3 Distinctives of Christian Business Ethics

Business ethics are a hot topic these days. With everything from insider trading to employee theft on the rise, it is no wonder that businesses are beginning to focus on the impact of ethical leadership. But along with this new focus comes a lot of “gray area.” Many times, managers are forced to decide on issues where there are arguments on both sides – a problem that makes ethical decision-making very difficult.

 “Business ethics” is often regarded as an oxymoron, in the way that “military intelligence” and “open secret” are considered to be counterintuitive. Given that business has to do with promoting one’s business for profit or self-interest, while ethics concerns serving or caring for others, the term “business ethics” sounds contradictory. For this reason, important questions arise concerning the possibility of business ethics as such: How is business ethics possible? Is there such a thing as business ethics?

Philosophers would try to answer this question through the so-called bottom-line approach (aka someone is ethically good as long as he or she does not break any of the laws of society). How should a Christian, then, respond to the question? Is it good enough for a Christian not to break any laws in the business world? If not, what makes Christian business ethics unique and distinguishable from the general philosophical approach?

First we’ll look at general business ethics, followed by what I think are three important Christian distinctives.

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The Illusion of Busyness

Honey Bee Swarm

Americans are busy.

Or at least they like to say that they are.

As an entrepreneur and college ministry director, I’m around a lot of “busy” people. While some people are legitimately busy, many people are operating under an illusion of busyness. We think we are a lot busier than we really are. Rather than focus on one assignment at a time in order to systematically knock them out, we try to multitask instead which often obliterates our productivity. Due to poor time management skills (and the constant temptation offered by email, social media, and cell phones), tasks that should take one hour to complete consume two, three, even four hours instead. Add to this the way our culture subconsciously equates a person’s “busyness level” with his/her value and success, and it’s no wonder people talk/brag/complain about how busy they are all the time

How can we shatter this illusion of busyness? Here are three pointers:  Read more of this post

Work, Ministry, and the Gospel

“If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel.  And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world.  Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us.  And only the gospel ought to be.” -C.J. Mahaney

The False Dicotomy: Work vs Ministry

Too often, I’ve heard a Christian friend or adult say, “I have a normal job and I enjoy it, but ministry always comes second. I just wish I could have a ministry job where I can devote all my time to God and ministry.”

While this sounds spiritual, it leads to three common misconceptions of the relationship between the gospel and our work:  Read more of this post

Business Up Front, Party in the Back: The Two Sides of Twitter

 

Multiple Tweets Plain

Twit·ter [Twit-er] (v.)- “a short burst of inconsequential information or chirps from birds”

That is the definition that inspired Jack Dorsey and several others to create a 140-character messaging service that eventually became popular social media website we know today as Twitter. Since it’s launch on July 15, 2006, Twitter has grown to over 180 million users who create over 65 million tweets a day! (Thank you Wikipedia) As a marketing student and social media enthusiast, I have enjoyed using Twitter for the past year and a half or so to find and share information about the things that I am passionate about (like #marketing, #socialmedia, #theology, #business) as well as be entertained by tweets from @ochocinco and several others. Aside from my personal profile (@LawsonHembree), I have also managed the Twitter account for the Arkansas World Trade Center (@ARWTC).
From my experience with these two accounts, I’ve always gotten to see more of the “business side” of Twitter. However, like a mullet haircut, while Twitter is all “business up front,” there is also a “party in the back.” This post will take a brief look at both sides.

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(re)Orientation

This past week I had the opportunity to be an O-Group leader during new student Orientation at John Brown University. I had not been a part of Orientation since my freshman year (I am now a senior). After being a part of it again, I highly recommend it to any returning students, but especially seniors. Why is that? Orientation was a reminder of why I am at JBU and what it means to be a part of the JBU community.

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