"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. - 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
Everyone has values. People will often align different areas of their life based on these values. An area people often forget to align with their values is their investments. Values-based investing has become more popular in recent years. A specific type is Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI). Figuring out what to invest in can be a daunting task. Oftentimes jargon is used which can become confusing for someone who didn’t study finance. When considering BRI, we want to keep it as simple as possible by discussing the three key aspects (or mandates): avoid, embrace, and engage.
Avoid is the mandate most discussed – choosing not to own companies that do not align with your values. Companies that profit from products/practices that exploit your neighbor (alcohol, pornography, etc.) and/or do not value the life of your neighbor (abortion, poor environmental stewardship, etc.) No company is perfect; however, BRI screens are designed to flag companies who make a significant profit from activities which clearly violate Christian principles. The point of this mandate is to not profit from something that is harming the community.
Embrace is basically the opposite of avoid – seeking to own companies that align with your values. These are companies that profit from products/practices that serve and value the life of your neighbor (fair employment practices, life saving medical research, etc.). The point of this mandate is to profit from things you are passionate about.
Engage is my favorite BRI mandate because it has the possibility to create the most change in our community. This mandate seeks to engage with companies to advocate for positive change. Companies such as Target, Apple, and Google have created Christian employee groups after BRI shareholder activism pushed for equal treatment of Christians at those companies. While they might not all embrace Biblical values, they have become places where Christian employees have a group and can make their voices heard.
It’s not the government’s job to mandate and protect Christian values. It’s Christians’ job to spread God’s love and God’s word! While you might not think your investments can create positive change in the world, they do! We often will make donations of money or time to causes we believe in, but Biblically Responsible Investing allows your money to be working for you all the time. If you’d like more information on ways to align your values with your investments, please contact me.