Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Jerry Maguire Moment

During a Sunday service, I felt impressed to share with my co-workers of my disappointment at being a poor reflection of Christ. As the night progressed, events occurred that just built momentum.

The next morning I sat at my computer and composed the following e-mail and, while hitting the send button, I said things are going to get weird!

Dear co-workers:

You are receiving this because I interact with you daily or have in the past, or you are in earshot of my cubicle.

I am struggling with writing this e-mail. Yesterday during church, I was kind of reflecting on how I convey Christianity in my conversation and actions at the workplace. I really believe I've earned the "christianish" label and really hypocrite or lukewarm would be better. No one is perfect but I feel my conversation has taken an even more negative turn. I've been negative about my faith, marriage, work, etc. In no way conveying what I PROFESS to believe in...it's like there is an [work] Steve, Home Steve & Church Steve and unlike George Castanza I NOW want my worlds to collide.

Right before 9th grade, I being an unchurched boy, asked Christ to be my personal savior. It was a 180 turn in my life that people could see - genuine joy in my life. This was a transformative experience as I went from a C student to an A student and Christ in me was a core part of who I was not just a Sunday thing.

As an adult, I've became what I despise - a religious man, instead of someone that has a relationship with Christ. A lot of it is frankly double-mindedness and not renewing my mind daily in personal devotions. Trying to walk in two different worlds. For example, crass joking and negative talking should not be a part of someone who claims to follow Christ who promises us just not life but life more abundantly.

Last night I went out with a group of young Christians that are in there 20ies to early 30ies. As the conversations wound down, one lady said I have to say something. She thanked me for being an older person that has a passion for Christ and someone the younger males can look to as an "example" or "mentor". As she is saying this, I thought, what would [co-worker names withheld] think if they were sitting here hearing this compliment? More importantly what would my wife think? Is this even remotely what they see at home or work? Would it make them want to
puke? That all the more made me want to send this e-mail to you.

So I guess what I am trying to do is apologize for the person that I have been. The last thing I ever would want to do is be guilty of turning anyone away from Christ because of my conversation or behavior. I've been content to take Jesus out of the box on Sunday and then tucking Him away for the week. Trying to live of off Sundays sermon for the week. Being too distracted with the urgent to take care of the important. And frankly it's not working for me nor does it for anyone.

I'm sorry for saying/professing one thing but acting out another. Not trying to butcher myself publicly but genuinely sorry for bringing any reproach to Christ.

I'm not looking for an acknowledgement or how I'm really not that bad. I am telling you I am and have fallen far short of what I believe a Christian should be and I am believing this is a step into making amends for that. I want my faith to be real and relevant in all of my life including my job and my interactions with you.

So now I have taken the easy step to apologize...now comes the hard part to live it. Hope you see a difference in me as I endeavor to follow Him a lot closer than I have been.
After sending it, I got up and grabbed some coffee and let it hit people's e-mails.

I sat down and read a response from my pastor that basically said bold move! So I re-read my e-mail and just said "wow!" I then said I am having a Jerry Maguire
moment. To which the guy next to me replied "the mission statement", and laughed a bit awkwardly. Another co-worker asked me what was going on with me and I just said the e-mail conveyed it and I needed to get it out. He asked if I was afraid it would be elevated up the channel. My response was no and I even included my supervisor. Another co-worker said it was encouraging and he was having similar thoughts.

It has been only one day since the e-mail went out but I have experienced pure joy in my workplace that I cannot recall. It has been liberating. I am not claiming to have arrived. I just conveyed what I believe the standard is and what I hope to demonstrate. I eventually want to demonstrate and say "follow me as I follow Christ!" I like that it is out there!

So what do you think?