On Moral Business: Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life,edited by Max L. Stackhouse, Dennis P. McCann, and Shirley J. Roels, with Preston N. Williams (Eerdmans, 991 pp.; $35, paper). Reviewed by Paul de Vries, author and president of the New York Evangelical Seminary Fund, Inc.
One day I had a splendid conversation with an accomplished artist who had recently relocated to Chicago, attracted by that city's vital artistic community, exquisite galleries and museums, rich ethnic diversity, fine restaurants, fascinating architecture, and the sheer beauty of the lakefront. The only thing about Chicago that disturbed him was the for-profit business that seemed to dominate the city.
So, what was his ideal city? Athens, a city completely devoted to the Muses and other gods of culture, hermetically protected from the dirty business of business.
Athens? Why Athens? How could I break it to him that classical Athens had been such a great locus of culture precisely because it had been the premiere commercial center of its time. The cohabitation of culture and business had been no mere coincidence. How else could the Athenians have afforded the price of culture? Who had fed the artists, after all, but the prosperous business brokers? Everything is connected, whether we like it or not.
In more complex and enduring ways, Christian commitment and biblical spirituality have likewise cohabited the world of labor and commerce. This has been true at least since the shepherds beheld the Lamb of God and the wise men brought gold to Mary and Joseph. Perhaps work and worship have been connected ever since Adam and Eve maintained the holy garden.
As important as the multiple bonds are between godly work and worship, the marketplace ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more