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Earning daily bread

by
11 December 2015

Robin Scurlock finds this study of faith in the workplace helpful

Where is God at Work?
William Morris
Monarch £8.99
(978-0-85721-628-1)
Church Times Bookshop £8.10

 

WILLIAM MORRIS’s book will appeal to those who wrestle with how to be authentic Christians in their workplaces.

The author seeks to examine "the potential for the workplace to be a place where we can all participate fruitfully in the healing of creation". His returning theme is that of Jacob’s ladder, which, he challenges us, could be planted in any of our working environments, with the reminder that "Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not know it."

The book is, in fact, almost three books in one. After considering why we should even be thinking about God and work together, Morris emphasises that nurturing right relationships — particularly within teams — can be a Christian differentiator in the workplace and office.

The second section offers practical responses to some common workplace dilemmas and questions; and the book concludes with a detailed analysis of the parable of the talents — an encouragement to bring all that we have to God in service, whatever work we have to offer.

Morris links the three sections thoughtfully, blending insights from his corporate life (as a tax lawyer) neatly with those from being an ordained minister (a priest at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London).

I liked this book, since it goes well beyond just the theoretical to tackling commonly shared issues — such as temptation, conflict resolution, competitive behaviour, standing up for your faith, and email etiquette — with some sensitivity. I’ve not read any other book that offers a biblical view of hotdesking.

Some areas that left me wanting more are how to support self-employed and remote workers where the concept of "team" is quite fragmented, and relationships are more virtual than face-to-face. But these are minor points. This book unashamedly seeks to reconcile making commercial profit with achievable Christian behaviour, and will appeal to those who face the challenge to authentic whole-life discipleship. I suggest that it be read slowly, and then for reference, using the helpful study guide.

 

Robin Scurlock is director of an ICT strategy consultancy working with educational trusts and schools. He is an author and workplace speaker for the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

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