Sunday, September 23, 2007

A "Seed Book" Germinates

It's funny how sometimes I buy books that are on sale and then put them on a shelf untouched for say, a few years? And every once in a while, I realize that some of these books are really a "seed book" that just need the right conditions for it to finally germinate and grow.

One such book is called Going Public With Your Faith: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work.
I picked this up probably from a pile of clearance books at a local Christian bookstore years ago. But now that I am working in a non-church setting full time, this book has a new found relevance, as I struggle to figure out what it means to be a faithful Christian in the marketplace.

I was surprised getting into this book that the two authors are as blue blooded Evangelicals as can be (Promise Keepers, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs and Texas :P) yet espouse some of the same sort of "organic" understandings of conversion and witnessing that are common parlance for the new wave of "postmodern/emergent" et al. And they get into the whole disastrous split between sacred and secular which was one of the themes in my Emerging Church class. Guess it makes a difference when you're working at ground level like these guys are!

One thing I've been realizing and they highlighted is that what's right for the workplace is going to be different for each person. Each work environment will have different cultures and attitudes that need exegeting: "A cookie-cutter approach to evangelism is doomed. In fact, some of the old gospel-sharing methods are unwise, if not flat-out unethical. A workable model for evangelism must respect the nonbeliever's integrity and vulnerability while also considering the professionals fiduciary responsibility" (p. 25).

I kind of chuckle at the part I italicized. First, because it reminds me of my miserable failure doing that in high school with the 4 spiritual laws. Second, because it reminds me of one of Tammy's ex-cholo Christian co-worker who's in everybody's face at her work about Jesus. When Tammy told another person outside of her work about his evangelism techniques at work, there was great indignation about how "unethical" that sort of thing was...

So, now I'm left with the question: "What does God want to do/is doing at my workplace?"


Jules said...

I think it makes sense that there isn't just one cookie-cutter way for every workplace. I'm still figuring it out. Though I think what makes it harder is fear. Earlier this year, after one employee's last day (he got a new job) - I found out he was a Christian just by how he subtly he described the church he chose to get married at. I asked him, "Are you a Christian?" I told him I didn't realize that he was a Christian too, and he said.."Well, this place isn't exactly the best environment to profess your faith." I realized recently how anti-christian people really were until during our book club discussion. Someone chose a sacrilegious book for all of us to read, and afterwards - turns out everyone loved it. Well, except for me (read only one chapter) and two other people who didn't have time to read it (though they promised that they will).

Tammy said...

So, that's what all those books are doing on the shelves!?