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Friday, July 1, 2011

On compassion and 300house

            Tomorrow, I get to go to work for a full eight hours for the first time in a couple of months.  Further, two Mondays down line, I get to start a full time job that is not a temporary project.  With the exception of a weird job I did for three months (weird because there was nearly nothing to do, the head person wrote me a cryptic warning letter, wouldn’t explain it, and then fired me for something out of my control), I haven’t had a full time, permanent job in two and a half years, and that last one was my own business, i.e. full time work, no money.  A couple of weeks ago, I read a statistic that says the average person with a bachelor’s degree or more is making $51,000+ (plus because remembering the small numbers really isn’t relevant), and the person with a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s is making $32,000.  I’ve never made more than $25,000.  I’m not anticipating making than even next year, but just being able to make more than $35 a week will be nice.

            My worry is what the job will entail.  It’s a company that is a subcontractor for a major international company.  Over the years, it seems employers I have had on full time jobs have gotten more and more unethical.  At best, the bottom level position has been honest, but the first promotion up was mass production lying.  (Note that I have not said which company/companies I am speaking of)  I would really like to be able to do an honest day’s work.  Having day after day of either not having work or one or two hours per day reminds me of a Larry Norman song (I think the song was called “UFO”) with the lyrics, “And you promise to make my life/A little less like jail,/ If I promise to make tapes and slides/And send them through the mail.”

            Now, I’ve made a point of not just jabbering about my life on this blog, so I have a reason for all this above.  Last Sunday, I was having a conversation with a brother in Jesus, and he made the comment that in all religions, there is a place for compassion.  Now, one idea that I have heard is that there is no concept that is common to ALL beliefs; Confucianism does not have a place for the concept of God/a god.  To that idea, I suggested that the worship of money does not have a place for compassion.  Now, I recognize that to some there is not a worship of money, but, coming from a Christian perspective, I must recognize that Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and money (Lk. 6:13), and, therefore, making greed the priority in one’s life, is a belief.  I had thought of writing something witty about comparing TBN to CNBC, but I haven’t gotten around to it, yet.

            Strangely, I ran into a TV blip on CNN about www.300house.com, which I may, at least for the moment, contradict my conclusion.  Assuredly, many corporate CEO’s care minimally about people and mainly about the proverbial bottom line, but www.300house.com is a thing that shows there is a little compassion within the worship of money.  For an overly short background, a Harvard design student wrote a blog about the idea of solving the problem of housing for the poor of the world by a competition for designing a house for $300.  Within the field of design, the idea took off to spawn an organization that put up prize money for such a design, designers working on the idea, discussion about factors that would go into the answer, and, recently, awarding a number of designs.  I imagine that when something gets somewhat close to practical, this idea will cross from Ivy League architect types to charities, both secular and Christian.

            Since I know I have friends who are foreign missionaries, I figured that I would mention this today just in case someone who hasn’t heard of this but can use the info might stumble across these ideas, if they are of use.

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