Are we living in a world of “excuse me” Christianity: Does Religion and Politics Impinge on Business?

Posted on August 19, 2008. Filed under: Personal Growth and Freedom |

I must admit that I did not anticipate going beyond the original post in what now appears to be a series on the dialogue surrounding my question, “Are we living in a world of excuse me Christianity.”


What is interesting is the fact that those who are inclined to preserve the purported “harmony” of the forum by excluding commentary, in which the elemental roots are based on both religious and political ideology, have been the most vociferous in terms of “explaining” their positions.


While I make no claims of speaking for anyone on either side of this question, the ominous silence from those whose profession of faith is the foundation for their thinking can lead one to ask the question, are we really at the point where constructive and sincere debate is limited to acceptable (nee comfortable) silos of familiarity where even positive conflict is avoided?  Or in the case of the INSE forum, utilizing the Bible as a viable point of reference in terms of both social and ecological contemplations.  (Note: I will touch on this point later in this post when I share my response to the most recent comment from another forum member.)


Referring to Luke 12:51 (KJV), “Suppose ye that I have come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay; but rather division,” was Jesus’ way of telling us that even within our own households our beliefs would cause division.  To me this indicates that there are risks to professing one’s faith and beliefs openly.  If we are not inclined to do so within the relative safety net of a social forum, where we are free to express our positions without fear of life threatening recriminations, how will we fare when the stakes are raised?  And they will be one day.


That said I am pleased to share the latest dialogue on the question, are we living in a world of “excuse me” Christianity? 



“I believe in freedom of expression but I also believe there should be freedom to create forums for a selected purpose. That purpose may be subject to some kind of voting or consensus of participants and sometimes it may not be.  I think it is up to the owner(s) of the forum to define it in the way that they choose – and, although I think the subject may be up for a matter of discussion by the members, this would be at the largesse of the owner(s).  Since Christophe is the owner/founder of this forum, I think it is entirely up to him to set the rules.  If we don’t like them, we can drop out.  If he is open to persuasion, I think then we should persuade him in a manner that he is comfortable with.


Freedom of speech is a wonderful, but subtle doctrine – just like freedom of assembly.  We have the right to create organizations and assemble in them for a specific focus.  That is also a part of freedom.  We do not, if we believe, in these freedoms – have the right to restrict someone from developing these forums unless it is clearly something that is offensive to the common good – like criminal conspiracies or organizations that seek to overthrow the government in which they are exercising their freedom.  


I personally consider this situation somewhat two-edged – since religious and political belief structures impinge on business.  How much input though should they have in this particular group?  At this point, I am personally uncomfortable with proselytizing – but sharing your point of view isn’t always proselytizing.


I think it is up to Christophe to decide what he wants – and, if has indicated clearly that he has decided, I think we should respect his point of view or graciously exit the organization.  I think, however, it is fine to discuss it with him if he allows you, too.  And I would imagine, from what he is indicated about himself, he is not against processing your in-puts.  Or else this thread wouldn’t be here.


So, at this point, I think it is more fruitful to try and understand the rules.  Discuss them rationally, if you can.  And then either stay – and follow them – or leave and do something else.


Although he doesn’t particularly know me, I have followed Christophe into two very valuable organizations, this being one of them.  And I think he has the wisdom and the energy to make it valuable to everyone participating in this thread.


But everyone has their sensitivities.  But we should try and move along in life as respectfully as we can?



Johnny Blue Star


Once again, and prior to sharing my response to Johnny, this is not an issue of religious practice but one of practical application in everyday life.  Specifically, the Bible (or Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth as coined by Sheri Rose Shepherd) has a great deal to say on the subjects of both the social and environmental issues we face today.  Given the fact that it has been in existence for thousands of years and is likely the most circulated text in the history of mankind, the discounting of the Bible as a viable resource makes absolutely no sense. 


And this is at the heart of my response, and in fact the reasoning behind this entire exchange.


Here is my response to Johnny.


Thank you for your insight and contribution Johnny.  You have come closest to directly answering my question . . . would the Chaplain had elicited the same response had he indicated that the beliefs through which he both viewed and would approach the social and environmental concerns of this forum been based on Jim Collins Good to Great or even John Elkington’s Cannibal’s With Forks?


While I know that you do not claim to speak for Christophe, your statement that “religious and political belief structures impinge on business” is nonetheless interesting and noteworthy.  Of course, even though I may not agree with your assessment, I do respect your right to say it, as well as present the research and principles behind your approach to the complex issues of this forum.


I am of course quite familiar with both Collins’ and Elkington’s work (in fact the latter was a key source of reference for a white paper I wrote titled The Greening of Procurement: How Social Consciousness is Re-Shaping Procurement Practices).  I am also well versed in both the Old and New Testaments including the Biblical insights into social and even environmental issues.


The simple question is how can one discount the Bible as being a reliable source of insight without discounting the works of a Jim Collins or a John Elkington?  Or for that matter any resource that is widely read and contributes valuable insight into the human condition.  I guess what I am asking is upon what basis would Elkington’s book be acceptable for it’s views on societal concerns, while the Bible would be deemed inappropriate or ineffectual?



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




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