MSL: READING 46: FAITH AT WORK - RUSSELL SHORTO (p. 516–526)
•He is 45 years old; a father of five and a grandfather of two who has been married to
his high-school sweetheart for 25 years.
•He is a vice-president mortgage banker at the Riverview Community Bank in Ostego,
•His bank is way station for Christ.
•When he’s not approving mortgages, or rather especially when he is, Ripka lays his
hands on customers and colleagues, bows his head and prays.
•He is a marketplace pastor, one node of a sprawling, vigorous faith-at-work
-The Riverview Community Bank
•It opened as a Christina financial institution with a Bible buried in the foundation and
the words “In God We Trust” engraved in the cornerstone.
•18 months after opening, deposits jumped from $5 million to more than $75 million.
•It is one of the fastest growing start-up banks in the state.
•People say that Jesus Christ has blessed them because they are obedient to his will.
•Jesus told them to take his word out and of the church and bring it to where people
interact: the marketplace.
-Ripka says he sometimes slips and says to people, “Come on over to the church—I mean the
-Thousands of businesses and other entities, from one-man operations to global corporations
to divisions of the federal government, have made room for Christianity on the job, and in
some cases have oriented themselves completely around Christian precepts.
-The idea is the Christians have for too long practiced their faith on Sundays and left it behind
during the workweek, that there is a moral vacuum in the modern workplace.
•This leads to:
Empty routines for employees, and
C.E.O.’s who push for profits at the expense of society, the environment, and
their fellow human beings.
•A former golf professional and advertising executive in Georgia.
•An unofficial leader of the faith-at-work movement.
•He and his wife offer workshops, publish books and organize conferences through two
organizations: (1) the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries and (2)
-Christianity isn’t the only spiritual force in the workplace.
•There is an overarching faith-at-work movement afoot.
•Some companies are paying for, or are at least allowing, workplace meditation
sessions and Talmudic-study groups and shamanistic healing retreats for employees.
•The nation, however, remains overwhelmingly Christian.
-According to the Gallup polling organization, 42% of Americans consider themselves
evangelical or born again, and the aggressiveness with which some evangelicals are asserting
their faith on the job suggests that the movement’s impact, for better or worse, is going to
come from them.
-Most mainline Christian denominations have been slow to embrace the movement.
•Church leaders either haven’t recognized it as significant or have determined that
since it takes place outside the walls of their institution, it is determined that since it
takes place outside the walls of their institution, it is by definition not of concern to
•Some pastors are out in front of their leaders: they have left their churches to become
work-place ministry consultants or have landed jobs as “corporate chaplain,” spiritual
counsellors hired by companies as a perk for employees.
-There is logic to all of this.
•First came the withering of the mainline Christian denominations and the
proliferation of new, breakaway churches.
•Consumerism took hold.
Many serious Christians today are transient, switching churches and
theologies again and again to suit their changing needs.
•With traditional institutions fragmenting and many people both hungry for spiritual
guidance and spending more time at work than ever, it was perhaps inevitable that the
job site would become a kind of new church.
-One of the movement’s objectives is to give Christians an opportunity to “out” themselves on
the job, to let them express who they are, freely and without feeling persecuted.
-However, the idea of corporations being dominated by a particular religious faith has a hint of
oppressiveness, a “Taliban Inc.” aspect.
•Christian holidays are the only official religious holidays in 99 percent of American
workplaces surveyed by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
•Religious-discrimination complaints have increased since 1992 due to the influx of
workers from Asian and African countries and an overall aging of the largely
Christian home-grown workforce, leading to a clash of traditions.
•Some friction may come from the insistence of marketplace Christians on seeing
offices and factories as arenas for evangelism.
-Ripka says that “we use the bank as a front to do full-time ministry.”
Msl: reading 46: faith at work - russell shorto (p. 516 526) It opened as a christina financial institution with a bible buried in the foundation and the words in god we trust engraved in the cornerstone. 18 months after opening, deposits jumped from million to more than million. It is one of the fastest growing start-up banks in the state: people say that jesus christ has blessed them because they are obedient to his will. Jesus told them to take his word out and of the church and bring it to where people interact: the marketplace. Ripka says he sometimes slips and says to people, come on over to the church i mean the bank. Thousands of businesses and other entities, from one-man operations to global corporations to divisions of the federal government, have made room for christianity on the job, and in some cases have oriented themselves completely around christian precepts.