The argument is fallacious. We do not have the space in this article to fully address this topic. Elsewhere, we have discussed The Value of Human Suffering in a more detailed fashion cf. We would, however, make three important observations. God is not responsible for the evil and suffering which plague our planet. Man introduced sin into this environment, and so death and all its attendant evils have followed in the wake of human rebellion cf.
The Creator endowed us with freedom of choice, but he is not accountable for our abuse of this exalted gift. Blaming God for our current woes is about like charging Henry Ford with the responsibility for the death of a person mortally wounded in a drunk-driving accident. There is much to be said for the idea that allowing man to suffer the consequences of his transgression is a powerful educational procedure.
If Jehovah does only what is right Gen. In the final analysis, we must confess honestly that we simply are not qualified to judge what God is doing. Our scope of vision is microscopic. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Let us ponder several examples of such.
Providence has to do with divine activity by means of the manipulation of natural law, in contrast to the miraculous operation of deity, in which cases natural law is suspended. When Paul came to Lystra on his first missionary journey, he healed a man who had been unable to walk since birth. The effect of the miracle dazzled the citizens of the city, and they sought to worship Paul and Barnabas. But these men of God would have none of that. Surely in the glow of the sunset, the refreshing rains of spring, the bountiful harvest of autumn, and in a myriad of other ways, the goodness of our Creator is obvious.
Another biblical writer notes:.
In spite of the fact that this planet is cursed with the effects of sin cf. God has wonderfully revealed himself in the intricacies of a brilliantly designed Universe. But God has not given evidence of his power and wisdom merely in the design of nature, thus leaving us without more precise information regarding him. No, his goodness is also manifest in a series of written documents which contain such an astounding array of evidence authenticating their supernatural character, that we can only stand in awe of them.
The amazing unity of the Bible, its astounding prophecies, its literary precision — all of these factors, and many more — testify to the fact that the Scriptures are not of human origin. God has spoken through the revelation of Jesus Christ Heb. A written, checkable medium of communication is strong evidence of the goodness of our Creator. This is a magnificent concept.
There are several significant elements involved in the concept of redemption. Reflect upon the following. First, there is the tragedy of human sin. Sin manifests itself in a number of hideous ways. It is reflected in the insolent attitude that shuts its ears to heavenly instruction Jer.
It is seen in a hardened condition which is oblivious to evidence and refuses to believe Jn. Sin is transgressing the law of God 1 Jn. In its wake sin has left disease, death, unhappiness, and frightful prospect of an eternal hell. Second, God was under no moral compulsion to redeem humanity from the ravages of sin — unless one takes into consideration the throbbing compassion of his loving heart. He had no earthly way to liquidate the obligation.
There was but one resort — to beg! If one assumes that he made an average wage, which was about a dollar per week cf. The gentleman thus had an unrealistic view of his predicament. In the imagery of the story, the lord is God; the slave is the sinner who has been immersed in the consequences of his sin. Third, the goodness of God was manifest in the demonstration of his love. Where will we be three to five years from now? What parts of our organization will be the same, and what will change?
Will there still be a place for me in the future? How will my work change? What will I need to learn in order to be more valuable to the organization in the future? Why will I still want to be a part of this organization in the future? The answers to these questions are personal and are communicated in dozens of moments of truth and in informal contacts between leaders and colleagues throughout the year.
Formal annual reports and after-dinner speeches may address these issues in a general way, but vision must be communicated by leaders throughout the organization in personal encounters. Some visions in educational organizations are decidedly scary, particularly for people who may feel that their skills and abilities are not part of the leader's vision. What does that mean to the finance clerk and personnel specialists who have seen a growing workload with no increases in staff? While technology will play a role in the vision of most organizations, there is a better way to communicate the impact and meaning of that vision.
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As an alternative to the formal vision statement, consider this conversation: Jean, you've got a great future here. Your integrity and work ethic are terrific, and the way that you collaborate with your colleagues is a real model for others. You've probably noticed that we're using a lot more technology now than when you first came here, and I see us moving in that direction in the future. Technology will never replace human intelligence and creativity, but we've got to use every technology tool we can, including some new ones that neither one of us has learned yet, to serve our stakeholders.
With your abilities and advanced technology, I can see you doing great things in the future. I'd like to support you in some professional development to build your technology skills. What do you think about it? Visionary leadership, in sum, may include the big picture, but it is insufficient for giving meaning and substance to a vision.
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Commitment depends upon knowing one's personal role in the vision and seeing a clear path to how to get there. When talk turns to human relationships and emotional intelligence in some leadership circles, eye rolling and finger tapping are the most obvious signs of impatience with the soft side of organizational life. There has been a great deal of uninformed blather written and said about these subjects, and some of it is not only wrong but destructive. In education in particular, the presumption that self-esteem is a characteristic to be nurtured and developed in students and adults has morphed into a justification for narcissism, insulating people from honest feedback that is necessary for improved performance.
This conclusion might be welcome news for pathological jerks who have been complaining for years that faculty meetings are not group therapy, administrators are not therapists, and the workplace is not your family. Relational leadership does not depend on false affirmations provided in vain attempts to build the self-esteem of subordinates, but rather on the trust and integrity that are at the foundation of any enduring relationship.
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Interestingly, the foremost expert on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, makes the case for relational leadership in strikingly cold and analytical terms. Citing a mountain of research including long-term longitudinal studies of organizational effectiveness, Goleman and colleagues conclude that relationship skills account for nearly three times as much impact on organizational performance as analytical skills do. Kouzes and Posner , a, b find that in studies of more than 1 million leaders, the trust and credibility that stem from meaningful relationships are essential for leadership success.
Researchers differ on how to approach the challenges of emotional intelligence and relational leadership. Some, like Goleman, assert vigorously that specific relationship skills can be taught and learned.
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Others differ, asserting that someone with good relationship skills can likely be taught technical skills, whereas someone deficient in relationship skills will likely have some difficulty learning the nuances and intuitive practices that are associated with building and maintaining successful relationships. In other words, you can send a jerk to charm school, but at the end of the day, he's still a jerk.
Tolerating jerks and a climate of incivility has a tangible as well as emotional cost. An astonishing amount of turnover, which creates huge costs in training, lowers productivity, and creates poorer service quality, is due to people leaving toxic work environments. What can relational leaders do? You might want to listen to your own colleagues describe the elements of the effective relational leader, but the following list is a good start: listening without interruption or prejudgment, respect for confidentiality, and genuine empathy achieved through deliberate inquiry.
Relational leaders listen to their colleagues without interrupting or prejudging their statements. Tape a meeting or phone call with a subordinate and confront the data. How many times did each of you speak? Ask for clarification before coming to a judgment? Leaders frequently ascend to their positions because they are good communicators, or at least it appears that way. They make wonderful presentations to community groups and governing boards. When they talk to colleagues, they do so with conviction and enthusiasm. They are accustomed to hearing applause rather than questions and challenges.
When senior leaders experience decades of positive reinforcement for such one-sided communication, it is little wonder that so few leaders understand the value of listening. Every leader needs a Nathan, the only member of King David's entourage who was willing to publicly confront the king when he was wrong. Relational leaders respect confidences, never betraying a secret or private conversation.