Thursday, December 19, 2013

Al Mohler Is Wrong About Phil Robertson Of Duck Dynasty

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Mohler.  However, on this critique of Mr. Robertson’s GQ interview, I disagree.

“Robertson ... offered some comments that were rather crude and graphically anatomical in making the ... point.”  (Mohler)

Phil Robertson would have served the cause of Christ more faithfully if some of those comments had not rushed out. This is not because what he said was wrong; he was making the argument that homosexual acts are against nature. The Apostle Paul makes the very same argument in Romans 1:26. The problem is the graphic nature of Robertson’s language and the context of his statements.” (Mohler)
Robertson’s choice of words were neither crude nor inappropriate.  In fact they were surprisingly anatomically correct.  I’m sure there were lots of other colorful and downright crude words that he could have used instead of “vagina,” or “anus.”  Words he probably used many times in his early, wild days - words that might have been much more familiar to the interviewer.  But God changed Phil.  He is  a genuinely godly family man and I doubt that he talks like that anymore.

As for the “context” this was an interview for GQ Magazine; a publication targeted specifically to the metro-sexual community and known for its provocative, sexually oriented, and sometimes soft porn content.  It is highly unlikely that he even had time to “word-craft” a politically correct response nor should he.  The “cause of Christ is well-served when we are direct and strong in the face of sin.  Similarly, Jesus used strong language like when he called people “hypocrites,” “white-washed tombs,” and “serpents.”   GQ asked questions; Phil answered with honesty and transparency.  And he did it in a way that distinguished his personal thoughts from God’s Word.  In other words, his answers followed the format of, “this is what I think but here is what God says.”  In so doing, he upheld the honor of God to a sinful world.

From what I read though, it seems that very few of Phil’s critics have a problem with his preference for a woman over a man. And Phil’s words were not offensive regardless of what they claim. Their problem is that they hate Phil, not for what he says, but for what he believes and they don't want him (or anyone else) to articulate his beliefs.  But more importantly, they hate God.

“The Apostle Paul made the same arguments, but worshipers in the congregations of Rome and Corinth did not have to put hands over the ears of their children when Paul’s letter was read to their church.”  (Mohler)

The Apostle Paul was NOT answering questions for a GQ interview.  He was writing letters to the church which is those whom God has redeemed.  The context is different.  Furthermore, his words were guided by divine inspiration; they were the exact Words that God gave to communicate to His people.  And sometimes those Words were necessarily, very strong rebukes because “whom He loves, He chastens.”

 Incidentally, in our world today, it is unlikely that anyone would need to” put their hands over the ears of their children.”  Any children who have unsupervised access to television, movies, or even attends public schools have already learned the words “vagina” and “anus” as well as ALL the other vulgar substitutions.

In his commentary, Al Mohler warns that Christians should think long and hard about the publicity that comes from these kinds of interviews with the world because they can be devastating.  But we Christians are called by God to be His ambassadors and oracles of His Truth regardless of how the world feels.  And for our obedience, He does not promise us popularity, agreement, or ease.  In fact, to the contrary, His promises are certain:

 “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”  2 Timothy 3:12

 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”  John 15:18

Phil Robertson demonstrated more dedication, obedience, and courage than most Christians I know.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fifteen Bucks Is NOT A Living Wage; Why Not Strike For Fifty?

I know, I am not a big, successful business executive so I probably don’t know much.  But I have been a business owner and an employer for nearly 48 years and I do know that staging an organized strike is NOT a smart way to increase your pay nor is it an effective way to improve your life.  At one time, I employed about 78 people in a low-skilled, low-wage, non-profit, service industry.  So when it comes to the effects of a minimum wage hike, I know from personal experience, that the employees are hurt by them much more than business owners.

Several years ago, when the Federal government and the State of California both piled on simultaneous, scheduled minimum wage adjustments before my employees became aware, I jumped the gun and gave everyone a raise equivalent to the coming mandated adjustment.  (That was incidental to the reality; it did not do anything helpful except to give me the personal satisfaction of diverting the warm fuzzy feelings of my employees to me, rather than the Democrat Party or Uncle Sam.  By doing so, I was perceived to be caring and benevolent before the reality set in.) 

Then, before anyone really knew what was coming, I immediately sat down to determine how my company was going to pay for the added expenses.  The government was not going to fund their folly; we would need to pass on the increased costs to our clients or decrease our expenditures by cutting operational costs.  Since our clients were elderly and mostly living on low, fixed incomes,  I chose to do the latter.  I conducted formal evaluations of each of my employees, I analyzed their work schedules, and I planned internal adjustments to maximize productivity and minimize paid hours.  When I was certain that I could cut 20% of my staffing time and still function adequately, I began a systematic process to reduce my staff.  Yeah, that’s right.  I fired the non-productive and non-essential personnel (NEP).  After all, a marginally productive employee who may be tolerable at $6.00 is certainly NOT worth 7, 8, or even $15.  I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t LAST night.

By the time the mandated increases became effective, I was able to absorb the additional costs and still realize a satisfactory bottom line.  I would imagine that most businesses must have done similarly.

But the real, negative affect impacted much more than just those few people who were laid off.  Initially, all the employees were riding high on the excitement of their “newly acquired wealth.”  But then they found themselves much worse off in just a few short months. 

Here’s how - Even before any, of them, were laid off, when they first became aware that their benevolent, white-haired and bearded uncle in a funny red, white, and blue suit was giving them a raise, they immediately started making plans for how they would spend the extra buck an hour.  By their calculations, that dollar meant an extra $160-180 per month in disposable income.

And that’s when they got stupid.  They went shopping and most of them obligated themselves for additional interest-bearing payments for a plethora of unnecessary items they really could not afford.  Some even bought cars; most of them just thought they could add frivolous consumable items to their high-interest credit card debt because now they could afford to pay higher minimum monthly payments. And they didn’t stop to think that their gross increase would be subject to income taxes and other deductions.  Even some of those who were terminated spent it before they even knew they were getting pink slips. Surprise, SURPRISE!  I think I recall some proverb about counting chickens.

But the biggest problem for them is the truism that, “a high tide raises all boats.”  For a short time, all minimum wage earners think they are ahead but the reality is that, whenever the government rolls out a minimum wage increase, ALL other wages, and salaries, in the market, are soon, proportionately increased.  And the economic reality of mandated wage increases is that ALL costs of goods and services must be increased to pay for the additional costs to businesses.  Within a very short time, minimum wage earners begin to realize that their own out-of-pocket costs for groceries and other essential goods and services cancel out (and in most cases exceed) the value of their wage increases.  To put it simply, their paychecks don’t quite go as far as they once did.  By the time reality hits them between the eyeballs, their monthly obligations for the stuff they bought buries them in new debt. 

The moral of the story for any unskilled, entry-level, minimum wage earner who might be able to actually read this and think about it is this – If you want a meaningful raise, EARN it.  Show up on time, dressed appropriately, and ready to work. Work hard. Do what you’re told.  Show your boss some respect.  Demonstrate that you are willing and dependable.  Learn your job well.  Acquire new skills.  Trust me, you will become an asset worthy of your hire (That’s not an insulting word.  It means something of value.).   

Once you have established legitimate grounds, ask to speak to your boss in private and respectfully ASK him for a raise.  If he gives it to you, thank him and then KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT.  The rest of your idiot compatriots don’t need to know about it.  If he doesn’t give it to you, you still have some options- be thankful for the job you have and continue to do it well OR resign and go find a better one.  That's the Christian way to do it.