Thursday, March 29, 2007

Attributes of a Serious Church: Sacrificial, Frugal, and Transparent

So far, the items on my list of the attributes of a serious Church include, “Purposeful”, “Holy”, “Non-Manipulative”, and “Introspective”. Today, “Sacrificial”, “Frugal”, and “Transparent” get added to my list.

Sacrificial: Do the leaders and members of a Church live below the rest of the people in their community? Do the leaders and members of a Church tithe before they shop or do they shop before they tithe? Do leaders of a Church live in homes nicer than the Church facilities or are the Church facilities at least as nice as their homes?

Believers can’t buy everything their neighbors buy, own everything their neighbors own, wear everything their neighbors wear, drive the same cars as their neighbors, vacation like their neighbors, and do everything their neighbors are doing if the believers are tithing a sacrificial amount of income to their Church. Non-believers who do not tithe will always have more disposable income.

Members often complain about the amount of resources that are spent constructing and maintaining Church facilities. Their argument is based on the belief that changing the hearts of others shouldn’t require buildings or facilities. Families shouldn’t require multiple bathrooms, multiple cars, multiple televisions, backyards, parks, and all sorts of other external items, but we do, and so does the Gospel require an appropriate external representation of the People who belong to a Church.

Church facilities do not need to be elaborate, but every building, every vehicle, and all other Church property should be built, cleaned, and maintained as if honored guests were coming for dinner, because they are. Every visitor to a Church is an honored guest.

Serious leaders of serious Churches maintain appropriate facilities by sacrificing some of their own comfort and personal desires. Churches with leaders who live in houses nicer than their Church facilities are not serious.

Frugal: Do the leaders of a Church who are responsible for budgeting and spending treat the financial gifts to the Church as holy resources? Do the leaders of a Church sweat the financial decisions of the Church even after an appropriate time and amount of prayer? Do the leaders of a Church honor the contributions coming from those living on minimum wage or fixed incomes?

“Spend it or lose it” is the mantra within government organizations. Every leader of every government agency knows that if they don’t spend their allotted budget, they will have less to spend the following fiscal year. “If” to spend is never even considered. “Where” to spend is the only question that most government leaders ever ask themselves.

Most Churches aren’t much different than most government agencies when it comes to budgeting and spending. Leaders spend every penny that is offered and then hope for more. Wouldn’t it be great to be sitting in Church on a Sunday morning when the leaders give some of the offering back because it isn’t needed? Crazy fantasy, I know!

Frugal does not mean cheap. Paying the lowest price rarely results in getting the best value. Churches that spend the appropriate amount, at the appropriate time, for the appropriate purposes are serious Churches. Churches that spend what they get when they get it are not serious.

Transparent: Is the Church open and honest in all matters or does the Church hide the reason for a decision or the outcome of a decision in order to avoid embarrassment or conflict? Do believers in a Church confess their sins openly and honestly?

Churches are comprised of humans who, like all humans, hate to be embarrassed and tend to avoid conflict. Leaders want to be perceived as less mortal, more right, less inclined to making mistakes, and above criticism. Church leaders carry the extra burden of high moral and ethical expectations from the regulars at their Church. When leaders want to be perceived as pure, and followers want to perceive their leaders as pure, lots of dishonesty and secrets transpire in order to maintain the illusion of purity.

As a young Catholic, I had regular meetings with a Parish Priest through a confessional window. I confessed what I thought were my sins because I was expected to confess my sins. My confessions and the absolution of my sins were not particularly meaningful to the rest of my life because I knew God already knew what I had done. Later, as an adult, a Priest explained to me that he was representing a community of believers during the sacrament of confession in order to allow believers a way to confess how they had sinned against the community. Confession isn’t about telling God what he already knows; confession is about the health of a community.

Protestant Churches don’t have formal confessions or regular confession time. Perhaps regular or formal confessions would conflict with my “Non-Manipulative” attribute, but Protestants are expected to confess their sins to one another.

Serious leaders of serious Churches are honest and open about their decisions and their mistakes. Serious leaders ask for forgiveness when they hurt their Church. Churches that maintain an illusion of purity are not serious.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Attributes of a Serious Church: Non-Manipulative and Introspective

Yesterday I started a list of the attributes of a serious Church. The first two were “Purposeful” and “Holy”. Today “Non-Manipulative” and “Introspective” get added to the list.

Non-Manipulative: Do the leaders of a Church speak the truth without the addition of emotional manipulation? Do the leaders of a Church inform believers or do they control believers?

Occasionally I will take a peak at TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) as a reminder of why so many otherwise rational people reject the Gospel. As I watch, I can visualize silly believers being led around with a hook in their nose. From the health and wealth presentations, to the ridiculous hairdos, to the forced tears, to the use of fear, to the fake compassion; there is very little but manipulation. God have mercy on their souls. Most people, believers and non-believers, can see right through the drama, but the wake of TBN programming has made true Gospel presentations more difficult.

Sadly, while not as obvious as TBN, most Churches have developed and use their own manipulative techniques in an effort to get desirable results. From parking lot attendants pointing people into parking spaces, to roping off sections of pews, to telling people to get up and shake hands with a stranger, to the inappropriate use of the words “always” and “everyone”, most Churches end up as little versions of TBN.

“Bring a Friend” to Church events are manipulation to the second power. Not only are the leaders of the Church manipulating the regulars in order to get the regulars to do something they may not normally do, but the regulars who succumb to this manipulation then have to go out and manipulate others in order to get others to do what they would normally not do.

Manipulation, no matter how innocent or how small, has a negative effect on people who would otherwise be open to the truth of God. Most of the unbelieving people throughout the world are less likely now to listen to the Gospel because of their past experiences of being manipulated by believers. Serious leaders of serious Churches speak the truth and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of listeners without resorting to dishonest manipulative techniques.

Introspective: Does a Church constantly evaluate and reevaluate the effect it is having on its community? Is a Church just as cognizant of the negative effects of ministry as they are of the positive effects of ministry? Is a Church working at becoming holy?

You can’t get where you are going if you stay where you are. Likewise, a Church can’t get where it’s going if it stays where it is. Becoming more holy requires change. Knowing how to change and what to change requires measurements, analysis, and wisdom.

I can’t even count the number of times I have heard a Church leader claim that Churches need to be outwardly focused, not inwardly focused. This statement is often followed by a sermon about how much evil exists in the outside world. These leaders believe the good people in the Church would have a transforming effect on the people outside of the Church if the good people in the Church were more concerned about the people outside of the Church.

Perhaps, a transforming outward focus has been true in the past and will be true again at some point in the future, but presently in 2007, the people in the Church haven’t even been able to transform themselves, so it is very unlikely they will be able to transform the world. In fact, almost 2000 years after the crucifixion, the world is still the world.

Most studies comparing the lives of believers with the lives of unbelievers show very little difference between the two groups. An outward focus makes no sense when the people in the Church are the same as the people outside the Church.

Serious leaders of serious Churches know that the people inside the Church need to change before the world would or even could ever change. The serious leaders of the serious Churches start with changing themselves before changing others.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Attributes of a Serious Church: Purposeful and Holy

My family has started attending a new Church on Sunday morning. So far, this assembly of believers and their Pastor seem like a good fit for my family. For the first time in a long time, we are hopeful about joining a serious community of committed believers.

As I sat in Church last Sunday, I realized I had been looking for a serious Church. The Church I was sitting in felt serious, but since I have never actually defined and articulated the attributes of a serious Church, I couldn’t be sure. Feeling serious and being serious may not be synonymous. I need a set of benchmarks to know if my feelings are an accurate reflection of a truly serious Church.

Here are the first two items of my initial list of what I consider to be the attributes of a serious Church. I will continue the list in later posts. Perhaps I will add or subtract from the list later after I have had more time to reflect. I always appreciate comments at my site, but I am particularly interested in criticism of this list. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Purposeful: Do the leaders of a Church have clearly defined goals? Do the activities and methods of a Church produce results that achieve the clearly defined goals?

My experience with Church has been that most Churches do what they do because they have always done it that way. The only results that gets measured are the number of people attending Sunday morning services and other activities. Some additions to the service and other new activities get created to increase head count, but it is rare for a Church to eliminate methods or problems that may be keeping people away.

“Bring a Friend” to Church sounds like a good idea to most Church leaders, but do these special Sundays ever increase the number of long term commitments to Christ? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Many believers are frustrated by these special Sundays. I can almost guarantee when I visit a small Church that there is a “Bring a Friend” event planned in the near future. Perhaps these Churches are small because of the way they conduct evangelism. I will have more to say on this topic in some other attributes on my list.

Holy: Does a Church care just as much about driving sin out of the Church as they care about getting new people in the Church?

There will always be sin in the people inside and the people outside of the Church. Imperfect people are tasked by Christ with spreading the Gospel to an unbelieving world. Getting people to hear the good news and assisting those in need are essential to living the Gospel, but increasing the crowd should be a result of a serious Church, not the only or even primary goal of a serious Church.

People who have been reborn with Christ should feel a desire to be more holy and less sinful. Help in becoming more holy comes from the prompting of the Holy Spirit, a Pastor who accurately and faithfully teaches the word of God, and other believers who are also making the effort to drive sin from their lives. Satisfied people are not serious believers. Becoming more holy only happens when a person makes a commitment to battle their own demons and appropriately confront the demons in others.

Iron really does sharpen iron. “Nice” and “friendly” have never sharpened anything. Churches are packed with nice and friendly people who are satisfied living in sin and tolerating sin. These Churches are not serious.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Criticism

Critics are often accused of negativity, blamed for a lack of harmony in organizations, and viewed as destructive. Of course, all three perceptions are nonsense. The very best people in the world are the people who are self-critical and the very best organizations in the world are the organizations that allow and even encourage criticism. Criticism is the key component to continuous improvement. It is the feedback that tells people and organizations whether they are hitting or missing the mark.

I often read and hear others who claim that criticism is easy. These people believe it is more difficult to be positive. This too, is nonsense. Anyone can say what others want to hear using positive, yet insincere, affirmations. Positive affirmations are effortless, and without risk or cost. Criticism requires understanding, thought, and effort, as well as the risk of being rejected or misunderstood.

When my daughters were younger, I always knew instantly whether or not I was meeting their needs and expectations. I didn’t have to guess about the affect I was having on them. They told me exactly how they felt and I was then able to decide if I needed to adjust my behavior or provide them with a better explanation and rationale for my behavior. I loved their pure criticism. It made me a better father.

As they have grown, their criticism has started to change. They are not always so direct or honest anymore. Sometimes they want to hide how they really feel. Sometimes they try to be sensitive to my feelings. While other times they are a little manipulative, and less honest, in getting what want. I miss the purity of their criticism when they were younger.

I’m baffled that so few people acknowledge or even understand the virtue of criticism. I guess it’s just another part of living in a fallen world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Environmental Optimization

In my last piece, I argued for optimization over preservation, as my preferred goal for environmental stewardship. This goes against the traditional view of environmentalism. Preservation, the traditional goal of environmentalism, is a mostly mindless exercise. Protecting nature achieves the goal, while changing nature violates the goal. Preservation is simple to understand, simple to enforce, and simply wrong for the advancement of humanity.

The traditional view of environmentalism also has a very nasty underbelly. Preservation is achieved by the enforcement of laws enacted to limit the freedom of citizens to own and use land in the most optimal way. Preservation is achieved by imposing the will of some on the will of others. The “some” who impose their will are usually the elite who believe they know better than anyone else how to use and preserve resources.

Optimization, however, is not so simple to define, enforce, achieve, or even understand. Optimization for some farmers may mean higher yields per acre of land, while optimization for other farmers may mean more nutritious or flavorful produce. Some consumers of apples may want less expensive or larger apples, while other consumers of apples may want more flavorful or colorful fruit.

Some voters may want to use a publicly owned piece of land for hiking in a natural environment, while other voters may want to build a football stadium, and still other voters want to build a park or a golf course. For some, optimization is preservation, while for others, optimization is development.

Does every species of rodent, and every species of bird, and every species of plant, and every species of anything need protection from extinction? Perhaps God created every species with unique characteristics for the benefit of the environment, but it is far more likely that many species have characteristics that are harmful, not beneficial. Mosquitoes carry malaria and are extremely irritating. It’s clear to me that optimization means getting rid of both mosquitoes and malaria. Neither need protecting. Fear of what might happen if malaria is eradicated and mosquitoes become extinct makes about as much sense as fear of what might happen if the Yankees lose the World Series.

Fear of what might happen if certain species of rodents become extinct is only slightly less silly than fear of what might happen if malaria is eradicated. However, what is extremely silly to me may not be silly to a rodent lover. Does a rodent lover have a moral right to impose his will on everyone else in order to ensure a rare species of rodent is protected? Does everyone else have a moral right to ignore a rare species of rodent while developing land inhabited by rare rodents?

Since optimization means different things to different people, who gets to decide the definition of optimization? The only fair way to decide who gets to decide the definition of optimization is the same as the only fair way to decide other matters.

The owner of a piece of property is the one most likely to care for his or her land and derive the optimum value out of the land. The owner of a piece of real estate can use free market commerce to determine the optimum value of a piece of land. He or she can preserve the land, develop the land, or sell the land based on the preferences of others willing to part with an appropriate amount of hard earned cash. All other methods for determining the appropriate and optimum use of land are forms of socialism, which is what most environmentalists want anyway.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Two out of Three

Hugh Hewitt links to a story in the Washington Post about Joe Carter.

I am extremely fond of two out of the three.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stewardship

As I read Chaplain Dave’s piece about his views regarding environmental stewardship, I thought this might be a good time to reexamine my own views and write a few of my own pieces on this topic.
He made it and us of the same "stuff", except we have that vital spark, the imago dei so that, among other things, we can have dominion, stewardship over and tend this, His creation. As such, we are inextricably connected to the Creation. We are to make our living from the earth. God set up a gloriously beautiful and intricate system - even in its fallen state - whereby we can draw life and sustenance from it. …

But with this gifting comes responsibility. I have to believe that His placing Adam in the Garden to cultivate and tend it - have dominion over it, didn't imply allowing his appetites to run amok, thus abusing it.

I think most people would agree with the sentiment of Chaplain Dave’s piece. Humans are unique among God’s creation in that we were given dominion over nature and we have the ability to affect nature more than any other creature. However, the application of Chaplain Dave’s sentiment is where morals need to be clarified and lines need to be drawn.

The goal of stewardship should be clear in our minds before we decide on the methods for practicing stewardship. Traditionally, conservation and environmentalism have been synonymous with preservation. I don’t have to think very long before I reject the traditional view. For a believer in God to accept the traditional view, the believer in God would have to believe that everything God created except humans was perfect in its original form. Certainly, God created the earth the way HE wanted it created, but this belief that humans are destroying God’s perfect creation doesn’t make sense; why would God give the imperfect dominion over the perfect? Mosquitoes, viruses, severe weather, diseases, predatory animals, and other aspects of nature that are harmful to humans need to be controlled or eradicated, not preserved.

I believe a better goal of stewardship should be optimization of the environment, not preservation of the environment. Sometimes preservation will be a method for achieving optimization, but preservation should never be the primary goal. Why would we want to preserve polio or HIV?

Refrigeration optimizes our environment by allowing foods to remain nutritious for longer periods of time. Pasteurization and irradiation have a similar optimization effect. Food processing may sound unhealthy, but the opposite is true. The processing of food has led to less expensive, more nutritious, and a greater variety of foods than ever before in human history which has led to healthier and longer lives for most people.

As much as I would love to play golf on a traditional seaside course in Scotland, I have no illusion that the golf would be better than a modern course in California where the fairways, bunkers, and greens are practically perfect. God created some very appealing golf venues, but humans have optimized the course for a better golf experience. As much as I would love to sit in Lambeau Field in late December and watch the Green Bay Packers against the Chicago Bears, I have no illusion that the football game would be better than if it was played indoors in Detroit or Indianapolis. Humans have optimized the football environment in order to experience the best football games.

The modern environment humans have created to live our lives is infinitely better than the natural environment we started with. I sometimes get a good chuckle out of serious environmentalists because it seems to me that the ones who are most serious about the environment are the ones with the most expensive and technologically advanced outdoor equipment. The best mountain bikes, the best hiking boots, the best outdoor clothing, etc…, all of which were created by humans wishing to optimize the outdoor experience. Shouldn’t a preservationist at least try to endure without modern equipment?

In my next piece, I will consider the methods of environmental stewardship.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Winning the Lottery

According to George Will:
Conservatism comes in many flavors. None seems perfect for every conservative's palate; most should be satisfactory to most conservatives.

Conceptually, I agree with George Will. No voter is going to get everything they want in a candidate. We always have to accept a candidate who has at least one or two positions we consider frivolous or even wrong.

However, just as the current crop of American Idol contestants are way below the standards set in the Idol contest over the last few years, and none seem to have what it takes to be the next Idol, at this point, none of the current crop of Presidential candidates seem to have what will be needed to follow President Bush as President.

Most of the serious contenders have an attribute that is attractive to large blocks of voters. Barrack Obama is articulate, John McCain is a war hero, Hillary Clinton is a serious woman, Rudy Giuliani is confident, and Mitt Romney is congenial, but which one of these candidates possesses a package of abilities? None if you ask me!

Perhaps as the process unfolds, a strong leader and a good man or woman will emerge, but at this point, the likelihood of that happening seems about the same as me winning the lottery.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dragons and Gnats

One of the principles of the modern conservative movement, as well as a differentiator from modern liberalism, is a desire by conservatives to support and enact effective public policy changes. Most politicians, whether conservative or liberal, are concerned with looking good, but those of us who are not political, have had different priorities. In general, those on the left have been more concerned with equality of outcome, regardless of effort. The left wants to feel good about the policies they support. In general, those on the right are more concerned with equality of opportunity, regardless of results. The right wants the policies they support to be fair and effective, without concern for feelings.

Modern conservatism found a home in the Republican Party when Ronald Reagan became president. Modern liberalism has never produced a president, but as conservatives gravitated towards the Republican Party, liberals gravitated towards the Democratic Party.

For the last two decades, conservatives have accused liberals of being more concerned with symbolism than substance. For instance, a raise in the minimum wage does not help the poor, but support for a raise in the minimum wage makes politicians look like they care about the poor. Minimum wage is an ineffective, but symbolic, policy. Reducing CO2 from automobile exhaust will have a very minimal effect on human produced CO2, but support for reduced CO2 from automobiles makes politicians look like they care about global warming.

The focus on appearance by liberals led to political correctness. Looking good to large groups meant thinking like a group and talking like a group. Precise thoughts and precise words became less important as group orthodoxy become more important. President Clinton was a pragmatist, not a modern liberal, but he was the master of political correctness as President. He managed to appeal to large groups of people without ever saying anything specific.

For most of the time since Reagan, unelected conservatives have been able to resist political correctness. William F. Buckley spoke for William F. Buckley only. George Will spoke for George Will only. Both were considered conservatives, but other conservative never felt the need to associate or disassociate with either man. Conservatives accepted their differences. Conservatives didn’t need to appeal to a group or be accepted by a group. Ideas and beliefs, right or wrong, stood on their own. Advocates of beliefs and ideas, right or wrong, stood on their own.

When Senator Edwards hired two far left religious bigots to blog about his campaign last month, pundits on the right were unanimous in condemning him for hiring them. Shortly thereafter, both bloggers (ahem) resigned from their position in Senator Edwards campaign. Pundits on the right then patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

When Ann Coulter used a bigoted word to describe a thought she believed about Senator Edwards, pundits on the right jumped at the chance to demonstrate the difference in civility between the left and the right by unanimously condemning her. Pundits on the right did exactly what Ann Coulter said they would do if she used the word she wasn’t going to use because of the response it would illicit. How ironic, by trying so hard to prove and demonstrate the difference in civility between the left and the right, pundits on the right have become just like the left in practicing group think and enforcing group orthodoxy.

Like the rest of the mob, I believe the word Coulter used was offensive. She deserves to be criticized. Many on the right, including one of my favorite bloggers, Joe Carter, have been critical of her long before her CPAC remark. Gnats occasionally need a good swatting.

However, political correctness, group think, and enforced orthodoxy, is much more than an insignificant gnat. Political correctness is a cancer that has devoured the Democratic Party, and now with the internet and blogging, it is aggressively chewing at the heart of conservatism. It is a dragon that needs more than an occasional swat. Ann Coulter speaks for Ann Coulter only. When conservatives feel the need to dissociate from a lone agent, the war for freedom is over; the left has won.

As Buz intimated in his recent comment, 1984 is a little late in coming, but it is here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Words and Sheep

Conservatives and pundits are tripping all over themselves to condemn one remark made by Ann Coulter at the CPAC convention last week. My Goodness! Sheep on the left meet sheep on the right.

The words we use and the way we string words together are the best and most effective way to convey our thoughts and our beliefs. Political correctness is a cancer to good communication. When speakers and writers are limited to using inoffensive words, readers and listeners are left with more difficulty in understanding what is really being communicated. An evil heart can remain hidden behind nice words when words are considered more important than thoughts during communication.

I would much rather know that an acquaintance is a racist than have an acquaintance who is a racist and not know because my acquaintance was pressured to hide his racism by never using racist words. I would much rather know all of the weakness and bigotries of my neighbors than not know because I never hear them using offensive words.

There is no traditional American right to never be offended. Hopefully, there never will be. There is, however, an imperfect American tradition of tolerating behavior we consider offensive, but not criminal. Hopefully, there always will be.

I don’t like the word Ms. Coulter used in communicating her thought, but I do agree with her thought about the use of words. I wish she would have used a nicer word, but I understand how her thought would have been muted if she had used a nicer word.

Civility in politics should be the default standard, with an occasional variance for a particularly bad person or bad idea. Most Americans on all sides of politics are good people who do not deserve hatred or condemnation. However, former Senator Edwards is offensive to me for reasons that have nothing to do with effeminate mannerisms. Offensive people need offensive descriptions. The word “hypocrite” just falls a little short in describing Senator Edwards.

I hope I didn’t offend any sheep with this piece.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Health Care Anecdote

My snoring and my wife proved incompatible very early on in our marriage. I don’t know how some women have the fortitude to endure the pain of childbirth, yet be unable to sleep with a few rustic sound effects. If I could endure her kicks, elbows, and complaints, why couldn’t she endure the gentle sounds of a loose flapping soft pallet?

I held out hope for as long as possible that my wife would eventually adapt to her new sleeping companion, but when my couch starting looking like the shroud of Turin, I figured it was time to consult with my doctor about possible solutions. My doctor recommended a sleep study which confirmed a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea.

Since then, I have been connected to a CPAP machine while I sleep. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy provides a constant airflow which holds the airway open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep.

Initially, my Blue Shield medical insurance plan covered most the cost of the machine, the mask, and the head gear. I still have the original machine, but over the years I have had to have the mask and head gear replaced as it wears out. Last year I ordered a new face mask and head gear where I had to split the cost with Blue Shield. We both paid about $80.

Several nights ago, the mask that I only used for a few months broke when I accidentally dropped it on the floor. The medical supply company told me I would need to pay another $80 dollars co-pay to get it replaced. Searching the internet CPAP suppliers, I found the same mask for $60 without the co-pay.

I’m thankful I can get a lower price, but it seems that health care is broken when using insurance cost more than not using insurance. Perhaps my situation is not normal, but I’m wondering if Insurance, in its present form, needs to go away, and allow individuals more control over their own health care.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Preaching and Practicing

Big families need big referees. The Walton’s make for nice family television, but in real life, lots of siblings means lots of fights. Asking my dad to resolve a fight meant needing a good answer when he asked us if we practiced what we preached. He didn’t have sympathy for any of us who were complaining about something we had previously done to a brother or sister or if we expected a sibling to do something we wouldn’t to do ourselves. My dad wanted the actions of his children to be consistent with the words of his children. He wanted us to learn and practice integrity.

Another question that was common when I was growing up was, “Do you put your money where your mouth is?”. People who sold Chevy’s were expected to drive Chevy’s. People who talked about Church were expected to support Church financially. Tough guys with big stories and no witnesses were expected to accept a bet they couldn’t repeat their claimed accomplishment and then pay the bet if they didn’t repeat it.

Putting your money where your mouth is and practicing what you preach are two ways of saying the same thing. Are your actions consistent with your words? Do you have integrity? Do you really believe the claim you are making?

Does Al Gore really believe CO2 is destroying the earth when his own house uses 20 times the energy of the average American house? Does Bono of U2 really believe tax money from the free world should be used to stop poverty in Africa when he pays a team of lawyers to practice tax avoidance strategies with his own money? Do Diane Feinstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger not know their private jets are spewing CO2 all over our atmosphere? Did Rush Limbaugh think organized crime only sold herbs? Does Cingular Wireless really believe their customers are receiving quality service by waiting on hold for thirty minutes to talk to a customer service representative?

Integrity is mostly a matter of character and morality, but it also has another interesting attribute. Integrity increases effectiveness. People who “practice what they preach” and organizations that “put their money where their mouth is” are much more likely to be successful. Integrity attracts like minds and produces a full commitment from others. Hypocrisy, however, repels everyone except blind followers.

CO2 haters took a hit this week. I always love a happy ending.