About God-Wrestling

  • The name "God-Wrestling" comes from the hebrew word "Yisrael (Israel) " which means to contend with or be a "wrestler with God."
    This "ethics" blog will attempt to do simply that: to wrestle with God in the midst of life from a Jewish-Christian point of view. This is a place for you to send your questions that begin with: "I have always wondered about...." or "I wish I knew what God wanted me to do when...."

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October 10, 2005

Comments

Pastor Terry

Heidi,

It's very rare when one finds that almost all of their co-workers are also faithful Christians. But as you point out, it can be challenging.


What specific ways have you found yourself growing because of this environment?

Do you find that there is a tolerance to various points of view? Is there a sharing of different intrepretations of scripture?

John Wesley wrote in his sermon 53:

..."And, first, let us keep close to the grand scriptural doctrines which he everywhere delivered."

"There are many doctrines of a less essential nature, with regard to which even the sincere children of God (such is the present weakness of human understanding) are and have been divided for many ages. In these we may think and let think; we may "agree to disagree."

"But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials of "the faith which was once delivered to the saints;" and which this champion of God so strongly insisted on, at all times, and in all places!"...

So he recognized that there are some clear "basic beliefs" that all Christians hold, and that there are others of "less essential nature" that we can have some really good discussions about.

Have you run across any of these at work?

Heidi Smith

The complete flipside from starting the discussions of spirituality at work is having a work place that is, in some ways, immersed in it. My place of business (a manufacturing facility) houses two churches, At the Center and Vineyard at the Center. Having this grace and support is wonderful, but also has brought to light many challenges. While we are all Christians, having varying faiths from my Methodist faith has brought me to a new understanding of our difference and has forced me to look closer at my own faith and beliefs. It is a enlightening and bumpy road as the company, it’s employees (whom a large portion of are members of the church here) and myself continues to grow and struggle with God’s will for us all.

Pastor Terry

Your experience is not uncommon. Often good friendships develop at work. It's wonderful that you can talk frankly about areas of religious belief.

I'd like to see more sharing of insights about living a spiritual, moral life at work. Your relationship with your co-worker sounds great!

However, the supervisor who is soliciting donations through the office network is clearly out of bounds. It's no wonder why you are feeling uncomfortable.

I can think of at least a couple of ways of dealing with this. Maybe you can think of some as well.

1) If you are close enough to speak to her frankly and simply say: "It really makes me uncomfortable when you _______" and "Is there any other way we can get those charities supported than by using office time and resources?"
(Maybe you know a friend in the office who is close to her and can ask these questions.)

Or 2) Write her an anonymous note highlighting fact that it's making some of her co-workers uncomfortable and inquiring about other ways to do solicit funds.

Or 3) If it's serious enough, contact your HR manager and/or her supervisor and gently inquire about the policy toward such activities.

All of this is predicated on how tolerant the company is toward this behavior, how important it is to you and whether any of these ideas would do any good in changing the situation.

It can be really touchy! (But I would not suggest sending a note around about the Nazi party in order to make your point. It would probably be misconstrued and then you would have a whole new problem!)

Kenny Pearcy

I've found myself conversing with a co-worker several times about our religious beliefs, especially concerning some of the theological differences between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants. The discussions have always been enjoyable and thought provoking for both of us. He recently gave me a book about the Opus Dei movement, as he was upset by the way they were portrayed in the book “The Da Vinci Code” and he wanted to set the record straight. These conversations we’ve had are not always about our spirituality in the strictest sense, but the idea that we are talking about our beliefs in any way feels good. I guess it depends on the person. You know the saying, never talk about religion, politics, etc.

The other side of the coin. An employee of my company very often solicits contributions to various charities, many of which are faith based. She uses corporate email to do this and I have a bit of a problem with it. I feel it’s inappropriate use of our resources and also feel that it’s an improper use of her position in the company. She’s an executive level manager, so the thought is that her position of authority makes her request seem a bit on the unethical side. I imagine if I sent out an email through corporate accounts requesting contributions to the American Nazi Party or the Church of Satan, I might have to deal with some consequences. It’s hard to imagine an appropriate way to complain though, and in fact, I’m not sure if I even should be concerned. The fact is, all the charities she’s solicited for are good ones in my opinion. Anyhow, that’s my two cents.

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