Labor of love? Ministry and the new labor regulations

                 I’ve been hearing rumors of the new regulations starting up December 1st with the Fair Labor Act. It has been hearsay up until last week when I finally got to hear from our Diocese about the matter. I am dismayed at what this means for our Church and field. 
                Churches can’t afford to pay overtime but the amount of time a dedicated minister needs to complete their job is so much more. For those of us who are salaried, we know our bills are paid and time is given by those who drive hard to accomplish what needs to be done. 70-100 hour weeks are not out of the ordinary during the year and a self regulated average of 50 per week is necessary. Measuring out the ebb and flow from week to week would create shortfalls in a personal budget. 
                A church cannot afford to pay that overtime and if they do, the weekly average would be minimal. We are cutting out those who are going above the typical “40 hour work week” which anyone in ministry would know as necessary to accomplish ministry. This is not a typical job. 
                Getting a full time job to open up at many parishes for youth is hard enough before you create disincentives to hire with this. No church is going to pay a full-time salaried staff $47,476 and anyone held to 40 hours is chained. A 25-45k price point is healthy and palatable for our industry. The average youth minister is making 34k nationally already which speaks to what parishes are willing and able to pay. 
                I think this is a disaster for church staff, in particular youth ministers and religious ed directors. I don’t think we should roll over on this and need to make some push back. I don’t think our Church needs more inhibitors but we do need to create the right opportunities and incentives to hire well tuned professionals. Lest we continue the brain drain. This regulation is poorly conceived even for the business world but it certainly wasn’t written with us as a thought. Those who are advocates for such a change will argue that this is a step in the right direction for social justice yet this is a very real example on why it is not. One size does not fit all. I’m sure those in the non-profit world would surely agree but I would love to hear their thoughts as well. Much of this can even apply to entrepreneurs and self-starting employees looking to go places.
                I’ve called my Congressman and the White House already. I suggest we consider a larger pushback. Are there any plans or petitions to stand against this? Would you push back?

Bernie Sanders and the Magical Taco

We’re in the heat of the campaign season and sure enough the election is all the talk. A friend of mine posted a funny meme video on Facebook regarding Bernie Sanders, I thought it was spot on. It’s a clip with the title, “Your Average Bernie Sanders Supporter” and the woman on the clip wants stuff. Where is her stuff? For stupid political poking, it’s spot on. So, tongue in cheek, I left a comment, “Where is my stuff?”. Sure enough I get a response back from someone, “Eh, You say “Free stuff’, the rest of the world says “human right”. Tomato, Tom-ah-to right?”


While this comes from the pit of useless banter and trolls,  I think this quote actually represents a problem that we have. While I can’t blame this person for shooting off a dumb line in a Facebook comment section on a silly clip, I see this as a frequent theme from Bernie supporters. Instead of saying, “Hey I want someone else to pay for this,” they will call whatever they want a “right” therefore it should be provided. At least you can’t blame the former for being dishonest.

I’d love to see where it is actually written that a Free College Education or Healthcare is a right, because it’s not. Not in the U.S. Constitution or Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You don’t have the right for someone else to pay for your right. No one is going to pay for your right to free speech by purchasing your newspaper or publishing your book. No one will pay for your gun but you do have the right to buy one for yourself. The same way, you can certainly go ahead and purchase health insurance and invest in a college degree. No-one is telling you that you don’t have the right to receive either one of those things.

Even for those who struggle, there are safety nets and opportunities to achieve through Medicare and Medicaid for health and scholarships and grants for college.

Like a genie however, they are in the business of making wishes, I mean progress, *ahem* rights. So in the spirit of feeling the Bern, I shall write a new rights platform. I nearby decree that all persons living are entitled to free tacos.

Better yet, I believe someone else should make them for us. Because we have none and I don’t want the responsibility of going to the store, buying ingredients, learning the recipe or taking the time and effort to actually make one myself. It takes time, effort, and I would have to buy the tools to make it. Added expense that just isn’t fair. And I want the best.

Chipotle makes the best tacos and as a corporation they can afford to give them away. They are in the business to make a profit and that isn’t fair to us. Why should they develop the recipe, invest in the talent, and plan out success just to charge us? They should be sharing the wealth not make us pay an incredible $8. I mean, the pizza place down the street charges $3 for theirs. This is just greed.

And one more thing since we’re in the dream, I mean progress, I mean rights business, why don’t we get that extra guacamole that makes them even better.. that everyone charges extra for because of cost… free. Pile it on thick and no big deal if you waste some by dropping it on the floor. Why? Cause we have no vested interest and we want the freedom from responsibility! *enter some European millennial anthem and wave the flag of social equality*

Bernie Sanders represents an unhealthy growing strain in America, separate from the usual corruption and complaints that breaks up our faith in government. Uncle Bernie authentically believes what he says and I do believe that he wants the best for people. What he and his supporters don’t realize, is their socialism kills the freedom to success and failure, which are both linked at the hip and leads to just failure. It leads to theft, jealousy, and tyranny. Where true capitalism expresses free will. The problem with Bernie is not that he wants to help people, the problem is he is wrong on how and he’s especially wrong for America.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Part 2: Liberty… and socialism.

This is the second of a three part series on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness continuing with liberty. The first of which can be found here. Coming from the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, these inalienable rights for all make up the foundation of our society. Not to be viewed as an ancient scroll but a living manifesto of the U.S., it is something that any shade of American can hold as their own. Left or Right, all people in the melting pot can subscribe to this. The Constitution is what sets it in practice. While the Constitution has mechanisms to adapt to the times, its strength comes from being nearly timeless. It’s important to note that these rights are not given by man but by the Creator or for you atheists out there, nature. The point is still sound; the Founders recognized a truth, a truth that mankind’s basic rights are not subject to the will of those who hold power. These are your rights. You own them. The original entitlement. This is what makes us, U.S.. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them for yourself and those around you.

In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”  — Thatcher

The rise of socialism in America has been a troubling sight. I’m not talking about the classic Soviet styled socialism of the Cold War, its raw face, but the contemporary European counterpart the West’s Left have turned to. Chic, enticing, and well polished. After all, why not be social? Everyone is social. We’re on social media and we socialize our kids and puppies. If you’re not social, then you are unsocial. Nobody wants that. So why not have our government reflect that? I mean, the Left is dipping in so why shouldn’t I? #feelthebern right?

Marx laid the roots for socialism and communism out of critique for capitalism. The perfected plan for socialism is to level the playing field for all equally. Ownership rights are shared among the masses. Intellectual property is shared among the masses. Wealth is shared among the masses. Production is shared among the masses. Social rights over personal rights. While the democratic socialism Bernie Sanders advocates sounds good (well, anything free from Santa Claus sounds good), it is inherently dangerous for many reasons but two should be highlighted:

  1. It robs the citizen of responsibility
  2. It robs the citizen of the option to fail

This creates a culture of dependency and complacency. While healthy social nets are important for us to take care of the least of these, capable adults should be taking care of themselves. Capitalism maximizes independence. Free markets are responsible for lifting the largest amount of people out of poverty. Entrepreneurship and corporate business are the source that generates wealth and innovation in which people rise. Ideals which don’t find a home in socialist societies. Adam Smith wrote of the “invisible hand” of the market which affects everyone. People have buy-in because it’s necessary for them to take care of their needs.

There is no perfect system because of our human condition. Capitalism, like every system has people who lose out. This is especially true when it is tainted by poor regulation and cronyism with government. However the ills of capitalism are nothing compared with the ills of a social state.

Socialism, an economic system, has an accompanying political system that is always its wingman. The political system doesn’t support the inalienable rights Americans have because they create a roadblock for social success. The socialist will seek to undermine them, often arguing for other rights in their place. Progressives use socialist policies which exaggerate governmental involvement to solve problems and has been creeping onto the American scene for a long time. Governments are not inherently evil or incapable, however they can easily drift that way when given too much control and the right mix of hubris enters the mix. It’s important to see it ahead of time to prevent it from occurring. History is an important lesson.

A healthy Federal system will maintain a system of checks and balances among itself, its people, and its economy. A person or corporation that breaks the rules can be punished and the system is realigned. However when the government is out of line and balance, what will realign it?

The default human government throughout history has been some shade of tyranny. Kings, queens, despots, and dictators have ruled throughout history. If the rulers were too harsh and motivated a rebellion, the victors would replace one autocrat for another. People from every continent have submitted to the powerful in every age. Athens, Rome, the Republic of Venice, and the Weimar Republic are some examples democracy and republicanism giving way to dominating imperial forces. Each with it’s own history worthy of study, yet one thing ties them together, their cultural rot. The plebeians stopped caring about their power in the system, getting lost in their comfort. Often the fall of democracy was met with thunderous applause without knowing (or knowing) that a knife was held to their back.

The basic fact that in Germany only a minority (not necessarily from the aristocracy or moneyed class) understands anything of life and knows how to lead  it — a fact that, incidentally, makes the country inherently unsuitable for democratic government.”  – Sebastian Haffner’s real time reflection on the rise of the Nazi’s in his book “Defying Hitler” written in 1939.

The U.S. was formed as a response to the historical default. We rejected the autocrats then as we should now. Socialism by its very nature seeks to dampen liberty. While our Constitution was ahead of its age at conception, the U.S. has grown into its shoes. The Constitution created the frame our country has needed to prevent it from returning to the default of authoritative rule and it is this framework that defends us from usurpation. Unfortunately it cannot defend itself, so I hope my case does it justice in an uncertain climate.

A civilized debate on marriage with two opposing sides…

The debate over marriage is a hot topic today with a varying degree of opinions and passions. One of the problems with this debate is a lack of civility on both sides. The following is a reposting from a Facebook post my friend Kevin Kerr put up shortly after the SCOTUS decision. I decided to engage him in an exchange that I feel represents two opposing sides. I enjoyed this debate for many reasons, mainly because Kevin is an adept debater, but it also shows how discourse can be intelligent and respectful. He definitely kept me on my toes. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have. Remember that no matter what side you’re coming from, respect and love the other. Public discourse will determine the future. Let’s go.

Kevin Kerr – (Original post) Marriage equality wins. But seriously, can you really argue against it? I mean, beyond personal feelings or opinions, just straight up logical argument, how could you possibly deny marriage to only certain pairings of consenting, adult humans?

Kevin Kerr –  I’m openly welcoming polite discourse. Let me exercise this brain of mine.

Adam Jarosz  – Hello good sir, I’m back! I love me some polite discourse. 

This is the biggest change in human society and family make up in possibly, forever. This is a Christian, Judeo, Islamic, (insert any other non-western culture) foundation that has been the cornerstone of all societies for all time. Marriage as defined between man&woman has been the optimal creator of the family unit, which progresses the survival of the population.

With the age old standard out of the way, any love is up for grabs. It’s all relative. Who’s to say you can’t marry more than one? It’s love. Marry a relative? It’s love. Marry an underager. It’s love. Marry a shoe? It’s love.

I don’t think anyone is prepared for the ramifications of this. You won’t be able make a logical argument against any of them in the future. As long as you say it’s a civil right, tell anyone against you that they’re a bigot, and get enough people on your side you can get anything done.

We believe marriage is more than just a feeling of love. It’s the gold standard for procreation, society, and a sacrament of our Creator. I think the biggest question out of all of this is, what is truth?

Kevin Kerr – The slippery slope arguement is null when marriage equality is viewed in this way: Two male consenting, human adults A and B and two female consenting, human adults C and D are available for marriage. Does it seem logical to say that only the combinations AC, AD, BC, and BD are permissible while AB and CD are not?

Your tradition cannot dictate the behavior of others who do not keep that tradition.

If procreation is the intent of marriage, then the infertile and the elderly could not marry.

Adam Jarosz – I appreciate your feedback. You make good points that I enjoy reflecting on. I want to clear something up, no one is looking to keep homosexuals from having a fulfilling life as they wish. I’m certainly not advocating a second class citizenship. Homosexuals do contribute to society in positive ways. No one serious is saying to ban gays or keep them in the closet. I wish nothing but the best for LBGT but I do take issue directly and specifically with the role of marriage.

Here’s what I don’t understand, you are taking something that was objectively true, marriage as known through history as between m&w and making it subjective. It’s been that way through every major religion and culture. A horse is called different names in various cultures but it’s still a horse. Where the LBGT movement all of a sudden comes in with a cow and calls it a horse. Sure it has four legs, ears, and eats grass, but it still moos.

I understand that gays want to love the way they wish, no one is saying they can’t do that in society. They could spend the rest of their lives together before all this was in place and I applaud the move from the shadows. I was ok with civil unions to equal out insurance and benefits for partners. Yet the movement wanted something that was intrinsically different and by calling the cow a horse, they got what they wanted. Thousands of years changed in a matter of a decade or two by one of the smallest percentages in the population. Who are they to change it? As a strategist, I applaud the design. Make it civil rights issue, again another cow. Push it through media and youth and make it a populist movement. Call out those in opposition intolerant to neutralize them. Who wants to be intolerant?

Instead of owning the differences and claiming that it’s the same, the movement burned a lot of bridges by encroaching on something sacred held by religions. That’s not good enough however, lawsuit after lawsuit for those who hold on to those beliefs in the wedding business and more create animosity. How did less than 2% of the population all of a sudden command the beliefs of the faithful and expect respect?

I think you are underestimating the slippery slope. If everything is subjective, then anything is permissible. I just read article on polygamy as the next horizon. There is always a next horizon. If you make the case for gay marriage, the case can be made for polygamy and more. But if you disagree with it you’re intolerant.

While I wouldn’t say two men or two women couldn’t raise successful children, research has shown that children are more successful when raised by a mother and a father. A real gender equality has significant benefits for the growth of a child. Simple online research will give you what you’re looking for in favorable samples to your cause but broad samples do show this as true. Now I don’t believe that a homosexual couple couldn’t raise a home. Like a single parent home or foster parent home it’s the exception to the rule, a child benefits from it’s genetic parents being engaged from birth. A man and woman alone can make that child, and that engine is optimal not the exception.

Kevin Kerr – You have a sacred religious viewpoint on something that is a civil matter. Religions did have a definition of marriage for a long time, but that definition was definitely subject to change over millennia, but that’s another story.

My point is you might get married in a church, but it is the state that provides the legal definition of your marriage and the benefits inherited. Your religious definition is irrelevant in the eyes of the civil courts. And inversely, allowing two people of the same sex to marry doesn’t diminish your religious definition.

Romans 13, bro. If you have to follow the laws of the government, because all governments are placed by God, then this decision is God still speaking. A reminder that the real purpose is to love one another, because love is the fulfillment of the law.

Kevin Kerr – As to the polygamy thing, I personally cannot find a moral argument against it. I can’t see why I should be against it. Polygamy was a bad practice because of the cultural aspect of it, not the moral implications of multiple spouses. The cultural practice was one of the enslavement of young girls to a figurehead husband who according to biblical scripture was the master of his household and his wives.

According to the modern customs of the polyamorous movement, men and women are held in equal regard and relationships are formed as an expression of romantic love that exceeds monogamy. I’m not talking swinger communities either. A free and equal exchange of love between multiple committed partners. I have no moral objection to that practice, as it is respectful to all parties.

Currently, though, I doubt that the definition of marriage will change to allow multiple marriages. Legal code, tax code, etc are all tied to single marriages. Allowing sane sex couples the same right to marry the people they love doesn’t shake the foundations of the laws marriages were built on, it simply broadens who gets those same rights and privileges. Shifting to a polygamous definition of marriage would require a complete overhaul of our legal code regarding marriage. Therefore it is incredibly unlikely to happen.

Kevin Kerr – And the data that children raised in households with a male and female parent have been refuted many times by science, but continue to be cited. There is no evidence that children in same sex parent households are worse off that in opposite sex parenthouseholds. In fact, some studies found the opposite correlation. Since the rate at which opposite sex couples have accidental children nears 50% and same sex couples only get children when they are emotionally or financially ready, the degree of care and happiness of the children in same sex parent households is statistically higher. (…/children-of-same-sex…/).

Furthermore, the study you reference was funded entirely by the conservative organisations that oppose same sex parenting, who needed “scientific evidence” to back up their claim. The methodology was innately biased because the data was cherry picked to support their hypothesis. (…/critics-challenge-findings…) I think the survey pool was 3000 individuals and the survey was designed to attack the deck toward their hypothesis. I’d compare it to the study that supposedly found evidence linking the MMR vaccine with autism, which was done by a man who had a patent for a different vaccine and funded by people who had a lawsuit regarding the vaccine. It’s unethical science, but because of the internet the studies keep getting used even though they’ve been proven false.

Adam Jarosz – I dare say ol chap, you are doing a service to your side. Thanks for delivering decent arguments. I appreciate you using scripture to engage from my perspective, however it is taken out of context. St. Paul is building off of Wisdom 6 when Hebrew kings and magistrates ruled by consent of God. Romans 13 is in response to a message that declared people free from law. If you check the chapter before, Romans 12:2, “you’ll see that we’re not called to conform to this age but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind, so we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 13 isn’t applicable in every subsequent scenario, like we certainly wouldn’t conform to Hitler’s Germany and explains our opposition to abortion. 

I can go on from there, but you’re not interested in hearing scripture. However you do bring up a good point I would like to elaborate on. Using that scripture does bring a great point about love. We are all called to love one another. Absolutely right and I want to make clear because this point isn’t always clear, that my opposition to gay marriage isn’t opposition to gay people. You may think the two are intrinsically linked but they’re not. We would never wish harm, physically, mentally, or otherwise to anyone of homosexual orientation and really hope for them to thrive as created. But love also doesn’t mean we accept everyones actions. Changing the definition of marriage is that action. If you want to understand the perspective of this, read the Theology of the Body.

In my research I’ve found plenty of stats and articles that can be found in favor of both ways when it comes to raising kids. Because a piece is funded by conservatives doesn’t automatically discredit them, the quality of research does. Liberals also throw an extraordinary amount of money looking for numbers to support their claims. The difference is the gay family movement doesn’t have much data to work from where there is a lot of data on the benefits of having a mother and father.

Going back to the slippery slope and polygamy because I think the perspective you’ve shared really highlights the issue at hand. What is best for society and how should it be determined? From the Judeo-Christian perspective, which the country was formed, is centered around the belief that there is a Creator. Short changing the introduction, there is an order to this culture that has been well formed and its evidence makes up this society. “Traditional” ideals such as religion, promotion of life, family structure, justice, governance, and others are fairly predictable and well established. If you share a belief in said Creator, these make sense. The order is logical.

In closing, when you remove the Creator from the equation, that order becomes disordered and may appear illogical. With the popularity of atheism rising or the growing segment of “nones”, there will be a growing conflict of world views. A culture clash. We know what a Theist America looks like. We know the bounds. You know what we stand for. An atheist America scares many because you can make the case for anything, especially given time. The US formation and manifesto doesn’t make sense. Rights are granted by men and are alienable. The old adage, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” is true.

I’ll leave you the last word good sir. The following is what I believe the conversation boils down to and starts a bigger one. I enjoyed sparring with you and I hope I made the case that there is a logic to one m&w marriage. A logic I’m sure you don’t agree with but just the same. I do respect your argument and your ability to articulate it. Cheers.

Kevin Kerr – I hold your opinions and your arguments in deep regard and respect. You’re good people, Mr Jarosz. You know the old (totally not Voltaire) quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  

Change can be scary, I get that, especially when it shakes at the foundation of the orderly structure you build your life around. I hope that if changes continue, you don’t feel too much turmoil, just as I hope to not feel the same if the rubber band of (let’s call it progress just from perspective) snaps back.

I really don’t know if you’re still local, but if you are I’d love to catch you for a “no politics and/or religion” lunch or something. You have to meet the kiddos.

Adam Jarosz – I’d love it, what are you doing on Monday for lunch?

Special thanks to Kevin for allowing me to repost. Cheers – Adam Jarosz