Tag Archives: commerce

Integrity in the workplace in faith in Christ

Father Nkwasibwe raises a point which I think deserves a lot of consideration in terms of organizational management. “Only a leader who has undergone a personal path of conversion and lived with an interior attitude of conversion and humility can be an example of the effort to downgrade workplace religious bias, prejudice and discrimination and other sinful inequalities. Such a leader enjoys the moral courage of freedom, responsibility and participation in social, cultural and religious interchange and promotion of the common good.”

Ya, ya, I can hear the clenching from here. The contemporary wisdom goes something like this, you have to hire someone who is completely unbiased, unattached, uncommitted, just “un” everything. I have to wonder if that is someone you can really trust. One of the main reasons for this blog is to champion the concept of living one’s faith life out in the workplace. Now, I will grant you that many see their faith life as converting the heathen. And I’m certainly not saying that given the opportunity in the workplace that I wouldn’t witness to Christ. I have, but when I do/did, it was with integrity. I’m there to present Christ, to tell people what He’s done in my life. What the Lordship of Christ in my life means, and what eternal life means. Now to be truly faithful to that, my witness has to be one that is with integrity, doing my job in a way that glorifies Christ. Not getting into holy wars, not picking on people, not discriminating etc. Always remembering that part of living my life in Christ in the workplace is to do my job with integrity and not using it as a way to abuse my position in favor of those who agree with me. Is that easy? No.

On the flip side, that person who has no scruples in terms of their life regarding “God”, however they see that, that’s better? No, it just isn’t. This is a person who’s decided that they know best, they trust only in their own judgment, or the judgment of other people. That is the continued downfall of secularism. We continue to try and impose individual, unguided, uncritical, frankly mostly about how I can do things to enhance me, and then expect that person to make principled, unbiased judgments. That’s a ridiculous expectation. This person is, bottom line, all about him or her. If anything they will discriminate against people of faith, like the college professor who picks out Christian students and decides that for a variety of reasons, they just don’t have it, tries to bully them into denying their Christian convictions. Come on, are there more Ken Lay’s and Bernie Madoff’s in the business world, or more David Green’s (owner of Hobby Lobby)? Ya right, who would I trust more? Come on! Who could I expect to hold accountable and who would think that they are a law unto themselves?

I’m not saying that Christians are always the most humble or the most principled. But I can go to David Green and if he’s not acting according to Christian principles I can hold him accountable. Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff et al, the only thing they are accountable for is the bottom line, investor value anything else, they will do as they judge and that’s what will get the secular man or woman in trouble every time.

“Self leadership, which is an offshoot of conversion, is that leadership that spurs others through moral values and exemplary skilled practices because nemo dat quod non habet. …Latin … “nobody gives what he or she does not have’. No matter what, this cannot be bypassed if effectiveness and righteousness are to be realized… Undergoing a path of conversion involves sustaining on-going renewal and connotes persevering in holiness, true friendship and altruistic service. … a journey of discovery, spiritual progress or soul’s journey toward God…”

“…it is also when conversion occurs that the leader can develop courage to lead the workplace community to ascend from the disrepute to which unethical practices and religious rivalry and confrontations have drawn most business actions.”

A man of faith is going to be a lot more likely to step up and take the heat and trust God’s providence as compared to the just cowardly, infantile, pathetic actions of people like Lay, Madoff and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco. Just squirrely little weenies. I know, not very charitable, but it is what it is. (Quick note, I had to Google Tyco. You know what the first reference was “tyco scandal”. Ya, just how you want to be remembered.)

Popular media likes to try to portray people of religion as bigots, narrow-minded, abusive. But the reality completely contradicts the popular fiction. I’d rather work for Hobby Lobby or Chick Fil A before I worked for Dennis Kozlowski.

Our group meets for discussion on Wednesday 10am, coffeehouse at the corner of  W King and Beaver Sts. Parking is behind the church 140 W King St, about a 50 yard walk from there. No charge, no committment, I will even buy your first cup of coffee. We are still in Gene Veith’s book, “God at Work”. See you then and God bless you.


Faith is the basis that we function in all aspects of our life.

I want to thank Fr Frederick Nkwasibwe for his great insights in his book Business Courage. As I’ve probably noted he is a Roman Catholic priest who received his undergraduate degree in divinity, but his thesis for his MBA is the basis for this book. He really did a lot of work (the book is over 400 pages) and he really dug into the history of the church to uncover this insight from a church father, St Cyril of Jerusalem who lived from 315 to 386. “…in his famous Jerusalem Catechesis. From this foundational research, Foley and McCloskey quote thus:”

“It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true, but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith.”

One can certainly make the case that the breakdown in the economy in 2008 was sparked by a lot of activity that violated the faith of a lot of people. Bernie Madoff, was only a blip, but he has become the most visible icon of that era. There were so many who were involved in the deceptions of the mortgage meltdown, including banks, mortgage originators, FANNIE MAE, government policy at the federal, state and local level, that we will be unwinding these violations of trust and faith for more years to come. 

One could certainly make the case that faithlessness in many ways has undermined the institution of marriage, expedience is the rule of our day, faith is a quaint, outdated ideal and the consideration today is I want what I want now. Darwinian philosophy is the rule of the day “Survival of the Fittest”. I want money, I want power, I want someone at home who is all about me, I want prestige, I want the right marriage. Is there little doubt that there is not a Biblical understanding of marriage anymore, that is mutual serving, but is in reality mutual using? Marrying into the right family to help improve my status, increase my opportunity to be in the right company, to marry a spouse who has a good career and will contribute substantially to an improved lifestyle, of course sexual satisfaction, the idea that I will be able to control my spouse in order to achieve my own goals and desires. I’m not saying that romantic love, as it were, is the ideal either, it has only been within the last three – four generations that marriage has really been about romantic love, economics has certainly played a role. But up until the last three – four generations, marriage was still biblically based.

Successful businesses today have begun to grasp that concept. That business partnerships have to be of mutual service and benefit to not only the partners, the customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders. The synergistic effect of these relationships has driven very successful, mutually profitable joint ventures. That was what the mortgage industry was about. I did a stint of mortgage originating for Fleet National Bank. The bank was very demanding in terms of not just production, but in assuring that it was a quality investment. We had to do a lot of selling to prospective customers, and also to our in-house underwriters. Documentation had to be of “pin point” quality. The mortgage industry fell into an attitude of expedience, shoddy or no documentation, very low quality investment, and a total breakdown in integrity and faith. It’s a breakdown that we see rippling through society, we have not learned the lessons that have been taught since at least the 1980s, Michael Milken, Worldcom, Enron – Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, all examples of a lack of integrity and faith that seems to be accelerating instead of examples that we can learn from and understand that we have to return to a time where we could trust in the integrity of those we do business and faith is the watchword of commerce, as it has been well before St Cyril. If our ancestors going back thousands of years could function and flourish while still maintaining their faith and integrity, why is it that we who are supposed to be so much more enlightened and intelligent, have to sink to the level of lying and cheating?

There is no doubt in my mind that those who are part of this group and read this blog are striving for the highest ideals and have put a great deal of faith into not just commerce, but our whole society. When we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is not just as “fire insurance” for our salvation, or a way to leverage church to more success, we do it because we live our lives in faith in Christ and trust that in all the parts of our lives we live according to His guidance and Lordship, we trust the results to Him. In the meantime we faithfully go out and make our best efforts, put in lots of hard work, and in true faith leave the results to Him who is ever faithful to us. It is always the understanding of what Christ does in and through us. If He is an all knowing, all loving God who only wants what is best for His adopted children, how can we go wrong? We may not end of being Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, that is “successful” according to the world, but I have no doubt that our lives will be fulfilling and as He promises in the Lord’s prayer that we will have our daily bread. In my own life, I have seen God do some things that I would have never planned and He ‘s done it in a way that has made life more challenging and accomplished. We go into eternity, which is what really matters, having lived a life that is complete in Christ, not in eventual failure in us.