The airline industry is notoriously brutal. As Warren Buffett once wrote in a letter to shareholders, “[I]f a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.” Yet Southwest Airlines just recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability—in a business sector where profits can be excruciatingly tough to come by.
How does Southwest do it? In part, by keeping operations simple. Simpler operations mean fewer things that can go awry and botch up the whole process.
Consider, for instance, Southwest’s fleet of jets. While other airline fleets can employ 10 or more types of aircraft, Southwest uses just one, the Boeing 737. As V.P. of ground operations Chris Wahlenmaier explained to me, this results in all manner of cost-saving efficiencies: “We only need to train our mechanics on one type of airplane. We only need extra parts inventory for that one type of airplane. If we have to swap a plane out at the last minute for maintenance, the fleet is totally interchangeable—all our on-board crews and ground crews are already familiar with it. And there are no challenges in how and where we can park our planes on the ground, since they’re all the same shape and size.”
To most people in our society, Christianity is religion and moralism. The only alternative to it (besides some other world religion) is pluralistic secularism. But from the beginning it was not so. Christianity was recognized as a tertium quid, something else entirely.
The crucial point here is that, in general, religiously observant people were offended by Jesus, but those estranged from religious and moral observance were intrigued and attracted to him. We see this throughout the New Testament accounts of Jesus’s life. In every case where Jesus meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (as in Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (as in John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcast (as in Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Jesus says to the respectable religious leaders ‘the tax collectors and the prostitutes enter the kingdom before you’ (Matthew 21:31).
Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.
During the genocide in Rwanda, 90 percent of the people claimed to be Christians. We don’t want to see that happen again. We did some work in Uganda a few years ago between two tribes, both of which profess to be Christian. It was a situation very similar to Rwanda. After Idi Amin left Uganda, his armories were unguarded, and 14-year-old kids got AK-47s, and 50,000-100,000 people were killed in cattle raids.
A missionary seeing this bloodshed contacted her church in Portland, Oregon, for help. A team trained through our Peacemaker resources went to Uganda and trained 20 pastors from the two tribes. They went on to train warriors, women, and elders. Eventually the two tribes called for a reconciliation meeting in the valley between them, which had been abandoned as a war zone. Some 2,500 people walked 15 miles from both directions to participate.
The gospel was preached and a revival occurred with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The people decided not only to make peace but to live together. They have now planted 60 villages of peace in that war-torn valley, 11,000 people have relocated, and truckloads of weapons have been taken away.
When visitors to the area asked, “What happened? How did you do this?” a woman who had been a catalyst for the reconciliation kept saying, “It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
So whether the conflict is between a husband and wife or two warring tribes, the peacemaking principles remain the same. And church leaders committed to peacemaking will see it spill over into other areas.
Imagine a tightrope strewn between two peaks. Underneath is a gently sloping valley.
A timid young man sheepishly takes the first step out. This first step is the least risky of all remaining steps for he is close to the beginning and can simply turn around and abort the mission. Further, the valley slopes ever so gently that were he to fall, it would only be a few inches. The risk is small.
But with each step he takes the risk increases.
Suddenly (or so it seems), he passes the Point of No Return. This is the spot about halfway across where to turn back would be longer than going forward, and where the valley is so far below that to fall would mean certain death.
Not to be melodramatic (too late?), I feel that is where I am in life.
A second career at this point is nearly out of the question. And the responsibilities/risks in my current state only increase.
“Asians are 5% of the population.. yet less than 1/3 of 1% of executive positions.. less than 1% of board positions.. even though Asians are better educated and make more money than any other group in America…” [source]
7,000 Asian American churches in USA; 15.2 M Asian Americans [source]
86 percent of Asian Americans are high school graduates.
49 percent of Asian Americans are college graduates.
20 percent of Asian Americans have graduate degrees (M.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D.).
Asian Americans have the highest median household income of any racial group ($64,238). [source]
Gospel Empowered Authenticity and Transparency Dr. Paul Kim – [Download MP3]
Asian American Christian Thought and Theological History: Pastoral Implications for Diversity and Innovation in a Multiracial Church – Stephen Um and Julius Kim [MP3; The Gospel Coalition 2011 Conference in Chicago]