Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome to the Fish's Belly

I had lunch today with my mom, my secretary and another woman I work with, and something came up in the discussion that I can't get out of my head.

My one friend from work asked about my sister, who is in the Army and close to retirement. My friend asked if my sister was still talking about retiring to wherever she was talking about last year. My mom mentioned that there has a new development, i.e., that my sister's department may relocate and my sister may end up with a civilian job with the same department.

I said that she should make it a part of her contract that this one co-worker of hers (let's call him Hateful Harold) can't work within 500 miles of her, since this co-worker doesn't do his job and he refuses to control his diabetes so that he ends up in the hospital and doesn't have to work. My mom and I have also speculated that the reason he is still a thorn in her side because she is supposed to witness to him, but that's our theory. I had the same question about why this one co-worker of mine is working with me again - same topic, slightly different facts.

After we left lunch, I got to thinking - how do people who aren't Christians take comments like that? I know I am guilty of assuming that most people have at least one person in their lives that they wish wasn't, but they can't figure out why that person is still around. I also assume that my friends, whether they are Christians or not, at least have enough understanding about the Bible and Christianity to know that there is some mandate to tell others about their faith.

It just didn't hit me until today that if someone is not a Christian, it might not be funny to them that we were joking, really, about someone who was a pain in the neck being in her life so that he could hear the gospel, not to mention the implication that my sister didn't want to witness to him. It wasn't so much that witnessing to someone is a chore or an obligation, but that this person (and more particularly, in this case, with an illness) would be disliked enough to want him out of my sister's workplace.

It made me wonder: do the little inside jokes or expressions Christians use when they are together sound the same to anyone not in the group? Is modern Christianity little more than a clique? And how do "outsiders" take such comments if they overhear them? Does it sound self-righteous and smug, or do people get that Christians are as susceptible as anyone to make
"insider" jokes or comments that others might not understand? Are non-Christians offended by the idea that the reason a Hateful Harold might keep cropping up in someone's life could be that Hateful Harold needs to hear the gospel?

Foundationally, I think everyone needs to hear the gospel; I recognize that there is a time and a place for such discussions, and I also know that talking to someone about their soul is a tricky thing. We should always be praying for opportunities to share our faith, and the idea of talking to someone about becoming a Christian should be one of joy, not dread.

As I said, it just ... hit me that someone who isn't a Christian might not find this theory as humorous as I do, and I thought I would ask you guys what you think. I thought of Jonah when I started writing this, hence the title of this post. Let me know.....


Lynn said...

Hi, Lawyerchik! As with anything else, I think it probably depends on the person who is listening and what their experiences are. This has a lot to do with how people view things, though not everyone realizes it. For me, I can hear and see these situations simultaneously as an insider and as an outsider.

HAR said...

I agree with lynn. I am also too tired to respond and must log off and get some beauty rest.

I think that even if you are not Christian, you can be open to the fact that someone can learn something about god, compassion or whatever it may be from someone who is living by example.

Sorry, I am too spent to make any sense. Night all.

lawyerchik said...

I appreciate the comments, guys. Thanks. Lynn, you're right that people take things in light of their own experiences - I felt bad about it because I got to thinking (after instead of before I spoke!) that one of my friends may have had something in her past that I don't know about that would lead her to be hurt or offended or upset by our conversation, and I don't mean for that to happen!

And HAR, that was what convicted me - the realization that my example isn't always what I wish it would be.... :(

Thanks to both of you, though, for your insights. I don't like the idea of only projecting a "certain" image - I always like people better when their warts show every now and then, but I also don't want to poke somebody in the eye with mine. Get some sleep!! :)