Archive for June, 2009
I’m in a study called “Your Work Matters to God.” We are reading a book with the same title by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks. While discussing what it means to be a Christian in the workplace, it came out that several people in the group avoid letting anyone at work know that they are Christians. One person coined the term “Secret Agent Christian.”
I’m guessing this is not uncommon. Why are so many Christians under cover at work? Could it be that the many Christians who have come before us have given us a bad reputation. We are either overbearing, seen as simple minded, or behave no differently than anyone else. In fact, a study conducted back in the 1980s (and I doubt much has changed in 25 years) measured moral and ethical behaviors like calling in sick when not, cheating on income taxes, and pilfering supplies at work. The study found no real difference between the churched and unchurched. No wonder people don’t tend to take Christians seriously!
I know that when I “came out” at work several years ago (not that I had really been purposefully hiding anything before), many of my coworkers were shocked that I was a Christian. At the time, I was a little confused, thinking that maybe I had not been behaving in a Christlike way. Now that I think about it, I’m realizing it was probably because they thought I was ‘smarter than that.’
I also remember coming out in grad school. You would have thought that I had dropped a bomb. How could I be so naive to believe in that craziness? However, it honestly never bothered me that people thought I was an idiot. I didn’t even waver when one professor told me to F*%# my God. I saw it as an opportunity to rock their worlds. To be something they were not expecting – a thoughtful, hard-working, servant-hearted colleague.
I’m just confused as to why this rocked their worlds. Why were they so surprised when I turned out to not be as crazy as they expected? It disheartens me that some of the Christians who are working with integrity and doing their work with excellence don’t want to be associated with Christians.
Last week, one of the small group members announced that she came out of the closet on LinkedIn. She did it in a very professional and appropriate manner. We all applauded. Maybe we need more support groups for the secret agent Christians out there.
I’d like to invite folks in Southern California to a great event brought to you by Harbor’s Faith and Work Ministry – Saturday, July 11, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
What is your conflict style? Are you an avoider? A compromiser? Do you compete to win your point? Learn about some of the causes of workplace conflict. Better understand how to work more effectively with difficult people. Become familiar with tools and techniques that can restore relationships and develop a much less frustrating work environment!
Commissioner Joseph Mansolillo, from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, and Dr. Charles Long, Marriage and Family Therapist, will bring their professional knowledge and Biblical principles to help us respond effectively to conflict in the workplace.
Cost: $20 includes continental breakfast (the ministry helps keep costs low!)
Visit www.faithandworkministy.org for details and to register for the event.