Friday, January 27, 2012

I do not think it means what you think it means....

So in the past week I have seen a few stories in the news about how atheists are trying to remove icons or displays of a religious (mainly Christian) nature for public display and/or property. The basic claim is that be being subjected to the sight of these displays, it is a violation of their right to privacy or mental well being or some such. They don't like it, they don't agree with it, and it is being forced into their daily lives without their say-so.

Well I'll tell you what, when I can get 90% of the radio stations and music and tv and movies that I have to see media for or listen to in my daily life banned from public display, than great. Until then, buzz off.

As Americans we have the right to free speech, right up until it infringes on someone else's rights of privacy (I.E. I told their big dark secret), personal safety (what I say somehow harms them, see verbal assault), mourning (I'm looking at you, Westboro Baptist.), or good name (slander, libel, etc). Other wise I get a free pass.

"Oh, but we have freedom from religion!"

Wait... what?! Freedom FROM Religion? That is the most absurd load of crap I have heard in a while.

First off, our founding fathers were deeply religious men of faith. The whole reason many of the original colonies were found was for religious freedom. They were being oppressed by the Anglican church and so they went to were the church had hard time following. And just to be sure, lets look at what our Constitution says...

Amendment I.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Can't force a state religion, or make a religion of higher standing with the state), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (can't make a law stopping the worship or exercises of a faith (note, again, this is unless it interferes with an individual right. That virgin sacrifice to Satan? It's murder. The infant sacrifice to Moloch? Murder. The ritual beating or honor killing of young woman because she was raped? Assault or Murder.); or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So to recap: You can't force me to worship Allah if I don't wanna, (see what I did there? Eh? Eh?....Ahem) and you can't stop me from worshiping Jesus if I choose to. The ONLY cause the government has to regulate my free worship is if I infringe on someones right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. you don't like my church? You don't have to come in, you are free to pursue your happiness elsewhere. Note, you (and I) do not have the right to happiness, simply the right to pursue it. Believe me, if I had a right to happiness, Justin Bieber and the Twilight series would have been removed eons ago.

That said, I can avoid what I don't like most of the time, and when I can't, I suck it up and soldier on because living with free speech means that once in a while you get offended. Deal with it.

Many of our laws have a direct basis in ancient Judaic law. There is a reason the Ten Commandments were prominent in many places of law, it reminds us of our legislative history.

The Cross is not only a reminder of the sacrifice of Christ for our sins, but that God showed mercy on sinful man, and is calling on us to show mercy and love to our fellow man.

And if you don't hold them as important, then ignore them. There are cheap displays that feed the idle fancies of those of us who have faith. But find them offensive? I find most of the crap filling our airwaves offensive, but I will fight to the end to protect the right to broadcast it.

Freedom from religion? Try freedom for religion.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How not to kill your co-worker...

Yesterday was Annoying Co-Workers last day. As per usual, he was annoying. But I find it bothersome that I did not have a lot of time to be the better co-worker with him that I *could* have been. I know I tried to be better, but now I won't see the fruit of that work.

It's frustrating.

I wonder if that is part of what let to Paul needing to chastise the Church in Corinth. I say part because the church obviously had other issues, but look at 1 Corinthians chapter 3. Paul and Apollos both were large figures in the church there, and I imagine that there were elders who commanded some similar respect. Both had somehow, and almost certainly without their consent, attracted a set of followers who held them as the "Giver of the *true* faith." People wanted to be better, but they felt they needed this person or that person around to feed the drive to be better, and when the person left, they responded by having that person there in their minds, substituting God with a man. They figured that if they always based their actions on how they perceived Paul (or Apollos) would want them to, then they would become good people. And of course, they would never ever convince themselves that their ideal mentor would allow them to do something that they felt might be just over the line of sin. Oh no, never.

Paul, of course, smacks this down hard. He approaches the issue from another angle, properly humbling himself and Apollos in comparison to God, and equating himself as a servant with the believers in Corinth. it is pretty hard to look at an equal and worship them.

Of course, the difference here is that the believers in Corinth wanted to become better by who they followed, and I wanted to become better by who I was nice to.

I think I may have come at this the wrong way, or rather with the wrong focus. I don't need to be a better co-worker to Annoying Guy, though that is true, but I need to be a better Servant. Whether it's to the co-workers I like, the ones I don't like, my supervisor, my boss, or the people on the other end of the phone who I just wanna strangle, I need to serve them, not hold one or two up as the person(s) I will be better with, and thereby be a better Christian because of it. If I choose to focus on Joe Schmoe and not give the same love and service and respect to everyone else, I have failed to serve Christ, which was the whole point to begin with.

It would be easy to call this semantics, and I know that. There are legitimate times where I need to work on my relationship with a given individual. But not with the intent of being a better christian. It must be because I am compelled to serve Christ. Not to serve my own self interest.

In the service of Christ, we may never see the fruit of our work until the end of days. And if we aren't okay with that on some level, then you might need, I might need, to re-evaluate what we worship, and who we are really trying to serve.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Putting on your game face.

I remember reading a while back that Aflac had just hired a new voice actor to replace the guy who voiced the Aflac duck. "Strange," thought I, "What happened to the old guy?" Turns out the old voice actor had made some insensitive comments, quite publicly, regarding the tsunami that hit Japan. Japan actually holds a large percentage of Aflac's customer base, and so it was quite an embarrassing to have their "Spokesperson" as it were to diminish them so. He was canned, and now we have a new voice for the duck.

How many times can you think of that someone did something publicly that cost them their job? Their reputation? Their family?

Take a minute and list them out. I'll wait.



Done? Good.

How long did it take for them fall apart? Why was it a bad thing to do? Was their an overreaction on the part of the boss or family?

Life gives us so many ways this can happen, it is hard to quantify every possible variable. But I have a tale of woe that might put things in perspective.

If you are not a geek or a nerd, you likely are not familiar with this story. It starts out last November when a guy who for this story is going by Dave tried to order a special game controller. The controller itself is not really the issue here, it simply serves as the item in question, a MacGuffin, if you will. Dave pays for this controller, and is told he can expect it early December. Great! Christmas item checked off the list.

Or... not. It is late arriving, so he emails the companies PR and Customer Service group to inquire about the delay.

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 16, 2011, at 1:34 PM
I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx—Nov 3, 2011). Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I’m not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of “Early December” be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays.
-Dave

 This group is called Ocean Marketing. A man named Paul responds, quite poorly, with this: "Dec 17."
How very... concise.


From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 19, 2011, at 11:02 AM
Thanks for the reply Paul.  Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out?  I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information.

Note the date and time stamp for the sending of this email. Since the reply from Paul was dearly lacking in information, Dave was grasping at straws as to why he did not have his products.

From here, the situation quickly falls apart. A few messages down the chain Paul degenerates the value of Dave's patronage, pretty much saying that they don't need his business, they items will sell anyway.

This is when all heck breaks loose. Dave replies, copying the whole chain of emails, and includes Kotaku, Penny-Arcade, and a few other news sites.

And then the vitriol really starts to flow.

Eventually Mike, the owner of Penny-Arcade and of the PAX Gamers con (Penny Arcade eXpo) gets into it, and then after tiring of trying to show Paul the error of his ways posts the entire E-Mail chain on his website.
I am not going to give you the whole chain here, you can read it at this link.

How long did it take for Paul's life to fall apart?

Thirteen and a half hours.  You can check the time stamp on the posts.

The customer may not always be right, but he is always going to talk about bad service. A customer will tell others about a bad experience far more often than they will a good one, and believe me, some of them can get vindictive when they do it.

I have a had a series of calls at work regarding a service that two employees feel one of them should have. I offered to them the only way I know to get that service. One of them, who is not a small player in the company, was not thrilled with my response. My answer was essentially, "Well, sir, this is the way I know how to do it. I simply don't have another answer for you." I could have left it at that, but I decided to check with my dept manager. I related the whole situation and he told me "No, you did it right, but why isn't he wanting to use the process?" And so on and so forth. I ended up calling back to offer some more ideas, which I hope left a good impression instead of the roadblock they could have perceived before. maybe it didn't help. I don't know. But I tried.

Paul... is so far out of the path of good customer service I wouldn't hire him to be a punching bag for angry buyers. He would probably be so dense they would hurt themselves.

Please, whatever your job is, work on being good at customer relations. Without them, you don't have a job.



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