God Talk in the Office

He leaned against the doorframe of my office, arms crossed tightly against suit and tie.

"So what do you write about," he asked, when I told him I wanted to focus on writing now that both my kids are in school.

I paused. The question hung in the air between us as the air conditioner hummed. My boss – my boss's boss, actually, the Big Boss – waited for an answer.

"Well, I write about a lot of stuff. Like religion, spirituality, faith. God," I finally said, looking down at my hands in my lap, feet swiveling desk chair back and forth. 

"Huh. I wouldn't have guessed that," the Big Boss said.

I wondered if he meant that in a positive way. 

We talked for a bit more. I learned he was raised Catholic but had abandoned religion long ago. I learned he'd tried a couple of churches in town, but gave up when he didn't find a good fit. I invited him to my church. He laughed and said, "We'll see."

"I wouldn't mind reading some of your work," he said, right before he left my office.

So I told him I'd send him the link to the monthly newspaper column I write about faith. I emailed him before I lost courage.

A week later I stepped into the elevator. The Big Boss stood in the back of the crowd. "I read all your articles, every one," he announced.

"Wow, that's great. Thanks," I said, casual and light as heads turned.

The doors opened to the third floor and I stepped into the hallway.

I talked to my boss, the Big Boss, about God. In the office. Lightning didn't shatter the sky. I didn't "convert" him or renew his lost faith. We simply talked for a bit. And it was good.

Do you ever talk about religion or your spiritual beliefs in the workplace?

Michele –   – (September 3, 2010 at 6:09 AM)  

Believe it or not, he is no more important than you. In the end, what you do positively impacts others. I have found a renewed interest in my Faith through you, and a desire to share that faith with my children. Your blunt honesty, your use of words is why I look forward to reading your blog every day.

Red Letter Believers  – (September 3, 2010 at 7:10 AM)  

A great Labor Day question. I have talked to literally hundreds of people about this question researching a book and most Christians sadly do not. They are intimidated by workplace rules, media perceptions of Christians and their own fear. It's no different with me! I still choke on open expression.

The best thing I can say is "be ready in and out of season, always ready to give an answer." I look for hurting people and then speak to them. If there is a moral issue, I speak out. I dont flippantly use God's name (in vain?) just as conversation. I'm not afraid, but I'm wise...at least I try to be.

Check out my post "Hiding your treasure"

Thanks for asking this important question

Danielle  – (September 3, 2010 at 8:41 AM)  

Yes and no. I talked about the fact I was a Christian, but I regret I didn't speak of it more personally. I know people noticed a difference in me, because that was brought up from time to time, but I had a hard time trying to show them it wasn't just me being "a good/nice girl" but the work of Christ in me.

I worked at an art museum and it could be intimidating at times, because I had the least amount of letters after my name and lots of the curators probably knew more historical info about the Bible in terms of a manuscript and it's history than I did. It's definitely something I struggled with.

Lloyd  – (September 3, 2010 at 10:19 AM)  

I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd

Duane Scott  – (September 3, 2010 at 10:34 AM)  

It's difficult to talk about God to others. I wish I were better at it. I'm learning tho. :)

And your boss is amazing.

Jean Wise  – (September 3, 2010 at 11:56 AM)  

wow what an opportunity you had! Took some courage on your part!

In my previous job, I was the boss. But I had a small plaque in my office that said: My Boss is a Carpenter. Amazing how many people would comment on that and that would open up a conversation.

I also had several employees who I knew were Christian so I felt comfortable with prayer for and with during rough times for them.

I was careful never to overstep boundaries but didn't hid my faith either.

jasonS  – (September 3, 2010 at 12:03 PM)  

Good job! I do as I have opportunity, but I'm not always the best about it. You'd think as a pastor it would be a no-brainer, but to me it adds more pressure on how I'm perceived and what and how I say things. I love stories like this though--glimmers of hope. Thanks Michelle.

Susan DiMickele  – (September 3, 2010 at 12:27 PM)  

This is awesome. You go girl! I have had a similiar experience with my writing, and I'll have to say it's really caused me to engage with the most unexpected people at work. Will pray for your courage (I need it too)!

alicia  – (September 3, 2010 at 12:58 PM)  

I was going to give my answer... then I realized I don't have a workplace. ;) I used to, when I worked. Usually it revolved around church or church activities or them asking what school my kids go to which is a Christian school. We are in a pretty conservative Christian town so I rarely shocked or offended people with the news. It may shock them more to know that I prayed for them as I shampooed their hair- but I never told them that part.

Krista  – (September 3, 2010 at 2:25 PM)  

my workplace is the park, the karate studio, the store... any place I'm talking to moms while my kids play with their kids.

I get that question a lot, "what do you write about?" and when I say "faith, finding God in the everyday, encouraging people to take a step in their spiritual journey" or something like that, they respond the same way: "Huh." and then they tell me a bit about their church background or lack thereof.

I consider my blog my workplace, too. and my target audience is one particular neighbor, a fellow mom who is a feminist, an atheist and just got a divorce.

This week I talked about God more than usual on my blog. And yesterday she sent me a message: "Just reading a little of your blog. Thanks for reminding me to find happiness. I admire how you are always looking for and finding something to be glad for and it's an inspiration."

It's small, but so encouraging to know that Liberal Jenny, who wouldn't go to church, is getting bits of God's truth from reading what I put out there.

We plant the seeds, God makes them grow.

L.L. Barkat  – (September 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM)  

I am thinking that it began with him talking to you. And you talked back. :) Well, you know what I mean. This seems so natural to me. Perfect.

Ann Kroeker  – (September 3, 2010 at 5:20 PM)  

I love how simple that was...even though it may have felt hard. Awkward. Risky.

And then he read every single one.

Of course he did! Your writing is refreshing and real. How could he resist?

Amy Sullivan  – (September 3, 2010 at 7:11 PM)  

I held my breath while you answered the Big Boss' question "What do you write?"

Good answer, good answer, and I can't believe you followed through with actually emailing him some of your work right away.

At times (as in most of the time), I don't do a good job of sharing my faith with others at work.

Deidra  – (September 5, 2010 at 11:04 AM)  

I think your conversation with the Big Boss was absolutely perfect!

One day a coworker came over to me and said, "I know this isn't politically correct, but if you ever want to talk about 'faith stuff' you can always come to me. I won't tell anyone."

S. Etole  – (September 5, 2010 at 12:04 PM)  

Saw the note you left at Deidra's ... peace and comfort be with you.

Dawn  – (September 7, 2010 at 5:26 PM)  

just smiling, michelle... just smiling.

Rebecca  – (December 27, 2010 at 5:43 PM)  

I have had similar moments where I've been able to share my faith in the workplace, though my workplace is not an office but a kitchen and my boss is a Head Cook. Just as you found, there seemed to be no change; nothing dramatic happened. I often found it disheartening, but now I just give a mental shrug and think, "It's in God's hands." The uncomfortable truth still remains though, that I'll never be satisfied with anything less than the salvation of my fellow man, and I don't think God is either, so I continue to wait for moments to speak and for God to work miracles in the hearts of my workmates.

Lyla Lindquist  – (December 27, 2010 at 6:57 PM)  

Remember loving this post the first time around, and so glad to see THC highlight it today.

As a mom of athletes, one of the terms I hear all the time is "ready position." No matter the sport, the athlete has a "ready position" -- it's usually knees bent, butt dropped, hands ready and on your toes instead of your heels. Ready to move when the time is right.

You, my friend, put yourself in "ready position." And, not finding yourself back on your heels, you were ready.

Well played, Michelle.

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