders, including social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual wealth.
9. Wealth creation through business has proven power to lift people and nations out of poverty.
10. Wealth creation must always be pursued with justice and a concern for the poor, and should be sensitive to each unique cultural context.
11. Creation care is not optional. Stewardship of creation and business solutions to environmental challenges should be should be an integral part of wealth creation through business.

These eleven elements are a part of the wealth creation manifesto that is based in the concept of Business As Mission. I believe that business has the power to create positive social change, but not in the sense of a collective statist endeavor, but one with the ability to own the means of production and experience the fruits of the labor, while caring for my neighbor. I can be productive and successful, but I can be generous too. That is what God has called us to do, not become the part of an all powerful state.

And that is my thought for the day!