God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement

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What was once taboo - faith at work - is increasingly accepted in corporate America. From secretaries to CEOs, growing numbers of businesspeople today want to bring their faith to work. Yet they wrestle with how to do this effectively and appropriately in a pluralistic corporate setting. For help they turn not to their clergy, but to their peers and to a burgeoning cottage industry on spirituality at work. They attend conferences and seminars, participate in Bible study and prayer groups, and read books, blogs, and eNewsletters. They see their faith as a resource for ethical guidance and to help find meaning and purpose in their work.

In God at Work, David W. Miller looks at how this Faith at Work movement developed and considers its potential value for business and society. Done well, the integration of faith and work has positive implications at the personal level, as well as for corporate ethics and the broader economic sphere. At the same time, increasing expressions of religion and spiritual practices at work also present the threat of divisiveness and discrimination.

Drawing on the insights of theological ethics as well as the sociology of religion, Miller analyzes the history of the modern day Faith at Work movement from its roots in the late 19th century to its modern formulation and trajectory. He examines the diversity of its members and modes of expression, and constructs a new framework for understanding, interpreting, and critiquing the movement and its future. Miller concludes that workers and professionals have a deep and lasting desire to live a holistic life, to integrate the claims of their faith with the demands of their work. He documents the surprising abdication of this field by church and theological academy and its embrace, ironically, by the management academy.

Offering compelling new evidence of the depth and breadth of spirituality at work, Miller concludes that faith at work is a bona fide social movement and here to stay. He establishes the importance of this movement, identifies the possibilities and problems, and points toward future research questions. God at Work is essential reading for business scholars and leaders, theologians and clergy, and anyone interested in the integration of faith and work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By providing definition, history, and current activity, Miller offers a very useful introduction to this movement."—hoice

"The most thoughtful attempt so far to take both religion and business seriously as partners."—Harvard Business Review

"God at Work draws on Miller's background in corporate management, theological training, and extensive research to provide an insightful analysis of recent efforts to bring religious faith into more active engagement with the complex decisions of the contemporary workplace. At a time when corporate scandals have rocked the nation, this inside look at the ethical challenges facing top executives is sorely needed. Miller shows that local congregations have seldom provided guidance for members with managerial responsibilities and academia has rarely provided a hospitable environment for discussions of faith and ethics in the business world, either. Still, there are some hopeful signs that this neglect is changing. Miller's engaging discussion helps chart the course." —Robert Wuthnow, author of The Crisis in the Churches: Spiritual Malaise, Fiscal Woe

"David Miller explores the next major chapter that most companines are wrestling with on the Diversity and Inclusion journey —- religion in the workplace. He provides excellent insights. " —Steve Reinemund, Chairman, PepsiCo

"God at Work, by David W. Miller, is an important contribution to the discussion of the growing role of religion in business life. It ought to find its way into MBA courses on human relations, business ethics, and marketing, among others." —Robert W. Fogel, Charles R. Walgreen Professor of American Institutions, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, and 1993 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

"Rather than celebrate late life atonement to compensate for careers of corruption, David Miller shows a long, proud tradition of leaders who reach for purpose in their work and compassion in their workplace. This richly textured, historically accurate and spiritually uplifting book should be read not only by those who need it the least and will love it, but also by those who badly need it and don't know it." —Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Yale School of Management and co-author of Leadership and Governance from the Inside Out

"As both a theologian and a business person, David Miller provides a unique perspective on the faith/work movement. This book contains a scholarly review of its roots, a careful and thorough description of its current momentum, and a thoughtful critique of its future. It is a must read for the person who wants to understand how God and worship relate to the reality of the workplace." — C. William Pollard, Chairman Emeritus, ServiceMaster

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195314809
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/14/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 635,028
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David W. Miller, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School and Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Business Ethics. He brings an unusual "bilingual" perspective to the academic world, having also spent 16 years in senior executive positions in international business and finance.

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Table of Contents

Introduction     3
"Faith at Work"?     9
The Social Gospel Era (c. 1890s-1945)     23
The Ministry of the Laity Era (c. 1946-1985)     39
The Faith at Work Era (c. 1985-Present)     63
Response of the Church and the Theological Academy to FAW     79
Faith at Work as a Social Movement     105
Analyzing and Understanding the Faith at Work Movement     125
The Future of the Faith at Work Movement     143
Notes     155
Selected Bibliography     197
Index     219
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    A New Faith Friendly Vision

    David W. Miller has a daring Vision. It's called 'the faith friendly' organization. It is shaped by his business experience (IBM), his Seminry studies (Princeton and Yale)and current work as Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School. David Miller is a leading edge scholar and practioner in the Faith At Work movement which more than qualifies him to put forth this 'out of the box' idea of the faith friendly organization. As a keen observer of the workplace, Miller has researched this growing and surprisingly unstructured movement, where employees meet informally, on company property but outside of work hours, and discuss faith issues. These religious minded employees are essentially unguided. Are they developing and deepening their own faiths? Are they using their faith as a resourse to improve business practices? Are they empathizing and connecting with other faiths?Are they building trust among themselves? How might their faiths align and conflict with company policies and practices? What new power and effectiveness might corporaton realize if they could create an enlarged 'faith friendly' tent? How can this power be harnessed to make better decisions and build high performance teams? The faith friendly organization will expect toattract the best employees, the best suppliers, and the best customers. To make the faith friendly Vision work, Miller develops new definitions that replace the old stereotypes. This new language is anchored by four 'ways' or 'spiritual modes' of how individuals see themselves operating in the work environment with their faith. They operate with: 1-ETHICS - personal virtue, business ethics, and justice 2-EVANGELISM - expression of faith, esp. Christians and Muslims. 3-EXPERIENCE - Vocation, calling, search for existential meaning 4-ENRICHMENT - prayer, meditation, self-actualization, new age Developing self awareness of one's natural spiritual mode is both affirming for oneself as well as the key to enable respect for and even movement into other modes. Some will operate in all four modes and would experience a very dynamich integration of faith and work. I think that David Miller is onto something. He has developed a handuful of success stories with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and American Express. But he needs more examples and more research. More organizations must experiment with him. It seems like a great fit with globalism but to really test the vision you need many more examples expecially with overseas diverse environments. I would love to observe a Muslim and a Christian at work together, both with a single Evangelical mode of expression. Could their differences be held in tension long enough for creative strategic planning or problem solving to take place? God at Work is extremely well written and succint (153 pages) and accessible to the layman. Scholars of theology and management will be challenged and impressed with Miller's fresh ideas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2007

    Faith at Work

    The subject matter that this book approaches is vast and constantly evolving. That the author is able to offer a helpful history of this movement and clearly trace its evolution to the present day is a real benefit to the sociologist, theologian, historian, or businessperson who is interested in what is becoming a serious issue both in the business world and society at large. The sociologists tell us that Americans are spending less time in community and civic organizations and more and more time at their workplace. While it seems natural, then, that people's faith would be brought to work, it is not always obvious how this has been or can be done with integrity and sensitivity. The history of the movement broadly illuminates this issue, and the author's encouraging nudges toward a mature understanding of how this can be done in today's business world speaks to the present situation authoritatively. While there is a wealth of information and history 'out there' when it comes to the Faith at Work phenomenon, it seems to me that it has rarely been approached in such a scholarly and savvy way. This book, therefore, is long overdue and will be an immense aid to the newcomer to this Faith at Work phenomenon or those already well-versed in its history and where it might be heading. The structure of the book serves to bring newcomers up to speed quickly with historical and structural explanations, and the reader is soon immersed in the thick of the movement with all its promise and potential pitfalls.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    God at Work: the history and promise of the faith at work movement

    David Miller is an accomplished businessman who altered his vocational path to better advance God's will in and through his vocation and vocations in general. His latest contribution is an overview of the history of the faith at work movement, and four characteristics - ethics, evangelism, enrichment, and experience - than singly or in combination were advocated by leaders and organizations involved with faith at work, starting about 100 years ago, but focusing primarily on past 20 years. The author also develops an integrating framework for these four characteristics and accepts each as valid and necessary. This book's 40 pages of endnotes are as much, if not more valuable, than its 150 pages of text, for anyone who wants to become familiar with current theory and its praxis through current leaders and organizations in the faith and work movement, primarily in Christian America. The book also, tacitly at least, indicates the past and, by and large, current scope of faith at work - the focus remains primarily on the individual in his/her cubicle, with little consideration to what 6.4 billion people are together doing as God's 'creation caring-for creatures' on planet earth via their capabilities and activities in stewardiship, restoration, redeeming of God's creation on planet earth. Maybe David Miller will move on to this in next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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