11.26.2006

Update

The wheels of time keep moving for our family. I don’t think I mentioned it here, I’m now working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. They have a nice management training program for college grads. So far it’s been going well. I like the people I work with and the business is interesting, so things are good in that department.

Were fairly certain that we’ll settle in at La Crescent Evangelical Free Church. It’s not perfect, but neither are we, so I think we’ll fit right in. Culturally it’s not exactly where I’m at, (more rural and conservative) but we really like the people, so I think that will work out.

My first-born son, Nicholas, is doing well, and bringing a great deal of both love and work to our lives.

I’m still finishing up my last class on leadership at Fuller, speaking of which I better get some more work on that done tonight. So I’ll call this post quits.

11.12.2006

How do we improve on what we already do well?

For my final class at Fuller, I am studying leadership. Naturally, one of the books we are reading is by Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory. In his book, Managing the Non-Profit Organization, he has this to say about the Japanese perspective on strategies for improvement.

In this county, in particular, we usually underplay the strategy of doing better what we already do well. This hit me the first time I went to Japan, when they were just beginning their meteoritic rise. I looked for innovation strategies and there weren’t any. But every place – whether university, business, or government agency – had a clear strategy for improving. They don’t talk innovation. They ask, How do we do better, what we are already doing? It may be something very mundane, like sweeping the floor. Or it may be a very major change. The focus is always on improving the product, improving the process, improving the way we work, the way we train. And you need a continuing strategy for doing so. (p. 60)

I have heard this kind of thing said about other Southeast Asian countries as well, and I think it is very true. I think it represents a virtue we do not appreciate enough in the West, a mandate to be perpetually improving.

Additionally I think it coincides well with a Christian perspective on work and vocation. If we are/should be, doing all we do to the glory of God, we would never want to short change our Creator. If we could possibly do it better, we should want to, not that I do, but we should.

And if worshiping our Creator wasn’t enough of a reason, the quality of Japanese cars for instance, should be a motivating factor. Perpetual improvement is a winning business and non-profit strategy. We can be fairly certain that when a Japanese vehicle assembly line worker sees something wrong, even if it isn’t in his area of responsibility, he sees to it that it is fixed, more often than his American counter part. And now that many Japanese firms are building their cars over here, it appears they are successfully transferring those ethos to the new factories state side.

11.10.2006

(RED)EMPTION

Mike, blogging over at Waiving or Drowning has a bit to say about the (Product) Red campaign, which encourages consumers to by products that are supporting AIDS reserch with part of their profit. Mike critiques the fact that the only way some will give to great causes, is if it is part of their consumeristic habits. As a result he set up an alternative campaign, (RED)EMPTION, which is designed for those who aren't inclined to spend $100 or more, to make a $10 donation. They think we should simply donate $10 or more directly to the cause. I think you should really check out both campaigns.

My take, we got to give generously. Then, if you were going to buy something anyway, you might as well by a product that gives back to the common good. Having said that, do we really need half the junk we buy? Rather than buy a t-shirt for $20 from the GAP, which will donate 50% of the profits to AIDS research, don't buy the shirt and donate $10 or $20 directly to the cause.

11.04.2006

Benifits of Low Rent Living

Here is a great post about the benefits of low rent living. The article expands on the list below.

1: Freedom to leave a bad job

2: Freedom to take a chance

3: Freedom to do what I enjoy

4: Freedom to do what’s right

5: Freedom to work less hours

6: Freedom to say no to some customers

7: Peace of mind

8: Focus on what really matters

9: Simple living

10: More money for fun stuff

11.02.2006

On The Elections

So we have these little elections coming up. And I guess I’ll add my two cents to the fray. However, others have said more and better what I’m about to point out, so I’m not going to say much.

First off we need to be values/ethical voters. Vote for the common good, not your personal interests.

For those of you who are somewhat evangelical like me; (I use that term very loosely) we need to expand our reading of the scriptures. Abortion and homosexuality are not the only issues, and the candidate with the better rhetoric on these topics may not necessarily be the best candidate to change things. What I mean is, what have republicans actually done to change abortion.

The other thing is that some traditionally “liberal” ideas are technically very “evangelical”. Taking care of the poor and the environment are two things that the Scriptures/God implore us to do.

You can make the argument that conservative/republican/libertarian ideals do more for the poor, but I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with that. The causes and solutions for poverty are complicated.

Wisconsin, like many states, has a constitutional gay marriage amendment. On that topic, (I know this will bother some of you who know me), I’ll just sum it up this way: a secular government has nothing to say on this topic. Evangelicals generally support the marriage amendment because of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. So here are some questions from an evangelical perspective. I’m not in favor of executing disrespectful children or adulators, which particular passages in the Bible tell the ancient Israelites to do. In the contemporary situation, I’m not in favor of revoking the current privileges of marriage from the two previous categories of people. Consequently, I’m not in favor of this secular state revoking the privileges of marriage from the homosexual either. If you are, answer this question, should we next aim to have a have a constitutional amendment removing the privileges of marriage from those who have been divorced? After all, the Bible describes this as often constituting adultery, and adultery was punishable by death.

Now that you are all thoroughly convinced I’m a flaming liberal, here are some anti-liberal questions on the topic of homosexuality. If we change things around, and allow homosexuals to marry, how do we define marriage? What is logically to prevent three loving adults from entering into marriage? And it is not secret that the National Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) works closely with the homosexual movement. If a fourteen year-old and his/her parents agree that the love between the minor and an adult is best expressed in a sexual/marriage relationship, why should they not be allowed to marry? These questions illustrate part of the reason I believe in traditional marriage.

Here is a solution. For better of worse, this is a secular state, so I have a secular amoral solution, no more state sponsored marriage. Civil unions for any two consenting adults that want to get married is the solution at the state level. Marriage is a religious/personal issue; leave it up to the individual, and religious institutions. However, this view expresses my view on the role of government, not on holy matrimony.

If I have any homosexual friends out there, I know this whole conversation is generally offensive to you. I’ve barely given you a backhanded compliment. I’m sorry I’ve offended you. If you want, e-mail me or leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to explain my in-flux, complicated position on the subject.

How do I square all of these with being a quasi-evangelical Christian? It’s simple, Jesus usually didn’t force people to do things his way, and I don’t think the state should either.

The other area of interest is the war in Iraq. Jesus wasn't too big a fan of violence, so neither am I. Does that mean I'm not in favor of the war in Iraq? Not necessarely. But I do think the thing was a giant mistake. Right now were looking at options bad and worse.

So what does any of this have to do with the elections? It explains why I have no idea who to vote for.

I suppose I’ll vote for candidates other than republicans or democrats, but not because I agree with the non-traditional candidates or even know who they are. I won’t vote democratic or republican to send a message to the traditional powers that be. Because you don't represent me, I won't vote for you.