Thursday, July 19, 2007

The "I" in Integrity


I'm very fond of being a member of a team. For years, I enjoyed good success primarily because the Lord allowed me to have great people around me....people on a team with a common goal, a common purpose.

I continue to have a great team that works well together and supports each other.

One of the clichés that is often told is...there is no "I" in "team".

I'm OK with that cliché as there is a lot of truth in that statement, even beyond the obvious.

What is interesting to note (but I'm not ready to create another cliché) is that while there may be no "I" in team, there is an "I" in Integrity.

I guess is it likely just human nature the way we all seem to be drawn to reports of various failures of integrity. Like some irresistible urge, like a moth we are drawn to buildings on fire and slow down to see what the ambulance is doing by the side of the highway. We pause as we are flipping through various news stories to read about embezzlement, fraud, illicit affairs, illegal drug use, and all other sordid human failures..... and all because of the "I" in the integrity failure.

Integrity for an organization or system or bridge is great. Actually pretty expected these days.

Integrity for the person...that is another matter.

And yet, it needs to start with the "I". I need to have integrity. I need to take seriously what the Bible says about treating people fairly and honestly. That verse in Proverbs about honest scales and balances (like the picture I used at the beginning of the blog) has been updated in the modern-language Message Bible and says, "God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is His business." (Prov. 16:11)

We are also told that Integrity is more valuable than riches (Proverbs 28:6) and unfortunately, I can introduce you to a few men that didn't understand the "I" in this instruction. They lost their business, their families, their children because they didn't understand their personal roll in maintaining integrity.

You can either have integrity or you can lack integrity. It becomes apparent to most of us that it's difficult to have just a "little" integrity. People rarely only cheat on their taxes (it started with tests in school), only cheat on one wife (that's why one divorce is often followed by another), only lie a little (just ask their customers) and rarely were only speeding the one time they were stopped by the police.

Integrity really starts with the "I" and that's no cliché.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Freedom and Religion

Freedom and Religion are two of those words that are probably overused, perhaps even abused by people who are too quick to employ the words but have thought very little about what they actually mean.

Back in what seems like a previous life, I was the Manager of Business Systems Development at Ford Credit. This meant that for a two-year period, I was a management-generalist in what had been typically a management-specialists' job. Talk about a round peg in s square hole! I tried to do a good job, learned the systems lingo and could repeat many words often in a conversation but often didn't know what they really meant. Words like "seamless integration" and "graphical interface" were good words to use but I had little appreciation for their true meanings.

Yesterday was the 4th of July and on TV, I was fortunate to happen across seeing our President, George W. Bush speak to the men and women of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia National Guard. I liked what I heard and took especially note when he started talking about our Freedom of Religion:


"This enemy of ours -- they have got an ideology. They believe in something. In other words, the attacks are just a tactic to enable them to spread their dark vision of the world. Perhaps one way to differentiate between our thoughts is just think about religion. In the great country of the United States, we believe that you should be able to worship any way you see fit; that you're equally American, regardless of your religious beliefs.

They believe that if you don't worship the way they see it, then they're going to bring you harm. We believe in an Almighty, we believe in the freedom for people to worship that Almighty. They don't. They don't believe you should worship the way you choose. They believe the only way you should worship is the way they choose. And, therefore -- and, therefore, they will do anything they can to spread that ideology. And it's our charge, it's our calling to keep the pressure on these people, to defend America and to spread an ideology of hope and an ideology of peace so that the kids who came up here to give the Pledge of Allegiance will be able to live in peace and security." George W. Bush, July 4, 2007


I think the Prez gets it. That's why despite his lack of popularity due to an unpopular war, there are many Americans like me that still admire his understanding of what America is all about.


It's unfortunate that today, unlike George W. Bush, many have not considered the meanings of the words, "Freedom" and "Religion". These words had very specific meanings to our ancestors for those that can trace back their lineage to the very foundlings of this country. It likely has also very specific meanings today to many people in the world, many who are in the Middle East, Africa and in Asia, who are persecuted, abused, badly treated, harmed, physically abused and even tortured or killed because of their religion.

In many way's the greatest freedom that we presently enjoy here in these United States, is the one that is so often taken for granted. I'm not an alarmist but I continue to be very concerned with the wholesale castigation of Christianity in the United States and the trend towards anti-christian humor.

Of course, not all forms of Christianity are in the cross hairs. The social-progressives and Marxist ideologues in this country don't mind if you call yourself a Christian but have no particular belief system. You are no threat to them and voice little opposition to their encroachment on your personal liberty. If on the other hand, you are one that actually believes the the Word of God to be exactly that and embraces the traditional role of marriage and the family, you become a target of intolerance.

Intolerance today can easily lead to persecution and all kinds of abuse.

May we all learn the true meanings of the words "Freedom" and "Religion" that so many have fought and died for in this country.

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