After moving to North Carolina I began working for a Christian institution, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Truth be told, I enjoyed this job a lot! Why? I wish I could say that there was a lack of politics (like you see in the nonChristian world), but that would not be true. I wish I could say because they paid us what we were “worth” in the real world, but that would not be true. What made me enjoy this job so much was because of the men who I directly (and indirectly) worked with. I sat in a room with men who not only challenged me but loved to discuss, debate, and learn about new and important things. At least, they were new and important to us :).
When I made the decision to not pursue my Masters of Divinity, I had to find alternate employment. As many of my readers know, I went secular (employment wise). I worked for IBM for about a year before moving to Dublin where I started working for a small Network Consulting company called Alterra Networks. When my wife and I decided to pursue our dream of her finishing her degree we had to look at schools in the area. I then landed a job at Athens, which I started working at in the beginning of August. So far I have really enjoyed this job, I have my own office, a nice desk, two big monitors, etc., etc. I also really like the people – they are all very nice and accommodating.
But there is a problem. In fact, there has been a problem ever since I started working in the secular world. The problem is: they all know that I am a Christian, one who went to a conservative school. What does this mean? I means that they often censor themselves and when their internal censoring fails they often apologize. I hate this. I know they are being nice, because they don’t want to offend me. But I don’t understand where this comes from. I haven’t asked them not to say “Fuck”, “Jesus”, “Hell” or any other words. I don’t expect them to change who they are because I have entered the room. I don’t think it is even appropriate for people to change because of me… they should only change because of Jesus.
So this is my plan, whenever someone “apologizes” or I sense they are censoring themselves, I will take them aside and tell them, “I don’t mind if you do whatever it is that you do in front of me. I don’t expect you to censor yourself just because I entered the room. In fact, I’d prefer it if you didn’t. I want to get to know you – not the censored version of you.”
As I think about this, I wonder, how often do we (Christians) censor ourselves in front of our brothers and sisters? Is it appropriate to do so? How does this affect the community of believers?