A Pastoral Perspective on Ethics

church

Introduction

The purpose of this dialogue involves discussing the concept of Ethics from a moderate-induced pastoral perception.  Ethics per se, as a universal model, involves or requires the decision-making acuities of any rational corporeal agent who intends to initiate or maintain a common, communal, and cultural balance among individuals.  

As such, Ethics may be simplified by considering that the concept Ethics is a universal representative model that includes all the possible values, desires, and intents of human society.  These components serve to form the ingredients that are molded and shaped to create a sort of utilitarian ideal.   

This systematic decision-making process is then drawn to provide the ideal concept for what is to be considered as responsible and acceptable behavior.  Because the ideal model is grounded in the dynamic and continual activity of harmonizing shared or ecumenical values against communal intents and desired objectives, Ethics then becomes both a suitable and most reasonable strategy for any extant structure that would be devoid of a practical methodology that assists in sustaining prolonging and strengthening the human-inhabited community.  Very succinctly stated, Ethics, then, is the monitoring, sustaining, and prolonging of values and life using an acceptable set of agreeable contexts to avoid chaos at all costs. 

Ethics from the Common Pastoral Perspective 

From the common perspective, it is apparent that many individuals inhabit this cosmological domain we call society.  We indeed, have or are sharing the commonness of possessing uniquely distinguishable attributes.  Where this is not the case, then human behavioral characteristics would not be universally recognizable as uniquely separate and the simple adjective, individual and its supplementary cognates, would have no referenced or understandable meanings.   

Despite the broad-spectrum of agreement that reflects the general idea that most individuals exhibit a tendency of being extraordinarily  intelligent and competent to communicate and placate reasonable common practices on their own, unfortunately most of their efforts only result in creating or contributing to an undesired chaos.

 Therefore, one of the most ultimate objectives of the ethereal community or spiritual structures, the church, is to assist in ensuring that the state of balance, growth, and maintenance is continued within this physical society to assure a continued existence and promulgation of the human species.   

Unique differences do exist.  External negative factors  and the disproportionate presence of human values, illuminates the church, per se, as endeavoring to moderate the corpus of divergent human values and objectives with an intended hope of extending and bettering human society.  Hence, the pastoral ministry becomes the church’s primary ordering instrument and may be considered as a useful and constructive vocation.   

The church or ecclesiastical institution is but one agency among other ethical institutions such as business and commerce, court judicial systems, financial management corporations, and even merchandisers that exist.  While each is uniquely different, all have similar aspirations and purposeful intentions aimed at maintaining, building, and cultivating, a useful and practical universal arrangement that both molds and shapes the common society of all.  Merely addressing this common perspective regarding Ethics is not enough; the cultural perspective of Ethics too, must be addressed.

 

Ethics from a Cultural Balance Perspective 

Having considered the vastness of the anthropological species, it is apparent that the present earth has a landscape that is draped and cluttered with many disagreeing ethnic groups, opposing religious beliefs and ecologically-damaging vocational occupations.  Here, the sociological investigator or those who consider the boundaries of Ethics are met with impending difficulties in prescribing and designing an ethical system that truly benefits all and agitates none.  This sort of scenario offers an opportunity to introduce the utilitarian model of Ethics in a cultural perspective.   

Harsanyi (1986) states, “The fundamental assumption of utilitarian  theory is that we ought to choose our  moral standards by rational criteria…that we ought to choose the moral standards of the highest expected social utility” (Harsanyi, 1986, p 1).  While the previous statement of Harsanyi (1986) does indeed, suggest an idealistic prescriptive remedy for what one should do in the instance of possessing an innate sense of “oughtness”, one quickly realizes that such a solution is not readily practical or socially accommodating  because of the many differing cultural variances that do exist.   

Again, in employing the “oughtness” concept, additional accumulative difficulties tend to surface; language barriers, societal customs, and religious beliefs, are often the most prevalent conflicts when considering utilitarianism.  Despite this state of disunity, communication  becomes an indispensable component regarding helping to balance the great cultural divide.  Queries like “Whose global government is the most appropriate for all people?”  “What political persuasion truly benefits everyone?” and “Whose academic description of Ethics is most readily to be believed?”   

Societies have yet arrived at a most adoptable solution and the continual presence and practice of effective communication skills has helped leaders to sustain an operable state despite the world’s multi-faceted assortment of values, ideas, and objectives. 

Ethics from a Communal Perspective 

Imaginatively, there is an illustrative philosophical axiom that relates to the idea that if the physical world has sufficient amenities to sustain an individual people, then it must certainly also possess the capacity to sustain a corpus that contains every person.  Revisiting the three components that are useful in maintaining an equitable balance of values against the intended objectives of all humanity, a simple and practical solution is to begin to view the world’s populace as a single immense community.   

Although varying, culturally, and ethnically different, these observed differences truly make life an ongoing enterprise.  Irrational creatures, being much more numerous and less adept in the skills of intelligence and transforming abilities, do exist in harmony.  Humans, too, can co-exist peacefully if they would exercise their skills regarding communication.  Many instances of miscommunication have ignited wars, isolated cultures, and decimated whole societies.   

Sensibly, if the balance of human society is to continue, then more effective ways of ethical communication must be employed to retain the delicate arrangement of human society.  Two inquiries to consider are; “What becomes of a society that lacks a set of Ethics to enhance its development?” and “What benefit does a set of ethical axioms do when an intelligent species has annihilated itself do to the lack of communication?”  This scenario depicts that practical Ethics is not only possible but a necessity. 

Please provide your personal or professional insight on the subject discussed.

(c) 2014 by Bruce Martin

About the Guest Blogger

bruce

Rev. Bruce Martin is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and is a licensed and ordained minister of 35 years.  He is a now-retired mechanical designer from the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Rev. Martin attended the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia as a Civil Engineering major in 1974.  He presently holds a Bachelors Degree in Systematic Theology from the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.  

He also completed graduate studies in Divinity at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  Presently, Rev. Martin is a 3rd year doctoral candidate in Education at the Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.  Rev. Martin was formerly the Senior Pastor of the Oakland Baptist Church in Louisville.  While residing there, he taught New Testament Theology at Simmons College.

Reference

Harsanyi, J. C. (1986). Individual utilities and utilitarian ethics (pp. 1-12).  Physica-Verlag HD.

Living A Leader’s Life

 

swing-dancersDuring our last Caribbean cruise together, my wife Estraletta and I made it a nightly routine to eat a formal dinner together with new friends, enjoy a nightly session of Latin dancing in a new cultural setting, and end the night in a variety of dancing venues, from contemporary to the classic waltz.

I must admit what captured my attention on the dance floor was watching senior citizens who were African-Americans dance the swing with so much precision and accuracy.   I was amazed to see an elderly man who was riding in a mobile cart, stumble on to the dance floor with some assistance, grab a senior citizen woman and swing her around the dance floor til there was no end.

With his knack of swing dancing, he found himself the bell of the ball. Women were lined up to dance with him until he was exhausted.  When we returned home, we attended another social event where seniors were swinging on the dance floor.

The swing dance was not a dance choice for my generation of break dancers.  In fact, my older sister was a Baby Boomer and her generation appeared to reject swing dancing of that generation.  Therefore, I found myself intrigued and ignorant about the contributions of African-Americans  on swing dancing in American history.

In September, I will be sponsoring a swing dance through the Academy Ballroom in Knoxville in order to celebrate the art of swing and honor the contributions of African Americans in this art form. The event,” Dr. Green Presents ‘Swing at the Savoy’: a dance class series reflecting the music and dance of Harlem in the 1920s.”

 

 

The class will start on September 6th, at 6pm.  Dancing can be life changing. Paul Bottomer, author of Let’s Dance, explains the power of dancing:  “Whatever your musical taste or individual preferences, the huge variety of dance ensure that there is something to suit you. You do not need to be a good dancer to enjoy the dancing, the music, the mood, the atmosphere and, of course, the social life.”[1]

Of course, many folks will not embrace anything different.  This reaction is fine.  However, some individuals make it a habit to criticize others in the process.  Criticism can be noted as ‘the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.’

Critics come in all shape and sizes.  If you are a weak individual, you will find yourself needing to maneuver through the opinions of critics.  Different people have distinctive “locus of control” which refers to how people perceive life events.

Individuals with an external locus of control feel that things are outside of their control and can be easily manipulated by outside events. Individuals with an internal locus of control feel in control of their own fate.

Dr. Richard Draft, author of Management, notes, “People with an internal locus of control are easier to motivate because they believe the rewards are the result of their behavior.”[2]

He further explains that people with an external locus of control are harder to motivate, less involved in their jobs, and more likely to blame others.  Living life based on the opinions of others can lead individuals toward a mediocre existence. Can you afford to live a mediocre life?

Since my wife and I have started ballroom dancing, I have gained a great deal of confidence, creative brain power, and a healthier lifestyle (about 2-3 hours of dancing a week).  Perhaps, it’s interesting that guys who cannot dance are the ones who are most prone to ridicule and mock others who can.

Fortunately, good leaders understand how to inspire followers to exemplary performance even in the face of stiff criticism.  Therefore, doing things like swing dancing sets you apart as a leader guided by his or her own internal locus of control.

Discuss the concept of leading with an internal locus of control.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

 

Harlem Swing Class Final


[1]Let’s Dance  by Paul Bottomer

 

[2] Management by Richard Daft

 

 

Job Strategies for 21st Century

“Where much is given, much is required” is a theme that I have embraced since I’ve gotten some many opportunities.  Last weekend, I gave a lecture at Payne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church on job strategies for the 2st century.  I felt it was time to better educate the community about the current employment landscape.

Where are the jobs? How can individuals land one? As we left 2011, many individual’s job opportunities faded away. There are over 15 million unemployed in our country.  Our community is no exception. What worked in the past for job prospects will not work during this economic crisis.

As the economic downturn continues to worsen for today’s workers, individuals need to refocus their strategies as they witness the last era of the full-time workforce. Sadly, things will never be the same for most employees. Companies chase emerging markets abroad.

According to government estimates, an additional 1.2 million manufacturing jobs will disappear in America by 2018.  According to a USA Today analysis, part-time work is at a record high while overtime is at an all-time low.

An average of just 33 hours was recorded for the average worker in May 2009; it was fewer hours than any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics begun to track it in 1964. In fact, over 9 million people want to work full-time but can only find part-time employment. 

Most job seekers do not understand that the employment rules have changed. In a survey of 1,729 human resource professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management in partnership with AON Consulting, 60 percent of the survey participants said that the skill levels of today’s job applicants do not meet job demands. Forty-three percent said that current employees do not have skills levels to meet job requirements.

At the church, I attempted to share some of the emerging job strategies to apply during this financial crisis. These strategies were identified in my book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century. With an academic mindset and community concern, I feel we can assist the community with the current unemployment problems in our area.  Knowledge is key! Below are some of these recommendations to consider:  

 

  • Personal Branding.  Individuals should set themselves apart with a personal brand.  Your personal brand should define, promote, and protect your image online and off-line. Develop a unique skill or talent that is very valuable in your discipline.
  • Core Competencies. Those individuals with the right skills and abilities will never lose out on potential opportunities. Employers are looking for workers with the right skill set. 
  • Good Communications.  Individuals need to be able to articulate their thoughts (oral and written). In the future, mastering a foreign language will be a trademark for progressive and successful Americans.
  • Critical Thinking. A person can increase his longevity in the workforce by looking critically at problems. Today’s employers are looking for innovators and creators, not just employees.
  • Strategic Alliances & Networking.  Individuals should move beyond networking to strategic alliances. A strategic alliance is agreement for cooperation among two or more people to work together toward common objectives.  Therefore, strategic alliance is not a self-serving function.
  • Flexibility.  Being a person who is mobile and adaptable will be an asset during these uncertainty times.

 

Although many people feel very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Bestselling Scifi author H.G. Wells explained, “’We were making the future,’ he said, and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is’.”

By taking control of one’s career strategy, individuals are taking a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs.

 

State your experience with this topic.  What additional job strategies would you suggest for unemployed individuals?

 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                    

 

 

 

Building a High Performing Team

 

West 4 x 400 Relay Champion

I sit in the bleachers anticipating what will happen next. I’m at the Tennessee State Championship, watching my son’s high school team compete.  It’s the girl’s day to challenge for a title.   I thought it was a highly unlikely event since the girl team had only seven girls competing (two freshmen, two  sophomores, one junior, and two seniors); they were completing against larger schools with more athletes.  It was the classic matchup of Goliath and David.

At the final event of the night (4 x 400 relay), Brentwood was leading by two points. The West Relay team (which included two freshmen, one sophomore, and one senior) finished fifth in the preliminaries.  Things were different in the finals. The girls ran like they were on fire. West’s Tamara Hundley noted, “Coach Crocket told us we needed to win this event to win State. We were not going to be denied.” In an electric finish, senior runner Maddie Treasure ran the anchor leg, came from behind and winning
the event in 3:56.82. It was their best time of the season and provided the team with another successful year. Knoxville West had won its second consecutive Class AAA team title by edging out superpower Brentwood High (62.5 points to 54 points) with the guttiest performance of the night.  Winning only one individual event, the team systematically scored in each event.  The
determination paid off.

The Magnificent Seven (Maddie Treasure, Riley Campbell, Maya Barreso, Kayla Newsby, Shantyra Delaney, Kaylah Whaley, and
Tamara Hundley) had found another way to win its fourth state championship. Celebrating that night, I ran into a rival coach from another area; the coach had won a state track title before, edging out West High to win.  He was disgusted that a girl’s track team
could score just 60 points and win a state championship.  Of course, it was easy for me to figure. I had watched the coaches over several years.  Will Jay and Mike Crocket had developed a masterful strategy of maximizing their team’s potential (this year they participated in 11 of 19 events) and creating a high-performing team.

Coach Crocket stated, “This is about the guttiest bunch I’ve ever had….We lost 50 points from last year’s team and had a
lot of injuries. These girls laid it all on the line.”  With collegiate All-American hurdler Jackie Coward of University of Central Florida graduated from the program, many people figured the West track would fade into the wilderness like so many other
programs.  The effort of this track program demonstrates the importance of developing a high-performing
organization to sustain success in the future.

High-performing organizations offer a distinct competitive advantage. A high-performing organization is one that is “intentionally designed to bring out the best in people and thereby produces organization capacity that delivers sustainable leadership business results.”  Most organizations want to boast about their superior performance in relationships to their competitors. Yet, when a litmus test is used, many come far short of this declaration to their customers.

When individuals work together, organizations often perform better. Therefore, working toward a shared vision and belief system are critical steps.  Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, note the importance of good group dynamics: “People working in a group are able to produce more or higher-quality outputs than would have been produced if each
person had worked separately and all their individual efforts were later combined.”

The authors further suggest a competitive advantage for organizations working in groups and teams; the organization should aim to:(a) enhance its performance; (b) increase its responsiveness to customers; (c) increase innovation;  and (d) increase employees’ motivation and satisfaction. Yet, building a high-performing organization is no easy task.  Many organizations have faltered
in thinking that simply optimizing their resources with “good management” and utilizing good technology are enough to stimulate high performance.

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, it’s not only about good processes; it’s about putting a good team together.  Gary
Lewis, President of Resource Development Systems, LLC, argues that creating high-performing organizations is about managing people: “What differentiates the high-performing organization is not how well they have dealt with their process issues, but how well they have dealt with their people issues.”  Lewis notes some key elements for high-performing organization, such as people, vision, leadership, core competencies, innovation, trust, and personal responsibility.

 As organizations retool for the future, organizational performance will be a key topic for senior executives. The article demonstrated the importance of high-performing organizations for future sustainability. Every organization wants to attain
high performance; sadly, many organizations are simply clueless about how to do so.

Like the Knoxville West girls’ track team, organizations must find ways to overcome challenges so that they can become successful. People are a critical element to this organizational performance puzzle. Therefore, leveraging people is as important as managing resources in order to sustain high performance in organizations over the long term.

 © 2011 by Daryl D. Green