Kathleen Parker, My Second Favorite Writer

Every once in a while, Kathleen Parker writes an excellent editorial, maybe it is not her ability, but whether I agree with her. Yesterday was one of those days, where she wrote a poignant and informative review dealing with the Democratic Party’s problem with success. As I Was reading this article I got to thinking about the breakdown of wealth in our congress? Do Democrat or Republican congress people have more money?

The top 20 wealthiest Senators and Representatives collectively own half of the total net worth of our political leaders. A Republican from California, Darrell Issa has a net worth of $283 million. Then there is a Republican from Montana. A Democrat, Jared Polis, from Colorado is worth $119 million. Diane Feinstein is worth $58 million, and Nancy Pelosi is worth about $39 million. Even Bernie Sanders is worth $2 million and owns three homes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing wealthy people in our government, but what I am criticizing is the hypocrisy of people who think that wealthy people don’t care for others.

In one of my classes a few years ago, I was telling my students about the East Lake Community in Atlanta, Georgia. The East Lake Foundation was “created in 1995 to help transform one of Atlanta’s most troubled neighborhoods.” The old dilapidated homes were torn down and replaced with better built homes. Tom and Ann Cousins wanted to create new opportunities for people who lived in this community. The story is an incredible story demonstrating how a partnership between a community, government, and private partners can make a difference and improve the life of people in a neighborhood.

My students felt that because Tom Cousins was rich he was wrong to want to improve the neighborhood and the golf course attached to it. East Lake Golf Course has become an important course to the PGA and college golf, but it is also a place that employs people from the community to help them improve their lives. My students didn’t see it that way. So, I called the East Lake Foundation and we had a teleconference with them. We had an amazing conversation of what happened and why. The people at East Lake were gracious and answered all of my student’s questions. I am not too sure my students felt any better about the situation, but I sure did.

I still believe in Horatio Alger stories. I still think that people can get ahead by working hard. I also think that Americans are the most generous people in the world. We give of our plenty to help those who don’t have as much. We choose to give billions of dollars to charities to help people. We also pay a certain amount of our taxes to have good social programs for people in need. So, I find it ironic when she states, “These days, as income inequality has become a leitmotif of Democratic politics, being rich is a liability.” Talk about hypocrisy. Elizabeth Warren is worth about $7 million, and Maxine Waters is worth about $5 million. I know you will say well the Republicans are worth so much more. True?

Rather than try to destroy people with money, calling them negative names, and take an anti-wealth stand, let’s do what the wealthy have stated they want. Set a reasonable tax rate for them. Warren Buffet has stated he can afford to pay more taxes. I am not too sure how Maxine Waters became a millionaire, but the wealthiest congress persons were entrepreneurs. I am sure they are fine with paying more. But times have changed, as Parker notes, “Once upon a time, Americans celebrated others’ success and aspired through grit and sacrifice to improve their own circumstances.”

I am not a Trumper, but I do not suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome either. I am not a fan of Trump’s use of twitter to declare policy, but I am amazed at how he could make and lose so much money during his career in real estate in New York. Regardless of what you think of him he has worked long hours as a business person to be successful. As Parker notes, even everyday Joe Biden rakes in millions.

At this point in time I feel very uneasy voting for any Presidential candidate. I cannot in good conscious vote for any of the Democrats. However, if Nikki Haley would run, I would vote for her in a minute. I am also thinking about voting for Howard Schultz. Here is a man who grew up in a Brooklyn housing project, under dire circumstances, yet, through hard work he has become a very wealthy man. The people who worked for him were paid well, had good benefits, and were able to access tuition reimbursement for college. Kathleen Parker states, “Nor do you need a government program to create those opportunities. As head of Starbucks, Schultz accomplished through free enterprise what some Democrats want to do through government for free.”

I am involved with an organization called the Nehemiah Project. In fact, I am leaving in a few minutes for its yearly dinner. Patrice Tsague is the founder of this organization and he believes very strongly in helping free enterprise give people the opportunities in life we all desperately want. The Democratic Party wants government to do this. This is what scares me. I agree with Parker when she states, “The anti-wealth sentiment currently in vogue isn’t, of course, a rational response to challenges. It’s an emotional reaction to politicians barnstorming about inequality that, they say, can only be resolved by punishing the wealthy and subsidizing the rest.”

There are millions of jobs not being filled right now, good paying jobs, because the workforce skill level haven’t caught up to market need. Rather than redistributing wealth via a Robin Hood process, let’s incentivize businesses and the wealthy to help create training programs that help people have the skills to work those higher paying jobs. Rather than increasing pay at McDonald’s or unionizing a small restaurant in Vancouver, WA, let’s get people the skills they need to work in higher skilled work. Instead of becoming Socialist, let’s use the mechanisms of the free market to help all ships rise. There is room for all.

And that is my thought for the day!

Opposition And Blessing!

It is Sunday afternoon, and I have just returned from a three-day golf vacation. Sixteen of us traveled to Bandon Dunes in Southern Oregon and had a wonderful time playing golf in almost perfect sunny weather. Not the norm for this time of year. I am a little tired, but ready to get busy again.

Today I am writing about my favorite organization, the Church. I am not ashamed to say I am a Christian and a member of the Church. As I have stated in earlier blogs, I am concerned about the mix of Marxism in some who are a part of this mystical body, and the gravitation towards nationalism by others within the Church. I think in both cases there is an attempt at unholy matrimony. I am beginning to see that there are others who see this and share my concern. But I am also finding others who see the post-Christian nation that we live in as a positive event for the Church. I would like to write about this today and share my thoughts.

I have just started reading Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience. I have read the introduction, and I hope I take my time reading this, it is quite good. It begins, “Something has changed. Can you feel it? The air temperature has suddenly dropped, and a strong breeze has descended. The long-watched, leaden clouds of secularism are now forebodingly overhead. Heavy drops splatter around us, promising a downpour of disbelief. Anxiously we look for shelter, for cover, for higher ground.”

I love the elegance of Mark Sayers’ writing style. It creates a telling picture of our current society and its relationship with Christianity. I also see this storm forming. I see the right side of the church connecting itself with horribly flawed ideology, as I see the left side of the church aligning itself with Marxism. Both of these expressions are causing people to leave the faith resulting in the closing of churches and their buildings being turned into Pubs. Those that remain are searching for relevance by becoming like the society they are aligning themselves with, instead of walking counterculturally, where “we die to self and re-throne God in our lives as the supreme authority.”

I have decided that instead of saying that I am going to church this morning, I will use the term meeting. I will be using the term meeting from now on. This was the term used by the Quakers to describe the gathering of the saints. During our meeting today, I was challenged by our Pastor to live counterculturally, and for the last 25% of my life I am going to try and do that. In the context of this blog today, I have concluded that maybe a lack of relevance is good for the church. As we become less privileged in our culture, maybe we will be what God truly wants our organization to be, holy and light.

Jeff Christopherson agrees with this, and his work in CT describes the positive nature of what he calls the “Coming Opposition.” He says there will be seven benefits for the Church during this difficult time. Jeff begins his short article with “Will the church in North America face an increasing spirit of hostility to its accustomed status of cultural privilege? Absolutely!” He argues that due to some of our actions we will experience cultural backlash, which is not a bad thing.

Christopherson states, “the church of Jesus Christ has always resembled her King best when she was in a place, not of dominance, but of yielded weakness.” This is what I took away from the meeting this morning, which is why I wanted to write this blog today. I think the church will encounter a problem due to its support of political powers on both side of the aisle. Some of us support abortion, and some of us support Trump. We have been seduced by Leviathan to be a part of Nimrodian effort to create a new tower of Babel. So as Jeff states opposition will be good for the church. Just what are the seven benefits of this post-Christian opposition?

1. Opposition reminds us of what matters
Fitting in, being liked, and other “tertiary aims” become less important when it becomes a little harder to live in a way you have maybe grown up to enjoy. Commitment becomes a little harder when you don’t really believe something.

2. Opposition weeds out the frauds
Pruning occurs when times are rough. Years ago, when I attended a large church in Costa Mesa, the pastors would warn young women of guys who would be in the church claiming to be Christians to seduce them. This is an extreme example of weeding out the frauds, but there are many people who see the church only as a social club. When the cost of church membership becomes a little higher, people will choose a health club.

3. Opposition raises up prophetic voices
I have continually asked who are this generation’s prophetic voices? In my generation there was J. Vernon MacGee, Chuck Smith, Jack Hayford, and many more. In this generation who are they? I am beginning to see those new voices rising up. Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Mark Sayers, and others who are now warning the church of coming calamity and the need to repent.

4. Opposition moves people to the margins
I am going to let Christopherson deal with this point. “But when God allows pain and persecution to afflict our sheltered gatherings, it forces His people to own their own faith in the pockets of lostness in which they live, work, and play.”

5. Opposition enhances the need for genuine discipleship
When times get hard we get disciplined. When our budgets get tight, we become of frugal in the use of our money. When we as Christians begin to experience difficult times, we tend to draw closer to our God. We create habits of reading, prayer, and trust that “allow us to thrive outside the sanctuary.”

6. Opposition unites believers
I think Christopherson’s words are best here. “Opposition has an effective way of deflating spiritual hubris. When we awaken to our mission and to the actuality of our true competition, we find estranged kingdom allies in close proximity. And in this kingdom realignment, we discover the spiritual punch that Jesus prayed for in His longing appeal for our oneness (John 17:21).”

7. Opposition increase the number of Jesus’ disciples
Throughout history we see that opposition has initiated a certain purity within the church. And because of the uniqueness and difference of the church from culture people are drawn to the true reflection of Jesus Christ within His bride.

I agree with the two writers mentioned in my blog. I have no doubt that the church will encounter a post-Christian culture that will blame the church for many ills. The culture around us is always trying to discard what God’s desires are, and the last few years will feed that desire and give a certain legitimacy to the effort. However, as Joseph told his brothers, “you meant it for evil, God intended it for good.” The culture around us will attempt to hurt God’s work, but as Leviathan does his evil, God will poor out His Spirt of living water which will make us just that much better of an organization.

And that is my thought for the day!

Redirecting My Blog

Now that I am “retired,” I am enjoying the extra time to read and think. As I ponder many different topics I am solidifying my worldview as I spend the next seventeen years of my life, Lord willing, preparing for the time I stand before the Bema seat of Christ. I have thought a lot about what I want to do with this blog, what I have written about, and where I am now as an individual and member of the royal priesthood and society in general. I have decided that I need to redirect this blog from dealing with the importance of business relationships to something a little broader. In fact, I will now be writing about business and life from three different vantage points. However, all three levels will be built about the foundation of my faith in Jesus Christ and His word. That foundation will be used to address each area of my concern.

The three components of my cynosure are the philosophical, organizational, and individual emphases of commerce. I think it would be beneficial for me to define terms. I’ll start with commerce. By definition commerce is “an exchange of goods or commodities, especially on a large scale between different countries or between different parts of the same country.” I have chosen that word for a reason. I will be looking at both large scale and small-scale elements of business. However, commerce seems like a larger word than business, which demonstrates the increased emphasis of my blog.

I want to discuss that larger elements of commerce and the economy. Therefore, I will be looking at the philosophy of business. President Trump has stated we will never be a socialist country, and I tend to agree with him, but there are other beliefs about Marxism that seem to have reached new levels of prominence. Therefore, I want to address the philosophical elements of commerce in a way that will allow me to join the national conversation about the value of economics in our society. However, as I see capitalism as amoral, I do not see the practice of capitalism as virtuous. This is why I want to pursue a faith-based expression of the practice of commerce by business leaders.

But, I never want to move away from exploring organizational efficiency. I am a proponent of congruency within organizations. All organizations take some sort of input and transform them into output. All organizations have a system to them, and my desire is to help organizations identify the characteristics of their system and diagnose which of those attractors will give the greatest leverage to continuously improving the operation of the organization. As they say, good strategy plus good execution equals good management.

And as the title of the blog states, good business means good relationships, I can never minimize the importance of people-to-people relationships in commerce. The actions of business always impact people, therefore pondering our comportment from that vantage point is critical to the implementation of virtuous capitalism.

Kenneth Barnes in his wonderful book “Redeeming Capitalism” provides a table comparing virtuous capitalism with traditional, modern, and postmodern expressions of capitalism. Although, I don’t agree with all he says in this book, I do think his point about what capitalism has become is valid. In this blog I have used terms like conscious capitalism, compassionate capitalism, but I like the idea of virtuous capitalism because it assumes a standard. In this day and age of relativism and ethical egoism, I see the need for a biblical idea of virtue and how virtue is expressed in commerce.

Barnes states that virtuous capitalism is expressed when its purpose is focused on human flourishing, capital use is thrifty, work is seen as worship, the method of work is holistic, the foundational ethic is common grace, accountability is mutuality, the ontology of business is Missio Dei, its theology is God is present, the geology of commerce is think global act local, its epoch is interconnectedness, output is added value, and its sociology is the harmonization of religion and culture. I see his point as valid, but I think his perspective takes on too much of a universalist perspective, but that is a minor critique.

I am a proponent of the quadruple bottom-line: People, Planet, Profit, and Providence. As a previous advocate for the triple bottom-line, I always felt there was something missing. As an expounder of social enterprise, I always felt there was a bit of a deficiency. With the discovery of the quadruple bottom-line I now know what that was.

Just like Bobby Jindal stated in his editorial today, “American Capitalism is Fine, Thank You,” but it can be better, and will need to be better to stem the tide of socialism in this country. However, socialism is not the only culprit in our current debacle. Crony capitalism has become a huge issue. Large corporations are rent-seeking advantages from the government limiting the distinction of creative destruction for the betterment of the economy.

By definition rent-seeking “involves seeking to increase one’s share of existing wealth without creating new wealth.” As economists state, this reduces “economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced actual wealth-creation, lost government revenue, increased income inequality, and potentially national decline.” Cronyism leads to reduced choices for people, more monopolies, and higher prices for lower quality of goods.

I am a believer in the power of business to create positive social change. But I also believe that the practice of commerce needs a moralistic foundation. Making profit just for profit sake is not a healthy activity, but profit for the sake of what good it can do, that is a different story. Profit can provide new capital to do what needs to be done more efficiently; profit can provide new jobs for more people; profit can provide well -paying jobs for people; and profit will allow people and companies to give to non-profits; all of these things create a virtuous cycle for the improvement of the common good. When that is lost, God help us.

And that is my thought for today!

Peggy Noonan, Leviathan, and Virtuous Capitalism

In yesterday’s blog I answered the question “what is wrong with me.” As I further pondered that question, I have concluded that I may have some issues, but I am not the total curmudgeon that some think I am. Today’s blog will explore a topic I have been thinking about for several years.

I mentioned Peggy Noonan in my title because her editorial today, “Get Ready for the Struggle Session,” articulates something I have been thoughtfully exploring. I know theologians would question my use of the name Leviathan, but I like it, and I am writing this blog, my prerogative.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the idea that there was a spirit, daemon, behind our resistance culture, and I called for people to reject the language of revolution and embrace the language of the Puritans. My point was the language of the resistance is the same language used previously in other revolutions. I also warned in another blog, using a song from the Who, how all revolutions lead to “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Now Noonan develops a similar concept.

She starts her premise by describing the horrors of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She described Mao Zedong’s execrable actions with, “He would find his foes, the usual suspects: intellectuals and other class enemies, capitalist roaders, those who clung to old religions or tradition,” and how Mao “unleased university and high school students to weed out enemies and hold them to account.” The goal was to eliminate any vestiges of the “old society.” This action, in my opinion, is a concrete demonstration of the daemon I call Leviathan.

Obviously, Mao was not the first to demonstrate this daemon. Lenin and others were prolific in their use of this strategy, but so were the brown shirts, or Sturmabteilung. James Barnett, in his review of “Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts,” describes the SA as a “group of rowdy young psychopaths looking to brawl.” Barnett makes a very interesting statement about the author’s belief about Brownshirts and German society at that time, “He notes that not only were the Brownshirts more representative of German society than previous historians have recorded – they included a large number of students and young middle-class professionals – but that their dominance in the bloody street battles between fascists and leftists that epitomized Weimar political culture also accelerated the erosion of liberalism and delegitimization of German democracy, paving the way for Hitler’s rise.” This is another example of the daemon of Leviathan. A different ideology, but the strategy is the same, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

I can’t tell you how strongly I agree with Noonan’s point, “I don’t want to be overdramatic, but the spirit of the struggle session has returned and is here, in part because of the Internet, in part because of the extremity of our politics, in part because more people are lonely.” With the loss of a unifying ideology in our post-modern society, we are vulnerable to the daemon that emerges when societal coadunation is in abjuration. I have previously described events that concern me about our current situation, and Noonan gave similar examples, but how she finishes her article is haunting. “There’s a feeling in the air, isn’t there? We are all noticing pieces of the story here and there, in this incident and that. But maybe that meaning isn’t good.”

I agree Ms. Noonan, but due to the fact that I write about business and people things, I need to argue on how one part of our society to counterattack the artifice of Leviathan. To do this I need to identify the rally cries of Leviathan’s shock troops? There are several, such as racism, but the one that I think the demographic of this blog can address is income inequality. To do this my fellow capitalists will need to follow what Barnes in, “Redeeming Capitalism,” calls a “Theology of Virtuous Capitalism.” Barnes states, “In the era of traditional capitalism, God seemed remote. God existed, whether in a theistic or deistic sense, but God was not personally active in the everyday operation of the world.” This was contrary to what God intended us to know and do.

As I stated in a previous blog, it is my argument that we need to adhere to the premise that God is present and very interested in how we practice economics and business. If God cares about whether a Sparrow falls to the ground or not, then he cares about how we do business. This is why I have moved away from the triple bottom line to the quadruple bottom line. Instead of people, planet and profit; to combat Leviathan the business world should practice a strategy that follows people, planet, profit, and providence (eternity).

There is a reason we have laws on the books. There needs to be an external reason for not behaving a certain way. God’s original law gave humanity a clear guideline on behavior. The laws of our modern society tell us what acceptable behavior is and what it is not. Business people need to look at the reality of eternity to choose behavior that is more in line with the amelioration of the common good.

There was a manufacturing company in Irving, California, Ford-Aeronutronics. Years ago, I wanted to work for that company because they paid union level wages and provided union level benefits. I have no idea why they did this, probably to keep the union out, but it was a good strategy. I have no idea if they believed in virtuous capitalism, but if I am a virtuous capitalist, then I will take care of my employees, who in turn will take care of my customers, and who in turn will take care of the profit issues. I think God would be pleased with we business people if we did this. The Puritans thought so! Maybe if we do this Leviathan will retreat.

And that is my thought for the day!

What Is My Problem?

As I ask that question, I can assume many people would be willing to answer it with several different comments. My wife is probably the most informed when it comes to my issues, and my kids would have a perspective on this too. There are many out there that would call me many different names that reflect what they think is my problem. But, I am looking at a very specific aspect associated with what is my problem.

I am tired of all the narratives “out there.” AOC has a perspective, Trump has a perspective, Omar has another, but all over Twitter and Facebook, and other Social Media outlets, everyone spouts off how the other is filled with hate or some type of phobia. It seems like no one is willing to find common ground anymore. I have decided that the reason no one is willing to compromise is because of the battle of opposing philosophies on what is best for the United States. The two opposing viewpoints in my estimation are you owe me because I am a victim, and yes things are tough sometimes, but I will work hard to overcome them.

This is a huge generalization, and in no way am I minimizes the many horrible injustices that have occurred in the past and are continuing to this day. I am talking about general philosophies that order one’s perspectives on life. Remember my original question, what is my problem? I am finding myself watching less of the news because all they do is sensationalize the philosophies. CNN focuses on victimhood and how people are owed various things, and Fox focuses on the how bad people are that don’t work for things. There are no compromises, or middle ground where both sides have legitimate claims.

Jonathan Haidt in his classic, The Righteous Mind, uses the metaphor of the elephant and the rider. The rider is logic, and the elephant represents emotion. The media’s number one job is to stroke the elephant. Let’s keep everyone upset, stroke the hate. Again, huge generalization, but has some truth to it.

I have also decided that the media is why I have a problem. I read, or watch the news, and it generates all this negative emotion in me. As a result, many fail to listen to anyone who they disagree with, even though they just may learn something. We are so busy looking past each other we can’t see each other. This is very sad and is my problem.

Today on CNN, they reported that 180,000 jobs were predicted to be created, but the economy only created 20,000 new jobs. Oh that Trump, he is horrible and such a liar. Fox reported today that AOC’s boyfriend is stealing money. Oh that bad AOC she is such a hypocrite. All the media does is stroke the elephant within each of us. However, I am going to use the media to illustrate would coould be done with information.
Daniel Henninger, one of my favorite editorialists wrote an excellent article in WSJ on Thursday. The title was “The story of the year.” Henninger starts his article reinforcing what my problem is, “The great political challenge of our time is sorting out what matters from what’s just chatter.” I like that, and I have been doing just that. I quit watching award shows, Academy Awards, etc., years ago because of the chatter. I watch less news on TV and do more looking at BBC, CNN and Fox apps to draw my own conclusions. I am trying to minimize my own confirmation bias.

Henninger says that we have to be “obtuse to stare at this jobs record and pretend it isn’t happening.” The current unemployment rate was reported as 3.8%. Not too bad. A better number is the workforce participation rate which has crept up to 63.2%. This demonstrates how people who were discouraged are reentering the labor force. The WSJ reported a week ago that, “all sorts of people who have previously had trouble landing a job are now finding work.” Racial minorities, and people entering the job market in lowered paying jobs are experiencing better wages. The Journal on Saturday highlighted Cassandra Eaton, a single mother, who has become an apprentice welder. Instead of the low paying job she had before, she now makes $20 per hour. Even high school drop outs are benefiting from the strong jobs market with an unemployment rate of 5% and their “median wage rates increasing by 6%.”

Another category discussed in the journal was ex-cons. James Q. Wilson was hired by FedEx in 2017. He is making more the $16 per hour. He has a house and a wife, but his attitude is what drew me to him. “I want FedEx to say, do you have any more people like him.” Don’t get me wrong our penal system needs reformation. Many have been unjustly incarcerated, but instead of blaming the system, this man is working hard to change a perception by doing a good job. The part of this system that represents business should adjust and help these individuals more.

One of the recent themes of my blog has been the redemption of Capitalism. If we in business want to redeem work, we must offer incentives for people to work. If a single mother can work a part time job and get government benefits that allow her to care for her children, then why not. Especially if the single mother is penalized when she makes too much money and as a result lose her benefits. What if a company hires her and pays a livable wage where she does not need government benefits, as well as provide day care opportunities, then the company will have a more productive employee who is loyal!

Instead, business does the exact opposite. Then the government picks up the slack by creating oppressive lottery systems that feed the victim mentality. As Barnes states, “Even governments exploit our covetous desires: consider the proliferation of lotteries today, games of chance that feed on people’s lack of hope in a properly functioning economy and that turn people, instead, to a false hope of unimaginable riches that only cost a dollar to buy.” Many want the quick fix because we are all victims of the system.

There are two philosophies today that drives our society. One of entitlement and one of hard work. I believe that vocational work is critical to the health of society. People focus on victimhood because all they experience is oppression and very few possibilities for meaningful work. Come on business leaders we can do better. If we want a workforce that can fill the millions of jobs that are currently available and not being filled, then let’s get to work and train people to do the jobs needing employees. If all of us chip in and take this on, then there is no need for government to take responsibility for the market. If we want less government intrusion, then do the work necessary to take away their reason for the intrusion.

If business doesn’t take this on, then government will continue to espouse the horrors of exploitation and victimhood, but if we do the good work then people will see the value of hard work and find the ability to create a better life for themselves.

And that is my thought for the day!

My Belief System: A Strategic Plan That Includes Business

Whether anyone reads these thoughts, or not, is immaterial to me. This is my attempt to capture my beliefs into a concise statement. I am doing this as a result of the last episode of the truth project. The Truth Project is a twelve episode series exploring life from a Biblical perspective. In the last episode Del Tackett encourages believers to engage in the world around them, not retreat. Although I think fighting Leviathan, the world’s culture, will not be successful until Jesus Christ returns, I do agree that we are called by God to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

I am also emboldened by a new Harvard research article cited by the Federalist that Christianity is not declining but growing stronger. People are leaving progressive churches and aligning with Churches that believe the Bible. Thus, I think it is important for me to solidify my beliefs biblically, socially, and as a business person. So here is my imperfect attempt to concisely state what I believe.

I am going to start with my thoughts on the church and Church. The Church is Jesus’s bride and represents Him to the world today. The Church, or the invisible body of Christ, is redeemed and being changed into the image of Christ daily by the Holy Spirit. The physical representation of the Church is the church that is imperfect because the people within the church is imperfect. Let me explain.

When my wife and I were in Ghana we visited the slave castles on the coast. There were many poignant and reflective moments as we walked through the castles, but none as paramount as we were told how church services were being conducted above where the slaves were being held. It was a horrible testimony of the church’s complicity with an abhorrent practice. There are many examples through history where the church was on the wrong side of human dignity, but that does not change the importance of the Church to the society around us.

As a part of the Church, and the church, it is imperative that we seek to be as close to Jesus as we can to accurately reflect Him to a world in desperate need of salvation. The Church is made up of people from all tribes and tongues and is the most diverse entity in history. The physical representation of this, the church, is not as accurate a picture as it should be. It is time for us to repent of the sin of inaccurately representing Jesus and seek to be what He wants us to be. My thoughts on this matter come from my worldview based on my study of the Bible.

What I see in God’s word is that God, YHWH, is one God manifested in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are at work in the world today to draw all people to salvation, resulting in a relationship with Who was and will return. The fact that God is one is contrarian to the view of plurality of gods throughout the world. The Father cares for His children, first Israel and now all people who enter into a relationship with Him through belief in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is a person that we submit ourselves to, not a power to get ahold of. The second person of the Trinity is Jesus Christ.

I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. As such to minimize His death as leading to universalism is a rejection of the severity of sin. When human kind fell in Adam, sin entered into our reality. We demonstrate this reality by the fact that we all sin. God saw the severity of this and realized the only way to deal with this is to have His Son die for our sin. It had to be God the Son to die for us and redeem us. The bible very clearly states that Jesus was God and became flesh. Therefore, His sacrifice is much more meaningful.

What I am describing above is salvation. I know that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I know that through my own good works, which are as filthy rags before the Lord, I cannot be saved, it is only through the grace of God by giving His Son to die for me that I enter into a relationship with God. By grace I have been saved. But it does not end there. Now because the sin issue has been dealt with I am now His workmanship created unto good works. Now I serve Jesus in this world to make a difference. I am not saved to do nothing, I am saved by grace to be and do.

Why is this important. I heard someone speak on the radio yesterday about hell. I believe in a literal hell. And this hell will be deposited in a literal lake of fire during the last judgment. As a result of this belief, if I don’t warn people about this, then I am not doing my job. I am not doing what God has called all of us in His Church to do. We are to make disciples. We need to prepare for His return.

I believe in the literal return of Christ. I believe that this world will get to a point that the only thing that will save it is Jesus returning as the victor over Leviathan. Leviathan is the daemon of this world, who will be defeated during the return of Christ. As I have stated earlier in my writings, the goal for the last 25% of my life is to prepare for the next world. I want to love those around me, and bring them closer to Jesus, and help myself and others be ready for the future. This leads to my social beliefs.

As you will note my social beliefs align somewhat with Catholic Social Foundations. I believe in the dignity of life. I believe in the Imago Dei. We are all created in the image of God. Therefore, black, white, yellow or red we are all created in the image of God. Therefore, we all have value. I believe that abortion is murder and should only be available for the most extreme circumstances. I am appalled by recent events that would allow a baby that survives an abortion attempt and is born, can be killed. That is nothing more than infanticide. I also believe that if a woman has a child she should have resources available to her and support to ensure that baby gets the opportunities in life. This could be through adoption and/or family support. The government should be the last option. I also believe that our penal systems should be changed and be more redemptive. I have always stood with the work that Chuck Colsen did. I am trying to create a wholistic view of the dignity of human life.

I believe the family is the foundation of our society. Therefore, the family should be supported. I realize that some would define family different than I would. In a pluralistic society the state can, and should, define those things, but as a person who has a worldview based on the bible, I believe the family is one man and one woman who have children. I do think the state can deem gay marriage as ok, but I do not see the bible supporting that perspective. But, in our country I believe that people have the right not to be discriminated against, and the LGBT community have the same rights as I do. I will not judge them if they marry and will attempt to love them and draw them to a fuller relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I will love, and God will sort it all out later. I believe in only two genders. Male and female.

I believe in basic human rights, and I think the constitution does a good job of describing those basic human rights. No one should be denied these rights because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. I believe that people are truly free when they come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Other than people repenting and believing in Jesus, there is nothing more important to God than caring for the poor. The current mistake that we in the church are making today, is we are trying to rely on government to care for the poor. That is not to say that we should have regressive taxes that only help the rich. I am saying that there should be government supplied social systems paid for by our tax system, but the main activity for caring for the poor should be through the church.

The church should be following the whole gospel – bringing salvation to people around us and taking care of people, aka the poor. I see so many people trying to make this a socialism versus a capitalism issue. It is not. It is a church issue. We are the Church, who brings the truth to the world around us, not Leviathan. We have to be very careful partnering with those who represent Leviathan. I am not saying don’t be a part of things not the church, I am saying be careful, because so many people today who have partnered with Leviathan have begun to move away from the disciplines of the faith, thinking it is the right thing to do.

The Church is here to prepare the earth for Christ’s return. It is not here to create another tower of Babel. It is not here to give any victories to Leviathan, we are to support the work of the Holy Spirit in the redemption of humankind, and to care for those around us. This includes those of us who are in Business.

As I have stated earlier in this blog, there is nothing more ubiquitous than business. Economics is basic human endeavor that seeks to create an efficient distribution of goods to meet the needs of society. I believe there are no economic systems that truly represent God’s economy, but I do believe that capitalism, as it should be practiced, is the closest ism to true freedom. Socialism is a representation of Leviathan.

I believe the business organization is similar to the Church – in the way that the Church is made up of all tribes and tongues. Business organizations are diverse entities where we as black, white, red, and yellow can come together and work for the betterment of our customers. Business leadership needs to support this more completely.

The news media has done an excellent job creating a narrative that is destructive to a free market. However, business itself has done an effective job of supporting the narrative of greed and oppression. Therefore, the redeeming of capitalism is critical to the preparation of the earth for Christ’s return. Business leaders who are believers need to redeem their business practices and align them with biblical principles to demonstrate how the freedom of opportunity can lead to individual and collective success. And revising practices business leaders can redeem work as something that is good and provides for a meaningful life.

Ultimately, my worldview is an attempt to create a battle plan for myself. Whether you agree with me or not, I don’t care. I want to see Leviathan defeated. The above is my attempt to follow a meaningful strategic plan.

And that is my thought for the day!

Strong Pillars That Lead To A Better Capitalism

3,045 days of job growth! What a headline. The Wall Street Journal had a great article highlighting the current job market in the United States. “The U.S. economy has added jobs for 100 consecutive months. Unemployment recently touched its lowest level in 49 years. Workers are so scarce that, in many parts of the country, low-skilled jobs are being handed out to pretty much anyone willing to take them – and high-skilled workers are in even shorter supply” (Morath and Weber, WSJ, March 2, 2019). I don’t know if they are embellishing a bit, but I do know, wherever I go there are signs in the window saying, “help wanted.” I think this is how Capitalism should work. Creating a healthy economy, employing many people, and paying good wages. Everyone benefits.

According to our referenced article, Median weekly wages for all demographics (Latino, Asian, White, and Black), have increased. Janet Yellen, former chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, was quoted in this article, “If you can hold unemployment at a low-level for a long time there are substantial benefits. Real wage growth will be faster in a tight labor market. So disadvantaged workers gain on the employment and wage side, and to my mind, that’s clearly a good thing.” I like what I see happening in our economy right now, but who knows how long it will last.

Even in good times there are issues. Often when workers have a lot to do, stress can be a real enemy to productivity. As a manager for the Boeing Company I was constantly worried about late deliveries. Many of the products we were responsible for were critical to the final assembly of the airplanes. Our facility made many important products for all the models produced by Boeing, and if we were late it would be problematic for the final assembly sites in Renton and Everett, Washington. Stress was a real part of our job.

Boeing did a good job of providing training for dealing with stress. The company recognized there were the direct costs associated with stress, but there were also hidden costs. I remember one presentation about health and welfare costs for the company. There were millions of dollars in direct cost associated with medical issues for employees, but the hidden costs were much higher, as many as ten times as much.

If/when there is a downturn, it could impact many people who are working now. Jeffrey Pfeffer wrote about this in the March 2nd Wall Street Journal. He wrote about how companies were helping their employees deal with stress. The one I really resonated with was economic security. In a 2016 HBR case study, Barry-Wehmiller Company, a manufacturing firm in St. Louis was highlighted. In 2007-2009, during the economic downturn, “the company implemented a program of shared sacrifice.” Instead of laying people off, the CEO reduced his wages by 90%, workers took unpaid furloughs, and the company offered generous retirement incentives. The case study noted that because of these actions “the company rallied from the Great Recession faster than expected and reported record financial results in 2010.” This is how commerce is supposed to be practiced. Companies making decisions that benefit all stakeholders, not just the shareholders.

I have an opinion about the need for business to take responsibility for its actions. Let me explain. Why do we have EPA laws that are oppressive? Why did Oregon become a rent control state? Why did banking regulations become so restrictive? It is because of business people, or in the case of rent control – owners, were greedy. Greed led to bad behavior. The effect of the bad behavior led to the state initiating laws and regulations to control the bad behavior. If the bad behavior did not occur, I believe there would have been no need for laws and regulation.
I also believe that employees are not loyal to companies like the past, because companies treat the employee as a commodity. This is a huge generalization, but I do think there are many examples just of that reality. If we are to stem to tide that is driving our country to the left, then the business community needs to change its behavior. Kenneth Barnes in “Redeeming Capitalism,” lays out seven pillars of action that would help companies to turn things around. These seven pillars describe, at least in my estimation, what stewardship truly encompasses.

He describes the first pillar by the word purity. He uses this word to describe actions that are “fundamentally good, and is driven by the desire to be good, and to do good.” A steward is one who wants to accomplish things but wants to take action in a correct manner. They want to be honest and meet people’s needs. The steward does not want to be evil.

The steward practices peacefulness. Barnes describe this as “desiring to seek the common good.” A company can have a positive effect on the community resulting in making the community better. Or, it can destroy the neighborhood.

The steward is gentle in treatment of others. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, describes this as being a level five leader. This is someone who practices humility while being resilient.
They get the job done, but don’t have to be a bully to accomplish good outcomes.

The steward is reasonable and listen to the counsel of others. There are too many examples in business where the leader thinks they know everything, while leading the company down a path of destruction.

A steward who practices mercy is someone who cares about relationships. They do not see people as commodities to be used up and discarded, but actually cares about the wellbeing of others.

A steward is someone who deals with situations in the company with impartiality and without prejudice. All actions taken within the company align with established policies. No one is given favoritism, but all are held accountable. This occurs because the steward is practicing sincerity without hypocrisy. In other words, the steward says what they mean, and mean what they say. There is no saying one thing to one person and then changing the story when they talk to someone else.

As a result, the last pillar occurs – good fruit. In other words, there are good results. Your employees are happy, which means they take care of the customer more effectively, which means they continue to come back and spend money, which means the owners are happy.

Capitalism is not just about making as much money as possible, it is about building something that lasts. It is about providing customers the product or service they are looking for. By taking care of employees and maintaining all resources in an effective and efficient manner, leaders are demonstrating good stewardship that always results in good outcomes. Then Capitalism is working well, and all boats are raised by the water.

And that is my thought for the day!