Friday Five, June 26

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a Friday Five, so here goes.

First, in the following quote, we have the author pointing to the character of a preacher. Here’s an excerpt from The Preacher’s Character, by Rick Gamble:

The Apostle Paul demonstrated how we can love God and others in our speech. He used words that could sting and rebuke as well as heal and comfort. His ministry was one of words—speaking God’s very own Word. His companion Luke painted a moving portrait that connected the importance of a minister’s words with his ministry and gives great insight on the preacher’s character.

Paul had ministered the word successfully in Ephesus and called for the finest fruit of that work, the elder preachers, to come and hear his final advice (Acts 20:17–38). Paul gave an account of his work in Ephesus from the first day of his significant three year ministry there. From Paul’s standpoint, his ministry was dangerous (with plots), intense (with tears), and exhausting (night and day). His manner of conduct was to serve with all humility (v. 19); he coveted no one’s silver or gold (v. 33); and he worked hard to provide for himself (v. 34).

This text was not autobiography but was written about Paul from Luke’s perspective and guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus, we have one great minster’s commentary on another. Luke’s message was that Paul’s manner of life was important to the overall context of his ministry.

My take on this: if character is important the overall context of ministry, then the same can be said for Christian business owners as well as those who engage in leadership positions in any society, such as politics.

At least 125 million women and girls have experienced Female Genital Mutilation. The human trafficking industry is estimated to be a $32B/year industry with over 27,000,000 people – 80% women – forced into the sex and labor slave industries. These are serious, serious issues. Many American women get angry and outraged when someone wants to limit abortions to 20 weeks – yet there are just as many women world-wide as there are in the United States who will either never experience an orgasm or who get raped multiple times every day. I’ll leave this to you to draw your own conclusions.

In his book, Niall Ferguson writes:

The rule of law has many enemies. One of them is bad law. (Ferguson, Niall (2013-06-13). The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die (p. 59). Penguin Group)

This story is a great example of how bad law – laws that are poorly written or poorly thought through – are the real enemies of freedom and liberty.

Lastly, I recommend every person reading this blog go out and purchase Niall’s book and read it. I have read it (along with others) during my sabbatical from this blog. He articulates well what I have been saying poorly, but for many years now:

The heart of the matter is the way public debt allows the current generation of voters to live at the expense of those as yet too young to vote or as yet unborn. In this regard, the statistics commonly cited as government debt are themselves deeply misleading, for they encompass only the sums owed by governments in the form of bonds. The rapidly rising quantity of these bonds certainly implies a growing charge on those in employment, now and in the future, since  – even if the current low rates of interest enjoyed by the biggest sovereign borrowers persist  – the amount of money needed to service the debt must inexorably rise. But the official debts in the form of bonds do not include the often far larger unfunded liabilities of welfare schemes like  – to give the biggest American programmes  – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The best available estimate for the difference between the net present value of federal government liabilities and the net present value of future federal revenues is $ 200 trillion, nearly thirteen times the debt as stated by the US Treasury. Notice that these figures, too, are incomplete, since they omit the unfunded liabilities of state and local governments, which are estimated to be around $ 38 trillion. These mind-boggling numbers represent nothing less than a vast claim by the generation currently retired or about to retire on their children and grandchildren, who are obliged by current law to find the money in the future, by submitting either to substantial increases in taxation or to drastic cuts in other forms of public expenditure.


I want to suggest that the biggest challenge facing mature democracies is how to restore the social contract between the generations. But I recognize that the obstacles to doing so are daunting. Not the least of these is that the young find it quite hard to compute their own long-term economic interests. It is surprisingly easy to win the support of young voters for policies that would ultimately make matters even worse for them, like maintaining defined benefit pensions for public employees. If young Americans knew what was good for them, they would all be fans of Paul Ryan.* A second problem is that today’s Western democracies now play such a large part in redistributing income that politicians who argue for cutting expenditures nearly always run into

If you took the time to read these quotes, then I thank you. Now, go out and read the book. Niall is spot on: In America, we are stealing from our children and grand-children to live beyond our means. This is sin on several levels. It will not last forever. The party will end one day, either by choice or by a collapse of our economy. We Americans think of ourselves as having the greatest nation on earth. But right now, I would postulate that we are also the dumbest – racking up trillions in debt that we can never hope to repay.


Bill English, CEO