30 June 2007

Another view on global economy

Worth reading

The Establishment Rethinks Globalization

I'm not normally a big fan of The Nation magazine. Long story and all of that. On the other hand, they do sometimes publish something that other people would rather not think about, and this is one of those times.
As my background shows, I'm an engineer by trade, specializing in the manufacturing side of the field rather than straight design. Probably that was a mistake. In the last 20+ years, I have worked in manufacturing facilities that included some of the largest and most respected names in America. Of the few that still remain, almost all have undergone turmoil, buyouts, mergers, divestitures, outsourcing, downsizing, reorganizations, and all the other terms we use to conceal the fact that we are spending more money and effort on rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than in running the operation. Often this is the fault of the bean-counters that seem to run all to many businesses these days. Sometimes it's due to imbeciles in government. And sometimes its just due to the Bright Boys who took a business degree somewhere and decided that the path to greatness was to send all the actual doing of the business to some slave labor camp in China, Mexico, or the like, or just to the contract manufacturer across town who employs illegal aliens. Much was and is defended on the philosophy of globalization for the Greater Good of All. Observations of negative results were derided as unimportant.

Comes now a bit of research and a book based on that research that provides some foundation to argue that indeed, globalization ain't all it's cracked up to be. Check out the article.

Today's Reading June 30

This morning, from the Old Testament, Job, chapters 19 and 20.

This passage contains a few verses that are among my own favorites in all of the Bible. Job has had a rough time. He's lost his wealth, every one of his children, the respect of his own wife. He's covered in boils sitting in the dust. And his ''friends'' have come by to visit, and to presume his guilt on some terrible sin. Yet Job has not rejected the Lord. He is hurt, and he is grieving, and he doesn't understand any of it. But he still has his faith. And, in one of the great sections he says,

23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Good words. You could probably write a couple of good songs with those words prominently in there. And, of course, Job was correct. His Redeemer, and mine, lives.


This evening, from the New Testament, Acts, chapter 9, verses 23 through 43

More of the early life of the Church, which was really starting to be noticed all around, and more persecution and opposition, and more of the impact of Peter and Paul, with some insights on how Paul (formerly Saul) was becoming accepted. And the too-little-honored team players like Barnabas.
26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

29 June 2007

Today's Reading June 29

This morning we continue in Job. Tough reading, isn't it? I think that this account is familiar, all of us have been there - the world crashes down on us. [and if it hasn't happened yet, it will]. Yet Job hangs on.
Today we cover chapters 16, 17, and 18. Job speaks here too of those who come to visit the afflicted, and make the matter worse. Sound familiar?

2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

This evening the portion is from the Acts, chapter 9, verses 1 through 22. This is the story of Saul of Tarsus, who in the passage encounters the Lord, and is now known as Paul, whose writings comprise a large portion of the New Testament.
We go from
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
and ends with
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

28 June 2007

Today's Reading June 28

Continuing in Job, chapters 13, 14, and 15.
We start to come across some familiar verses. Such as, from chapter 13,

15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
or, from chapter 14,
1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

And later today, from the Acts, chapter 8, verses 26 through 40.
Phillip is called away from a great evangelistic outreach to preach the Good News to an Ethiopian eunuch. That's worth a great deal of discussion.

27 June 2007

Today's Reading June 27

This morning, Job, chapters 10, 11, and 12
Job continues the dialog with his 'friends'. He is struggling with his problems, and can make no sense of them. Yet he continues to regard the Lord as sovereign and in control. And nowhere do I see him taking his wife's advice to ''curse God and die''. No, he continues to grapple, to wrestle, to hang on.

This evening, Acts, chapter 8, verses 1 through 25
More of the early days of the church. Persecution comes - at the hands of one Saul of Tarsus - and the believers are scattered. And, as a result, the Gospel is preached in many places, including Samaria, that might not have been in the growth plan otherwise. Funny how the Lord uses bad circumstances, isn't it?

26 June 2007

Today's Reading June 26

We continue in the book of Job, chapters 7, 8, 9
Job is tough reading sometimes. Comments that I've received, both those posted and those not, confirm that it's not just me. We all have questions, many of which boil down to ''why??''. Why me, Lord? Why did my dog die? or my mother? my wife? why did my employer close down and leave us without an income? why the cancer? why did my husband leave? why?
And the sad fact is, there is no one answer. I believe with all my heart that the Lord can use any person and any circumstance for His glory. I believe with all of my heart that He loves His children no matter what the circumstances. And I believe that He is good all the time, even when the circumstance aren't. And, perhaps, that will have to do.
This passage in Job continues his discourse with his ''helpful'' friends. Like many of us, they make the assumption that whatever ill has befallen him is his own fault. In this case, we saw the early part of the story and we know that's not the case. They don't know that.


Acts chapter 7 , verses 44 through 60
The final act of Steven. He finishes his speech, and the 'reward' is to be the first martyr of the church.

25 June 2007

Today's Reading June 25

We continue this morning in Job, chapters 4, 5, and 6
To add to his other troubles, his ''friends'' come calling. And give him the benefit of their words, the theme of which is that what has come upon Job is probably his fault, the fit recompense for wickedness somewhere.
From chapter 4,

7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

From chapter 5
6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

Acts, chapter 7, verses 20 through 43
Steven continues his speech before the religious leaders of the day, reciting the works of the Almighty in His dealings with the Jews.

24 June 2007

Today's Reading June 24

Good morning.
Today we change direction a bit, and begin in the book of Job. Job is interesting, one of my favorite books of the Bible. There are those who believe it may have been written down before any of the others, I have no idea of the correctness of that belief. The theme is an important one: why do the innocent suffer while the wicked flourish? Who among us has not asked that question? I have, certainly in the trials of the last few years. And yet, through it all, Job never, and I do mean never, loses his faith. He questions the circumstances, he doesn't like the situation, he is confused, but he never condemns God nor does he reject Him. Indeed, he clings ever tighter. A good lesson in itself. When his wealth was taken from him, and all of his children died in a disaster,

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

When sickness came upon him personally, and his own wife urged him to give up his faith,
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

At most, he tells his friends,
25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

But he still held to the Lord. What else is there to do?

Our New Testament portion continues in the Acts, chapter 7, verses 1 through 19. Steven, one of the first deacons, is on trial before the religious authorities of the day. He responds with a sermon, really, that begins with a recitation of the marvelous things that the Lord has done for his people, the leading and guiding, the very Presence in their nation and their nation's history. They knew this history of course, but Steven is going somewhere with it. They knew the history, and yet they did not truly understand it. They weren't the last to make that mistake.