catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 2, Num 21 :: 2003.11.07 — 2003.11.20


A working worldview

A couple months ago I interviewed two businessmen for my Business Ethics course. Mark, a goldsmith and co-owner of a flourishing jewelry store in the Niagara region, spoke to me about how his faith plays out in his day-to-day interactions and transactions. Although he often asks himself, "What am I doing here—just selling jewelry?" Mark recognizes that in showing Christ's love to his customers and employees, they are leaving the store with a sense that something was different—and after that the Spirit works. Later, I met with Arnie, who owns a rubber manufacturing company in the Fraser Valley. After years of building his business, Arnie spent two years in Cameroon. As a result of this trip, he has set up a construction business that gave the Cameroon people an opportunity to use their skills to build homes, buildings and roads in their country. He also imports items from Cameroon craftsmen.

Developing a Christian worldview and making it truly tangible will always be a challenge, particularly for students in their formative years. In his book, Rainbows for the Fallen World, Cal Seerveld writes that, "Some Christians believe they should sell all that they have and join something like a Mennonite community in Paraguay or in the frozen blue mountain country of northern Canada where all your time goes body-heart-soul-mind into hacking sustenance out of the environment for your families, in moving as far from the secularized cut-throat world as possible." He goes on to say that while he respects aspects of this lifestyle, it can be counter-creational. We are called to engage God's world and to work to further His Kingdom, and that includes encouraging others to join us in this mandate.

The Ontario Student Solidarity Local (OSSL) is a growing group that has formed to encourage our peers to connect their faith with what they do in their daily lives, especially in preparation for the "working world." To do this effectively, we hope to provide opportunities for students to find their passion, be aware of the world around them by caring about social justice issues, and participate in dialogue and debate about the Christian's place in the community, trade union, political party, business, university and so on.

The OSSL has hosted one large event at Redeemer University called "Live Justice"—an evening of music and speakers which was part of an awareness campaign designed to bring to light the oppression of Cuban nationals imprisoned for playing leadership roles in the Cuban Christian Trade Union movement. Throughout the rest of the year, we hope to continue this campaign in different forms. We are inviting students to attend an open forum on trade unions, and talks by people who have dedicated their lives to organizations that exist to redeem God's creation. We are also planning a trip to Pittsburgh in February to participate in the Jubilee 2004 convention where we'll be challenged with questions like, "what does it mean to follow Jesus Christ in the university setting" What will it mean to serve Him once the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" have faded?"

The OSSL is affiliated with the Christian Labour Association of Canada, and has a reciprocating relationship with the organization. In the early 1950s, the CLAC formed in response to a need seen by Christians for a trade union that worked out of basic Biblical principles: man as God's image bearer, work as a human vocation and avenue of human fulfillment, and labor relations as an exercise in cooperation. The solidarity locals exist to encourage the CLAC to maintain these principles in their trade union work, and the CLAC is a resource to the solidarity locals who work to propagate these principles in the broader Christian community. The OSSL's mission statement, vision and principles relate closely to the constitution of the CLAC.

The importance of fulfilling our creational mandate is one that Mark and Arnie understood and worked at in their calling as businessmen. Yet this awareness can often be nonexistent or undiscovered for years by many Christians. The Ontario Student Solidarity Local, through the work that we set out to do and through the students that attend our meetings, hopes that the reclaiming of God?s creation for His glory will occur now and continue on in our generation.

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