Mar 26, 2010

The Banker's Calling?

Last week my friend John Terrill, who directs Seattle Pacific University's Center for Integrity in Business, was interviewed for the WSJ "Deal Journal" blog. The impetus for the interview was a piece that JT wrote for Cardus, called The Moral Imperative of Investment Banking. Be sure to read the whole essay, but here's a major starting point:

Tragically, economics is largely divorced from the moral and spiritual dimensions of life. But it shouldn't be. Prevailing economic theory needs to be challenged. When we divorce economics from moral imperatives, we relegate our work to base levels and diminish our commitment to serve our neighbour and contribute to human flourishing.

JT, quoting bankers, popes, economists, and St. Paul, goes on to discuss "soul" reform in the investment banking industry, driven by "the discipline of lament." It's an interesting and thoughtful piece.

After you read the essay, have a look at the interview on the WSJ blog. The opening question asks, "Can bankers do God's work, and if so, how?" Terrill responds:

I think investment bankers really can be about important work, and that is about making people and communities flourish. And God delights in that.


It's a good, though short, interview. Have a look at the comments, too; you may be surprised by the tenor of many of them.

As we consider the nuts and bolts of what it means to "be called" as lawyers, it's helpful to examine how other professionals view their work in light of the kingdom of God. I'm grateful for thoughtful people like John Terrill and his colleagues at SPU who challenge all of us to think faithfully about what it means to be entrusted with resources that God will use to help others flourish.

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