Monday, May 4, 2009

A Story from Real Life

Acts 11:1-18 (Peter's vision and exegesis: "Who was I to be able to hinder God?")
Psalm 42:2 - 43:4 (When shall I go and behold the face of God?)
John 10:1-10 ("I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly")

almost wrote today off.

The readings continue to play off the growth of the early Church and the revelation of inclusivity - and the Gospel passage is the prelude to yesterday's dialogue about the Good Shepherd. Neither need that much more explanation relative to Biblical times. So I've been going about my work; the stuff for which I'm compensated and that pays for the roof over the head and the food on the table. Nothing was striking me as all that shareable.

Nothing, that is, until I found a strange heading in a new software package of which I'm helping to evaluate for my employer.

I'm looking at a module within the software called 'Partners' - this represents others with whom you do business, be they suppliers or customers. Within this module, there's a heading called - I kid you not - 'States of Mind.'

Curious person that I am, and since I have this puppy all to myself (if the system crashes it's not a problem), I went to the next level to see what this "states of mind" thing is all about. As you might guess, it's a rating criteria; something that could be conceivably used to rank your overall business relationship with the supplier or customer. There are five such ranks, each with a ratings factor as follows:

Very Happy  - 8.5
Happy - 7
Normal - 5
Unhappy - 3
Fury (Furious) - 1

I'm not certain how the ratings factor works. I'm presuming that it's based on a scale from 1 - 10, where a ten - especially since it's not listed - would be equivalent to "Miracle Worker," "Walks on Water," or "Business god."

On Earth, we're all statistics in some form. You tend to be associated with the following sets of ID numbers:
Social Security number (at work)
Checking account or credit card number (your bank and other consumer transactions)
Phone number (most people have up to three now - home, work, and cell phone)
In your church, it's your envelope number.
There are more. The more you're known, the more numbers get attached to you. That's a fact of life as we know it.

I, for one, am not a big fan of having to rate things. Nothing's perfect; but there are few things that are so bad that I would objectively rate them in such a manner. In a business climate, rating your clients on a scale like this makes it difficult for the back-up or replacement on the staff to deal with those ranked at the bottom. Would you look forward to cold-calling a client knowing that the person or company at the other end has a past history of being unhappy or furious? I know I wouldn't.

Naturally, Jesus gets a '10.' But this isn't about ratings.

I'm just thankful beyond belief that I can call upon God - by name - and that He has called me - by name.

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