Friday, September 28, 2007

is this really necessary?

Just seen this link to a Christian organisation posted on Facebook, and to be honest I found it to be a completely pointless organisation.
By bringing God's values, His Kingdom into the way we work, the way we build-up our relationships, the way we deal with our bosses, our customers, our suppliers and colleagues, we can truly make a difference.
I say pointless because there are already many groups trying to make a difference and bring respect, tolerance, freedom and other humane values (common to all religions, not just invented by Christianity), such as unions, multi-faith chaplaincies, international offices, equal opportunities committees and the like. I can't imagine many evangelical Christians wanting to work constructively with people of all faiths and none, or with LGBT people, for example. And I think most people would feel excluded by the evangelical Christian language.

Of course many workplaces need transforming into more ethical places, but why does it have to have a specifically Christian label? Only 10% of people in this country are actually practising Christians, so most people would regard this as a blatant attempt to impose a specifically Christian worldview, or to convert people to Christianity, even if it were not specifically evangelical (which it is). Also, I would hope Christians were already putting their values into practice at work (though not in the sense of discriminating against LGBT people and people of other faiths or none, or trying to evangelise their colleagues, of course).

The idea of wanting to transform workplaces into nicer places to work and where ethics were of prime importance would have a lot more credibility if it was a multi-faith (including humanist) alliance. And why can't Christians join existing organisations to make workplaces better?

I think the chief reason why this organisation annoys me is the sheer smug self-righteousness of it, as if ethics were invented by Christians. As a matter of fact, the first Western person to think in depth about ethics was Socrates, six centuries before Yeshua ha Notsri. And in the East, Siddharta Gautama also preached compassion about the same time as Socrates.

Personally, I'd like to see more Buddhist values in the workplace: compassion, tolerance, respect for the environment, right conduct towards customers, time off for meditation, respect for other people of whatever faith, and better décor.


El Fouche said...

Hi Yvonne. Sorry you found the website offensive. There certainly is no intention of it being smug and suggesting that Christian invented ethics!

The aim of Workplace UK is to work with Christian groups already in workplaces or where there is none and to work with workplaces on their diversity policies so that any and all groups, not just faith groups, get recognition. Faith groups, especially Christian groups, have been quite bad at integrating with workplace diversity policies int he past. The aim of that is simply that everyone gets recognition in the workplace. It just so happens that this is a groups that has organised itself form the bottom up from various Christian workplace groups.

Of course Christian feel that they have something distinctive to bring to their workplaces - that does not exclude anyone else from bringing something distinctive from their community or faith perspective.

It is sad that whenever Christians decide to organise like this they get flack for not being "inclusive" enough. I think there is tendency to read in to what we say more than we mean - perhaps because some of the more extreme Christian right wing groups have such a high profile and people end to read in to what most of us think and say what they have heard from more extreme groups rather than what we actually mean.

Or maybe I am just a homophobic mysigynist bigot.

El Fouche said...

and one who cannot spell and has awful grammar as well! ;0)

Yvonne said...

Greetings El Fouche, of course you are not a homophobic misogynist bigot, and I know for a fact that you are not one of those people who go around shoving your faith down other people's throats. However, this group (I thought they were called Transform Work UK; are you sure you posted the correct link?) does advocate evangelising at work (and I personally get very offended when I get Alpha Course leaflets in my pigeon-hole at work, for example) and does come across as a right-wing Christian group I am afraid to say.

Of course Christians are entitled to express their ethical concerns and get together for prayer groups, socials etc if they want to (though I hope they would not try to stop a prayer group of another faith) but I don't think they are entitled to proselytise at work. In the past, I have received flack from Christians for being Pagan, and I know a number of other people who have also received such flack.

Yvonne said...

The aim of Workplace UK is to ... work with workplaces on their diversity policies so that any and all groups, not just faith groups, get recognition.

Really? Where does it say that?

Is there a page that says which Christian values are being promoted?