One morning last week several of us at my office sat around a table in a conference call. The lady to my left whispered to our colleague across the table.
"Your coffee mug says, "I AM GOD". What do you mean?"
Sure enough, the mug displayed "I AM GOD". Beneath that claim was an owl with its eyes closed and some flowers. What the...?
The mild-mannered owner squinted at his cryptic mug. He turned it around in his hands.
Thus we all discovered that encircling the mug as a one-line border was a quote from Psalm 46 verse 10:
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
I mumbled lamely, "In context, that verse is directed to Israel's enemies." Yep, I'm always ready to share the good news.
Such personal mugs, pens, and knick-knacks announce Christians in the workplace. Sometimes I recognize Christian radio leaking from headphones.
As best I can tell, an overt Jesus fish at the desk mainly results in Christians chatting about church activities or tickets for the Hillsong concert. The Twelve Apostles Calendar does not stimulate connection with non-believers. Thus my own approach to identifying with Christ tends toward the organic: consistently seeking the success of my co-workers, clients, and company; not cursing, going the second mile; asking for insights about TV or movies that I don't follow. "By this shall all people know you are my disciples, that you love one another."
For some non-believers, a sunny "This is a Day the Lord has Made" plaque may be viewed not as an invitation but as a warning! It marks your desk area as a no-cussin' zone. Even my low-key approach still results in me being treated as a delicate flower, or as God's spy, or as God's bully.
Thus, a guy at a previous job vented to me that, "religious people are judgmental. They hate gays and basically everyone."
I timidly inquired, "Do you think I'm judgmental?"
He reflected and replied, "Well, maybe not you. But, ha, I don't know you that well."
I offered, "So you wouldn't know that the local LGBT community had me offer the prayer at their Thanksgiving dinner?"
Surprised pause: "Oh! They did? You're not gay, are you?"
"They did, I'm not, and you're right." I persisted. "There's a long history of church people being ignorant, snooty, and murderous. I think you know that's the opposite of what Jesus said: 'Judge not,' and 'Judge with right judgement,' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
I didn't let go: "I think judgmentalism is a disease infecting everyone. You yourself want to be fair, but just now you put all 'religious people' in the same judgmental bag."
"Oh. I did," he conceded. "My mistake."
"No problem," I shrugged. "You're still right. I am often judgmental in my head for a while, even if I stop my mouth in time."
Animals judge. You and I judge. I did unnecessarily judge people several times today, when I should have deferred judgement or skipped evaluation altogether. So I need to remember--I need people to call me down when they catch me judging--I am not God.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.