This is a paper that I have prepared for the upcoming Lausanne's Special Interest Committee, the Marketplace Ministry. Their conference will be in Hong Kong next month. I can't afford to participate but have sent the paper to one of the committees for presentation. I have also sent this paper to TTC's 'Church & Society in Asia Today' journal but got rejected. In this case, I can share it here in the public.
Why I wrote this paper? Because I see the lack in current models of relating 'church and marketplace', in some extent 'church and state'. In view of recent interest in mega-churches' involvement in businesses, I thought that by sharing this paper, there is at least one theological account coming out from the local context to serve as a platform for further discussion to develop more theologically grounded praxis over this issue.
The abstract of the paper: I am suggesting that we need to see the theological enterprise and the marketplace as two metaphorical platforms sharing the same physical world, under one sovereign, that is God. They manifest themselves within myriad material establishment yet transcend beyond them. Thus they cannot be distinguished on the level of space and time. Rather, they are distinguished on the level of orientation. Despite many similarities, these two metaphors are not symmetrical because they do not share the same degree of exposure to Christ. What I mean by ‘exposure to Christ’ is the state of being one’s true self in relation to Christ. To illustrate my point, I examined Jesus' and Paul's relation to these two metaphors. Both Jesus and Paul were situated within the two interpenetrating metaphors (the marketplace and theological enterprise) and engaged both from within the metaphors.