Playing God

I can feel Greg Smith’s pain.

Who in the heck is Greg Smith? He is the dude that worked for Goldman Sachs, and after a decade of working for them, he finally woke up and smelled the coffee the company was brewing. In his scorching op/ed piece in the New York Times, he stated some stuff for others to get a good feel for what goes on within the banking system and especially within his firm. His op/ed piece is much like my blog… exposing what can be considered bullshit within a man-made system. His system was in banking, mine was in the “church”.

Well after I read the article, I could completely relate with Greg. I too was inside a system for over a decade, doing everything management wanted for me to do to grow the business as large as possible. The system I was in was the “church” system. I do not see much difference in the way Goldman Sachs is ran and the way the Western denominational “church” is ran.

He just finally started to see more clearly as his heart changed for good. Much like my heart.  As I focused more on Christ (others), I would see a lot of BS that really needed to be shoveled away so I could see the people and build relationships. However, sometimes the shit is so thick you can barely move in it.

Would we be better off without Goldman Sachs? I am pretty sure we would.

Would we be better off without the man-made system we have come to call church? I am pretty sure we would there too.

As with Goldman Sachs, they did not care much about others outside the walls of their organization (it is like a member’s only club). They seem to be a bunch of self-serving people, building up a huge system to serve each other with big paychecks and ginormous bonuses. Well, I have found over the years that the system inside the church is also a self-serving machine. Need anything, and the church will provide … of course you have to be a member of the organization, and people generally attend to get something out of it … FOR THEM.

What Goldman Sachs is all about is making as much money as humanly possible. In the end, there is nothing wrong with making money, but there are constructive ways to make money and there are destructive ways to make money. Catching my drift? The church’s use of tithing and guilt is one of the most destructive ways for a business to make money. The money that Goldman “tithes” from their customers is not much different in the way pastors ask for tithes from their “clients”. Goldman could take a 10% commission on trades, and the church tries to take 10% from whatever you make. I do not see much difference there besides the tax policies each has to follow.

Smith said that he could “honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it”. Wow! I think I said the same thing before I strolled out the doors of the church I attended two years ago. So, could this be the beginning of the end for Goldman Sachs? And if it is, will we be better off if Goldman is gone? You would think that at some point clients of Goldman would become so sick and tired of the stories of corruption coming out of the firm that they would simply walk away. I did. I simply walked away. I did not by any means walk away from Christ (the people), but I did walk away from the religious machine.

Much like Greg, I am now the asshole many people just brush off as disgruntled. I was disgruntled with the system, but never with the people. Unfortunately, corruption is so endemic on Wall Street that Goldman Sachs really does not seem out-of-place. The church system does not seem out-of-place either, because that is the way we have always done it, right? The truth is that a lot of the things that are said about Goldman could also be said about JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and so on. Well, it could also be said about the various denominations among the “church” world too. All the denominations are separate ran businesses with different corporate policies.

Lately, Goldman Sachs has truly become a national symbol of what is wrong with our financial system. As the people become fed up with institutions such as Goldman, hopefully they will realize what truly matters. Hopefully many church-goers become fed up with the man-made system called “church”, and also realize what truly matters, and that is Christ!

4 thoughts on “Playing God

  1. So many churches, whether they admit it or not, are more about the bottom line than about the gospel or the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Just try to make a Gospel-focused suggestion that will destroy the annual budget, and see how quickly you are shot down!

    Great post.

    1. Jeremy – From my experience, I have about the same chance of getting a Gospel-focused suggestion through the bureaucracy of the church as I do getting all my picks correct in my NCAA brackets

  2. Swanny – Your post is dead on about both financial and church institutions. Over haul couldn’t prevent or stop it because man is directing (leading) it!

    Jeremy – “Just try to make a Gospel-focused suggestion that will destroy the annual budget, and see how quickly you are shot down!” Been there, done that ……..too many times. Money, even more in the church, belongs to the people that give it. Or, at least that’s how the rest of us feel anyway.

    Good stuff

    1. Tom, Thanks for commenting! The similarities with the financial and church institutions should scare the crap out of a lot of people… it did me.

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