Monthly Archives: September 2016

Business lesson 10

How Does Harry Brown’s Approach to Selling Rely on the Principle of Service?

The Secret of Selling Anything is about becoming a better salesman, and presents very logical points on how to do so. These points state the ideal mindset of the parties on either side of the cash register and how to manipulate the buyer to earn a profit. Harry Brown’s approach to selling relies on the Principle of Service, because if the seller is pushy and rude, the customer will almost never make a purchase.

From the moment the customer enters the store, he knows what he wants—otherwise he would not have walked in. The businessman’s ultimate boss is the buyer, so just as if the seller insulted the CEO of his company, if he offends the buyer, he will never make a profit. In every interaction, the customer has the upper hand. The Principle of Service simply stated is this: the businessman had better be a servant to the buyer, because the buyer is the boss. The seller’s job is to be helpful, ask questions, answer the buyer’s questions, show the buyer the right merchandise, show the buyer how to buy, and follow up with the buyer after the purchase. Floppily, the buyer is in charge.

The purchase keeps the business man fed and happy and the customer satisfied. A win-win scenario for both, if only the business man follows the Principle of Service.

Western Civilization 2 lesson 15

How was the English Reformation different from the German Reformation?

The German and English Reformations differ mainly in that the German Reformation began as purely theological argument with the Catholic Church while the English Reformation began from purely selfish motivations of an individual (namely King Henry VIII).

Martin Luther entered priesthood because of theological ideals. As his years in priesthood pass, he encountered more and more abuses. What really angered him was Father Tetzel, who was commissioned by the Pope himself to sell indulgences near Wittenberg, and everyone spent their hard earned money on the lousy indulgences. Martin Luther decided to challenge the Church to a theological duel and tacked his thesis onto the church door! While the indulgences were the straw that broke the camel’s back, he disagreed with a lot of things such as the non-education of priests, bishops in charge of and collecting payment for multiple diocese while serving one, and whether Christ’s body and blood was actually present in the Eucharist. But his biggest beef was with the basic theology of the Catholic Church because he believed salvation was solely on the merits of faith while the Catholic Church held that salvation was achieved through faith and good works. Other people, who already surreptitiously agreed with Luther, appreciated what he had to say; and egged on by his ideas through the mass production of pamphlets, the German Reformation took off! Martin Luther, a devout Christian, never intended this theological revolution to occur; but when it did, he agreed with it wholeheartedly. Continue reading

Western Literature 2 lesson 15

Was More risking persecution by the church because of his book Utopia?

The socialist ideas that decorate Utopia’s pages offend every educated person who reads it; and the ideas contained in this book certainly offended the Catholic Church of the 1500s. This was during a time when the Church persecuted anyone considered to be a heretic: any person who openly disagreed with Catholic religious policies. Therefore, More was indeed risking persecution by the Church because of his book “Utopia.”

Religion in the fictional land of Utopia differed from the religion of the Catholic Church in some key areas. Firstly, in Utopia people could believe whatever they wanted without being persecuted. Some citizens worshipped idols and everybody was OK with that because the “powers that be” were confident that all people would hearken eventually to the idea of the Supreme Being if they were simply left alone. Secondly, none of the temples in Utopia contained depictions of God so as to not influence worshipers’ concepts of God. Perhaps God liked variety. Thirdly, the priests of these temples were not pushy in their doctrine and never preached hellfire and brimstone to non-believers. Finally, religious ceremonies took place rarely (at the end and beginning of every month and the end and beginning of every year); were fairly simple with quiet meditation, singing, and a homily by the priest; and sacraments were absent (most notably, the Eucharist). How unusual that Utopians were accepting of religious variety while the concept of peaceful coexistence of different Christian religious beliefs did not exist in Western Civilization. Continue reading

Western Civilization 2 lesson 5

What were the Ninety-Five Theses about? What was the basic message of Luther’s complaint?

In 1517, Martin Luther released his 95 theses to the world, and more importantly, to the Catholic Church. The 95 Theses are a set of documents that points out everything Luther found wrong with the practices of the Church and the Pope in the 16th century. Everything from infant baptism to monasticism made Luther’s list, but the focus of the Theses was on the sale of indulgences. (Indulgences are defined as the forgiveness of eternal sin for a soul in purgatory through the act of paying the Clergy.) When Luther published the 95 Theses, he meant for someone to step up to debate with him but he only ended up wounding the Clergy’s inflated sense of self-importance. However, he still gained an incredible amount of followers when he tacked that piece of paper onto the Church door in Wittenberg. Martin Luther never would have anticipated how he would change the world with his 95 theses.

Western Literature 2 lesson 5

“Do you think that Luther really believed that Pope Leo X did not know what the indulgence salesmen were saying?”

In Wittenberg, a sleepy little university town in eastern Germany on the river Elbe, the monk Martin Luther gradually became displeased with the practices of the Catholic Church. It began to dawn on Luther that the Church was corrupt—and the corruption went deep. But surely the Pope could not believe in these immoral values and teachings. Could he?

Luther did in fact believe that Pope Leo X knew what the indulgence salesmen were saying. When he was publicly proclaiming that he disagreed with the practice of selling indulgences, he did not want to offend one of the most influential people in his day, so he claimed that the Pope must not be guilty—even though Luther acknowledged that he was not perfect. However, judging from his doctor of theology from the University of Wittenburg, Luther was no dimwit and must have known that if all of the Church’s underlings practiced selling indulgences, the ruler must know and approve as well. Before delving further into this theory, the reader should know what Indulgences are. The selling of indulgences was the practice where a member of the Clergy forgave the eternal sins of any soul in purgatory using the excess of good works that the saints performed in their lives in exchange for exorbitant sums of money. Luther refers to the Pope many times over in his 95 Theses. The Pope’s title and position were very conspicuous as well and made people stop and take notice of what Luther was saying. Perhaps when Luther was still forming his 95 theses he truly believed in the Pope’s innocence, but after he thought about it for a while and wrote more of them, he realized the Pope’s true guilt. Continue reading