Mats Tunehag: The A to Z of BAM: P to T – from Power to Tikkun Olam

This is the fourth in the 5-part Business as Mission A-Z.  Last week we shared section K-O; today P-T.

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures
Larry.Sharp@ibecventures.com

 

 

P – Power

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Saks said, ”Poverty crushes the spirit as well as the body, and its alleviation is a sacred task”. There are of course different kinds of poverty and wealth. One can be financially rich but socially poor. One can be endowed with great intellect but suffer from spiritual poverty. Business as Mission, BAM, is addressing this by creating different kinds of wealth through business.

Many are asking: how can we fight poverty? We rather ask: how can we create wealth? The biggest lift out of poverty, in the history of mankind, has happened in our generation – not through aid, but through trade. Check this four-minute video which deals with the affirmation in the Wealth Creation Manifesto, which observes that business has the “power to lift people and nations out of poverty”.

Businesses, especially small and medium size ones, are powerful instruments for holistic societal transformation.

 

Q – Quadruple

Business as Mission, BAM, is about having a positive impact on multiple stakeholders through multiple bottom lines.

BAM is about serving people, aligning with God’s purposes, being a good steward of the planet, and making a profit. These four words starting with ‘p’ make up the quadruple bottom line.

For planning, operation and evaluation we need at times to look at the bottom lines separately. But they belong together, they interact and overlap. They should never be disconnected; we only distinguish in order to unite.

BAM is a part of a broader movement which appreciates the importance of multiple bottom-line impact for multiple stakeholders. Many in the corporate world talk about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprise. In BAM we recognize God as the ultimate stakeholder, and thus also talk about a spiritual bottom line or Kingdom impact. [1]

BAM is praying and working towards a holistic transformation of people and societies: economically, socially, environmentally and spiritually.

 

 

R – Return

Companies need financial capital to start and grow, and investors seek return on investments. That is good and right, but BAM reframes the discussion on what we mean by investment and also return on investment.

While acknowledging money and financial investors, we seek a broader understanding of capital that can be invested apart from money, like intellectual, social and spiritual capital.

An old school concept is maximization of shareholder value, focusing on increasing financial rewards to financial investors. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said our focus should rather be “the maximisation of human flourishing”.

Thus, the return on investment can take different forms, and even go beyond the original investors. The Wall Street model is too limited; we need a more broad and impactful BAM Street concept. Check this short video, less than 2 minutes: Wall Street vs. BAM Street.

You can also use St Patrick’s Prayer for Investors, excerpts:

Christ with me, as I invest for the common good and God’s glory

Christ before me, as I steward the wealth entrusted to me

Christ behind me, as I evaluate opportunities near and afar

Christ in me, as I invest time, treasure and talents in others

 

S – Shalom

Shalom is a Biblical concept of good and harmonious relationships. But relationships were damaged and broken through the Fall, as described in Genesis chapter 3.

Business is so much about relationships with staff, colleagues, peers, customers, clients, suppliers, family, community, tax authorities, competitors, and so forth. Through Christ there is a way to restored relationship with God, with one another, and with creation.

How can we as Christians in business strive towards Shalom, do business as Shalom? [2]

 

T – Tikkun olam

Business as Mission, BAM, is part of a greater godly plan which the Jews call tikkun olam – repairing the world. We are living in the tension of the world that is and the world as it ought to be. Tikkun olam means co-creating with God, and bridging the gap between the world which is, and to a world as it ought to be.

The American Jesuit theologian Roger Haight writes in ‘Spirituality Seeking Theology’ (2014), “God has entrusted creation to human beings not merely as caretakers of a past condition but as co-creators with God of the future.

The 2nd Vatican Council also dealt with this, “Christ’s redemptive work includes also the renewal of the whole temporal order. … God’s plan for the world is that men should work together to renew and constantly perfect the temporal order. … the family, culture, economic matters, the arts and professions, the laws of the political community, international relations,…

Thus, we pray: May your Kingdom come in the marketplace, and may your will be done in my business.

 

Footnotes:

 

[1] I wrote a brief paper in 2009 called The Mission of Business: CSR+ http://www.matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/The-Mission-of-Business-CSR+1.pdf

[2] Please see article Business as Mission is Bigger than you think: http://www.matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Business-as-Mission-is-bigger-than-you-think.pdf

 

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