The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium

Videos and talks about the crisis of family and marriage from the wide landscape of Christian faith as hosted by Pope Francis.

http://humanum.it/en/

The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.

Witnesses will draw from
 the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work
 of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them.

The Colloquium is sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and
 the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Rethinking Kingdom, Church, and Mission: Scot Mcknight Interview

This has been marinating in my head for some time now.  It’s a call to return to loving the Bride that Christ.  Kingdom work is done in and through the Church.  It spills it out into the public sector.  We need a place to be equipped, empowered, and encouraged.  The Local Church is where we practice the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  Where else can be trained to be agents of God’s Kingdom?  We need to be with others who are spurring us towards good works.  We need the local church and we need to see it as God’s place of rule and reign.

Source:  http://goo.gl/gVkGGq

Kingdom mission is now defined for us by the word kingdom: it means living under king Jesus with other king Jesus people who also follow king Jesus’ will in king Jesus’ space. (Save that issue of land and space for some other time, as it is not a crucial element to my book.)

God’s mission is the church, that is, God’s mission is the Body of Christ, that is, God’s mission is to rule in Christ over those who submit to Christ’s rule. Those who submit to that rule are kingdom people, that is, church people. God’s mission is the church.

- Scot Mcknight (Jesus Creed Blog)

Tips on firing a toxic employee

Every company will have to deal with a bad “hire”.  Here’s a way to remove the toxic person from the company.  Toxic employees cause toxic company culture.

source:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-fire-a-toxic-employee/

1. Make sure there are two people in the room when you have this discussion. The door should be shut for privacy, but under no circumstances should this discussion happen one on one. One person can remain completely silent, but you need a witness.

2. Explain, explicitly what the problem is. You can’t say “You’re mean and no one likes you.” You can says

You cut people off mid-sentence
You told Karen she was ugly.
You yelled at Steve in a meeting in front of a client
etc, etc, etc.
3. Has she been told any of this before? I don’t think so, from your letter, so she will be SHOCKED and she will DENY that she has done any of that. She will speak about her accomplishments.

4. Acknowledge her accomplishments, but state clearly that this is about her attitude.

5. Don’t get defensive. It’s very easy to get caught up in defending yourself. You don’t need to do this. You can restate the problems and reiterate that this behavior needs to change.

6. Present her with written documentation of what she

has done wrong
needs to do differently
how this will be monitored
what the consequences will be if she doesn’t fix the problem
7. If she makes improvements, be prepared to acknowledge them. You need to be sure that if you are giving her 30 days to improve and she does improve that you don’t fire her. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
8. If she doesn’t make improvements, terminate her on day 30. Don’t wait until day 32 because someone is out of town. Don’t put it off a week to give her one more chance. Day 30 is her last day of work.

9. Terminate her in a straight forward fashion. Here is a sample dialogue:

Mary, as you know, you have been on a 30 day probation. The terms of this are spelled out here: [present documentation]. As we have discussed, you have not met requirements 1, 3, 4, 5, and 8. Therefore today is your last day of work. Would you like assistance packing up your things?
10. Don’t hover unless you feel that she will cause real problems. How you treat someone when you fire them is extremely important to the financial health of your organization.
11. After she’s gone, tell everyone that she is gone. Don’t let people guess. You don’t need to tell them she was fired–that part is obvious. Again, sample dialogue:

Today was Mary’s last day of work. We appreciate the work she did for us and wish her well in her new endeavors. We’re going to begin the process of hiring someone new to take her place. In the mean time, we hope everyone can pitch in to cover her old responsibilities.

Leading Up in the Workplace

Not the Owner or the CEO?  That’s okay.  You still have influence.  Here’s a way to “lead up”.  I hear a lot of employees saying they wish things were “done different”.  Here’s a way to influence that difference.  It’s not a quick and easy answer but there are some practical ways to influence.

Source:  http://www.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/11/10/manage.your.boss/

1. Understand your boss
Ask yourself, what makes your boss tick at work? Is it control and predictability, or exciting ideas and new initiatives?
“First, you have to understand what’s important to your boss, what they care about, and what they wake up in the night worrying about,” said Cohen.
But you don’t have to go foraging through your boss’s trash to find clues to their psychological makeup. What your boss says and does will tell you all you need to know.
“Pay attention to the person you work for, because that person is telling you an awful lot about how to work with them,” Edwards told CNN.

2. Lead from the middle
You many not be the boss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think like one.
John Baldoni is a leadership development consultant and author of “Lead your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up.” He told CNN he prefers the term “leading up” to managing up.
“Leading up means adopting the perspective of a CEO with the authority of a middle manager,” said Baldoni.
“Look for opportunities to effect positive change, grow the business, or get more out of the team. Think holistically about how your actions as a middle manager can affect the whole organization.”

3. Build credibility
You won’t be able to influence your manager unless you are credible, and the way to build credibility is by being good at your job, says Cohen.
Baldoni told CNN, “If you are someone who can get things done and your colleagues and bosses trust you, they will know you are a positive influence and they will come to you.”

4. It’s not about you
Managing up may be good for your career, but it’s not about brown nosing — it’s about doing what’s right for your organization.
“Some people think managing up is sucking up, but it’s not,” Edwards told CNN. “Yes, it ends up having a tremendous impact on your own PR, but you have to put other people first, and that’s something a lot of people don’t understand.”
Cohen agrees. “People listen more to what you’re saying if they think you actually care about them and are interested in their general welfare,” he said.

5. Take action
It’s not enough to just turn up for work and wait for your manager to lead. You need to be proactive in your relationship towards your manager, and your organization as a whole.
“Act upon what it is that needs to be done,” said Baldoni. “Initiate a new program, take a lead in product development, perhaps the reorganization of a business.
“Be front and center on an issue that will benefit not simply yourself, but the whole organization.”

6. Dealing with a difficult boss
Edwards says that dealing with a difficult boss is sometimes just a matter of communicating in a way they understand. Technical people respond to hard data, creative types prefer hearing about big ideas. But some bosses just won’t respond to leadership from below.

Personal and Structural Evils in the Workplace: A Response of how to Overcome Evil with Good

Christus Victor

Christus Victor

[This is an adaptation from a paper I’m currently writing.]

Last night, our class had a thrilling discussion on the reality of evil.  While we can’t figure out the origin of evil, we do know that it’s real.  Take the story, for example, of a famous psychiatrist who had to come to terms with evil itself:

“The second element which must be factored in is the psychological one. The famous American psychotherapist M. Scott Peck was for many years an agnostic. He learned his psychiatry according to the standard model in which there was no such thing as evil. But at around the same time as, to his own surprise, he came into the Christian faith, he came to recognize that in some cases at least it was not enough to regard certain patients, or in some cases the families of certain patients, as simply ill or muddled or misguided. He was forced to come to terms with a larger, darker power, for which the only word was evil. He wrote his book People of the Lie to articulate this unpopular viewpoint.”  – N. T. Wright. Evil and the Justice of God
We moved the discussion towards structural evil which is more systemic in nature and involves examples such as power differential in corporations, the rich-poor gap, chronic abuse, and others.
I kept thinking of the workplace and some of the dynamics that HR and the company face.  Sure we can label the issues:  an employee’s negative attitude, stealing, lying, manipulation, greed, misuse of power, etc.  But much of this is influenced by this force of evil, this disposition that many have given into.  And evil is defined as a defiant-rebellious-narcissism contrary to the ultimate character and will of a loving God.  Even half-truths or situations where matters seem grey appear to have slithers of this evil force at work.
Before we are too alarmed or think that we’d never behave like this, might I remind us to look at our own lives and see how we have allowed the force of evil to influence us.  We too are culprits of allowing evil to have some type of disposition and influence in our hearts.
A Christian ethic, in the context of workplace and social ethic, might provide us with a paradigm to perceive the daily interactions among employees and see that many of the of accusations, deceptive mannerisms, and poor judgment could be attributed to an evil force that is influencing some.  I am not trying to glorify evil in this sense, but am trying to offer a view and response to the questions that I concurrently hear throughout the workplace:
  • Why do employees misbehave?
  • Why did so-and-so lie about this accounting spreadsheet?
  • What motivated this employee to sue the company?
  • Why is this manager constantly misusing and abusing their power?
  • Why is this employee constantly threatening others with their snide remarks?
  • How could this employee steal money from us?
A humanist/atheist/agnostic worldview might simply say that evil does not exist.  They might dismiss the issues as childhood trauma, our shadow/dark parts of the self, or a lack of education.  All of these responses might have some relevance (in fact, many times trauma and lack of education are major contributors–and receiving the proper healing and education might help empower the person).  Yet there is an origin, a disposition of an evil force at work during the trauma, in the shadow/dark self, or realizing that because of a structural evil one was unable to attend school due to a lack of finances.  But this humanistic/atheist/agnostic worldview does not have an answer for responding to this force of evil.
The Christian Tradition’s Response to Evil
The ultimate response to evil is seen in the way Jesus acknowledges it, confronts it, and defeats it.  Jesus wasn’t just a great moral teacher or life guru that came to model an exemplar life.  Many subscribe to this but it falls short of the Gospel truth.  Jesus came to proclaim and inaugurate God’s Rule and Reign on earth as in heaven.  Part of this proclamation was to confront the structural and immoral evils.  Wherever evil and injustice existed, Jesus was quick to confront it through a healing touch, shedding light and truth over and against darkness and deception, extending forgiveness to the “unforgivable”, confronting abusive leadership, and ultimately destroying the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8).
In the book of Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul teaches the early church how to confront and overcome evil:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

It is my summation that much of the weariness and cynicism that many leaders in the workplace face is contributed to the ongoing work of confronting structural and personal evil.  It is hard work having to confront injustices and systemic problems that just don’t seem to go away.  Yet Paul tells us to take a stand and arm ourselves.  Take note that you are not battling “Suzie” or “Tyler”.  No.  You are confronting the force of evil that is influencing and deceiving many.  This is not to make evil the scapegoat because Jesus has destroyed the power of the evil one and we have the power to choose which voice we will listen to.

The Christian worldview is to live in the authority of Jesus, to act in accordance to His heart and character, to trust the work of the Cross, and to claim for ourselves the victory of Christ over all evil.  While Jesus already did this work, it has yet to be fully consummated on earth.  Part of the Gospel message is that we are now partners with Christ to assail the work of evil in our own contexts.  We are now heralds and agents of the work of Christ.  We are called to promote forgiveness, justice, ethical/moral living, a solid work and social ethic, and to extend healing, grace, and mercy as much as we can in Christ.

Instead of crumbling in defeat, we are to take a stand on the Victory of Christ over death and evil!  We must pray to see how we can all do this in the marketplace.

Some Stories that Highlight the confronting of evil and doing good (don’t be overcome by evil…overcome it with Good!! Rom. 12:21)

*A manager who has been providing care and support to a single mother.  The manager has been periodically checking in on the employee to see how they’re doing and to offer support to the best of their ability.  

*An employee offered his vacation time to anybody who might need an extended amount of time to recover from surgery or an ailment!  It put tears in my eyes to hear that he wanted to do this!

*A manager, the other day, brought in one of his employees to his office because the employee was not performing as usual.  Instead of beating down the employee, the manager shared all the good qualities the employee usually embodies.  And then asked him, “What has changed?  You’re usually on top of things.”  It turns out the employee was going through a slump and just needed some encouragement.

*The other day I had the chance to pray for an employee who struggling with physical pain, as well as the sadness of seeing his brother struggling with cancer.  We prayed and the employee began crying.  Afterwards, they said, “I just needed to release this burden with tears.  Thanks for letting me do that”.  

Let’s continue to overcome evil in our own contexts with good.  And then share the story with someone.  Share it with me if you can!!!  :)

How to Form a Habit, A Scientific Approach

We become our habits, for better or worse.  Here’s a way to engage in habit formation, a virtue ethics of sorts.  [Christian Spirituality has much to offer to the formation of habits as well.  You can read any of Richard Foster or Dallas Willard’s works for more info.]

Source:  http://blog.sqwiggle.com/form-habit-scientific-approach/

A great daily routine is the holy grail of productivity. But the building blocks for that routine, habits, are tough to start, and even harder to change. Whether you want to meditate more, drink more water, or floss more than twice a month, these psychology-backed strategies can help you develop a new habit and keep it from fading.

How to Deal with Accusation

The workplace can sometimes be a hotbed for accusation, gossip, and rumors to fly.  Here’s a way to engage and respond to accusation.  By the way, the primary title for the Evil One depicted in the Bible is “The Hasatan” which means accuser.  Accusing others is evil.

Source:  http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/217

  • Accept that there is no way you can erase what has happened. Even though the accusations may be unfair and untrue, the situation is real. You need to get out of denial about that in order to deal with it in the here and now.
  • Watch your catastrophic language. If you keep saying this is “horrible” and your life is “ruined,” you add to the stress. Put things in perspective. An innocent child in a burn unit of a hospital is horrible. Perhaps your situation isn’t as tragic. Perhaps your life isn’t ruined, but just damaged. Change your internal dialogue, and you will feel better.
  • Life Law #2: You Create Your Own Experience. The first person you’ve got to repair your reputation with is you. Are you a bad guy? Are you a bad citizen? Do you hurt people? Do you commit crimes? The answer if probably no. Stop feeling guilty and being angry with yourself. Own your mistakes, forgive yourself for them but don’t continue to beat yourself up. Life is not a success-only journey. Learn from your bad decisions and move on.
  • Ask yourself what you would like to see happen in order to clear your name. Is there anything that anyone — the authorities, your co-workers or someone in the community — can do that could ever make the situation better.
  • Begin with your inner circle. Start rebuilding your reputation with your family, close friends and neighbors. You make sure they know the truth. When your inner circle knows who you really are, they will go out into the world with the truth, and it will create a ripple effect. And if you are confronted with these false accusations again, you look the person in the eye, and you tell your side of the story. You don’t need to bring this up the rest of your life, but in your immediate circle and in this immediate time, you want to step up and tell them the truth.
    Understand that people might come forward to admit they were wrong. And they might not. It is up to you to put this behind you. Give yourself what you wish you could receive from others. You need to say to yourself, “I know I didn’t do this. And I will give myself what I wish the community, the authorities, etc., would give me.”
  • Life Law #8: You Teach People How to Treat You. If you walk into the world, and you’re hanging your head, and you kind of don’t want to look anybody in the eye, and you’re shameful, then people will treat you that way. You have to be your own best friend, and you have to decide who you are at the core. Begin the process of closure by not reacting to what you think people are saying about you. If you allow yourself to be intimidated, feel guilty or shrink away because of what people think, you are putting yourself in a prison.
    Don’t try to address every accusation. If you decide to start defending yourself, that will become your full-time job. If you answer every story, every piece of gossip, every allegation in your life, that’s all you will ever do. You will be completely consumed by this, and it will take over your life.
  • Stop reacting to the rumors. You give it legs by reacting to it. Don’t draw attention to yourself defending the rumor. You need to give yourself permission to just live your life. If there are people out there who think something about you that you don’t like, then those won’t be your friends. There will be other people who will like and respect you for who you are, and they will be your friends.
  • Stand up for yourself and say, “I’m taking my power back. I’m not going to give them the power to pick my feelings. They’re wrong, and I can look myself in the mirror knowing the truth.” You have to decide that you believe in who you are, what you stand for, and what you do, and you just need to go forth and do it. You need to walk forward from the situation. Who you are and what you do, that will win out in time.
  • Know that it’s normal to feel a twinge of guilt even if you’re completely innocent. We always hear about guilt by association. But there is also guilt by accusation. People hear something negative and tend to believe it. If you accuse a person unfairly, he/she still has that twinge — just from having the finger pointed at him/her.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of acting out with non-directional frustration. The stress that comes with being wrongly accused can lead a person to act out with those closest to them, like a spouse or child. Remember that the enemy isn’t your loved one; it’s an outside force.

 

Morning Musings

remembering the dead

remembering the dead

There is no remembrance of men and women of old…

You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

It seems to me that when I talk with people on the cusp of retiring, some are afraid to stop working for fear of not having something to do that is meaningful or purposeful.  Getting old and being old makes some to feel forgotten and obsolete.

It seems to me that people fear not being remembered after they have passed away.  Jesus, as He is about to face death, says to His students, “Remember me”.  This is much of what the Eucharist is about. It’s about remembering Someone who faced the reality of death and was given a new life.  Even Jesus had a need to be remembered.

I told my parents while we were at my Tata and Nana’s burial grounds that I would remember them.  That I wouldn’t forget them.  I cried over the future reality that I won’t have them.  But I promised to remember them.

A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1.  I want to live a storied life that at the end of it, people will remember how much I loved them.

2.  I want to be someone who remembers my close family and friends, even after they’ve passed away.

3.  Remembering that our life is dust and will come to end is a great motivator to live a worthy life now.  There is a wisdom in remembering that our life will end.

Love now.
Have Faith now.
Forgive now.
Do charitable work now.
Pursue a dream now.

Prayers for the Dead

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.

Amen.