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19 June 2013

Charlie Comerford, author

Charlie Comerford, author

Charlie studies at the London School of Theology (LST) and has experienced a range of jobs, from a care centre, land surveying to youth work in Mozambique and packing for Waitrose. He loves football, enjoys novels and comics, and dabbles in drawing and drumming.  

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
To be honest I never really had that kind of fantasy as a kid. At best I wanted to be tall, but it turns out that you can't always get what you want.

Why did you choose to study theology?
When I first got introduced to Christianity at 15, I struggled to understand why people believed in the Bible. Some explained that the Bible was the word of God and that I simply needed to put my faith in it, but that never sat too well with me. They seemed to know answers but didn't know how or why. It was a revelation to discover that theology was an actual subject I could study at university.

You published a booklet called Money, Business and the Church. Tell us about it.
I've always loved reading comics so I decided on a comic strip format. It was part of a second-year ethics project, so I figured 'why not?' – something a little different. It is essentially a conversation between two guys talking over coffee about money, business and the Church. It covers a spectrum of opinions and highlights the enormous influence that modern businesses have in the shaping and transforming of our world. The aim is to encourage Christian entrepreneurs to bring their faith into business and make a positive difference.

Who is your hero?
Bridget Adams was both my hero and mentor in the entrepreneurial department. She introduced me to the concept of advancing the kingdom of God through business, which was a huge revelation to me as most of the Christian activity that I had experienced before was limited to the confinements of Sunday church. We talked about the potential goodness of wealth creation (together with wealth distribution) and how to break the secular/sacred mindset that Christianity has towards working roles in society (ie preacher most sacred and banker the least sacred). It's fair to say that most of the stuff I talk about in my comic is inspired by conversations with her. Tragically, she passed away last summer but it's remarkable to think about how much of an influence she had on me in such a short time - truly a woman of God.

What is your most/least green credential?
My most green credential is the fact that I don't own a car! So my co2 footprint is fairly clean. However, I am prone to leaving the heating on, but fortunately my flat mates are quick to scold me every time I do. Which is good.

What do you want to do with your theology degree?
Hopefully something business related. My dissertation is on 'A Biblical Theology of Wealth Creation' and my placement is with a publishing house called Instant Apostle – which was Bridget's last entrepreneurial endeavor. It would be great to continue her legacy and really push for kingdom ethics in the business world.

Which film character do you most relate to?
Oddly enough, it's always the sub-characters in movies. For example whenever I watch Aladdin, I always find myself affiliating most with Abu, the grumpy and quirky monkey not really to do with the overall plot. This might seem like a self-deprecating analysis, but in the grand scheme of things and given that I'm currently sharing a life with seven billion other people, I just can't imagine myself as a main character.

What is your hope for your generation concerning employment?
It's disconcerting to know that unemployment is as high now as it has been for two decades, and that it's particularly high among young people. It's my hope that the Church is able to grasp and get behind the business-as-mission movement, and in doing so help combat issues like unemployment. The Barnet Youth Business Incubator (Baybi) is a scheme that aims to bring out the entrepreneurial talent of the youth there – just one excellent way to help tackle the problem and a pro-active approach the Church should emulate.

Money, business and Church booklet