Are we living in a world of “excuse me” Christianity? (Commentary)

Posted on August 15, 2008. Filed under: Personal Growth and Freedom |

“Advantage Conferences has the best mentoring program I have ever been involved with.  AC has weekly training calls; weekly mindset mentoring calls, and a host of videos, mp3s, podcasts and books for your edification.  Being involved with Advantage Conferences has prospered my life in so many ways.  Advantage Conferences Founder and President, Tim Darnell, has written an awesome book called, (Slay Your Giants) which has caused me to grow in my relationships with my family, friends, business associates and with God.  Check out the website and do the three simple steps to fully understand the marketplace ministry/business.  Also e-mail me and I will send you a free copy of the book (Slay Your Giant) by Tim Darnell.

 

Be Blessed.

Chaplain Steven Walle, MMC IV pro rep of Advantage Conferences

 

April 12th post in the Collective X International Network of Social Entrepreneurs (INSE)

 

 

While I will rarely use this forum as a commentary vehicle, the response to the above post as well as subsequent posts by the INSE’s Founder and Chairman is symptomatic of what I can only classify as selective tolerance.

 

Make no mistake this is not an issue of my agreeing or disagreeing with the principles of Advantage Conferences or the corresponding “Slay Your Giants” book by Tim Darnell.  (Note: Darnell, as is the case with all authors, does have his detractors.)  My concern however is centered on the premise that we must somehow limit or monitor the public profession of how God and Christianity plays a pivotal role in a believer’s business life so as not to offend anyone.  This is what I refer to as “excuse me Christianity.”  

 

The practice of intolerable tolerance means that we must somehow apologize if we move beyond the confines of a sheepish, “there is a proper time and place to profess one’s faith” mentality.  At least this appears to be the INSE hierarchy’s position.  The following is the actual “polite” chastising Chaplain Walle and those sharing the same sentiments received from the INSE (whose moniker ironically is “Fostering Connections to Pursue Business Endeavors with Social and Environmental Benefits”).

 

“As much as I understand your enthusiasm, please keep in mind INSE is present on five continents and God may have a different meaning and implications for different people; I have received a complaint about the original message posted by Steven, claiming it is promoting a religion in particular.

 

As the founder and chairman of INSE, I feel inclined to say INSE is apolitical and doesn’t represent or promote any religion either – it represents a group of people of good-will strongly determined to change the world for the better.

 

Personally, I respect people who believe in one God – and that god might be a different one – people who do not believe in any god, people who believe in several gods (and goddesses); that’s all fine to me, as long as nobody pretends to be god!

 

PLEASE REFRAIN FROM POSTING ANY RELIGIOUS-FLAVORED MESSAGE; thanks – I am now updating the TOS . . .”

 

In dynamic peace,

Christopher

INSE Founder and Chairman

 

Despite the fact that there were positive comments from several members regarding the Chaplain’s post, it would appear that the mere profession of one’s faith relative to social benevolence is equated with insensitivity towards the societal mores of common decency and tolerance.

 

This of course leads me to ask the question, when did free speech and freedom of religion become a subjective right based upon the sensibilities of a single individual? 

 

In my response to the INSE head I had indicated that I had re-read the Chaplain’s original message as well as the subsequent comments relating to the post and could find nothing offensive or any attempt to “proselytize.”  And once again, while I am not endorsing either the book or related conference (although I fully support the Christian elements it professes to embrace), the comment is in reality an enthusiastic sharing of an experience based upon a strong personal belief.

 

In the form of a deliberately over-dramatic rhetorical question, I asked the INSE head what’s next – the banning of political debate?  Perhaps we should be cautious in our open support of a particular sports team?    Does anyone remember the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine was told to remove her Baltimore Orioles baseball cap because she was sitting in seats that were provided by the New York Yankees ownership?  This ridiculous premise was of course amusing.

 

The emphasis here is based on the appearance that we as a society are unwilling to give even a modicum of latitude on those issues of greater importance such as the relevant and sincere sharing of personal beliefs.  This of course is not amusing.

 

The irony, as I pointed out to the INSE Founder is that I receive countless e-mails from him enthusiastically promoting a particular conference or touting the latest and greatest industry expert.  While I may not have an interest in his message, I will defend his right to share it as I have the option of either reading it or deleting it, as does the individual who registered the complaint.

 

In the end, censorship is a far cry from neutral facilitation, and the INSE Founder and Chairman’s role should be focused on creating and maintaining an environment where different ideals can be presented honestly and openly without fear of recrimination.  In other words, a forum that purportedly champions social change for the benefit of society as a whole cannot be exclusionary in its practice.  And it is in this spirit that the INSE Founder should foster open dialogue rather than appeasing dissent.

 

(Next Post: Part 2 – Jonathan’s Acceptance of Divine Direction)

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