“SS Santa,” the “world's biggest container ship,” brings Christmas toys from China and returns with our garbage, so that EU targets can be met, says Jeremy Brady in his editorial in The Week (of 11/11/06, referring to Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph – these are unexciting links!).
Jeremy's take on this is that “targets can always be met; but as Stalin found, the outcome is invariably rubbish.” He cautions us against getting carried away with targets for reducing carbon emissions.
It seems to me that much of the training I have received during my business career has encouraged me to set and to meet targets, and that government and Christian organisations increasingly have been moving in that direction. We seek to build a hope for the future, a vision, and then to reach that through setting and achieving measurable targets.
Is this the best or only way? We need to have an idea of where we are travelling, and the steps along the way. However Jesus' teaching (for example, that we should love God and our neighbour) was less about using any means to reach the right end, and more about finding that if we live the right life then good results (including right relationships) will follow.