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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
            Monday, November 10 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Stewardship

Friday's thoughts about boycotts, written in the tone of a polemical political tract, suggest some milder thoughts on related ideas, but which I present today only as food for thought, not as an attempt to win others' agreement. I mentioned my boyhood exposure to the Methodist (at the time the denomination in my baileywick was called EUB, but it's now Methodist) doctrine of stewardship. Though the clergyman applied it to giving to the church, of members' financial support and also their time and talents, the idea behind it can be applied to other areas of life not specifically church-related. For example, in the labor movements there are shop stewards, which suggests the concept of stewardship applies in the job arena, too. Stewardship is taking responsibility for the enterprise, especially its budget and its longrange development and planning. It's having and living within a budget, personally, at the company, or in any organization.

I maintain that boycotting certain enterprises is good stewardship. The most obvious such enterprise in my point of view is gambling. Gambling is by very definition bad stewardship. It's playing the odds, depending on luck, whereas "good" stewardship is depending on hard and smart work, carefully looking out for pitfalls that can impact the budget, and playing by the rules. The rules could be economic ones like "don't put all your eggs in one basket," moral ones like "don't waste money on vices and luxuries," and god-given rules like "don't steal, don't covet," and many applicable proverbs from the Old Testament's wisdom writings and the New Testament's epistle of James.

Stewardship shouldn't be manipulated to guarantee success, because there are no guarantees of success in life, despite what the "prosperity gospel" preachers falsely teach. But ignoring the principles of stewardship, I would humbly suggest, is almost a guarantee of failure in the enterprise. One way of getting a handle on the concept of stewardship, if the word is unfamiliar to you, is to think about what a banker wants to know about you, your assets, your lifestyle, your reputation, and your dependability, when deciding whether to lend you money. In sum, the banker is looking into your practice of personal stewardship

At my parents' home, when my brothers and I were young, lots of things were boycotted, largely because they couldn't afford most of the items an economist would describe as on a typical consumer's "disposable income" list. There were no more than a couple of movies per year, for example, even when adult movie admission was 50 cents. A Sunday or holiday drive was a more affordable luxury, because the whole family could be entertained for hours by a couple of dollars' worth of gas, and it was inherently educational. In my own adult life I also boycott many things that others indulge in casually, because I'd rather spend the money on items I value more than others that strike as less enduring. But I wouldn't try to persuade you that you're better off with a $12,000 car and $8,000 in international vacations over the next three years than you would be driving a $20,000 car without the international travel for the same period. That's for you to decide based on your own stewardship plan and principles.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Fun facts (or "facts," so it says, but take with a grain)

China has more English speakers than the Unied States.

The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can,
Begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it,
Begin it now.
 
— Goethe
 
Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz
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