I was reading some reflections about the web economy, via Alan Hirsch, and it brought me back to a question that has been bugging me for ages. Is it Christian to sack someone?

But first, here are the comments that triggered those thoughts:

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. Critically, though, these individuals haven’t been appointed by some superior authority. Instead, their clout reflects the freely given approbation of their peers. On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. Forget this online, and your followers will soon abandon you.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. Just as no one can assign you a boring task, no can force you to work with dim-witted colleagues.

You see, we talk about servant leadership as an alternative to domineering leadership, about empowerment as an alternative to tyranny, but every day in business we engage in relationships where the power to hire and fire others looms large.

We preach grace. I am wondering if gift economics could ever world in real life. Why the sacred / secular divide?

3 thoughts on “Is it Christian to sack someone?

  1. Matt, I reckon some of the so-called Christian businesses I have observed over time have been far more ruthless with their employees than non-Christian ones. That has to do with trying to keep pay and work rights to the barest possible minimum, exploitation of goodwill – often to the hilt of being abusive, and being far too demanding in terms of work productivity due to the so-called Protestant work ethic. Look at the ads on Christian employment websites and you will find that they never are upfront about salaries offered – usually because they are so unrealistically low for types of work that are ridiculously demanding in terms of workloads and skills required. I personally have had a Christian employer breach a pay contract/award which was very clearly documented, then argue using moralistically twisted semmantics and emotionally manipulative tactics to try to get me to agree to lesser terms and conditions other than what was agreed before the commencement of employment. When I argued for my rights my job became under threat, dirty tactics were employed to make me feel isolated and uncomfortable – that is until I used a union lawyer to assert my rights and the employer, a church organization quickly backed down and paid the $10000 it owed me and the $10000 it had also underpaid another worker.

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  2. I don’t think it is un-Christian to sack someone. There was no compulsion for someone to be employed, so there should be no compulsion to keep them.
    A Christian employer should treat their workers kindly, fairly and honestly. Following regular laws. Not using the power one has as an employer to “lord it over” workers or threaten them. If the time might be coming to sack someone for whatever reason, give plenty of warning.
    Last summer my company closed and two Christian colleagues who had their own company took over the work and re-hired the current workers, with me at part-time. I’m now able to put more time into things like youth ministry and my bosses are very supportive, happy for me to work whatever hours fit with what else I’m up to.

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  3. Hey, in looking into gift economies I came across the Freecycle network.
    http://www.freecycle.org/
    “Freecycle Network is made up of 4,723 groups with 6,603,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.”
    Turns out there is a group near me. I’ll have to check this out further.

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