Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Honor the Sabbatical and Keep it Holy

I think the relationship between full-time ministry and necessary “sabbaticals” is really important - and really complicated. Kurt Schuermann says (pg. 114), “The landscape of ministry is littered with the wrecked careers and shattered lives of people who believed that they could function without giving into the need to escape reality.” It was really fascinating to learn that it takes ten years for experts to consider us “accomplished” at any give task – while at the same time acknowledging that after ten years of full-time ministry, many pastors are exhausted and ready to quit. Just when sociological and cognitive-science research says that they should be at the “top of their game,” these pastors have nothing left to give. I know that PB usually takes the entire month of August off from church: no cell phone, or even checking e-mail for a month! Elbo's parents are full-time missionaries; they take really regular sabbaticals/furloughs, paid and financed by their supporters at home and by their missionary organization. They once took eight full months off!

But all this emphasis on sabbatical is an interesting thing: my father works at his desk job fifty weeks a year. He has done so for as long as I’ve been alive! Excluding federal holidays, he works consistently with only two weeks vacation - year-in and year-out. How is it that he is able to function with only two weeks vacation, when Elbo’s parents once needed eight months? I can imagine a difference in stress loads, and I’m sure that the mission field requires a greater degree of flexibility, and more working with people. Is that commensurate with the degree difference of vacation time needed? It seems that 21st Century, America has both a perverse fascination with, and a phobia of, relaxation and leisure. We point to European societies with long vacations admirably, and then turn around and highlight African societies that have almost none.

When it comes to Sabbaticals, what is the balance? How can we find it?

Grace & Peace

A Man Who Never Ceases to Surprise

The war on terror will not be won "until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy, that somehow we are the ones responsible".
-Tony Blair

I have to admit that when New Labour first won the Prime Minister's Office in England, I never thought that a man like Tony Blair would have the courage to say and do the things he has done. He will be missed.

Grace & Peace

Friday, September 22, 2006

When Accusations of Violence are Violently Protested

From David Brooks here:

"As anybody who has traveled around the country or listened to talk radio of left, right and center knows, these genteel manners [or America's political elite] do not inhibit the masses. Millions of Americans think the pope asked exactly the right questions: Does the Muslim God accord with the categories of reason? Are Muslims trying to spread their religion with the sword?

These millions of Americans believe the pope has nothing to apologize for. They regard the vicious overreaction to his speech, like the vicious overreaction to the Danish cartoons, as another sign that some sort of intellectual disease is sweeping through the Arab world.

What these Americans see is fanatical violence, a rampant culture of victimology and grievance, a tendency by many Arabs to blame anyone other than themselves for the problems they create. These Americans don’t believe they should lower their standards of tolerable behavior merely for the sake of multicultural politeness, and they are growing ever more disgusted with commentators and leaders who are totally divorced from the reality they see on TV every night."


Currently Reading
"The Communist Manifesto"
By: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

Saturday, September 16, 2006

so brilliant

"The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools." - Thucydides

Grace & Peace

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blame it on The Feds

According to Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, in each $3 gallon of gasoline, between 10-25% of the total cost (.30 -> .70) is comprised solely of federal, state and local taxes. While the percentage varies by state, it is ridiculous to me that hard-working people might not be able to afford important things because they have to pay an extra $.50/gallon just to drive to work.

This kind of squeeze is felt hardest by middle and lower income people, who barely can afford to drive to work already. The federal government needs to stop spending billions of dollars on programs that don't work, and start letting people use their money to get to work or daycare, and not to feed Uncle Sam's bloated appetite.

Grace & Peace