Being Agile Means Being Responsible

Harry Truman in 1959 at the recreation of the Oval Office at the Truman Library by his old desk which has the famous "The Buck Stops Here" sign.For agile teams to be really successful, like amazingly successful, I think all of the team members need to always be willing to take responsibility. It’s this concept of “the buck stops here.” It’s the mentality that, when you observe something that needs done, or needs corrected, you make sure it happens. You flag the problem, bring it to somebody’s attention and make sure it’s addressed, or take care of it yourself.

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Some personal thoughts on financial management

Yesterday on Meta-Manage I posted about how to manage your finances in 5 minutes or less per day. I’m always perplexed when someone tells me they don’t budget or look at their financial accounts regularly, but I know one of the reasons people don’t is because it can be daunting and seem like a lot of work. Hopefully that article will be helpful.

When I was young, probably around 9 years old, my parents had to declare bankruptcy. And they separated when I was 11 (for the second time) and divorced when I was 12. I never experienced homelessness, but there was a lot of fear that we were going to lose the house and near everything else. A lot of my financial decisions, from keeping credit cards paid off to waiting to have kids, have come out of lessons learned back then and a desire to stay out of the trouble my parents got into.

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Retreat won’t help

We love God, and every Sunday we become immersed in God and realize once again how great it would be to be immersed in the Holy Spirit 24/7. We regret having forgotten about him the countless times throughout the week. We’re filled with guilt, and we beat ourselves up to be better, and then we thank God for his love and mercy and grace. We swear to remember. We leave church will good intentions.

And then it fades.

We go through this week after week, year after year, and realize that we need to do something. So we decide to get away, re-align our lives, seek God, and go on a retreat. Some retreat to monasteries, some to small groups or small social bubbles, and others to the International House of Prayer or the Zadok House of Prayer. We want to learn to be better, but we need some time to do it.

The world won’t change for our retreating. All our running away and focusing on God while we’re distant from the world won’t really change us. It’s easy to focus on God 24/7 when you’ve got nothing else around. When you’re at church on Sunday morning, it all seems so simple. We won’t learn how to be in the world by living without it.

Kierkegaard claimed the church needs to be of the individual, because as an institution it had become corrupted. He said that we use the corporate church to escape responsibility and to spread around the burden. Kierkegaard suggested that we need to take responsibility as individuals and abandon this corrupted corporation. Much as I respect Kierkegaard, he was wrong.

This abandonment of the bridegroom won’t protect or help her. It won’t help us as individuals either. We can’t save the world by running from it.

We can’t avoid this life–we were born into it, as a fish is into water. We can’t retreat.

Christian, Right or Wrong

Addressed to Christians:

There has been a disconcerting outpouring of negativity in response to the election of Barack Obama, and while I expected a certain amount of it, the vehemence of the tone was a surprise. I can understand being dismayed at his economic policies (though I personally agree with them to a greater degree than I did with McCain’s), or feeling he is inexperienced, but that doesn’t excuse the behaviour I have witnessed in the last 24 hours.

Barack Obama, regardless of whether you voted for him or not, regardless of whether you like him or not, is our brother in Christ. He claims to be Christian, and the only one who could possibly know otherwise would be God. Yet I have seen brothers and sisters calling for his death, decrying his existence, and mourning the next four years as if the world was coming to an end.

It shames and appalls me, that Christians would call for the death of a fellow Christian simply because they disagree with his political stance. The justification offered, however, is that they simply don’t believe he is Christian.

One might ask, “How have they reached this conclusion?” Obama himself claims to be Christian, we can’t see into his heart and know the truth one way or the other, and so we must take him at his word. But that line of argument is, to be honest, completely beside the point.

He is a fellow human, the president-elect of the United States, and we have been called to love others as Christ loves us. I am by no means a pacifist, and if we must defend ourselves, I support military or physically violent actions to do so, but Barack Obama isn’t attacking anyone, not physically anyways. He isn’t threatening to kill the citizens of the United States of America. He hasn’t set himself against the Church. So what is the justification for threatening and belittling him?

Insufficient. It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, the behaviour is simply wrong. Barack Obama is my brother in Christ, and I will treat him with the same love and respect I do all of my brothers and sisters. I don’t necessarily like everyone in my family, but they’re still my family, and our president is no different. I didn’t particulalry like President George W. Bush, and I made my fair share of jokes at his expense, but I also prayed for his health and wisdom. I recognized that he was a decent person trying to do the best he could, and that his motivation was to help this country. Regardless that the best he could was pretty poor, he wasn’t malicious. He is my brother.

Barack Obama is part of our Christian family. It’s time for some members of the Church to wake up and remember what it’s like to serve Jesus, who loves even the least of us.