01 Feb 2002

Church on Sunday, Work on Monday


In Church on Sunday, Work on Monday: The Challenge of Fusing Christian Values with Business Life, Laura Nash and Scotty McLennan explore the gap that exists between Christian ideals and the realities of business life at a time when many are searching for guidance in dealing with the impact of the marketplace on people's lives. The authors believe there are deep differences of worldview and language that need to be addressed before church and business professionals can truly communicate on this problem. "The church could be one of the strongest resources we have for leading a balanced and effective business life," they write in the book's preface. "In most cases, it is not."

In their analysis of this separation between spirituality and work, Nash, a senior research fellow at HBS, and McLennan, a Unitarian Universalist minister and former senior lecturer at HBS who is now dean for religious life at Stanford University, have developed several new frameworks to help businesspeople and clergy actively draw on their religious faith to address management problems. "Our goal is not to convince the church that it should be the handmaiden of business - in fact, we argue for less, rather than more, engagement of the institutional church in economics," note Nash and McLennan. "But we do argue that the church should help businesspeople develop a process for personally engaging their faith in the management arena."

The book is based on confidential interviews with middle and upper-level managers and with clergy and laypeople from a variety of Christian denominations; case studies of relevant programs for businesspeople; a survey of seminarians; a review of existing literature on executive spiritual development; and material from one of Nash's previous books, Believers in Business, which focused on the experiences of 85 Christian CEOs.

American business has experienced enormous change in the last few decades, which has led to what Nash and McLennan term "a kind of spiritual schizophrenia" that is threatening the ability of many in the workplace to sustain a strong connection to their own soul and the ethics of their faith. Church on Sunday, Work on Monday offers a path for churches and congregations to follow as they work together to enhance the spiritual fulfillment of Christians in the business world.

by Laura L. Nash and Scotty McLennan


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