Monday, September 28, 2009

from iMonk to Orthoduck, an amusing little entry

I have been reading Internet monk for years, about seven years I guess. And through Internet Monk's writings I have come across Father Ernesto (aka Orthoduck) a Cuban Orthodox priest. Since I have family and some friends who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy I like to have some idea how things look within Eastern Orthodoxy, and so I read Orthoduck. I may tilt Presbyterian personally but I have taken what many would consider the dastardly approach of assuming, until substantial evidence proves otherwise, that Arminians and Orthodox and, yeah, Catholics are also practicing Christians who believe that Jesus is the Christ and salvation is through Him. So, having established that ... here's a bit from Pournelle on bureaucracy:

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

This is true of bureaucracies all around and can certainly be true of churches. There are people who work to further the actual goals of the body of Christ as given by Christ and then there are those who work for the good of the church as an entity. Ideally both types of people in bureacracies can and do work for the common good but since we live in a fallen world the second category of person invariably conflates his or her work with the work of the first group and may even see the work of the first group as detrimental to the good of the institution, er, "movement". :)

But both kinds of people ARE needed in organizations. Despite the popular American imagination that the maverick is the one who must buck the system because the system doesn't work the truth is that in most cases even broken systems are better than no system at all. Americans are too eager to complain about how average everyone else is without realizing the valient struggle to attain the merely average is the human condition. No, you're not John Galt, especially if you think he's a role model on the orders of a Proverbs 31 woman. It is not impossible for the actual teacher to become a bureacrat and it is not impossible for the bureaucrat to someday become an actual teacher. It doesn't seem likely, I admit, but stranger things have happened.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a poem written in a cranky mood

People who savor their integrity
as if they were drinking a famous wine,
and singing its praise with alacrity,

These people are like clouds that bring no rain,
Stars that have veered off their course in the sky,
they cherish their integrity in vain.

A star that falls from the sky is as true
to itself as one that has never strayed
and thinks to itself, "I am just as good, too."

Yet we know that a star that falls to the earth
is a shooting star, and not a real star.
It is only a star in death, not birth

And to say this as it falls through the sky
would prompt it to say, "You can only lie."