Tag Archives: historic business

A “draft for the ages”? Certainly eternal consequences.

I’m sure you’ve heard the “big news” by now, the first openly homosexual man to be drafted by an NFL team was drafted by the St Louis Rams. I was watching the NFL channel coverage of the draft and you would think a cure for cancer, or getting rid of ref’s entirely and having entire games called by video had just happened. There are about 1,700 players in the NFL at any one time. The NFL has been around since the 1920’s, (albeit with far fewer teams), so conservatively somewhere around 100,000 men have played in the NFL and one of them is finally homosexual. Listening to the coverage you’d think that because Michael Sam is homosexual that this is somehow as Sporting News called it, “A Draft for the ages”. Huh? Not too hyperbolic?

A little context and a lot of this is coming out of the Boston sports station that I’ve listened to for years and no, these guys are actually pretty liberal. But they did have some context. The guy was drafted 249th, way down. By a team that is in desperate need of any kind of notoriety, the St Louis Rams. It seems clear there were better players, but hey, despite the fact that there have been tens of thousands in the NFL, and no doubt some were homosexual, does tend to undermine the argument of the number of homosexual men in the population, significantly less then the guesstimated 10% that the liberal media likes to throw around. One of the guys commented that this guy will probably be playing arena football in a couple of years and it will be an “oh yeah, he was the guy back in the 2014 draft.” They also made an interesting comparison to the Tim Tebow drama of a couple of seasons ago. This is a guy who turned around the Denver Broncos and got them into the playoffs. What happened to a guy who has done so much good humanitarian service in the Name of the Savior? The Patriots gave him a shot. A team with the best winning percentage of this century, three Super Bowls, a team with integrity. A coach Bill Belicheck who uses that lame red flag as sparingly as any coach in the league. (May his tribe increase, I want to watch football, not a bunch of legalists fussing about the latest rule changes and video checks. Play football, get on with it and quit whining) Well frankly the NFL is by far the whiningest sport in professional sports. Anyway a team stacked with talent, always in the hunt, but always looking for guys with integrity. They couldn’t keep Tebow, but the whole scenario is, I don’t know, odd?

Interestingly enough in my devotional reading today Henry Blackaby writes on this very subject. Do we coddle people in their sins? No! Do we love them? Do we care for them, do we keep trying to reach them for real life in Christ? Absolutely! Hey, we are all sinners, we all have our issues, but as Blackaby writes: “You are not acting in true friendship if you condone disobedience or even if you look the other way.” Amen brother! Now of course I will probably end up taking heat for this, but for the life of me, help me, explain why it is somehow commendable that we are supposed to be dancing in the streets because a guy who will probably never be on an NFL roster and sleeps with another guy who was drafted 249th. Have we really gotten this messed up as a society?

We have no business telling someone that their sin is just skippity do da and you just go ahead and do whatever you want. Sam is 24 years old, actually a little aged for a NFL draftee, but still, let’s face it a kid. Someone who has a long way to go in life. Where do we adults come off encouraging this guy in his lifestyle? “Jesus never gave relief to people who were under conviction… Jesus brought no comfort to him [Zaccheus] as he dealt with his sin (Luke 19: 1-10)… Neither did Jesus excuse disbelief. We never find Jesus saying, ‘Well, that’s all right. I know I’m asking you to believe a lot and that’s not easy.” This nonsense that Jesus was the Great Enabler, is just that nonsense! Did Jesus give love and compassion? Absolutely! He is always helping us in our sin, we are always sinning. But when our lifestyle is just basically “I don’t care what God wants or doesn’t want, I only care what I want and that’s what I going to do!” This bizarre idea that Jesus is supposed to tell someone “that’s ok, it’s not your fault, you’re a victim or subject to your genetics, blah, blah and whatever you need to do, well that’s just ok (Oprah style)” is just not faithful to Scripture and is just not what we want for a society. Haven’t we seen enough in a society that says I don’t care what’s good, bad or indifferent to anyone else, I’m going to do what I want to do and how it damages anyone else (including me) well too bad. These are the same people that are going to expect a government agency (read the taxpayer) and yes, even more bizarrely, the church to swoop in and pick up the pieces after the inevitable crash and burn.

“Don’t ever try to ease the discomfort of someone whom the Holy Spirit is making uncomfortable! Be careful not to communicate to your friends that you find their lack of faith acceptable … or being comfortable with sin.” That just makes so much sense, the Holy Spirit is pushing on someone to really look at their life as a whole, outside of Jesus, and their sin. Trying to get someone to really realize how far they are lost in their sin and some nice gooey “Christian” in true Oprah style tells them: “…don’t you worry baby, it will be alright, you’re not a bad person, don’t let people tell you, you do what makes you happy…” Ok, that might help their self-esteem, but it’s the same old idolatry. Our feeling good about ourself is more important than what the Holy Spirit is trying to do. “God, what I want, is more important than what you want!” How do you think that will play out in eternity?

Peter King of Sports Illustrated in his blog says that the Michael Sam selection is his pick as the highlight of the draft. He glorifies ESPN’s decision to run uninterrupted and unedited the saga up to and including when Sam kissed his, oh I don’t know, companion, SO,… Really??? So much for unbiased journalism. How on earth does this rate anymore then a shake of the head? If this is what this guy wants to do, if this is what the NFL wants to do, hey you’re grownups, you make your own decisions. But somehow lionizing this moment, trying to make it comparable to some major points in American history? Give me a break and as I wrote before, a 249th pick, someone who will probably never wear an NFL uniform in a regular season game, in a league that has numerous issues with players dealing with legal issues, questions involving gambling and who can forget the great “wardrobe malfunction”, drug abuse, a league that is often derisively referred to as the “National Felon’s League”. There’s no doubt in my mind that the majority of people in the NFL are people of integrity and good judgment. But more and more those in the NFL who just push for the buck, cheap publicity, a general disregard for common decency are dominating professional football. How do you think that will work out for football, for fans of a league that is becoming more debased?

When do those in the NFL who long for a sport of decency, integrity, sportsmanship, an inspiring product, start to push back against the element in the NFL that seems to want to drag the league down to the lowest common denominator? A league that disposes of a Christian who wins (Tim Tebow) and then two years later lionizes a 249th pick solely on the basis of the fact that he sleeps with another guy?

I will admit it, I will probably stay a Patriots fan, because, despite their own situation with former tight end Aaron Hernandez. To their credit, they immediately cut all ties, they did not play around with the situation. It’s an organization that is generally recognized to be high quality in many respects. But it’s teams and people like the Patriots who are going to have to start to restore the credibility of a league that is becoming more of a symbol of questionable virtue.

Yeah, all will be held accountable by God, even those of the great and powerful NFL. The NFL may be an American icon today, but what does that really matter when the final judgment comes. In the meantime, as Blackaby so aptly points out, we don’t do anyone a favor by patting them on the head, telling them not to worry about what God says and send them on their way.

Please do me one more favor, for all you amateur theologians who love to do the “judge not…” that’s not what it means, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, do yourself a favor, stop making yourself look ridiculous and either learn or just be honest and say, “We don’t care what God says, we are going to sin, our blood is on our hands.” Hey so be it. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4: 1-3: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,…” This is Paul giving directions to a pastor that he is mentoring. Likewise directions to me a Christian pastor. I’m really tired of the world trying to make a virtue out of obvious sin, admit it, quit trying to justify it, be honest. The world is steeped in sin and trying to justify it with utter nonsense. Christian teachers, the Bible, tell me what is God’s will, that’s what I’m responsible for, that’s what I will teach, convince, rebuke and exhort. At the end of time I can stand before the throne, and yes I will have my own sins to deal with, but in the end I look forward to hearing those words from the Father “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
That’s my responsibility, the Holy Spirit put me where I am, and I can only be responsible to Him and not to a world that loves to rationalize, justify, cavalierly flout was is virtuous and what is good. If the NFL and the media treated this as a note, fine and move on. But the hyperbole surrounding this has been absurd. Don’t tell the rest of the world that this is a “draft for the ages”, it’s a footnote, if you think it’s otherwise, you really do not live in the real world.

Integrity in the workplace in faith in Christ

Father Nkwasibwe raises a point which I think deserves a lot of consideration in terms of organizational management. “Only a leader who has undergone a personal path of conversion and lived with an interior attitude of conversion and humility can be an example of the effort to downgrade workplace religious bias, prejudice and discrimination and other sinful inequalities. Such a leader enjoys the moral courage of freedom, responsibility and participation in social, cultural and religious interchange and promotion of the common good.”

Ya, ya, I can hear the clenching from here. The contemporary wisdom goes something like this, you have to hire someone who is completely unbiased, unattached, uncommitted, just “un” everything. I have to wonder if that is someone you can really trust. One of the main reasons for this blog is to champion the concept of living one’s faith life out in the workplace. Now, I will grant you that many see their faith life as converting the heathen. And I’m certainly not saying that given the opportunity in the workplace that I wouldn’t witness to Christ. I have, but when I do/did, it was with integrity. I’m there to present Christ, to tell people what He’s done in my life. What the Lordship of Christ in my life means, and what eternal life means. Now to be truly faithful to that, my witness has to be one that is with integrity, doing my job in a way that glorifies Christ. Not getting into holy wars, not picking on people, not discriminating etc. Always remembering that part of living my life in Christ in the workplace is to do my job with integrity and not using it as a way to abuse my position in favor of those who agree with me. Is that easy? No.

On the flip side, that person who has no scruples in terms of their life regarding “God”, however they see that, that’s better? No, it just isn’t. This is a person who’s decided that they know best, they trust only in their own judgment, or the judgment of other people. That is the continued downfall of secularism. We continue to try and impose individual, unguided, uncritical, frankly mostly about how I can do things to enhance me, and then expect that person to make principled, unbiased judgments. That’s a ridiculous expectation. This person is, bottom line, all about him or her. If anything they will discriminate against people of faith, like the college professor who picks out Christian students and decides that for a variety of reasons, they just don’t have it, tries to bully them into denying their Christian convictions. Come on, are there more Ken Lay’s and Bernie Madoff’s in the business world, or more David Green’s (owner of Hobby Lobby)? Ya right, who would I trust more? Come on! Who could I expect to hold accountable and who would think that they are a law unto themselves?

I’m not saying that Christians are always the most humble or the most principled. But I can go to David Green and if he’s not acting according to Christian principles I can hold him accountable. Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff et al, the only thing they are accountable for is the bottom line, investor value anything else, they will do as they judge and that’s what will get the secular man or woman in trouble every time.

“Self leadership, which is an offshoot of conversion, is that leadership that spurs others through moral values and exemplary skilled practices because nemo dat quod non habet. …Latin … “nobody gives what he or she does not have’. No matter what, this cannot be bypassed if effectiveness and righteousness are to be realized… Undergoing a path of conversion involves sustaining on-going renewal and connotes persevering in holiness, true friendship and altruistic service. … a journey of discovery, spiritual progress or soul’s journey toward God…”

“…it is also when conversion occurs that the leader can develop courage to lead the workplace community to ascend from the disrepute to which unethical practices and religious rivalry and confrontations have drawn most business actions.”

A man of faith is going to be a lot more likely to step up and take the heat and trust God’s providence as compared to the just cowardly, infantile, pathetic actions of people like Lay, Madoff and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco. Just squirrely little weenies. I know, not very charitable, but it is what it is. (Quick note, I had to Google Tyco. You know what the first reference was “tyco scandal”. Ya, just how you want to be remembered.)

Popular media likes to try to portray people of religion as bigots, narrow-minded, abusive. But the reality completely contradicts the popular fiction. I’d rather work for Hobby Lobby or Chick Fil A before I worked for Dennis Kozlowski.

Our group meets for discussion on Wednesday 10am, coffeehouse at the corner of  W King and Beaver Sts. Parking is behind the church 140 W King St, about a 50 yard walk from there. No charge, no committment, I will even buy your first cup of coffee. We are still in Gene Veith’s book, “God at Work”. See you then and God bless you.

 

Jesus married? No….

The following is an article from the Huffington Post, which is not a credible source of much of anything, no less history, religion, philosophy. If you want inflammatory headlines, you definitely want this, and not credible journalism. At the very best I would describe the following as disingenuous, at best complete ignorance of any of the applicable scholarly subject. So read this and then I have my comments following:

“An ancient, business-card-sized papyrus fragment that appears to quote Jesus Christ discussing his wife is real, Harvard University announced Thursday. The fragment caused international uproar when it was revealed by a Harvard historian in September 2012, with prominent academics and the Vatican swiftly deeming it a forgery.

Harvard officials said scientists both within and outside the university extensively tested the papyrus and carbon ink of the badly aged fragment, dubbed the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” The document, written in Coptic, a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, is made up of eight mostly legible dark lines on the front and six barely legible faded lines on the back. The handwriting and grammar were also examined over the last year and a half to confirm its authenticity. Scientists have concluded the fragment dates back to at least the sixth to ninth centuries, and possibly as far back as the fourth century.

The document was never meant to prove Jesus was married, Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King emphasized Thursday. Instead, she argued, it’s meant to highlight that some early Christians may have believed Jesus was married. The distinction is significant because debates over sexuality and marriage have dominated contemporary discussions about Christianity; the Catholic Church cites Jesus’ celibacy as one reason its priests must not have sex or marry.

“The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued,” King, whose specialties include Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, said in a statement Thursday. “This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family.”

The legible lines on the front of the artifact seem to form a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples. The fourth line of the text says, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Line 5 says “… she will be able to be my disciple,” while the line before the “wife” quote has Jesus saying “Mary is worthy of it” and line 7 says, “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …”

“The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus…” First, of course women can be disciples of Jesus’. Any who are in Jesus should be His disciples. Who ever said they weren’t? You really have to reread this article with a critical eye.

Because this is an ancient document does not make it factual, the Bible is an ancient document, based on Bible copies going back to at least the 5th century (around the same time as this fragment) we know that the Bible we have today is very well documented. Why is this one fragment credible, and a document (the Bible) that can be traced back to the earliest times not credible?

The proponents of this are trying to say that the rap against this is a forgery. I haven’t read anyone that takes issue with whether it’s a forgery or not, the issue is whether it’s credible. Anyone could write something to be found hundreds of years later, the fact that it was discovered doesn’t make it fact. We are supposed to change all of history, theology because one scrap of paper was found??? Really!!! We have credible evidence of Scripture and writers dating back to the beginning, in straight succession to today. How does one unassociated scrap of paper change anything? During this period there were other writings that have shown to have no basis in fact. My fun example is always the “Gospel of Judas”. Help me out folks, the man was a traitor, he ran off and hung himself, and he still had time to write his gospel? Actually “gospel” means “good news” in Greek, so in Judas’ case it’s “not so gospel”. I don’t know? Fact is there are a lot of people out there with an agenda, with little scruples who will try to make a case out of anything they oppose. Also please note, this was written in Coptic. The language Jesus and His apostles spoke was Aramaic, essentially all their writings were in Greek, which was the common academic language of the time. Coptic is an Egyptian language, relatively speaking, israel and Egypt were a long ways a way. Why something written in a language that had nothing to do with Jesus’ contemporary life, at least four hundred years after Jesus, is being given any kind of credibility is, again, a mystery to me. A scrap of paper, in Coptic no less, doesn’t prove a thing, doesn’t change a thing. Someone back in that time wrote down their opinion, in a country very distant from Israel, and as far as I can tell would have no reason to have any first hand knowledge of Jesus’ life at all. Now Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, Jude, did and they don’t mention anything of the sort. Well yea, I guess we’re going back to fiction in the DaVinci Code. Hey Dan Brown said it was entirely fiction, yet we have people who worship his book/movie. Yea, don’t try to confuse me with the facts, just tell me what I want to believe.

Sabbath rest, we are called to rest

Pastor Jim Driskell
First St Johns
Sabbath Sermon March 30, 2014 He told us to rest in Him

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father … And all those who know rest and peace in the Lord of the Sabbath said … AMEN

(Juggling my date book,) I’ll do the reading for Exodus, but then I have to keep practicing my sermon, I’m getting sick of hearing my own voice,(sorry I’ll be right with you) but if I do that in the morning, I’m going to have to be up by 5:30, so that I can get my workout in, do devotions, and then work for a couple of hours before I leave, or I’m going to have to stay up later…..)
We keep trying to find that magic wand to make more time, to try to be more efficient with the time we have. When I worked for Motorola, they were big on stuff like this, they paid for people to take Time Management Classes, during work time. Have to be more efficient, which meant your work days were about (holding hands straight out to the side) this much bigger than when you started. So how about family, nuclear and extended, the kids’ swim meets, music lessons, trips, shared times, quiet moments. How about those other goals in your life; sports, civic, academic, your spouse’s pursuits, and yes once in awhile actually watch a Red Sox game? It’s been estimated that if we did everything that we should do in a day, Red Sox extra, we would need a 36 hour day, mercifully that also includes sleep.
The Sabbath is the 4th commandment, Gene Veith notes, “one of the ten commandments, up there with killing, stealing, not committing adultery… the Sabbath’s holiness is to be recognized by not working on that day.”
So how does a Christian manage his time, I have to tell you, not a whole lot differently. We live in the world too. We put too much trust in our own judgment, we have to do this, we have to do that, can’t let my child get behind, got to put more time in at work, do an Olympic distance triathlon under 2 hours before I’m 60, I want more degrees, on and on, when do we stop and wait on God?
Well, if I shift this around, if I stay up later on Saturday night, I can go to one service, no Bible study, no fellowship interaction, but I can do a zip in pray, sermon, sing, zip out and I’m done. Is that an A priority or a B, Covey says it’s an A, all right, but I’m only budgeting two hours, no more. Make no mistake about it, clergy are pretty much the same, different motivation but…, have to get that new book, titled The Two Minute Pastor.
Rabbi Heschel talks about athletes having to take a breathing spell in order to collect their strength. I’ve been doing triathlons for twenty years, part of race preparation is tapering, for the week prior to your race you rest and let your body repair. Last year I decided to do an racquetball tournament match 2 days before a race. I might as well have not shown up for the race. Rabbi Heschel notes the Sabbath, is time God gives us to taper.
What does God say about this? “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, (Is. 30:15). This is our Father who is telling us what would be best for us to do. God is not telling us that we will be saved if we become couch potatoes, the third commandment clearly states that “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,” (Ex 20:9). And we are certainly saved in our Lord Jesus Christ, but the Father is concerned that we become so absorbed in our work, our achievement, things that build our pride that we forget our Lord, we make an idol of the things we do. On the Sabbath, we all can stop and turn back to Jesus. Because the Christian Sabbath means more than the commandment, we observe the Sabbath on Sunday because that is the day that Jesus was resurrected to show us that we have life eternal in Him. Every Sabbath we are not only refreshed, God’s Law tell us to rest, we are rejuvenated with the promise of His Gospel the forgiveness of our sins and our life everlasting in Him. So mark it in your day timer now, Sabbath day of rest. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)
Having said all that, we see that Jesus violated the Sabbath in today’s reading, well at least according to Pharisees. According to the Law, and at the point in time the Law was determined by the Pharisees, it was a violation of the Sabbath for Jesus to spit on the ground to make a little mud to anoint the blind man’s eyes. Jesus chose to do His “work” in this way in order to heal the man. We could imagine that He was trying to provoke a reaction by “working” and He got one. They accused Him saying “This man is not of God…” for, according to them, not keeping the Sabbath.
The truth is as Jesus points out, He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:8), He can do what He wants. But it also raises an issue too, that there are those who feel they have a ministry of quibbling, as if it is somehow a legitimate pursuit to overlook good work, to find the one flaw, the blemish on an otherwise good face and try to deface the entire effort.
If we are called to do good works, we should do good works, if it’s on the Sabbath it’s no doubt within God’s will, let’s not quibble with someone if they’ve just done a good work. Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath is always intended to be a time of rest, of rejuvenation, and Dr Veith also points out: “the Sabbath speaks to us of Christ. That God wants us to honor Him by not working is a reminder that we are not saved by our works,…” But maintain some perspective and don’t lose sight of what God is doing, as the Pharisees did when they were in the presence of God, Jesus the Son of God.
It is interesting to note that in our readings today, Jesus saying He is the light of the world, God telling Isaiah: “I will turn the darkness before them into light”, Paul telling us that we are children of light and that we worship on “Sunday”. We are children of light, we do need to remember the Lord in a day of rest and worship, we do need to do good works and not to tear down another’s good efforts, but help them and encourage them in their work. But the Sabbath is also a time that God gives us in order to separate from the world, the day in and day out, the things that hound us and turns us to Him in worship. We need to detach from the world on a regular basis and come to Him for rest, relief, hope, promise, restoration. You do not get this anywhere else but in the church. When we trust in God to turn to Him on a regular basis, once every seven days seems to be a minimum, He gives us what we need to return to the world truly renewed, restored in Him and ready to deal with what the world dishes out.
When we don’t do that, when we trust in what we want, what the world pushes us to do, after awhile we find that the world has ground us down and convinced us that there is no hope. We find that we have been detached from the Sabbath, which is detachment from the church and then detached from the hope and promise in Jesus. It is a commandment that we are not good about honoring, take some time this week, do it with the rest of the family, how can you make the Sabbath more family honoring and therefore more God honoring.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

 

Faith is the basis that we function in all aspects of our life.

I want to thank Fr Frederick Nkwasibwe for his great insights in his book Business Courage. As I’ve probably noted he is a Roman Catholic priest who received his undergraduate degree in divinity, but his thesis for his MBA is the basis for this book. He really did a lot of work (the book is over 400 pages) and he really dug into the history of the church to uncover this insight from a church father, St Cyril of Jerusalem who lived from 315 to 386. “…in his famous Jerusalem Catechesis. From this foundational research, Foley and McCloskey quote thus:”

“It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true, but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith.”

One can certainly make the case that the breakdown in the economy in 2008 was sparked by a lot of activity that violated the faith of a lot of people. Bernie Madoff, was only a blip, but he has become the most visible icon of that era. There were so many who were involved in the deceptions of the mortgage meltdown, including banks, mortgage originators, FANNIE MAE, government policy at the federal, state and local level, that we will be unwinding these violations of trust and faith for more years to come. 

One could certainly make the case that faithlessness in many ways has undermined the institution of marriage, expedience is the rule of our day, faith is a quaint, outdated ideal and the consideration today is I want what I want now. Darwinian philosophy is the rule of the day “Survival of the Fittest”. I want money, I want power, I want someone at home who is all about me, I want prestige, I want the right marriage. Is there little doubt that there is not a Biblical understanding of marriage anymore, that is mutual serving, but is in reality mutual using? Marrying into the right family to help improve my status, increase my opportunity to be in the right company, to marry a spouse who has a good career and will contribute substantially to an improved lifestyle, of course sexual satisfaction, the idea that I will be able to control my spouse in order to achieve my own goals and desires. I’m not saying that romantic love, as it were, is the ideal either, it has only been within the last three – four generations that marriage has really been about romantic love, economics has certainly played a role. But up until the last three – four generations, marriage was still biblically based.

Successful businesses today have begun to grasp that concept. That business partnerships have to be of mutual service and benefit to not only the partners, the customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders. The synergistic effect of these relationships has driven very successful, mutually profitable joint ventures. That was what the mortgage industry was about. I did a stint of mortgage originating for Fleet National Bank. The bank was very demanding in terms of not just production, but in assuring that it was a quality investment. We had to do a lot of selling to prospective customers, and also to our in-house underwriters. Documentation had to be of “pin point” quality. The mortgage industry fell into an attitude of expedience, shoddy or no documentation, very low quality investment, and a total breakdown in integrity and faith. It’s a breakdown that we see rippling through society, we have not learned the lessons that have been taught since at least the 1980s, Michael Milken, Worldcom, Enron – Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, all examples of a lack of integrity and faith that seems to be accelerating instead of examples that we can learn from and understand that we have to return to a time where we could trust in the integrity of those we do business and faith is the watchword of commerce, as it has been well before St Cyril. If our ancestors going back thousands of years could function and flourish while still maintaining their faith and integrity, why is it that we who are supposed to be so much more enlightened and intelligent, have to sink to the level of lying and cheating?

There is no doubt in my mind that those who are part of this group and read this blog are striving for the highest ideals and have put a great deal of faith into not just commerce, but our whole society. When we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is not just as “fire insurance” for our salvation, or a way to leverage church to more success, we do it because we live our lives in faith in Christ and trust that in all the parts of our lives we live according to His guidance and Lordship, we trust the results to Him. In the meantime we faithfully go out and make our best efforts, put in lots of hard work, and in true faith leave the results to Him who is ever faithful to us. It is always the understanding of what Christ does in and through us. If He is an all knowing, all loving God who only wants what is best for His adopted children, how can we go wrong? We may not end of being Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, that is “successful” according to the world, but I have no doubt that our lives will be fulfilling and as He promises in the Lord’s prayer that we will have our daily bread. In my own life, I have seen God do some things that I would have never planned and He ‘s done it in a way that has made life more challenging and accomplished. We go into eternity, which is what really matters, having lived a life that is complete in Christ, not in eventual failure in us.