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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye Earl - We'll See You On the Other Shore

Earl Scruggs (1924-2012)

Earl Scruggs passed away yesterday. We all knew he would, but it wasn't something you like to think about as a banjo player. Earl was the standard by which we all measured ourselves as banjo-players. Even though he was in his late 80s, the man could still strike fire on a banjo.

Earl made bluegrass music what it is today. Without him the genre might look very different. He helped bluegrass become an inclusive music. His example inspired the likes of Bela Flek, Steve Martin and Alison Krausse. He played with everybody from Joan Baez to Bob Dylan to Elton John and thousands of others who played in all sorts of apparently incompatible musical styles.

We were all blessed, not only by his talent, but by his generosity as a musician.  I once watched a youtube video from the 60s of Earl jamming with a group of bluegrass musicians. A couple of the young bucks, you could tell wanted to try and dominate the session, but Earl just smiled that easy, unconcerned smile of his and played on unconcerned. Many got the privilege of playing with him (it's an extraordinary list of musicians. I don't think Earl ever missed an opportunity to play with someone whose music he liked, no matter how odd the duet might be. Most who did were just happy to be there with him.

He was never a snob, though with his skill, he could have been quite easily.  Instead, he seemed to truly relish moments in a jam session, when the younger musicians, would take off on their own riff with some bit of technical virtuosity - the way a father would take pride in his child who was trying to show off. It seemed to make him happy to watch them go! A true talent does not need to hog the spotlight and Earl never did that I saw. But somehow, the spotlight always came back to this simple, unassuming man in the end. A gracious man and good friend to every man, woman or child who plays the banjo.

We miss him already!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Instructions - Read 'Em and Weep (Or Don't)

(c) 2012 by Tom King

Practically everything you buy, be it a television set, a drill press, a folding lawn chair or a bag of fertilizer, comes with an instruction sheet or, in some cases, a printed manual. Instructions are written by those who engineered the product amd provided in multiple languages so that you, the customer, may follow said instructions and obtain the best results when using their product.

So what do we all do?  We pitch the instructions and just start using whatever it is in whatever manner we think makes sense to us.  Then, we wonder why better than 80% of the stuff we return to the store as "broken" or "damaged" or "non-working" actually still works perfectly.

Manufacturers, software designers and tool-makers have begun to realize that no matter how well something works, no matter how perfectly designed it is, if it doesn't work like people think it's supposed to, the item will fail to sell. I get tons of really neat stuff really cheap from places like Big Lots. They sell stuff that works just fine, but which failed to sell.  I can guess with confidence that the reason the stuff didn't sell, was mostly because it didn't work like people thought it should and nobody bothered to read the instructions or the description on the box.

People live in a mental rut where little independent thought is necessary. I caught my friend sprinkling Miracle-Gro around the bushes in her front flower bed. This is not how Miracle-Gro should be used. It's designed to be dissolved in water.

"I'm going to water it later," she protested. 

So, she's fixing to surround these little freshly trimmed bushes with a water soluble fertilizer in an unknown strength and she didn't read the box to figure out whether this type of fertilizer is even good for those types of bushes. It seemed like it ought to work like she was using it, so she did.  If, later, the bushes shrivel up and die, it will, of course be Miracle-Gro's fault despite the fact that she used the stuff in a manner not recommended by the manufacturer on a plant that may or may not have been the sort of plant Miracle-Gro was designed for. 

She is, however, obeying a principle that a majority of us live by without thinking about it:

Things should work the way I think they ought to.

What engineers are having to do to cope with all this mental sloth is called "intuitive design". Increasingly engineers and designers are striving to create products that we don't have to think about to use. I'm not sure this is entirely a good thing. I think intuitive design will eventually atrophy our brains. If we never have to learn how to use a tool; if we set out televisions down in front of the wall and the cables all snake out the back and automatically plug themselves in; if our cars fill themselves up with gas while changing their own oil and tires; if our cell phones start talking to us like we're three year olds and too stupid to figure out how to call our mama's without prompting, then I weep for the future of mankind.

The phenomenon extends to religion as well. The Catholic Bible Federation did a survey that found that in some countries, fewer than 20 percent of avowed Christians have picked up their Bibles to read them in the past six months. There's a whole species of so-called Christians out there who call themselves by the name of Christ, but actually base their beliefs more on what they see in movies and on television than they do from the original source material.

They just don't bother to read the manual!

It's little wonder so much of what passes for modern Christianity gets its doctrine from Greek mythology, Eastern mysticism, pagan rites and festivals, movie theology and pop psychology.  We have a vague idea that when we die, we spend some time as angels and then get reincarnated - something not found in the Bible, but in an Albert Brooks movie. We believe that when a bell rings an angel gets its wings - Frank Capra 2:3.  We think the Easter bunny comes from the Bible or imagine God is some avuncular old geezer who's not above playing pranks on us to teach us to take care of the planet better, promote cultural diversity or whatever other Hollywood talking point is hot at the time.

It's little wonder so many people reject Christianity. So many Christians have no idea what they believe and those who dislike Christianity see them for the befuddled hypocrites they are. 

Read the manual for cying out loud, people!  Life works the way the designer intended it to, not the way you think it ought to.

Just one man's opinion,



Designing for People Who Have Better Things To Do With Their Lives by Joel Spolsky

Not an Easy Read: Survey Indicates Bible Hard to Understand By Cindy Wooden

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Photoshopped caricature*

My mistake. I promised to take the politics out of this blog.  This was not the weblog I wanted to publish the piece about Dr. Paul's campaign strategy in. Click here to go where the original is supposed to be published. 

Thar be politickin' ahead!


Fordyce Detamore as he still appears in my
nightmares of the coming Apocalypse.
The Definitive List

There is a little Facebook group devoted entirely to the inimitable "Haystack", a singularly Seventh-day Adventist potluck creation involving lettuce, tomato, chips, cheese, beans, sour cream and various salad dressings and salsas. I started a thread along the lines of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck..." only for Adventists.  I started it up with about 25 off the top of my head and the rest of the group pitched in. By the time we were through we had a whole flock of them. I don't know who all to credit. I copied the list just before they closed down the group. I added about 25 or 30 more and the group added their own.

I've culled the list, eliminated the duplicates, the unfunny and the just plain mean ones and left just the ones that make me laugh. Not all of them resonate with everyone's Adventist experience or upbringing, but some of them will. If you're not an SDA, you may not get the joke, just as not everyone gets the redneck jokes, but trust me. If you're an Adventist, you'll recognize more of these than you might be comfortable with.

You might be an Adventist if.....
  • If you pronounce it “AD-ventist”, not “ad-VEN-tist"
  • If your bedtime stories were about real people instead of fairy tales,
  • If you had an Uncle Arthur, Uncle Dan, and Aunt Sue and were amazed to find out that all your friends in Sabbath School did too,
  • If you think of kids instead of cars when you hear the word “Pathfinder,"
  • If you know what the letters ‘MV’ and JMV’ stand for,
  • If you have a board somewhere in your attic with a bunch of knots glued to it,
  • If you’ve wondered if the earth would last long enough for you to have a girlfriend/boyfriend,
  • If you’ve ever volunteered to sing so you wouldn’t have to solicit,
  • I you’ve ever solicited and you were a guy and in no danger of being arrested,
  • If you believed Uncle Arthur when he said, “And he never disobeyed again …” and wondered why that never happened with your own kids,
  • If you know HMS as a person, not a ship,
  • If you’ve ever listened to a two-hour sermon on the evils of Coca-Cola,
  • If you know how to play poker with Rook cards and Wheat Thins,
  • If you know how to play Rook but not Bridge or Hearts
  • If you’ve ever looked for angels waiting outside the door of a movie theater,
  • If ever caught yourself telling your children, “You can wade, but don’t swim …”
  • If you know exactly how far up the leg that the water can go before wading becomes swimming,
  • If you’ve ever gone wading on Sabbath afternoon and “accidentally” fallen in (repeatedly and from a height)
  • If your use of the term “Philistine” is not related to ancient history and you know you would be “unequally yoked” if you should marry one….
  • If your tie falls in your soup because you don’t wear a tie tack
  • If The Review is not a full military dress inspection
  • If “Pathfinders, Fall In!” IS a full military dress inspection,
  • If you used to read labels on cans years before nutritional labeling was available
  • If you saved labels off of cans years before recycling became fashionable,
  • If you’ve ever asked for a Veggie-Whopper at Burger King,
  • If you’ve ever taken a helping of Nuteena because you like it and not out of courtesy,
  • If you actually prefer vegeburgers to hamburgers,
  • If you’ve ever eaten a “sugarless” pie and you weren’t on a diet,
  • If you can tell the difference between Linkettes and Vegelinks with your eyes closed,
  • If you know 101 ways to prepare FriChik,
  • If you can name more than twelve uses for soybeans,
  • If you can stack 3000 calories on a plate at a church potluck,
  • If your guilt trip ended the day Nabisco started using vegetable shortening in Oreos,
  • If you’ve ever eaten soy cheese with macaroni (or anything else that wasn’t Chinese food),
  • If you’ve ever eaten soy cheese on a sandwich (with ketchup),
  • If you ever believed that smoking was a mortal sin,
  • If you once drank a “caffeine free” coke openly at a church potluck as an act of defiance and to mess with the old people’s heads,
  • If you know what gluten is and where it comes from,
  • If you’ve ever seen a showing of The Sound of Music during which a teacher put his hand in front of the projector during the kissing scenes (and you were in college),
  • If you’ve been to movies during which the lights came on periodically for a hand check,
  • If you could tell who was engaged by asking the time, 
  • If you’ve ever seen a watch on somebody’s right arm, and you wondered whether they were engaged, or just left-handed,
  • If you’ve ever debated whether it was moral or not for couples to roller skate while holding hands (With music – no, without – it’s okay apparently),
  • If you know what MCC* stands for, (* Medical Cadet Corps) 
  • If you don’t call it high school, you call it “academy”
  • If you’ve seen every Disney Nature Film made while Walt was alive – twice!
  • If you’ve been given the choice between a hamburger and a veggie burger and chose the veggie burger – on purpose,
  • If you know what Grandma plans to do on the Sea of Glass,
  • If you’ve ever held a religious service in the car with your entire family in the Wal-Mart parking lot at sundown on Sabbath
  • If you know that a proper haystack is made with Fritos and NOT Tortilla chips, but you’ll eat them either way
  • If your “Little Friend” wasn’t a person or if your “Little Friend” was full of stories instead of ammunition and makes you think of Sabbath school instead of “Scarface”
  • If the ABC sells books and health foods and not liquor,
  • If you ever got a laugh by sending your non-SDA friends to find the pepper/mustard/hot sauce at a SDA dinner/potluck,
  • If a General Conference is not everybody talking at once
  • If your pastor is an elder not a reverend,
  • If you’ve ever gone to Bible Camp to meet girls (or boys),
  • If you’ve ever sung a song in church that upset your elders,
  • If anyone’s ever tried to convince you that certain musical chords are “of the devil”,
  • If you’ve ever played a musical instrument in church that you were later told “doesn’t belong in church” (Includes banjos, saxophones, clarinets, drums, etc.),
  • If your principle carried a tape measure,
  • If you’ve ever had your hemline measured with a ruler,
  • If you’ve ever had to explain to a non-Adventist friend WHY you don’t eat pepperoni on your pizza,
  • If you know what grillers are,
  • If you can go to church anywhere in the country – in the middle of nowhere – and run into someone you know,
  • If someone has ever told you that wearing red was of the “Devil”,
  • If the first thing you do when you are introduced to a woman is to look at her ears,
  • If you go to youth meetings because you know there will be girls under the age of 65,
  • If you are a vegetarian for your health, but at potlucks, you sample every single dessert on the dessert table,
  • If you feel guilty when you shower on Sabbath,
  • If you decide to go hear that new pastor across the county line when you notice your church is holding Communion this Sabbath,
  • If you have all the “Egypt to Canaan” answers memorized (the 2nd oldest man in the Bible? Jared. He lived 962 years. Next question, please.),
  • If you know how to turn any sport into a Sabbath sport (Bible verse ping pong, Bible Verse basketball, Bible Verse football – the winner of each point must recite a Bible verse. “Jesus Wept” may only be used once per game.)
  • If you have a sundown calendar stuck to your fridge,
  • If you got your sex education from mom handing you a book by Harold Shryock, MD,
  • If you feel mildly guilty reading Song of Solomon,
  • If you’ll have sex with your spouse, but you won’t dance with them,
  • If your high school principal spent a lot of time watching female hemlines but no one ever thought to turn him in to the authorities,
  • If you hear the bells ringing on Saturday evening in Loma Linda, Keene, Walla Walla, Chatanooga or any other Adventist college town and think of them as the “all clear” signal,
  • If you define “lay activities” as a Saturday afternoon nap,
  • If you’ve ever moved your campsite behind a mountain so the sun would go down earlier on Saturday night,
  • If you've ever promised yourself when going to the local “Sizzler’s” for Sabbath lunch, “it will only be a salad,” You might be an Adventist!
  • If you went to Sizzler’s on Friday afternoon to pay for the steak dinner on Sabbath,
  • If you deliberately look for work in hospitals because it’s okay to work there on Sabbath and you need the hours to pay your school bill,
  • If you can get more food on your plate than anyone else at the Country Buffet,
  • If you refuse to make up your bed on Sabbath for religious reasons (or if you’re not sure whether or not it’s moral or not to make your bed on Saturday.),
  • If you get home on Friday from work at least five minutes before the sun sets and you feel smug about it,
  • If you surreptitiously check out the grocery basket of a fellow church member you happen to meet at the grocery store,
  • If you see the pastor in the store and head down another aisle so he/she won’t see what’s in YOUR basket,
  • If your excuse for sleeping in church is that taking a shower in the morning is part of your wake up routine and since you don’t shower on Sabbath you didn’t get woke up properly,
  • If you’ve ever eaten “Special K Loaf” (or cottage cheese "loaf),
  • If your favorite meat loaf contains no meat,
  • If drinking more than 4 carbonated sodas makes you a little tipsy,
  • If when you talk to a priest and find yourself stammering “Fa..,Bro..,Pas... I mean Sir”,
  • If you go out for lunch after church, but put it on your credit card so you don’t actually pay for it,
  • If you don’t need an electric knife to carve your Thanksgiving “turkey”,
  • If you couldn’t wait until your mom said you were old enough to get some juice and crackers on Communion Sabbath,
  • If you look at someone’s hands, see no ring, and still don’t know if they are married or not,
  • If you weren’t allowed to go “trick-or-treating” so you went collecting canned goods for the poor, and accepted whatever candy you were offered (explaining later to your Pathfinder leader that the person had “insisted” you take the candy),
  • If someone closes a conversation by saying “I’ll give you a ring” and your response is “I don’t wear them, thank you”,
  • If you know that there are some kinds of Jello and marshmallows that are made from horse hooves and you can tell the difference,
  • If you thought Elder Fagal was actually the chaplain at Westbrook Hospital,
  • If you set the VCR on Friday afternoon to catch the big Saturday football game … and then smugly watch it after sunset on Saturday night,
  • If you tape Sunday morning broadcasts of It Is Written, Breath of Life, Lifestyle Magazine and Faith for Today so you’ll have something to watch on Friday night,
  • If Loony Coon was a children’s book, not a racial slur,
  • If you know the seven secrets of Somewhere Lake,
  • If you wanted to grow up to be a writer like Sam Campbell and live all summer on an island in a lake in the North Woods with all sorts of wild animals,
  • If you know to go to the nearest missionary in case you ever get a white bean stuck up your nose and “He can get that bean out!”,
  • If your idea of a Saturday afternoon serial when you were a kid was this week’s episode of “Nyla and the White Crocodile” in the Junior Guide,
  • If you know who “Silver and the Snake” were,
  • If Eric B. Hare doesn’t make you think of cartoon rabbits,
  • If you watched "One in 20,000" more than once and got through it once without throwing up,(That first incision in the poor guy’s chest sent chills up my spine every time!) 
  • If you collected all the mimeographed sermons from Fordyce Detamore’s meetings no matter how scared they made you, and have at least three blue fake-leather-bound Bibles with the cross attached to the zipper,
  • If you thought that the Wedgewood Trio were actually better musicians than the Kingston Trio (they were),
  • If you think rattlesnake meat tastes a lot like FriChik,
  • If your first Bible is plastered full of teeny-tiny bits of paper that have Bible references printed on them that you cut out, licked, then glued during Juniors,
  • If you won’t watch a movie until it comes out on video,
  • If you’ve ever gone on a nature hike on a Saturday afternoon because it was the most fun choice you were offered,
  • If Friday and Saturday are your busiest days of the week,
  • If you collect books by a certain author but haven’t gotten around to reading most of them yet,
  • If you’ve ever worried that toothpaste ingredients may include animal byproducts,
  • If the words “Sabbath” and “Saturday” are interchangeable, depending on whom you’re talking with at the time,
  • If you feel uncomfortable saying Saturday instead of Sabbath because of its pagan origin,
  • If saying anything more than “amen”, while someone else is praying, feels like you’re interrupting,
  • If you still feel uncomfortable raising both hands at the same time in church,
  • If you do two days worth of cooking every Friday,
  • If you drive past 235 restaurants searching for something “vege”,
  • If you’ve ever drunk coffee for medicinal purposes,
  • If you will not drink coffee, but will drink Postum with a six NoDoze chaser to stay awake for final exams,
  • If you’ve ever made your own granola,
  • If Loma Linda is not only a California town and a University, but also a food group,
  • If you know about the great nebula in Orion,
  • If you know what a colporteur is,
  • If The Captain Called for You and you weren’t being drafted,
  • If you’re 53 and still too young to "march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry OR shoot the artillery,"
  • If you’ve got the “Infinite love of your blessed Redeemer way down in the depths of your heart,”(Where?)
  • If you’ve been to every museum, zoo, nature trail and state or national park within a 90 minute drive of your house,
  • If, when someone asks “Where’s the Beef?”, it means you’ve got visitors at the church potluck,
  • If Postum is a drink and not something you do with little yellow sticky notes on the fridge,
  • If you’ve ever deliberately eaten a Carob Birthday Cake,
  • If you've ever eaten imitation tuna,
  • If the election of a new Pope sends shivers up your spine,
  • If you’ve ever looked at rural property as an “end time refuge”,
  • If you know where Wham comes from, (editor’s note: It comes from Whogs!)
  • If the King's Heralds don’t blow trumpets for a living,
  • If you’ve ever collected canned goods instead of candy at Halloween,
  • If you worked your way through high school,
  • If cream of mushroom soup and oatmeal are in the “Meat Group” on your food pyramid,
  • If you've made haystacks hundreds of times and never fed one to a cow,
  • If you’ve ever trimmed your toenails for communion,
  • If you know that Prosage is NOT an anti-depressant,
  • If Wedgewood are singers and not fancy dishes,
  • If you know a Sister White and she is NOT a nun,
  • If you are related to more than one foreign missionary,
  • If you consider camping practice for the time of trouble,
                               might be an Adventist

For truly hard-core SDAs:

  • If you ever rolled your skirt down on the way to the principal’s office,
  • If your date on Friday night was to Vespers,
  • If you went to banquets instead of dances or proms,
  • If you know that most of the church founders wore beards, but your boys dean made you shave off your goatee,
  • If you know what a “3-second-side hug” is and how to squeeze a 4th second out of one,
  • If you’ve ever been told not to hold hands or else you would get pregnant,
  • If you know the difference between Social and Grand Social,
  • If you ever wore a white t-shirt over a two-piece swimming suit and were totally ‘surprised’ at what happened when it got wet,
  • If you know all the basic square dance steps, but only know how to execute them to march music,
  • If you were ever called out of class to clean your room,
  • If you can grill cheese sandwiches on the bottom of an iron,
  • If the other side of campus was no-man/woman’s land,
  • If you ever smuggled cinnamon rolls back to the dorm on Friday afternoon,
  • If your school had two sidewalks – one for boys and one for girls and the two never intersected,
  • If you volunteered to Ingather on the corner that had a good view of the drive-in theater,
  • If the only time you could hold hands was while roller-skating in the gym
              might be have gone to an Adventist boarding school.

I enjoyed growing up among Adventists. I decided to become a follower of Christ when I was 17. When I met God, I discovered my church was full of lovely people. For all our foibles, Adventists tend to be sweet people. We believe Jesus is our only salvation and we believe that He's coming back soon. It makes us want to be the best people we can be. It makes us a peculiar people in a world that sees nothing wrong with being self-serving.

Tom King

Thursday, March 08, 2012

So You Want to Work for a Nonprofit?

I was listening to a commentary on PJTV the other day and something Andrew Klavan said, set me back a bit. I do like Klavan and his pithy conservative commentary, don't get me wrong. He was talking about the entitlement mentality of this generation and I was with him, going along smoothly right up until he urged young people considering a career in nonprofits to do something useful, make or do something people want and sell it and all the things we need nonprofits for will take care of themselves.

While I agree with him, that we have too many would-be do-gooders out there clambering for our charity dollars, I have to disagree on two points.

1.Capitalism will not, in and of itself, make poverty and suffering go away.

2.A career in the nonprofit sector isn't necessarily a bad choice for a young person.

I have a couple of caveats here I want to point out.

Jesus told us that “The poor you shall have with you always.” What he meant by that was that misfortune, illness or tragedy can strike anyone, anywhere. Someone is always going to need help and it is our duty to help them. Christ made that abundantly clear. He gave us one rule to guide us by - “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It leaves us no wiggle room to be uncharitable. Andrew Klavan was also correct in that only people who make a living for themselves can provide help, jobs, goods and services people need. The more money they make, the more help they can give. Even then, you still need people willing to deliver help to those in trouble and most of those guys work for some sort of nonprofit or are paid to perform charitable work by nonprofits. So there IS a place in the world for people who do the work that charities and nonprofits do. Charitable work cannot be entirely done by unpaid volunteers. And you do have to pay your regulars because they do have to eat.

Jesus, undoubtedly the most successful man in history so far as changing the world goes, was in and of himself a nonprofit organization. He chose his career knowing full well what it would cost him. That's where I get crossways with todays trust fund do-gooders. Jesus worked up until the day he headed off into the wilderness to begin his ministry. He did what he had to do and suffered the consequences of his actions. He did not get government grants for his work. He never threw a big gala or charity golf tournament to fund his work. He lived hand to mouth for the 3½ years of his second career (his first career was as a carpenter in the for-profit sector).

Now I'm not saying fund-raisers are a bad thing. I have been a fund-raiser most of my working life and know what good gets done with charitable donations. I'm not saying a career path into the nonprofit sector is a poor choice. What I am saying is that they don't call them “nonprofits” for nothing.

Sadly, what I think Andrew Klavan has picked up on is the apalling numbers of upper class, trust fund babies who lately have decided to spend their parents education dollars on degrees in public policy, sociology, psychology or communications with an eye to working for a big charity and saving the world. Communications was my own degree choice and for five years I taught school before going to work for a charity. But these entitled brats, Klavan is complaining about, leave college after a four year debauch and enter the nonprofit world demanding fat salaries for their supposed expertise. They have a mental picture of themselves jetting off to remote areas of the world where they will wear khaki shorts and one of those canvas explorer vests with all the pockets with the chain zippers and a squashy jungle hat. They see themselves standing over one of those big iron kettles dishing out white mush into wooden bowls held by children with tiny brown hands – at least long enough to get their picture taken for the fund-raising literature.

Charity work is tough. Most folk who work in the real nonprofit world work long hours for pitiful pay if they get any at all. They deserve every bit of support we can give them because they go places and do messy things most of the rest of us don't want to do. The naieve "I'm going to work for a nonprofit" college crowd only see the romance in the thing and very much under-appreciate how tough the actual work is. In their mind's eye, all they see are grateful starving children hugging them in gratitude.

What they don't see is themselves at age 58 with no retirement fund, no savings, no home and no job because the last project ended and nobody else wants an old geezer with a collection of snappy pith helmets to jet off to Africa to spoon gruel into the bowls of tiny black children with big heads.  She'll be a drag on the company health insurance and she's no longer cute enough to have her picture taken for the fund-raising literature.

I helped start five nonprofit organizations over my career and helped reorganize several others. I worked months at a time without pay, taking odd jobs to support myself and family while I wrote interminable startup grants, organized boards and local support and ran fund-raisers. Some of these organizations are even still in operation. Some have long forgotten that I ever had anything to do with their founding. I don't care.

When I entered the nonprofit sector, I did it because I believed it was the right thing for me to do and not because I though I could make a lot of money at it. The organizations I was privileged to work with did, and are doing, a lot of good. They owe me nothing. I did not go into charitable work in order to get wealthy. I learned very quickly that only the unethical make the really good money in the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit journals complain frequently about the low pay for nonprofit executives and caution that you cannot get “good” managers if you don't pay them. They can make more in the private sector.

Well, duh!

Of course they can make more in the private sector. That's as it should be. It's my contention that if you need to make money, that's where you should go. It's where I am ending my career because I need to make a living now that I'm done with full time nonprofit work. Nonprofits have the same problem as the government. Too many who work for them have lost the citizen public servant ideal where private citizens step up and take their turn to do things that the community needs doing and then step down and return to private life. Charities and Governments should never offer those who work for them too comfortable a living. The laborer deserves his hire, but only that. Here's where I agree with Klavan.

Let those who wish to serve, sacrifice in order to do so. Without the expectation that you will have to sacrifice in order to serve, public service becomes too easily corrupted. I don't care how many millions a nonprofit manages, I don't think he or she should earn 10% of the take. Take a modest salary. Be frugal in how you spend donor money. Do some good and then go make your pile somewhere else - or vice-versa for that matter.

Just one man's opinion,

(c) 2012 by Tom King