Suited Up (142)

You all came very close to having to sit through a sermon on taxes. We’re lucky we started in verse eight and not verse seven of Romans 13. This is verse seven: “Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due . . . .” We jumped into the passage in the next verse. We’re just in time to hear Paul tell his readers not to owe anyone anything except love. And this meant something. In the ancient Roman world people’s lives were ordered by their sense of obligation, to the empire, patrons, ancestors, even friends. But Paul says that the good news reorders things. Yes, those who believe this good news should still pay their taxes; they should be a benefit to the larger community, not a drag. But because Jesus is the crucified and risen presence of God, they could let the whole system of honor and obligation go.   Read more

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Discerning the Body – a short story

Just last weekend I was in Goshen, Indiana. While there I spent some time in the Blaurock College historical archives. I was about to leave when the woman who ran the place handed me a manila file folder. She was probably 75 years old, thin as a hay fork and smart as a whip. I had told her earlier in the day that I was interested in Canadian issues. As she handed me the folder, she said, “Here, take this. I have never known what to do with it. Someone submitted it to the journal twenty years ago. We obviously can’t print it.”

I asked if she wanted it back.

“No,” she said, “it makes me uncomfortable having it around.” Read more

When Losing is Saving (141)

So there’s this youngish British-American marketing and leadership guru being interviewed on a British show. He is asked about what companies need to do to work better with employees in the twenties and early thirties: it’s the “millennial question.” The guru responds, obviously slipping into material he knows well, and the interviewer just lets him go. The guy talks uninterrupted for about fifteen minutes. His little talk has now been watched more than 7 million times on YouTube. He made a connection.

What the guy says, if I can summarize it quickly, is that a lot of organizations just aren’t equipped to work well with a younger set of employees. The work environment doesn’t fit them. The reason is—let’s put it in the form of a little story—this cohort has been raised by parents who have convinced them that they’re special and that they can do anything they want. This is a nifty parenting idea, and it might work as long as the parent can make things happen for the child. However, it doesn’t fit with the real world of performance reviews, competitive bids and job interviews. So inevitably we find that we aren’t as all-wonderful as our parents have told us. We’re pretty average, and this is profoundly disappointing. To grow up thinking you’re going to be the next Nelson Mandela or Hillary Clinton and one day finding out that you are just another person riding the bus, watching Netflix and fighting for a job you don’t really want—this is not a recipe for happiness. Read more