Questionable Contracts

 Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, Contracts, Questionable, Compromised,             It was a lovely dinner at their favorite restaurant with appetizers, wine, a beautifully presented main course and a special dessert, prearranged with the chef by John. Following a lengthy explanation the nature of commitment proclaiming his deep love for her, and a declaration of intent-to-marry, Sam dropped to one knee, gazed into Susannah’s eyes, and said those four heart throbbing words— Will you marry me?

She, of course, said yes! They were engaged. Over the next few weeks they excitedly told family and friends about their intended path toward matrimony, choose invitations, booked a place for the wedding/reception, and groveled at their parents’ feet for the $50,000 to pay for it all. They had much to discuss. Do I hear $12,000?

One night after watching a movie together, John slipped in the idea of having a prenuptial agreement, to assure their commitment would always last. Susannah was less than enthusiastic.

To be sure, contracts are meant to protect both parties in case something goes wrong with their commitment to each other. In business, that’s wise. In marriage? It seems more like a guarantee of temporary bliss followed by eventual failure.

The sad thing is that too many contracts are designed with loop-holes that can be used to default on the commitment. We think— If things don’t go perfectly (read- the way I want them to), then I’ll just sneak out of this one. Be it in a marriage or a merger, if we don’t get everything we want— we end it.

There are many reasons these escape clauses are slipped into contracts. One of the main reasons is that, over centuries, people have come to learn that they cannot trust one another, in business or in marriage. “I have to protect my own self first.” If people were inherently good this would not be a problem of course; but history shows otherwise.

Thus do we compromise on our commitments. We find those loop-holes that we can slip through and so slip our way out of the spirit of the agreement, though not the letter of the contract. We renege on our commitments in relationships, in business, and in life in general; all to protect ourselves and then the other parties.

What would happen if we put the other person or company first? What if the contract or marriage vow assured blessing and safety for the other first? Could we possibly be hurt or betrayed? Of course. But we would also be on our way to changing this world.

Remaining honorable in commitments rules out subsequent confrontation later.  Win/Win is always the best option.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

Kosher Bacon

This is a strange world.

When Boneless Spiral Ham is marketed as Delicious for Chanukah something is seriously out of kilter. “What’s next?!? Kosher Bacon!?!” Some things just don’t work. They don’t go together.

They’re termed—Oxymoron’s. Amicable divorce, act naturally, authentic reproduction, and the like. Grammatically, they make no sense, except as a play on words or a jest. But in the world of flesh & blood, when things don’t go together there can be serious consequences. For example, making a commitment, while never intending to honor it; whether it be a diet plan, a marriage, an employment requirement, or a peace treaty, breaking commitments is a serious breach of trust.

Business practices are not always complimentary: some are so oppositional that even the business ethic is transgressed. It is the same for systems of government, philosophies of life, and personal value practices; unless there is a clear understanding and coherence to a singular set of standards there will be compromise, corruption, and constant confrontation from divergent perspectives.

It is most likely that some Jews do eat kosher bacon, whatever that is. But they have compromised something to do so. All of us make compromises to make things work together for the common good. But is it worth it to compromise our basic values and beliefs “for the common good?” None of us should hold a principle which we consider good and right, and then shade is as if it were not so good, not so right.

If you are Jewish, then be Jewish; if you are Muslim, then be Muslim; if you are Christian, then be Christian; if you are an atheist, then be an atheist. Know what you believe and have reasons for it. If you do not know what you believe, but merely adhere to the general faith of the thing, well, maybe it’s time you did some review of what you say you hold so dearly as true.

[Note: there was no EMPulse for 09/23/2013 because it was my birthday & I didn’t feel like writing one.]

For what it’s worth,

Gary

pretending to be dead

“… he’s in the bedroom pretending to be dead.” was the declaration a 6 year old ‘Bekah announced to her parents when they inquired as to the whereabouts of her 3 year old brother, Duke. Kids say the darndest things. Of course, he emerged a few moments later, very alive, seeking a treat.

Not unexpectedly, there are a lot of us who pretend to be dead when we want to avoid certain uncomfortable situations; a drop-by at the office, unexpected relatives, a former boyfriend who wants to stay in touch, a boss coming down on you when you’ve screwed up, getting caught hedging on your tax return, being seen out with another woman.

Personal hide-outs & fantasies start to look quite appealing when we want to get out from under a potentially itchy predicament. Kids play at being dead all the time. The problem comes when this playing dead continues into adulthood. We don’t like what we see coming, so we hide, find our schedules suddenly over-booked, have another commitment, etc. In essence, we play dead; just for the sake of avoidance. Inevitably, however, there will come a day when we must face the Grim Reaper of personal accountability… in this life or the next.

So what can be done to avoid those special situations where we’d rather pretend to be dead?

  1. Prudent Transparency is a good place to start. Wisdom dictates our honesty at all times: caution guards our degree of openness and trust.
  2. Taking Responsibility is another initial posture we should practice. Most cover-ups and side-steps are eventually discovered. Don’t waste the energy.
  3. Placing Character before Compromise is also a good idea. There is nothing like a consistent trait of integrity that will encourage another person to criticize you with friendly impunity. Character builds both community and comradery, not to mention open lines of communication.
  4. Confession is good for the soul, it is said. It also expedites a return to sincere relationships. Clearing the air early-on always avoids further complication and hesitancy.
  5. NEVER pass the buck!

We have arrived at that stage in our cultural development where a man, a woman, of integrity is a rare commodity. Some even believe they can be a detriment to an organization. But in the long view this has not proven so. It is people who face their fears, or the consequences of their actions (or inaction), who lead us all into a more God-honoring, people-honoring world community.

Have a nice week,

Gary