A distinctive act of the Protestant Reformation was to place responsibility directly and centrally on the individual. Ethics and morality thereby became one’s very personal responsibility, part of one’s vocation as a person. And yet, somewhat to the contrary, Protestant thinkers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin placed limits on the effectiveness of one’s being responsible for giving rise to a claim on God for eternal salvation. For that, they said, we could only hope for God’s grace and through prayer invoke his beneficence.
Grace, therefore, became a standard for good.
The word grace also connotes that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm and loveliness. It is an aesthetic, a source of beauty. We think of graceful manners, speech, music and dance.
It might be that the work of the Caux Round Table in promoting principles for business and government is a work of grace – grace coming from those who engage in the work and grace in those who live by those principles.
This reference to grace in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, ESG, social justice and political constitutionalism may be innovative, but also possibly instructive.
If we are to seek grace in ourselves and in our world, such work must spring from within us and be manifested outwardly. It would be more than traditional ethics, either deontological or utilitarian or alignment with moral criteria without much inner authenticity. In politics, it would be the basis for leadership.
Please join us at 9:00 am (CDT) on Tuesday, June 27 on Zoom to reflect with us on the meaning of grace and its possible contribution to better living.
To register, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, in May Pegasus, we include a piece on grace by our colleague, Michael Hartoonian, who will be with us on the call.
The event is free and will last about an hour.