Have you ever been working really hard at something you new needed improvement, only to be told that despite your investment and effort, the tasks you completed were to short, the focus you pushed was to narrow and the ideas you proferred were never good enough to matter?

This is the chorus of my life, filled with rants and complaints but rarely solutions or direction. My place in the greater scheme of things has always seemed to be the avatar of the middle ground. I constantly find myself pushing for growth and tenacity from one side, while pleading for grace and maturity from the other side. 

Yesterday I found myself in middle earth once again being asked to bury the ring in the pits of mt. Doom… This time however, it involved sprucing up an underfunded underkept little known fort of ours that we call home. Being in multiple leadership positions, i can sympathize with the concept that when something is run down and at times decrepit, it reflects negatively on a number of nuances which help to build a pleasing and welcoming experience. Tattered paper signs littering the glass windows do not a pretty picture make. With that said, there are for more important details which when neglected create a much more imposing and omnious picture than a bland and unimaginative “no skateboards allowed” sign… whether it reads with a tattered edge

or in pristine condition. These slumdog markers, may rally a certain patheticness to the upkeep of a building or business, but they are a second class sidekick to an unkept and tattered second rate dollar bin, vegas carpet or a knee high field littering the respective yard of weeds and litter. The effort of a crew to maintain an establishment whose owner doesn’t not believe in ownership is a naive practice

at best and anyone who can’t see their own responsibility as the underlying cause for the situation they are in is foolish at least. Blame and pointing aside, there are two ways to solve a problem such as this, the first is to micromanage and the second is to provide and then trust. I learned long ago from the brutish nature of certain men that at one point managed me that tho fear and punishment may seem the 

easier of the two… it is also the less effective. It is always more effective to be gracious in action and mentality than to be entitled… even if you are. The merits of whether something deserves funding lies in the hands of the person who owns it, but it should be noted that the upkeep and the downfall of the establishment is always with the common man. The common man decides whether to frequent a local shop

or to boycott it. The common man decides whether he is being farely treated or abused in his labor. With that said, the common man may fight for what his heart wants to protect, even if his body or his pocketbook cannot defend it, but he has a limit. Standing in this establishment meant to entertain and protect the hopes and dreams of entire generations through expression on a strip of mylar… I ask myself, is that 

worth a minimum wage and grief from an absent parent who only visits with a threat or a curse? Life is about more than this. And those who work in this generation have been bread and programmed to see this sort of investment through abandonment as the worst type of fake. If the pay was good enough, the lack of true relationship between business world castes would be acceptable, seasoned with the flavor of money and swallowed as a tasty but ultimately empty venture… but this flacid excuse for ethical business practices has hardly any preservatives left in it with which to make the job worthwhile. The reason people keep with a job that doesn’t appreciate the workers is not money, its relationship. Like Patti Hurst in a Stockholm driven delusion, we keep wanting to be with our captors… wanting to be loved. This is the tenacity of the human spirit put in the context of capitalism. A person will enslave themselves to give or be given love. This truth is not expressly negative. Sacrifice is both seminal to the human narrative and essential to the growth of every culture and generation… but the way in which we sacrifice is a choice of the people in charge of the supply. What have we become when even a casual greeting is withheld as a formality…an unessesary intrusion into the normal working hours. What have we become when we fixate holy on the anomalous tear in the corner of a sign that was printed in haste to supplement a need promised but never fullfilled. What have we become when we look for the bad and dismall, but never hold them in the stark contrast of new efforts and innovations. I stand in the middle of management and lowly worker, and ask myself… “can a system which stares in the mirror and hates its own appearance, but does nothing to change it last much longer?” I do not know what will come of this place, but i do know that long after this place has come and gone… the value of it resides in the honest and authentic efforts of the people who powered its wings and gave it cause to fly… Shooting it down will only accomplish just that. This era will come to an end, how we treat those who are withinour care will help to shape their success and ultimately ours. One day I will step from the middle of twilight into the shadow of darkness, or the bright light of the sun and when i do… i know who will be standing with me… standing amongst the ruins of a kingdom which could not outlive its peasants.

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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