Spirituality and the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reviews Spirituality, Inc.: Religion in the American Workplace by Lake Lambert III.

In a country where the line defining the separation of church and state is well drawn—lawsuits over Christmas manger scenes aside—the separation of church and work is hardly defined at all. An employee’s spiritual expression may be seen by his cubicle-mate as an admirable emblem of shared values or as a troubling imposition. When a boss places, say, a Bible prominently on his desk, what should his subordinates think? Should it be regarded like a family photo or thought to be a source of intimidation? The legal guidelines here are surprisingly vague. The courts still haven’t fully worked out what is allowed.

Expressions of spirituality with no specific religious affiliation are considered less likely to cause complaint. In Mr. Lambert’s telling, this sort of spirituality is in fact linked to the advent of the knowledge-based economy. “Creativity, community, autonomy, and holistic concern became new employee benefits that supported the productivity of the new knowledge class,” he writes, “and a particular type of spirituality found a partner in knowledge work.” Today’s workplace spirituality is a search for meaning, but it embraces questions rather than looks for answers. It is essentially, Mr. Lambert says, “the quest for wholeness.”

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