A reflection from my Leadership 601 Class with Jay Gary…
Jesus exhibited a form of pluralism in his life and work embodied on earth; it can form a helpful paradigm for Christian leaders to think about ways to initiate marketplace spirituality, whether from a place of management or from “below.” Jesus’ teachings were unique in the religious landscape of popular forms of Judaism of the day because of their inclusion. While Israel had a tradition of welcoming the alien and stranger among them, popular parties such as the Pharisees stressed ethnic and ritual purity. Jesus revived and expanded this older tradition, welcoming terrorists (Zealots), Roman collaborators (tax collectors), and other people of ill repute (such as prostitutes) to table fellowship as friends. Those who continued with him in friendship continued to be changed, sitting in on his profound public parables and teachings on fairness, grace, peacemaking, and upside-down values that made up the divine kind of reality he called “the Kingdom of God” or “my Father’s business.”
It was only to Jesus’ inner circle that his identity as Son of God, Anointed One, and liberator of humanity were disclosed. And even this was non-coercive: “Flesh and blood did not reveal this”—Jesus waited patiently for a revelation of Holy Spirit to enter the heart of his closest friends. Perhaps the pattern of Jesus’ life can give us important clues to ways to be authentically spiritual in the workplace, moving from generative friendship to Kingdom living/sharing to—when asked and as the Spirit leads—sharing the core aspects of the hope we have in Christ.
This paradigm has been fruitful on Capitol Hill with The Fellowship, a Christian semi-secret society who, according to DC insider David Kuo (2006, p. 22), works “intimately with people of both parties and no party at all…they believed religion and politics divided people but Jesus could united people. The Fellowship focuses on Jesus the Man…only God’s Holy Spirit, as the Bible says, can reveal to a person that Jesus is also the Son of God.” Rather than stifling or being ashamed of our faith in the workplace this approach can be the fruit of a vibrant relationship with God borne out in a quiet confidence of the Spirit’s active guidance in our workplaces.
Kuo, David. (2006). Tempting Faith. New York, NY: Simon & Shuster..