When I worked for Fluor Daniel I was impressed with how much time and energy were spent on the creating a corporate culture. Posters, buttons, speeches, employee trainings were all tuned-in to the most recent idea adopted by upper management. I especially remember when I started to hear the phrase "value added."
It was meant to title all those things each of FD's employees did on top of their specific assignment to positively boost the client's experience and enhance the product. Not just pipes drafted but pipes drafted using the latest software so that plans could be adapted electronically and jobsite work could advance without delay! Value added!
I suppose my part in adding value to the corporate culture was to squeeze more guests into the employee fitness center without them knowing it was a problem. That's what the "vice-president of towel operations" was supposed to do.
In the end my best efforts toward that corporate goal were to listen and accompany every fitness center user as they relieved the stress of their own efforts to add value on a deadline, to find ways to forward their fitness away from work, to encourage them when their waistlines shrank too slowly.
I'm remembering those days as a way to explore more deeply into the truth that I've read between Paul Tillich and Diana Butler Bass these last few weeks.
There are transactional structures that inform the use of "value added" language. But some of that transaction thinking fails to grasp the effect of our groundedness in God. We are mudlings, made from the very ground and spittle and breath of God. We are created by God in love and only away from God by our own forgetfulness and failing.
Forgiveness and repentance aren't contracts to which God adds value. They are our acceptance that the deal of our creation was already good enough and needed no enhancement, no buttons or posters or ahead of schedule deliveries. No need for "value added."