Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bridging two worlds?

Today I worked my "occasional job" at the Events Center, where there's a Christian youth conference happening this weekend.  The kiosk I work there is situated in the hall right outside the doors of the main auditorium, so we could hear the bands playing -- loud and clear! -- and could step inside and hear the speakers whenever we weren't busy.

Being a Christian youth conference, it definitely had the Christian/church atmosphere.  That was a lot different from the last event I worked, which was a secular, business event.  And today I realized, it's different from what I'm surrounded by lately.

I've grown up in a "Christian bubble," and even the majority of my adult life has been spent in that bubble.  Up until this year, I'd never worked a secular job, but always worked at Christian camps.  I went to church, worked at camp, went on mission trips, and all my friends were believers.  My "mission field" was the kids who came to camp and the people I served on mission trips.

This fall I started my first retail job.  Suddenly I find myself immersed in the real world -- the world where people don't go to church on Sundays, where curse words pepper every conversation, where coworkers talk bad about each other behind their backs, where partying and fake ID's are perfectly acceptable.....and where, unfortunately, I don't talk about Jesus.

So today, being at work but in a church-like setting was a bit disorienting.  I heard Christian music blaring from the auditorium all day.  I saw people -- customers -- walking through the hall singing along to those worship songs.  People were friendly and kind and they were carrying Bibles with them.  It was the kind of atmosphere where Jesus is "the norm."  And it was almost weird to be surrounded by that again, in a place other than church or camp.

So the question is, what is the bridge between these two worlds?  In the atmosphere I worked in today, it was normal and expected for everyone to like Jesus and talk about Him and live morally.  In the atmosphere I normally work in, at my regular retail job, that's not normal and expected.  In fact, that's pretty much just me.

But does that mean I should keep my beliefs to myself and not speak about Jesus?
Does that mean these two worlds -- work and Christian life -- should be so very different?
How do I bridge my faith and my faithless workplace?
How do I bring Jesus to work with me....without being a "typical Christian" and turning people off?


  1. Hey girl! I've worked in both too and there are good and bad to both. I personally think that every Christian should surround themselves with believers and non-believers (I'm really not even sure I like that terminology anymore). If you've only been in the Christian environment your entire life, then being outside of that is a bit of culture shock I'm sure. But here is what I like about the "secular" world- they're real. Not that Christians are fake per se, but it's easy to get accustomed to things supposed to being a certain way.... it's easy to be judgmental in Christian circles about one another and about "non-Christians." (I love that Graham Cooke calls them "pre-Christians.") It's easy to always be "us vs. them." But when you get in the world and you carry Jesus with you, then He shines. When Christians truly are Christians, people notice and they're curious about it. When you simply show them love and don't expect them to be like you, when you don't backbite and you do forgive, they want to know what the deal is. And then you get to tell them. And maybe you can say beforehand- just depends on how Jesus leads you. My thought has always been to show them Jesus first. If you show them, then they have a history of you and you become trustworthy. In today's US, "Christian" means nothing- all anyone thinks of is what we're against. We need to show them what we're for.
    Personally, I really enjoy being in "secular" (there's really no separation) world- I learn A LOT about relating to people and it challenges me where I'm weak. I find sometimes that I'm caught off-guard or I say things I wish I could have said better. It helps me see my weaknesses and where I need to improve. (I feel like in the Christian sub-culture this harder to come by because most of us feel like we're already good enough.)
    So that was long. :-D I would just say talk to God and find out what He's up to- you know when He's prompting you to speak up and when it seems like He wants you to wait- just listen to Him. "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

  2. You had a culture shock this summer as God brought an extremely hurt and aching part of the world to you, but that was still in a place where teaching them about the love of God was expected. Now He has brought you into the hurting world. I really hadn't stop to think about it like this,

    You were around it all some growing up in your dance classes, etc.,but, yes, as an adult it's different. I knew when God did not allow you to depend on your photography this fall/winter, that He might be up to something, and now I think this is probably a part of it. A new, deeper training ground. To see the hurt and the emptiness of the lost world up close and from the inside.

    Shannon is right...they already see the difference in you. They might not acknowledge it yet, but they do.They see that you are different, but still accept them. And, if God wants you to speak, He'll tell you and give you the opportunity. Just keep listening and watching. Maybe this is also a part of why you feel drawn to this job and enjoy it, much to your surprise. It's where you were supposed to be this winter. A different kind of ministry, and one that will help you grow.


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