Worth Reading - 4/6

I am tired of making disclaimers for everything I say.

It feels like if I post anything without a dozen caveats, I risk starting an unwelcome avalanche of opinions. I rarely write a post or make a comment without first ensuring minimal margin for offense.

In a world that encourages patience and acceptance, people sure can be touchy, particularly some Christians. Too many times, we can be like over-eager watchdogs, sniffing out any morsel of what we deem as offensive, inappropriate or even “heretical.”

It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost become trendy to be offended.

Even with all of the qualifiers available in the English language, there is no way to prevent offending someone, at some point. We can only seek to be clear in what we say and not intentionally stir up controversy just for controversy’s sake.
Paul Marshall wisely calls us to abandon a lifeboat theology for what he refers to as an ark theology. The Genesis writer tells of humankind’s deep dark plunge into sin. The corruption of God’s good creation and the wickedness of sin were so unimaginably horrific that God seriously considered wiping out his creation. In Genesis 6 we read, “So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). But rather than annihilating what he had made and starting completely over, God extends gracious favor to a man named Noah. God makes a covenant with Noah and commissions him to build an ark. Rather than blotting out all of creation, Noah and his family and a host of living creatures are rescued and preserved in the ark from the destruction of the flood. God remains committed to restore the earth and to continue on with his original creation. After Noah exits the ark, God makes a covenant with him, promising to never destroy the earth with a flood again.

The story of Noah and the ark reminds us that God has not given up on his good world, even though it has been ravaged by sin and death. In a burst of rapturous praise, the psalmist in Psalm 24 declares that the whole earth, and everything in it, belongs to the Lord. God still loves his world. A glorious future awaits the earth.

3. Here is an outstanding example of an entrepreneur going beyond his minimal ethical requirements to recognize the value his employees add to his business: 

Employees of the Huizenga Automation Group got a great surprise earlier this week. According to Mlive, after selling the company, owner J.C. Huizenga gave away $5.75 million in bonuses to his employees at two manufacturing companies that were part of the Automation Group. Huizenga acknowledged that his success was due to the work of his employees so he wanted to share his profits with them: “We all worked together at J.R. Automation and Dane Systems” and the companies “had amazing success. It was the right thing to share with everybody.” Bonuses were based on years of service and responsibilities.

4. A thoughtful piece on the value of adjunct instructors. Although I disagree with the conclusion that using adjuncts is unjust (after all, they agree to it and don't pursue other work), there is a remarkable growth in the percentage of adjuncts compared to "real" professors:

Adjuncts are generally hired on semester-to-semester contracts, given no health insurance or retirement benefits, no office, no professional development, and few university resources. Compensation per course—including not just classroom hours but grading, reading, responding to student e-mails, and office hours—varies, but the median pay, according to a recent report, is twenty-seven hundred dollars. Many adjuncts teach at multiple universities, commuting between two or three schools in order to make ends meet, and are often unable to pursue their own academic or artistic work because of their schedules. In the past four decades, tenured and tenure-track positions have plummeted and adjunct instructor jobs have soared, second only in growth to administrators. Adjuncts have always had roles to play: filling in for a last-minute class, covering for a professor on sabbatical, providing outside expertise for a one-off, specialized course. But the position was not designed to provide nearly half of a school’s faculty or the majority of a person’s income. It’s estimated that adjuncts constitute more than forty per cent of all instructors at American colleges and universities.