How are you able to be both a lawyer and a priest? Does one role take priority over another?
The day job [at General Electric] is full time. The way I describe it to some people is that the day job gets 100%, the church job gets about 25% and my family gets what’s left! I would describe myself as a business person but also a priest. I think it’s very important that it’s both. It’s not one on Sundays and one the rest of the week.
This has given a fullness to my life which I wouldn’t have had by being solely a priest, and certainly not by just being in business.
How did your unusual work arrangements come about?
When I was at university I thought very hard about becoming a priest. I talked to my college chaplains and others and they said, ‘No; go out into the world and get some experience.’ My dad was a lawyer, so I became a lawyer. I ended up quickly moving to the States and I lived there for 15 years. I worshipped while I was there and got more involved in local churches, but when I came back to London 12 years ago, one of my [former] college chaplains was the vicar in the parish along from where we lived. I started going to his church, and after a period of time he suggested it was time to revisit the conversation we’d had 20 years before.
What are the connections between faith and the workplace?
There’s a suspicion in some parts of the Church towards for-profit business and a vague feeling that there’s something ungodly about it. At the same time, most of us work in secular workplaces. Does that mean we’re wasting our time or doing something wrong? When we dig a little deeper we find the workplace can be important to God.
A priest may see, on a good Sunday, 100 people for an hour or two. In the workplace we all see hundreds of people for up to 40 hours a week. What are the possibilities there? I’m not necessarily talking about evangelism, but in terms of
people who are hurting. There are just so many opportunities.
Would you say being a Christian can be a benefit in the corporate world?
It definitely can be in the sense that it gives you a compass. It allows you to make decisions which are based more broadly than a narrow set of business principles.
The Christian faith teaches you to be responsible and trustworthy, and to reach out and be helpful and generous to people, rather than scrambling over them for the next advantage.
How will the book help people?
The book answers questions that I would like answered. Where might God be in my boss? How do we think about someone who works for us? We always think of someone else as the annoying colleague, but if we think about it harder, maybe we’re the annoying colleague? What does it mean to be dismissed? Is there anything positive in that? What if my boss asks me to lie? The book explores these questions through a practical prism, but with the help of the Bible.
Where is God at Work? (Monarch) is available now