Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Am I a spineless hypocrite?

I recently finished a book called "Sharing Jesus Without Fear" by William Fay. It was a great book for a new Christian to learn about sharing your faith as well as instruct you how to bring others into God's grace. I don't intend on giving a book report today but I wanted to consider the title of the book alone as I reflect on some of today's events in my life.

I work for a large company in a customer service habitat where we have around 600 employees in the customer service division alone and professionalism is most definately a requirement. I am fortunate because it is an incredible company that is ethical, fair, and very diverse. It takes pride and places great value in diversity and rightfully so. There is a commitment to diversity to the extent of a diversity committee that raises awareness of other cultures, religions, geographic areas, etc.

Today, there was a diversity committee awareness e-mail that went to the customer service division with information of the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur. In this communication, wherever God was mentioned it was spelled "G_d". Shortly after this went out to the masses one individual replied TOO ALL " Since when in this company are we not allowed to spell out the name of God?" Amen to that right? Following this were several others supporters in the Christian faith to also "reply to all". All 600 or so employees in customer service.

As a manager it is my job to make sure that we are professionals. To my understanding, doing a good job for your employer is very Christian like. However I can't deny that I felt that I was witnessing someone act not unlike Daniel did when King Darius outlawed praying to God. Daniel of course did so anyway and was thrown to the lions. Who am I to douse the flames of someone on fire for the lord? Nevertheless I do my job by sending the following to my group:

No doubt everyone has seen the e-mail communications concerning diversity and Yom Kippur. I think it is Great that we get to learn about other cultures. However, I would ask my group to not participate in "soap boxing" by replying to all as some have done in response to this communication. While I think it is acceptable to communicate your feelings especially when offended through the proper channels such as HR or as in this case to the Diversity Committee Chairperson, I do not think it is appropriate or professional to communicate to the customer service group as a whole, particularly in this case where individuals of other cultures or religious sanctions might be offended.

Thanks for not participating in communications of this nature.


As it happens, none of my folks were involved and I wanted to prevent it before anyone got in trouble. In addition, a well informed employee responded to all, informing them that in Jewish tradition the word God is spelled G_d, in order to respect God. It is believed that the paper the name of God is written on cannot be destroyed without disrespect to God himself and in this case, any e-mail deleted. This certainly stopped the outrage but was followed by several "reply to all" communications where Christians were verbally "high fiving" each other for standing up for their beliefs.

With all of this I am left with much conflict in my heart as I find it hard for professionalism and Christianity to co-exist in today's corporate world, where we all walk on egg shells so we don't "offend" anyone. This is especially hard where it is my job to uphold policy. Where are we as Christians today in corporate America. I'm in the same hole as the judge that can't post the ten commandments at the court house and the teacher who can't allow prayer in state classrooms. So I am lost with this. I'm asking for some guidance here. Am I a spineless hypocrite in the eyes of God? I will pray on this. I would love some comments from anyone with thoughts or insight.


Alfred said...

What great thoughts! As a former manager in similar environments I agree with how you handled this.

1 Peter 3 states this: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. "

Peter's priority FIRST was to act outwardly with gentleness and respect, so no one can have reason to slander the name of God. You did the right thing in my opinion. And I learned that if I would act with respect to all from my position of authority, when we walked in the break room and I was now just a friend and peer, it was easy to talk about the hope I have in Christ.

Just my opinion though!

Vic Webb said...

Awesome comments Alfred. That certainly helps with my struggle. Thanks buddy.