Father God, we ask your blessings on our economic world: Bless those in governments and banks…. Give them an understanding of economic forces and the mechanics of wealth creation; that they may produce laws and regulation which give freedom for people to create wealth.
The prayer, created by the British Industrial Christian Fellowship, goes on to call down blessings upon managers, those who must work “unsocial hours,” and “those who can’t wait for 5 P.M. Friday.”
A Yahoo news item on the Fellowship from last year (no longer available; you can read a summary at Shock & Awe) reported that the prayer grew from a feeling that people don’t pray for stockbrokers and other businesspeople enough. Yahoo reported the story as a bit of a giggle, and The Revealer must admit to some amusement (and dismay) at the conflation of the boss’s will with God’s will implicit in much of the Fellowship’s materials.
But there’s a deeper story to be found here. The Revealer suspects these titans of industry and warriors for God are not just another gang of Babbits; rather, they’re working to wed their faith to their worldly calling. Given their economic focus, though, it seems fair to ask: At what cost?
The Fellowship also publishes an intriguing magazine, Faith in Business. Another good source for information about the marriage of God and mammon is the The International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen. As it happens, this group features an address by former congressman J.C. Watts, whom The Revealer had the good fortune to spend some time with last summer, discussing business and media. Watts had an unusual way of talking about the art of selling — he called consumers “dogs,” and the product “dogfood.”
A clue, suspects The Revealer that the Christian businesspeople’s movement has a strong streak of cynicism running alongside its compassion for clockwatchers.