Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Devotion 5.11.16

The artisan craftsman model of production is one that provides for one main specialist who has apprentices beneath him to produce the product.  Most famously, if you knew this or remember it, Ben Franklin was an apprentice to his brother in a print shop (which in technical terms at that time was nothing more than an indentured servant - a slave).  That model bears a reputation of quality and craftsmanship, but it is painfully slow.  Order a gun today, and you will get it in a year or so.

The industrial model came to be, and of course, in order to ensure quality, the model bore scrutiny by none other than the Germans (who else?).  That's where we meet Max Weber, a philosopher, sociologist, and theologian.  Weber is the creator of what we now commonly referred to as "a bureaucracy" which he referred to as the "legal-rational model."  His concern was ensuring a sense of efficiency and quality in the industrial model, so his model included specialized positions, an administrative system to assure a systematic approach to recruiting, retaining, and promoting workers, rules for work to provide order and discipline, and other things. 

Now that you know that, you may be more supportive of bureaucracy since a "German" originated it (but don't get too high and mighty, remember, Germans gave us Marxism, and psychoanalysis...).  Interestingly, we use the word "bureaucracy" today as a synonym with government, but that is hardly true or the case.  It originated in an industrial model and still thrives in the private sector today (as well as the public sector).  We even find bureaucracy in the church which is good in some ways (coordinating funds and work in areas like missions, church planting, hospitals, adoption agencies, and other such works) and in some not so good ways.  The negative view of bureaucracy comes from a perception (believed or in actual fact) of non-responsiveness.

How is the church "bureaucratic" in a negative sense?  In scripture, we see Christ heal on more than one occasion on the Sabbath.  In Luke 13, he's teaching, and "...there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.  When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your disability.' And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.  But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, 'There are six days in which work ought to be done.  Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day."

When do we do that in the same way?  When do we use rules, meant for good, as a stumbling block to exert our own will or influence?  When do we twist rules meant to provide a rational process only to block someone and entangle them in red tape?

Pray that we serve God through his Spirit and work in the spirit of his Word.  Pray that we use neither his Word nor our earthly rules to exert power or influence over something and that we are not "stiff-necked" or "hypocrites" by our own actions.  In the end, we know God's Will will be done, but pray that we constantly seek his will in our lives.

Hope Men's Ministry

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