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Oct 07, 2005

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Rodger Sellers

Interesting that I found myself saying "talents" a paragraph before I read it in the post!

And have to admit that while I get where you're going with the language you're using, I'm much less comfortable with terms like "corporation" even as analogy -- seems like far too often folks hear the words alone, without contextualizing where you are going with those words, and end up hearing what they want to hear instead of what you're trying to convey. So the whole "for-profit" and "corporation" metaphors are those I'm realy wary of -- too easy for people to lock their radar in one one little slice and think, "well, he's talking in language we understand..." and they miss just how radical (I'd use that instead of "controversial" -- what you're talking about is pretty Biblical to me) a thing your pointing at. (It's radical in terms of cultural status-quo.)

As to "overreaching" -- nah, not even close, with perhaps one or two caveats: I heard Tim Keel talking about the importance of "bearing fruit" and liked the organic way he presented it. A tree doesn't have to engage in "hard work" in order to bear fruit, as long as it's healthy -- it's a natural product of that tree being who and what it was designed to be. Find the metaphor there much more appealing than the "profit / loss" one, simply because it's less mechanistic (and therefore less prone to mis-interpretation, viz, "build the best system in order to achieve the best result" regardless of for who.) With either, the concept of shifting the "owner" or "end user" -- which consumer Christianity has done whether people admit it or not -- from us to God, means that results ("profit") are a given and expected. (Intersting to me that in Matt. 25:19, the time frame is "a long time." So when will the accounting come due? When I'm standing in line waiting to see if my name is in "the book"? Leaves a whole lot of ambiguity in the meantime -- e.g. "Am I still working towards the return to God on God's investment of me?" (Hence a whole lot of faith, discernment, etc. needed in the ongoing process.)

As to the "business" we are in... perhaps the ongoing process of "rendering to God" what is Gods? Maybe conjoin that idea with the "follow me" of Jesus? -- no way to really proof-text that with any one or two snippets, IMO. Perhaps even the "business plan" is contextualized from time to time -- it's just that we don't necessarily have anywhere near as much influence over it as most of us think. In "God's board room" we're really just the coffee fetchers and copy clerks -- too bad most of us assume we're sitting around the table in a comfy leather chair!

A further question for you, but I'll send it offline.

RPS

Denis Hancock

> In "God's board room" we're really just the
> coffee fetchers and copy clerks -- too bad
> most of us assume we're sitting around the
> table in a comfy leather chair!


Someone said "There is no shortage of people wanting to serve the Lord -- in an advisory role"

Michael Kruse

Thanks for your comments, Rodger.

Except for internships, the largest business I have worked for had 60 employees. Most have been single digits. My wife works at the Hallmark corporate office in Kansas City, MO (Several thousand employees.) Every time I go to visit her and walk through the front doors, I have flashbacks to a tour of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary and hearing those large metal doors clang shut behind me.

Still, corporations, through there ability to amass capital and coordinate resources, have empowered some of the most momentous advances in human history. They have also perpetrated some of the greatest evils. “Too err is human. But it requires a corporation to really mess things up.” Every human “advancement” increases the opportunities for both good and evil. Also, state-of-the-art corporation philosophy about operating as an organic entity instead of a machine is way ahead of most church institutions.

It was my intention to be a bit provocative here. When Jesus used metaphors and told parables he used images and experiences that were accessible to everyday people. What is more pervasive in our day than corporations? Jesus talked about himself as a shepherd (i.e, dirty, shady, smelly, bottom of the social ladder, border line outcast.) He told parables about a guy who praises a servant for ripping him off behind his back. Paul referred to the household of God. The Roman household, or villa, to which he was likely referring, was not just a family but a small community of family, slaves and free workers engaged in a business enterprise. It could be, and was, a highly oppressive place for many. Would Paul today write, “corporation of God?”

I don’t want to get lost in it but, IMO, “good corporation” could be one image among others that will bring home some aspects of the kingdom when balanced with others. I am curious to see how others respond.

I resonate strongly with your organic growth ideas. I find it interesting that business observers are using language like “finding a productive place within the economic ecosystem” to describe how many corporations are coming to see their journey.

“Perhaps even the "business plan" is contextualized from time to time -- it's just that we don't necessarily have anywhere near as much influence over it as most of us think. In "God's board room" we're really just the coffee fetchers and copy clerks -- too bad most of us assume we're sitting around the table in a comfy leather chair!”

That is classic! I suspect God has always had the same outcome (the eschaton) in mind but I suspect y that the “business strategy” changes with context. “Rendering” and “following” speak of action, and therefore, I suspect, strategies. What would be the outcome of rendering or following? (I am put this out there to anyone?)

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