In some faith traditions, work is an integral part of their response to money issues. In the Plain sects, for instance, farming remains a central source of income.
In the Church of the Brethren, which like the Quakers originally upheld Plainness, historian Carl F. Bowman observes in Brethren Society: The Cultural Transformation of a “Peculiar People (1995), “One also finds various rulings regarding work and making money. The town market must have been considered a hotbed of temptation, for the ancient Brethren were warned against jobs that would locate them at its hub (e.g., butcher). They were also cautioned against commercial activities that had no motive other than turning a profit. . . . From 1783 until 1845, Annual Meeting even prohibited Brethren from charging interest on loans.”
A few denominations today still provide their youth strong career guidelines. Seventh-Day Adventists, for example, have encouraged their children to go into fields that would allow them both to maintain their faith community and to move abroad in missionary endeavors: teaching, medicine, and computer science.
Are there ways that the religious or ethical teachings of your childhood have shaped your career decisions and moves?
Have these teachings ever caused you to quit a job or change direction?
What advice can you pass along from your own spiritual position today?
Do you believe that religion has a role in the workplace? And if so, what is it?
Marsha Sinetar’s Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow (1987) brings some of these concerns to focus in today’s society. Again, a clear sense of personal values helps you focus on your goals. The next step is in determining how you want to get there.
On the other hand, this is one of the areas where various religious traditions are currently lacking.
How might we advise our youth to take up to sustain meaningful employment that is consistent with our faith values and community?