As an author, speaker and coach I have built a sizable 48Days audience over the last 20 years. I started a free career newsletter in August of 2000, sending it out to the 67 people whose emails I had in my records. Since then, another 130,000 people have signed up for that newsletter. In dealing with people finding their purpose and calling, my own faith perspective is pretty clear. However, the faith community is quite diverse and filled with people who are determined their way is the “right” way. With a visible position I am also a target of those who are disappointed in some of the things they observe or assume about me.
Here are some of the comments we get:
- You mean you charge for your books and resources – I thought you were a Christian.
- You used a quotation from Benjamin Franklin – I thought you were a Christian.
- You had a bottle of wine at your open house – I thought you were a Christian.
- You went on a cruise rather than a mission trip – I thought you were a Christian.
- Your wife wears jewelry and makeup – I thought you were a Christian.
- Your son has tattoos – I thought you were a Christian.
- You’re using your coaching (ministry) skills to generate income – I thought you were a Christian.
- You mean you don’t belong to a local church – I thought you were a Christian.
- You mentioned having read a book by Deepak Chopra – I thought you were a Christian.
- You said “oh my gosh” on your podcast – I thought you were a Christian.
- You used a verse from The Living Bible – I thought you were a Christian.
- You’re allowing Yoga classes at your sponsored event – I thought you were a Christian.
These are not exaggerations. I don’t even have to stretch to continue this list ad infinitum. It breaks my heart to see our “faith” being used to criticize, condemn and complain. Where did we lose sight of the fact that our faith provides a perfect opportunity to share mystery, wonder, grace and love with those around us? Never was it meant to be used as a tool to oppress others.
How do we so easily miss the one identifying mark of being a disciple of Jesus? “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)
“But when you follow your own wrong inclinations your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism, hatred and fighting, jealously and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group – and there will be wrong doctrine, envy murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peach, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and her there is no conflict with Jewish laws.” (Galatians 5: 19-23 TLB)
It seems we’ve lost the earmarks of being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Is it any surprise that many Gen X and Y today are embarrassed to be called “Christians?”
Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love , No More Dreaded Mondays and the newly released Wisdom meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences on aging and changes in the workplace, and at universities and churches. Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48Days.net business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love.