Disclaimer: I do not have that much finger on the pulse of Christianity. I am aware of the things I am exposed to and, frankly, if I don’t like what I’m exposed to I take steps to lessen that exposure. I do not speak for “all Christians” neither do I quote “all Christians” when I quote “Christians” whose ideas I oppose. With due respect for any herd mentality which might be at work, everybody is pretty much on their own to own their statements and they do not have to own statements of others, even if in the same clan, which they do not accept. That said:
There is a Scripture referent which I have heard fairly frequently in my 37 (can it really be 37?) years of involvement in theologically conservative Evangelical Christianity. It has become more frequent since the merging of theologically conservative Christianity with politically conservative politics (to be fair, some would disagree with that description, claiming that politics is not their concern at all. It just so happens that biblically influencing the Culture includes making political choices.) The referent is commonly used when an angry (or, a righteously indignant) Christian is calling for the punishment or ostracizing of others and he is confronted by the picture of the “Peaceful, Loving Jesus”. “Jesus was loving, no doubt”, they would agree, “But when angered, he made whips and drove the moneychangers out of the temple.”
This apologetic for Christian violence got an uptick in the recent Conservative Christian opposition to anti-bullying laws. “Sometimes”, they would explain, “Righteousness will compel us to stand against behaviors and these stands might seem unloving or bullying, when they are, in fact, loving.” Follow below for some thoughts concerning this Gospel incident.
My daughter is working today so Friday she came up with my other daughter for Fathers Day. After dinner, we went to the Half Price Bookstore because she needed one more book for her school’s summer reading list. After browsing for myself and finding 2 books, I caught up to her and she had a basket filled with books.
“Looks like you have Eighty dollars in books” I said, not complaining.
“NyuhUh”, she said, “There’s not eighty dollars there”
When we got to the cashier, I told him to add up these books first.
“Because when I told her it was Eighty dollars she scoffed”
“Scoffed?” asked the cashier.
“Scoffed!”, I said, “As only a teenage daughter can.”
Her fifteen books came to $76.81.
“Hah!” She said, as only a teenage daughter can, “That’s not Eighty dollars”
“He has not put in the sales tax” I lied, as only the father of a teenage daughter can. Because when I’m laying out $76.81 for her on Fathers Day, I get to be right.
Also, if you think about it, seeing a pile of books and mentally adding up to a figure with a less than 4% error is almost Rainman quality, don't ya think?
I occasionally write 'Brothers and Sisters" letters to my co-workers. This one was occasioned by a letter sent to the employees of my company, YRC Freight by the President/CEO, Mr James Welch. The letter is appealing to re-open our contract for changes and extension. It was originally a five-year very concessionary contract and has already been extended for two years - including 15% concessions on the contractual wages and unagreed upon not paying into contractual benefits - and now they are asking for a further five-year extension. Twelve years of concessions and stagnation.
Mr Zollars, referred to in the article, is the previous CEO who through his decisions put the company into a death-spiral. Eastern Airlines was a previous company mal-managed by Mr Zollars to destroy the Union. The company went into a death-spiral and eventually was sold. Rumor is that Mr Zollars was also in the leadership of Eastman Kodak during its march to being irrelevant but I haven't confirmed that.
I might further add that the Anti-Labor, but nevertheless FOR dues collecting, President of the Teamsters, Mr James Hoffa, has called for a "poll" of the membership to see if this is what is wanted by them. Besides the fact that any "poll" is not an election and so is not binding, I read an article at Yahoo where it is stated that Union Locals support the opening of the contract when the actual polling is not yet completed. Preordained result, I guess?
My letter to my co-workers is below the fold.
In 1964, there were race riots in Rochester, New York. At the time, I was a couple of months shy of my 11th birthday. It was big stuff. I remember the Rochester Times Union (the evening paper) - or was it the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (the morning newspaper)? - having a front page collage of other city’s newspapers reporting it on their front pages. I'm not giving a history lesson. There are people for whom the riots had a far more personal effect. They were there, not just reading and hearing about it from the safety of lily-white suburbia. I had to look up the Wiki page to nail down some details (such as the year), but this is mainly giving my thoughts - with inevitable conflation - from a fifty year-old memory based in a ten year-old’s brain.
But it is off the front page now.
I have written a couple of times about what I see as a shift in business relationship with labor. While it can be correctly argued that these ideas have been around for a long time – in fact they were SOP before the labor movement - the shift as I see it is the boldness with which it is proclaimed not only unashamed but with an utter matter-of-factness which says this is not only true but it is the only way to look at it and so unchallenged.
In the previous blog I quoted an American Airlines vice president, who said Pilots are expenses. They are not assets like planes or computers. That line expresses a stunning contempt for the employees who actually provide the services which the corporation sells to customers, unlike that vice-president whose contribution to the company for which he is paid multiples of the pilots’ salary appears to be dehumanizing its employees.
In my company, the president, when recently asked about restoring the wage and benefits conceded by the Union when the company was in a management-caused death spiral, said “I was hired by the stockholders to increase profits”. In other words, he was not hired to honor agreements with the employees. Both these, I observe is the openly expressed view that employees are not themselves vested in the company’s success. They are, in their view, enemies to that success. Whatever contribution employees make is paid in full – indeed, way beyond full - on Friday. So what is the further adjustment?
So here I am dealing with what passes for customer service in 21st century America. Customer service is an expense, you know. I get someone who barely speaks English who gets defensive and scolds me as if I'm the one who doesn't understand. 34 minutes later I settle for something that's an acceptable replacement and am told I will get a confirmation email (required for completion of my issue) "within 15 minutes". After 40 minutes, I call back and customer service is closed for the day. Today, at the third attempt, I get someone else who processed my order and it looks like I'm finally good.
They ask me if I want to take a survey, but what am I to do? The company sees customer service is an expense and will not improve it. The Rep I talked to probably lives in Indonesia and if I complain will lose her $5.00/month job or face some harsh punitive punishment for this event.
In a previous diary, I gave a personal history of my Christian experience. I chose my title from the name of a TV show of which title I was aware but the show itself I had never seen. Some of the interaction seemed to be plays on the characters and plot of the show, but I didn’t get it. The piece ended somewhere in the early 80s. It seems to me, as kinda fair warning, that this piece has more “in-house” things to say.
There is a popular word which it seems to me doesn’t quite cover it. In the debate over immigration, some people have made some very extreme statements which have moved these statements into mainstream. We who disagree with the statements and want to express another side call the statements and their speakers xenophobic. I don’t think it works.
I saw a car sticker, (Name) 1980-2005 Semper Fi, and I thought "Somewhere, Bush is only regretting not privatizing Social Security and Cheney is wiping his not-yet-sated mouth saying 'I've done nothing wrong'"
Tax season and here I am in the office preparing people’s tax returns. Of course, every season brings new things. This year, supposedly because of that late “fiscal cliff” legislation, several forms are being delayed in acceptance by the IRS. Education Credit and Depreciation form being two which were finally accepted last week and there are others which are still awaiting approval. But there were some forms which were right there from day one.
Shopping today, I got pretty hungry and went to a Mexican Restaurant. I try to avoid chain restaurants and go to local places. This one opened not too far from my house about 5 years ago and I’ve been there a few times.
4:00 is kinda between times and I was the only customer in the place. The two wait staff were at the bar and looked at each other as I came in. After a couple of indecipherable mutterings, the woman said “Let’s flip a coin”. After the flip, the guy came over to my table. “Oh, I feel good about this”, I said. “You should”, said the woman with somewhat less than convincing enthusiasm, “He won the flip.”
I asked about what beers they sell and the guy pointed at the menu where there were two columns. One had a list of mass-produced water with quasi-beerish flavoring added and with recognizable American “brewery” names. The other was populated with Mexican beers at “imported” prices and Sam Adams. “I’ll take the Sam Adams”, I said and he said “We’re out of that. Really, that’s the only beer we’re out of”. So I went with Dos Equis Lager which was somewhat interesting and which I nursed until I finished my Steak Fajitas.