Friday, March 15, 2024

Christians in the ideological workplace

Notes for Christians in an ideologically hostile workplace 
  1. Over-arching ethical framework for relating to people inside groups: Who is your neighbour?
    1. Your neighbours are those who are in proximity to, those you are connected to, live amongst and work with. They may include your enemies. (Mathew 22:37-39 & Matthew 5:43-44)
  2. What is an ideologically hostile workplace? 
    1. There are workplace, industry and soceity specific ethical frameworks, dilemmas, and challenges. 
    2. Ideologies are type of political shorthand for a larger system of beliefs that seek to both describe and change the world (Cranston, 2024). 
    3. A current ethical challenge in some modern workplaces is a “performative” sexuality (Chu, 2024) ideology. Adherents are required to signal support in various ways and those who disagree with the messaging are considered part of the out-group and depending on their status may face negative consequences. 
    4. Particpating in the ideological messaging may range from mandatory pronouns in your email footer through to being asked to organise a drag event for your workplace (Dexter & Estcourt, 2023).   
  3. How should Christians respond to this particular hostile ideology?  
    1. Survive, (subvert), Stand or Change? 
      1. 'Rich Young Ruler Test' (Mark 10:17-22) What is your capacity (family circumstances, ability to get a new job etc)?
        1. No, I don't have to the resources to consider things
          1. Survive - keep your head down because your personal situation is desperate (Exodus 1:15-17) or Subvert - undermine the ideology if you have more capacity (Matthew 10:16).
          2. But always keep signally to God that you belong to Jesus (2 Kings 5).
        2. Yes, I do have the resources to consider things
          1. Stand and change things in the current workplace (Daniel 3:16-18) 
          2. Change jobs and thrive in the new workplace (Matthew 2:13) 
  4. A Tangent about other Christians
    1. Bold Christians = not bothered by ideology, ‘idols are empty anyway’ (Isaiah 44:9)
    2. Cautious Christians = careful about ideology, ‘idols sometimes have demons’ (1 Corinthians 10:14-22) 
    3. So let your conscience guide you while looking out for the well-being of other Christians (Romans 14:19-23)
  5. What are some general rules for evaluating particular workplace situations?
    1. Individuals over ideology
      1. Focus on individuals not ideology.
      2. There are four benefits: it reminds you that the church is the most important group (Hebrews 10:25), God wants to save individuals (John 14:6), not to overvalue ideologies (Jeremiah 2:5-6), there will be a cumulative cultural impact as people observe Christians loving people (John 13:34-35), and not being distracted or subservient to the latest ideological trends (Acts 19:28). 
    2. Mandatory vs celebratory 
      1. Is the messaging mandatory or celebratory?
      2. This is less spiritual risk in mandatory ideological messaging in the workplace because deeper beliefs are held either unconsciously or willingly (Matthew 15:18). On the other hand celebratory participation requires voluntary compliance, and weakens your commitment to the Kingdom. (Micah 6:8-9)

Andrea Long Chu, ‘Freedom of Sex The moral case for letting trans kids change their bodies’ New York Magazine (11 March 2024) 

Rachael Dexter & David Estcourt, 'Parliament hosts drag story time for cancelled performers', The Age (17 May 2023)

Maurice Cranston, 'Ideology' Encyclopedia Britannica (2024)