Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Everybody Loves a Little Ethic

Like any one else, I like ethnic food every so often.  So when I received my annual letter of standing for the ministry from the Commission on Ministry stating that I was granted a "provisional" standing until I completed a six-hour class on ethnics, I thought what the heck!  I can handle nibbling on some ethnic food for six hours.  Then the wife explained to me that it had nothing to do with ethnic food, but ETHICS!  I needed ethics, not ethnics . . . it put a whole different spin on the topic.

Well, I want everyone to know that I successfully completed my course on ethics--ministerial ethics, to be precise--this afternoon at 4:00PM, Mountain Standard Time, through a workshop offered by the American Baptist Church of the Northwest.  This day-and-a-half workshop taught me everything and anything that I either wanted to know or not wanted to know about ethics.  Apparently we minister-types need to do this sort of continuing education on a regular basis as we--of all people--should be considered to a highly ethical group.  I have ethics, but apparently they are not the sort of ethics most people appreciate--and perhaps, not the sort that congregations appreciate.  After the completion of this course I am full of ethics--they are dripping out of my ears!

As I stated, I thought I had a pretty good set of ethics already.  For example, I would never ever park in a handicap parking space no matter how much of a blizzard was raging outside of the local bakery and I am craving a bagel.  That is too far to run . . . I'd pull up in the no loading zone and run in quickly after I put my "Clergy" sign in the window.  Nor would I ever think of calling the idiot in the car who just cut me off on the interstate a dirty name--nope, I'd just use sign language.  Neither would I try to short change the church and Internal Revenue Service by asking the church treasurer to cash a check for me out of Sunday's offering and then reporting it as a contribution to the IRS.  Shoot, no!  I have some ethics!  Now I have even more!

With my new found ethics that are just oozing out of my pores I thought that this might be the time that I get into politics.  I couldn't do any worse than any of the Republican candidates running.  Then I found out that to be a politician a person shouldn't really have any ethics.  Learned that most politicians are more into "ethnic" than "ethic".  I should have thought of that a couple of days ago before I took the ethics course.  Seems I'm always a day late and a dollar short.  I have way too many ethics to ever be a politician, but if the pope ever retires . . . watch out!

   I learned that ethics deals with relationships.  Relationships with people, congregations, organizations, finances, technology, the opposite sex, sex, physical/mental/spiritual health, and a variety of other topics.  The key to any relationship is in balance that treats the "other" and the "self" with respect and well-being.  Basically it comes down to treating others as one would want to be treated--or, if you want to use the Baptist perspective shared by the leaders of this workshop, it is treating others as Jesus has treated us.  The problem is that it all boils down to relationships . . . relationships create stress . . . stress is not good.  Stress is not good because it makes us do unethical things.  In my mind, then, to avoid stress and doing unethical things we should all avoid relationships.  That is difficult when one is in the ministry.  Ministry involves relationships . . . so, I guess it is a good thing that they require us clergy to take these ethics courses every so often.

But there has to be an easier way to gain some ethics . . . an easier way to build one's moral fiber.  Some way to get that daily requirement of moral fiber . . . something they could box up and dish out on a routine basis.  According to my Baptist friends they call that the "scriptures" . . . still . . . 

 . . . this would be a lot easier!  Oh well, I passed the course, got the certificate, and I am good for another three years!  Now I can focus on ethnic food.

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