Guest / Limited Access /

The New York Times Magazine: Workers can be religious? At work? Really?

The New York Times Magazine: Workers can be religious? At work? Really?
God bless Russell Shorto: In this week's New York Times Magazine cover story, "Faith at Work," you can tell that he's really, really trying to present a fair, understanding, even sympathetic portrait of marketplace ministry. But he really never gets beyond being agape that some businesses, CEOs, and workers wear their beliefs on their sleeve—and that it's all so … legal!

"This is strange-sounding stuff," he writes. "To someone unfamiliar with marketplace Christianity, the questions pile up. Is this legal? Aren't there separation-of-church-and-state issues here somewhere? What about discrimination?"

It's a long piece—7,777 words, to be precise—but the basic structure goes like this:

  • Astonishing anecdote about religion in the workplace.
  • Reminder that it's all above board.
  • Note that it's still a bit strange.
  • Another andecdote about strangeness.
  • Disclaimer about it being legal and, in some ways, positive.
  • Acknowledgement that being legal and, in some ways, positive, doesn't stop it from being odd and, in other ways, troubling.
  • Repeat.

Shorto, whose writing style is a true delight, is up front about his biases and intent:

My own orientation is secular but that I also believe that all religions have more or less equal dollops of spiritual truth in them, which become corrupted by personal and cultural dross. …
My task … was to try to understand a phenomenon that has, from my perspective, an inherent conflict in it. One of the movement's objectives is to give Christians an opportunity to ''out'' themselves on the job, to let them express who they are, freely and without ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Weblog
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueGene Yang: A Graphic Novelist Caught Between Two Worlds
Subscriber Access Only
Gene Yang: A Graphic Novelist Caught Between Two Worlds
The graphic novelist and MacArthur Grant recipient sees his life as an outsider as a blessing.
RecommendedSouthern Baptists Back Away from Backing Mosques
Southern Baptists Back Away from Backing Mosques
Trustee scuffle over ‘unholy alliance’ leads IMB to leave ERLC’s side on religious freedom fights.
TrendingTrump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
Editor's PickInvestments for the Kingdom
Investments for the Kingdom
Eventide Funds has confounded the investment world with its success—and its biblically based principles.
Christianity Today
Separation of Church and Store
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.