Worship – 3

With churches using electronic musical instruments, video and other technology on an increasing scale, have we ever considered the impact this has on the environment?

We talk about trying to decrease greenhouse gases, but churches often, inadvertently, are part of the problem. Especially as we are using electricity on an ever-increasing scale, and often getting it from non-green sources.

I believe we need to do several things – one is to use only green electricity and two, find ways of reducing the amount of energy we use for worship. Worship is about focusing on God, not the worship team. Also, there are many creative ways of worshipping which do not use electricity.

There is also another aspect and that is the cost of using so many ‘electronic gadgets’ that which should be a simple affair, becomes expensive. We should be thinking about how we are using our money to see every people group holistically discipled in our lifetime so that Jesus will come back sooner than later (Matthew 24:14). Worship is crucial to this, as a foundation from which we disciple, but are we making it too complicated and sophisticated?

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Politics – 2

Every so often the media raises the issue of donations to political parties and yet nothing much is done about this and the subject of expenses. I think it is time to simplify the situation.

I would like to suggest that all political parties are funded purely by its members paying a fixed rate, so everyone is treated equally and no donations are to be accepted to prevent fraud.

All members also would be given one vote to be used for the following purposes:
– to vote for – their party leader
– party secretary
– allocation of funds inc campaigning
– party auditor
– to vote in – manifesto policies
– constitution

This way, political parties will have to listen to their members, otherwise they will put themselves out of ‘business’. If any party goes bust, the members of Parliament would stay in post, but will have to become Independents.

For Independents to stand for election, they will be allowed a fixed amount for campaigning and office expenses.

As regards expenses, the following is to be covered by the Treasury:

MPs should be given a en-suite room in a building built specifically for them and is only available to those whose constituencies are outside the Greater London area. All utility and cleaning costs are met. Meals and other costs whilst staying there are to be met out of their salary.

As regards travel expenses to and from their constituency, they are given a fixed allowance per month as part of their salary, whatever their position. If there is foreign travel required, an allowance is given plus cost of tickets to travel second class.

Also an allowance should be given to pay for staff (a PA and two researchers) and a constituency office with slightly bigger allowance for London constituencies.

Salaries should be based an average pay for a middle manager plus an entertainment allowance (less than they get now).

This would save the Government money and reduce fraud and make it fairer for everybody concerned

Learning – 3

With an ever-changing world, the world of learning needs to adapt. But, at the same time, it is important that our qualifications are standardised for them to mean anything. A possible way forward is to introduce ‘unitisation’. (Some work on this has already began) This is where all qualifications are broken down into standardised modules which can be mixed with other standardised modules to make up a ‘personal’ qualification which helps match the requirements for a specified job more precisely. Having qualifications based on modules and not a ‘whole qualification’ means that things can be kept up to date more easily. (NVQ’s only have a shelf life of a few years). Also, it would mean that only modules where there has been significant changes need to be updated, instead of taking a ‘whole qualification’ to do so. That helps employers to become more relevant and thus competitive and employees to have more ‘saleable’ skills in an ever-changing jobs market where employment is no longer guaranteed for life.

At the moment a qualification usually only forms part of the requirements for any given job, and the applicant then has to take other qualifications to make up for the shortfall. The other issue is that employers are not very precise as to what sort of qualifications they require of their workers. Also, the needs of employers are changing at a faster rate than in the past, and thus qualifications on their own become obsolete. ‘Unitisation’ helps deal with these issues.

This ‘unitisation’ will also need to apply to degree qualifications, which often vary in quality and/or standing in the world of business.

All this would mean that current skill sector bodies having to widen participation to include universities, professional bodies as well as non-vocational groups. This last group is important as employers not only look for qualifications which demonstrate one’s skills but also for proof in such things as academic integrity, analytical capabilities, literacy and numeracy skills and abilities in communication as well as IT and social media provision.

This process could also help reduce the number of modules currently available through focusing on ‘niche’ markets that only the UK can provide in the global market. But, there still will be the need to provide ‘general’ modules to encourage studying to improve the mind and widen one’s interests as well as ones specifically to encourage research into ethics, processes and potential new ‘niche markets’. Hopefully, it will also help employers improve their job descriptions.

See: http://comment.ofqual.gov.uk/chief-regulators-report-dec-2009/section-2-maintaining-standards-in-qualifications/standards-in-unitised-qualifications/
http://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/Research_Bulletin_9_Unitisation.pdf
http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/2483/1/Context_for_the_council’s_unitisation_and_credit_funding_pilot.pdf