Run it like a business?

business-1137397_640President Trump is reported to be understandably frustrated that the government can’t be run like a business.  In his company, Trump could simply given an order and his underlings would do it.  But as president, he gives an order but he has to contend with the courts, Congress, semi-independent agencies such as the Pentagon, a vast bureaucracy, and state governments, each with its own complicated workings.

I’ve listened to a pastor explain how he is trying to run his church like a business.  He is the CEO, he explained.  His members are his employees.  He said he doesn’t do hospital visitations or evangelism calls.  That is the work of his members/employees.

I do think the government and churches can learn some things from businesses.  For example, you need to balance the budget, be efficient, give good service, etc.  But the very nature of these institutions prevents them from being interchangeable in the way they operate.  [Read more…]

The Superbowl and vocation

Falcons_vs_Redskins_2006The Superbowl is this weekend, time for the obligatory polls about whether or not God gets involved in the outcome of sporting events.  One-quarter of Americans believe that he does.  About a half believe that God rewards faithful athletes with health and success.

Certainly, the easy answer is that of course God doesn’t care about a sporting event because He has much more important things to do.  But if God attends to the fall of a sparrow, why wouldn’t He attend to the fall of a pigskin?

The real problem is that all this assumes a theology of glory (God’s favor = success).  But what would a Lutheran approach to this question be like?

The answer to where is God in the Superbowl would have to be in vocation.  Athletes on both sides should do their best with their God-given talents.  Furthermore, they should love and serve their neighbors when they play.  Their neighbors would be their teammates, the viewing public, their opponents.  So they shouldn’t cheat, make cheap hits that needlessly harm their opponents, etc.  And they should know that God is just as likely to break them with trials and tribulations, if that is what they need so as to depend on Hi.

Other than that, things just have to play out.  Can anything else be said on this topic? [Read more…]

Martin Scorsese on vocation

Martin_Scorsese_by_David_ShankboneRenowned film director Martin Scorsese talks about vocation in a recent interview.  He didn’t make it through seminary but started to realize that you don’t have to be a priest to have a vocation.

I have noticed more and more Catholics who have started understanding vocation in Lutheran terms.

Scorsese also discusses his new film Silence, based on Shusaku Endo’s classic novel about the persecution of Jesuit missionaries in Japan in the 17th century.  Currently in limited release, the movie is being hailed by some of those who have seen it as one of the truly great Christian films.  If you have seen it, please report.

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What you do to your neighbor you do to Christ

Christian_Krohg_-_Mother_and_Child_-_Google_Art_ProjectIt still being Christmas–there are twelve days of it, remember–we can still contemplate the inexhaustible topic of God’s incarnation.  After the jump, read an excerpt from one of Luther’s Christmas sermons, which our pastor quoted in his Christmas Eve message.  The passage deals both with Christmas and vocation–that is, our calling to love and serve our neighbors in our various tasks and relationships.

To those who think that they would have shown kindness to the Christ child and His parents, unlike the residents of Bethlehem, Luther says, “Why don’t you do it now” by showing kindness to other needy children and their parents?

“What you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself.”
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“Sully” screenwriter on vocation

The screenwriter for Clint Eastwood’s movie Sully, about the pilot who saved his passengers by landing in the Hudson River, is a devout Christian.

In talking about his faith and his movie, Todd Komarnicki discusses vocation, though he doesn’t use the term.  But he gets the concept:  God works through people. [Read more…]

Millennials and vocation

Barna has done a study of the millennial generation’s attitude towards work.  Most do not see their careers as central to their identities (unlike Baby Boomers).  Rather, their jobs are there to fund their personal interests.  And yet, Millennial Christians are more likely than Baby Boomers to see their work in terms of “calling” (a.k.a. “vocation”).

The study discloses many fascinating paradoxes.  The purpose of vocation–namely, loving and serving one’s neighbor (not oneself)–seems to be somewhat missing.  As is the sense that vocation exists in the here and now, that whoever your neighbors are now defines your vocation.  “Calling” is something they hope for in the future.  Millennials do have a strong emphasis on wanting marriage and family, which is also a vocation, in addition to just work.  But still, I give them credit. [Read more…]