Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on October 18, 2023

We are human beings, not human doings is a phrase I have found myself using almost weekly as I work with those dying.  When we come to the end of our life it is natural to do two things, one is life review: How did I live my life, did I do it right? Am I proud? Am I ashamed? All of it?  Most of us spend our lives working.  Working towards something, working at something, working out of necessity.  What happens when we cannot produce anymore?  When our life has become being relegated to the bed?  It becomes hopeless, that’s what.  When we spend our life defining our worth by what we do and not who we are, our identity itself has become a commodity.

In Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber helps us to start to understand why we have ended up here in this time and place with capitalism and how we have ownership, (or our ancestors and denominational protestant family) have some ownership.  Everyone smart around me does the “oh…Weber” when I talk about reading this book.  I was intimidated before I even purchased it… and actually not at all interested in reading about Protestantism or capitalism.  It didn’t interest me, and I was not making the connection to my NPO in any way.  As Kathryn Schulz in her book Being Wrong “If we relish being right and regard it as our natural state, you can imagine how we feel about being wrong.”[1]  Hold on to your seat, I admit, I was wrong!  I feel this will be a book I will have to wrestle with for a while, but I liked it.  It helped when I found out Weber is a sociologist.  I majored in sociology in college and loved studying why we are the way we are in context to community and tribe.  This bit of knowledge of who Weber was helped open my mind as I read him.  I also had to utilize a YouTube video called “Why this text matters” by a Theology professor at University of Chicago Divinity School named Will Shultz.  If you struggled with this book, I would recommend his 20ish minute video.

Weber introduced a quote made popular by Benjamin Franklin “Time is Money”[2].  I would argue that this has a twofold meaning, Time is Money and money is needed for Time!  As I encounter those heading to the last part of their life it has become increasingly harder to pay for this time!  We are living longer and longer and have to work harder and harder to pay for the care needed.  I don’t tell this to you all in a way to bring pessimism, but to alert us all in the true cost of long lives, and all this hard work and we get to the end, and we feel hopeless? That is not good news.    In one of my old sociology books there was, and essay called Working Longer, Living Less: Understanding Marx Through the Workplace Today, in this essay he brings up a different side or cost of Capitalism.  “Proponents of capitalism are hard-pressed to explain this pattern of growing inequality and polarization. Pundits often fall back on ‘psychologizing’ the problems (people are poor or unemployed because of some personal failing: lack of motivation, drug problem, reliance on welfare, etc.) or in “naturalizing” these ills by pronouncing them intransigent facts of human existence. The writings of Karl Marx, however, offer a different interpretation. Marx argued that under capitalism, workers must, by definition, lose economic ground as productivity and profits increase.”  Whew, so to make our society go around we must work harder and lose ground for sake of profit.  We have become cogs in the machine.  Weber, would argue, that to say “Protestants caused capitalism would be too simplistic, as it’s not just about ideas, he also argues it’s about the circumstances, and Luther and the reformation made commerce safe for Christianity”[3]. Weber brings us to a similar understanding that our historical capitalism spirit was “working to live” has now become “living to work”[4].

Leadership requires experience, years, maturity, wisdom.  Many of the best leaders, and us future Doctors have gotten here because we have been through suffering and hardship.  It’s getting through these situations that bring us the wisdom.  Stephen Kalberg wrote a beautiful intro into the world of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Max Weber.  I was drawn into who we was as a man and cared about what he had to say because of what he had been through.  He had “a significant incident occurred during a visit by his mother to his home in Heidelberg in the summer of 1897. Unexpectedly, Weber’s Father appeared and commenced a heated argument with his mother. The young Weber, who had passively witnessed his mother’s mistreatment for years, then evicted his father-who died seven weeks later.  This configuration of events seems to have served as the catalyst for the paralyzing mental illness that afflicted Weber for more than five years”[5]. Kahlberg goes on to explain how as he came out of this mental illness; this book was a large part of his recovery.  It is often out of our most difficult moments that the most significant work comes out…. You!  Get out there and be! That is the work!

[1] Schulz, Kathryn. Being Wrong; Adventures in the Margin of Error. (New York, HarperCollins, 2010). Pg 5

[2] Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. (New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011) pg 77.

[3] Walsh, John P and Anne Zacharias-Walsh. “Working Longer, Living Less: Understanding Marx through the Workplace Today” in Illuminating Social Life by Peter Kvisto (California, Pine Forge Press, 1998). Pg 110

[4] Shultz, Will. YouTube Why this text Matters about Max Webers the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. 2018

[5] Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. (New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011) pg 11.


About the Author


Jana Dluehosh

Jana serves as a Spiritual Care Supervisor for Signature Hospice in Portland, OR. She chairs the corporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee as well as presents and consults with chronically ill patients on addressing Quality of Life versus and alongside Medical treatment. She has trained as a World Religions and Enneagram Spiritual Director through an Anam Cara apprenticeship through the Sacred Art of Living center in Bend, OR. Jana utilizes a Celtic Spirituality approach toward life as a way to find common ground with diverse populations and faith traditions. She has mentored nursing students for several years at the University of Portland in a class called Theological Perspectives on Suffering and Death, and has taught in the Graduate Counseling program at Portland Seminary in the Trauma Certificate program on Grief.


  1. mm Russell Chun says:

    Your comment, “studying why we are the way we are in context to community and tribe,” helped me put Max Weber into context. His writing is hard to process (yours are not).

    I love the message you delivered from a Hospice point of view. I hate to be cliche, but what WILL our Obituaries say. “He had a good work ethic” ,”He invested well” “He lived Frugally.”

    That would suck. The Protestant Work Ethic and its cousin Capitalism represent the worst kind of legacy I would want to leave behind.

    I have to cling to Grace and be assured of my salvation (unlike Calvinism) or live life in fear of losing my salvation by my inevitable sins (Arminianism).

    What would you like your obituary to say?


  2. Esther Edwards says:

    Hi, Jana,
    “Weber brings us to a similar understanding that our historical capitalism spirit was “working to live” has now become “living to work”[4].” What a powerful quote. It has reversed, hasn’t it? Our need to have more, be more, and feel more is addictive on so many levels. I appreciate all you bring to our cohort with your perspective regarding the end of life. Thank you!

  3. Jenny Dooley says:

    Hi Jana, This comment stopped me in my tracks, “When we spend our life defining our worth by what we do and not who we are, our identity itself has become a commodity.” That is a disturbing thought!
    I too, was intrigued by Weber’s background. It seems his writing was a way of trying to figure out how we got here and a way of working out who he was in relationship to the times he was living in. You also mentioned favorably the writings of Karl Marx. I must admit I have never read his work. Many people are inspired by his writing. I spent well over a decade living in a communist country. The revolutionary ideals of the long since deceased leader of that nation were greatly impacted by the thinking of Karl Marx. His dreams for his country were rooted in deep compassion and care for his people. He simply wanted a more equitable way of life. I believe he was more of a “sociologist” than a political leader. What has continued long after his death is the maintenance of power and control alongside the creation of great wealth for some, but not all. Identity and the value of all human beings does play a huge role in all of this. I don’t know if this makes sense but it seems even our political and economic systems of choice (whether ours or someone else’s) have become commodities that contribute to the continued devaluation of human beings which in turn create ever widening gaps between us. It all feels like a vicious cycle on repeat.

  4. Adam Harris says:

    I felt the same, I wasn’t looking forward to it, because I was judging this book by its cover! I ended up really appreciating it. Weber got me thinking about a lot. Still trying to wrap my head around everything he proposes, but he makes connections that are thought provoking and make sense. It also shows just how much of our western culture and spirit is rooted in religion and theology.

    I’m with you about “being”. I think that’s the heart of what Christ taught when he taught about good trees bearing good fruit, and bad trees bearing bad fruit. You produce and manifest what is inside and who you are. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our words and fruit flow from what is inside especially when things go wrong. This continually calls me to prayer and contemplation so I can realign with Christ’s heart. Prayer serves a much different function for me these days.

    Thanks for the video recommendation about Weber. Here is one I think you’ll like by Richard Rohr. Its right in line with what your posts is talking about! Great posts Jana!


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