Monday, October 12, 2009
Is This Silly?
“Mission is a word that originated with the church. Business has stolen it. We need to take it back.” I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard or read this recently. I heard it again during a workshop at the Presbyterian Big Tent event in Atlanta. The speaker mentioned seeing a business mission statement at Taco Bell. He quipped, somewhat incredulously, “Who knew Taco Bell has a mission statement?” He then noted that mission was an idea that originated with the church and we need to recover it within the church.Kruse goes on to defend business:
While this instance was rather benign, such remarks often are not. “Stealing back mission” isn’t just about recovering it for the church. It is about getting it out of the hands of evil. There is a strong intimation, if not explicit declaration, that the idea of mission has been co-opted by something profane. The idea that a business would have a mission statement is mocked. After all, we all know that businesses are rooted in greed. Business mission statements are ultimately disingenuous attempts to dress up sinful motives.I agree with him, but I want to attack this from a slightly different angle. The entire concept of dividing "the world" from "the church" is, in some sense really, really a silly one. Now, of course, I don't disagree that there are things of this world we are to put behind us as we mature as Christians - that's not my point.
Greed has been present with humanity throughout recorded history. It is present in our modern economies as well. But at its core, business is not about greed. Business is about people creating goods and services, and then participating in endless win-win exchanges. It is about people irrepressibly exhibiting the image of their creator. The idea of businesses being intentional and focused in their mission as they corporately reflect the image of God (which they do despite their intentions) should prompt affirmations and encouragement from the church. Sadly, for all too many church leaders, it merely elicits ridicule and scorn. It is viewed as the defilement of something sacred.
My point is the idea of somehow cordoning off every thing around us into these realms of some sort. For example. The idea that a business has a "mission statement" could be viewed as a point of influence of the church on culture and is that not a good thing.
Besides, most things are morally neutral. Their worldliness, or lack thereof, relies primarily on how WE approach them. As an example, my office is decorated with a lot of things like what you see here - statues of super-heroes...my love of comics being no secret to regular readers of this blog.
I am quite certain the kind of person that is concerned about "taking mission statements back from business" would accuse me of worshiping idols. They have a point if I don't tithe and instead spend the money on the statues, or if staring at them stands in the way of my personal devotions, or I skip church to dust them. They can be idols -- or they can simply be decoration. It is my attitude towards them that makes them idols or not.
My real point is this. Jesus Christ came, died, and was resurrected to transform us. And when we are transformed we become his agents for saving the world, and often we act as those agents simply by being transformed individuals.
People that think my statues are idols or that want to "take back mission statements from business," are people that I believe as avoiding the real issue. They are trying to change things around them so they can avoid the work that the Holy Spirit is trying to do in their hearts.
How do you hide from the work the Holy Spirit is trying to do in you?