Hi everyone, my name is Doug. My wife and I were first introduced to RZIM in the early 90’s when we heard Ravi speak at a theological conference in Orlando, Florida. We have greatly benefited from the ministry of RZIM through the years and I was really encouraged to see the Connect platform come online.
I work for a very large company in the entertainment industry and my work intersects both the art and technology communities within the company, so I have the privilege of working with coworkers from diverse backgrounds. I have had a burden for the past few years to engage more for the cause of Christ in my personal relationships at work; I need to have more conversations that matter. This was really brought home last year when a coworker and dear friend suddenly died from a massive stroke. He was so young.
I have noticed such a difference in the culture, especially in the past 5 years; how words are often used to condition behavior. Sometimes it impeads honest conversations.
Look forward to participating with the Connect community as I am sure my experience in the workplace and desire to be effective there in the lives of others is widely shared.
@Dgriff, you did! Thank you for sharing a bit of your thoughts. I remember some years ago, someone got upset or annoyed with me because I would ask questions regarding the words/definitions he would use. I had found that we were often not on the same page in our understanding because he would be using words in a way that weren’t associated with the definitions, so I had to ask questions in order to make sure I was understanding him clearly. But, it turned out that in a “moment” he felt that he always had to choose his words so carefully with me. If anyone else had ever felt they way, they never expressed it, but he did. And yes, it made communicating hard between us because after that, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for clarity so that we could find common ground.
Thanks for sharing that. I think what you did in your situation is a good approach; stepping back and asking questions to first clarify how the other person is actually defining the term. I think that I need to take the time to ask more questions of others when I am in these conversations.
I am going through Adu’s book, “Saving Truth,” for the second time. So good!
Welcome to RZIM connect.
It is so cool to see how many lives around the world RZIM has touched. Praise, honour and glory to God for ministering to us through His word…by His Spirit.
I am sorry about your co-worker. This is sad.
The work place is a very challenging arena to attempt to engage people in the topic of faith…since our employer pays us to work for them…and not to share our world views. (Unless it is a Christian work place.)
Would you mind clarifying and being more specific about what you mean in your statement? …
“I have noticed such a difference in the culture, especially in the past 5 years; how words are often used to condition behavior. Sometimes it impeads honest conversations.”
I don’t want to assume, I am correctly understanding. I need more clarification.
Hi Doug, welcome! I hear what you are saying about having important conversations with co-workers. I struggle with that as well. We tend to get in our own way when sharing what God so freely gives. I also understand what you are saying about the culture. I am a public school teacher and I encounter this on a daily basis with my students and their parents. I feel the culture has made a major shift within the last few years.
Thanks for your response to my intro post. I will try to explain my statement a bit more without getting too much into the weeds. It just feels like the culture as a whole is getting more restrictive in what is appropriate to say or do based on the possibility that it may offend someone. Of course none of us want to knowingly offend others; the problem is that it seems there are more and more things being added to the list as “offensive” and they are not always open to be discussed. There was a specific instance of this I encountered last year regarding the idea of cultural appropriation. My team and I were told we had culturally appropriated a product and the offending elements had to be changed. I had a very diverse team, but nobody could understand it. It was not logical, but it also was not open to debate and had to be changed.
Corporations must be overly cautious with all the litegation that is out there, so I am not blaming them. HR and PR departments are getting more restrictive on what words and behavior are acceptable in the workplace. Again, I totally understand, they are responding to the cultural shifts. That said, there are detrimental effects when it comes to the psychology of day to day communication and relationships. It trickles down. I always feel like I am measuring everything I say, second guessing if it is appropriate, if it will offend.
As a believer in Christ, I believe I need to honor the rules of the company I work for and represent the company well. The workplace culture is very liberal so I focus on building relationships. When my friend Kareem suddenly died last year, I felt so guilty that I had never asked him about where he was spiritually; a conversation that mattered.
I just want to commend you on the work that you’re doing at work by being a light for Christ there. Reaching out to the people that we work with is so important, and so difficult - especially when we work in places for long periods of time. These are people that we can’t easily hide from if they take offence or misunderstand, and for me it makes the activity more risky, and scary. At the same time it’s so important that people that we spend 40-hours/week with get to have a glimpse of Christianity and the hope that we have during that time. It could be the only time they ever see it.
Thanks for being a light for Christ in your place of work, because it really is an encouragement!
Thank your for clarifying…Your response was excellent.
(And hey, you didn’t go into the weeds at all!)
I thought this was what you were referring to in your original post.
I live in Canada and here the politically correct mindset is pretty much out of control. It is very difficult to navigate it within the work place.
Unfortunately, Corporations and secular organizations are going to find out the hard way that allowing this type of mind control…will kill all creative thinking within the very best people working for them.
Employees will become bogged down and stuck in loops of worry. They will feel stressed all the time which takes up a lot of brain power to manage.
After all, we are only human. We all intuitively know…it is inevitable…we will unwittingly say something amiss, sooner or later. Employees will become so bound up internally that they will be unable to speak at all, without putting it through a series of mental filters.
If you haven’t read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, The Gulag Archipelago, it might be worth your while. Unfortunately, human beings are not very good at learning from history. The horrors of totalitarian thought/mind control have crept in and seem to be taking hold, be it ever so subtlety. And sadly, (very much in keeping with human nature), people fear non compliance, or resisting, or pushing back in this arena because their livelihoods are at stake.
That being said, personally, I don’t believe a work environment is the right environment for believers to communicate the gospel.
In my mind, I believe it is more appropriate to develop relationships, friendships with people you are employed with. If you have a friendship, you can connect outside of work to chat, which protects you from being slandered as “proselytizing” during work hours.
The organization I work for has strict rules around people’s faith. But, to me, they are reasonable rules. I work independently with vulnerable youth. My job is to support these kids to make headway toward achieving specifically identified (age appropriate) goals. “Proselytizing” is seen as manipulating an immature vulnerable person. I agree with this. There is a power imbalance exists in my relationship with them any engagement actively on my part, would exploit the youth’s subjectivity.
If a youth asks me what I think or what I believe, I can answer them, while being sensitive not to take advantage of them in their curiosity.
With adults it is different. Nonetheless, I believe there is a vulnerability that people feel when they are brought into close proximity with others within their jobs. I truly believe it takes prayerful wisdom to navigate work context appropriately as a believer.
Maybe, you could make your work relationships a matter of specific prayer? Possibly focus on asking God to open doors for you, in a manner that will not put you of being accused of “proselytizing”, and will keep others safe from feeling further conflicted at work.
I hope this makes godly sense. If not, let’s continue to clarify.
Thank you for sharing from your experience in the workplace. I see you totally understand what I was describing.
I have never read The Gulag Archipelago but have heard it referenced by numerous speakers. I will put it on my list…I do like history.
I also like your suggestion about specifically committing our co-workers to prayer; a great reminder! Prayer should be primary to all of our endeavors. I know I have a tendency to carry weight that I was never intended to shoulder, because I often don’t make prayer a priority. Committing burdens to the One who is capable and has the power to change the hearts of men beats spinning on the hamster wheel of my own efforts.
Amen to approaching Heaven’s mercy seat…
With the blood of the New Covenant, the blood of the Lamb, slain before the foundations of the world. We can come with boldness to ask for God’s grace in times of need, and to seek His mercy on behalf of those who are yet in their sins because of unbelief.
While our workplaces may put barriers in our way to prevent us from speaking freely about our hope in Christ…they cannot know or prevent us from praying fervently, earnestly in secret. May God reward us openly…by redeeming those we have petitioned Him for! Even if He doesn’t… faithfulness in prayer reflects our love of the Lord, and it demonstrates our love for our workmates.