Can I Talk To You About Jesus?

For those who don’t know this about me, I work in a warehouse. I have been at my job for over 23 years now. I have done several different jobs there over the years. I started as an 18 year-old kid stacking boxes while loading trailers to a now 41 year-old man who drives an industrial battery-powered pallet mover through a huge warehouse for 12 hours a day. I was a Christian for just over 20 of my 23 years I’ve been in the warehouse. Not once in all that time did I have the desire to pull someone aside and ask that dreaded question:

“Can I talk to you about Jesus?”

The reason I bring this up, is that my manager (a woman) had someone from another shift, who was in working overtime, give her “the talk.” Why did he talk to her about Jesus? Well, two reasons were mentioned, and one that probably rubbed this believer the wrong way but was left unmentioned.

In our building, we had no music playing for 22 years, just work, work and more work. Then about a year ago, management decided to allow music to be played through the P.A. system in between requests for assistance that people had to page out. The music played is company approved, radio friendly hits from all different decades of music. It’s played on a loop and can get rather repetitive. This man approached my manager and complained to her that a lot of the songs offended him as a Christian because some of the themes, he deemed to be sinful in nature. She basically told him that all the songs were determined to be decent by radio standards and no one else had made a complaint about them. Then…

He felt compelled to talk to her about her tattoos. You see, my manager has full “sleeves” of tattoos on her arms, tattoos on her back, chest, legs, hands and feet. She also has a ring in her nose. None of this affects her job performance whatsoever. In fact, she is one of the best managers I’ve ever had since I started there. I don’t know all the details about what was said to her, but it was something to do with the body being a temple for God and about presenting yourself in a way pleasing to the Lord. I think (just my opinion) that the real reason he spoke to her was because of something more offensive than tattoos to many Christians. My manager is in a lesbian relationship.

*Full disclosure* I don’t think he actually said anything about it to her when he spoke to her, but her wife also works in the same building and it’s no secret to anyone that they are together. I do not want to just assume that her relationship is the reason he spoke to her, but I know many people (including many managers in that building) who are equally or even more tattooed with her that could have talked to him about the music. But he singled her out and had a long conversation about how much Jesus loves her. He felt compelled to give her an earful of the gospel. He may not care about her relationship, but if music and tattoos are anti-God and offensive because of what the Bible says, then it’s not very far-fetched to think that something condemned in Leviticus would also be on his mind. Again, I do not know that for sure.

Here’s my question: Why is it anyone’s business who believes what? If you believe in Jesus, fine. Believe whatever you want to. If you don’t, then that’s fine too. If you feel that someone who looks different than you or is living a lifestyle contrary to what you personally are okay with…so what? That’s none of your business. This is something I touched on in one of my recent posts called “Why Does Evangelism Exist?” If Jesus exists somewhere and actually cares about what is being said in his name, why not say it himself? Why do we need people to speak up for him whenever they personally feel offended by something?

If you’ve ever worked in a warehouse or any job away from the public, you know that things can be said that are a bit raw and inappropriate. I hear people say stuff all the time that would make me cover my kids’ ears if they were around. However, I can just walk away if I don’t like it. If two people are talking and I am uncomfortable, it’s my problem, not theirs. If you hear music you don’t like, focus on your work and tune it out. It’s not very loud anyway. Or better yet, pray for the singers who are spreading what you think is filth. Why does anyone need to hear about Jesus secondhand from someone who heard it from someone else who heard it from someone else, who…etc…

If God the father, Jesus the son or the holy spirit (or any other god from any of the other religions) want to reach out to us, they know where to find each and every one of us. The fact that they don’t, says it all. If you are easily offended by radio singles, tattoos or anything else that other people are doing with their lives, you need to step back, take a deep breath and take some time for some introspection. Life is far too short to judge anyone and everyone in very offensive and vocal ways. Looking at someone’s body art and talking to them about what the Bible says about it is offensive. Slapping a “Jesus Loves You” sticker on it afterwards doesn’t excuse the hurtful and personal condemnation.

So if you want to talk to me about Jesus, I will politely decline and ask for you to tell your boss upstairs to get off his throne and do it himself. Then, maybe I’d listen. I’ve heard it all before from many people over the years and they all have the same exact amount of evidence to back up their claims and justify their beliefs. That amount is zero. I know why they think like they do because I was once one of them.

I am fine with you thinking whatever you want about me. That’s your prerogative. But I don’t want to hear your negative views that are clearly your own opinions and then have you explain that it is not personal, but merely because “the Bible says this or that.”

Can you talk to me about how much Jesus loves me? No. Can you talk to me about why I am a sinner and need forgiveness? No. I want to talk about these things about as much as I’d like to talk to you about your hemorrhoids. Both are uncomfortable pains in the ass that I’d rather not spend time talking (or thinking) about. Also, between the Gospel and your hemorrhoids, only one of these things is verifiably real. Can you guess which one it is? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the one found right near the opening that you talk out of when you talk to me about the veracity of Jesus’s miracles, Bible authenticity and answered prayers.

No thank you.

33 thoughts on “Can I Talk To You About Jesus?

  1. I am aware that some of this (all of it?) may be offensive to some people. I don’t really care. If my words offend you, stop reading them. If what is going on inside my home troubles you, stop peeking in my windows and walk away.

    I’m just in that kind of mood tonight.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read Tatoos and thought … Nah. Then I read Lesbians and thought … mmm, yummy! . And then I read Jesus and thought: Tattood lesbian screwed Jesus and I laughed. Then I was reminded of this song and it was all right once more!
      Put on your ear goggles, Mister Ben and have a listen to the late, great Rory Gallagher

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your thought of “tattooed lesbian screwed Jesus” made me laugh too. She’s the type of person who, if she heard that, would laugh as well.

        Like

  2. Yeah, American evangelism can be thoroughly repugnant. Have you seen the recent video of a ‘preacher’ in Sydney? In Australia, talking about religion in public, or even to your friends, is considered pretty rude. Believe whatever you want, just keep it to yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It amazes me how oblivious some people are. He just kept on reciting his prepared talking points and came off sounding rather foolish. Like the man sitting in this video said, it’s great if you care but shut up!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s a video of him in Sydney CBD yelling nonsense. He tells a guy in a wheelchair he’s going to hell and some construction worker who’s just walking past (and hears this) goes ballistic on him. It’s really funny.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for writing this, Ben. I really, really wish this could be posted in every workplace because something like this is badly needed to try to shut down some of the jackasses we are forced to work with. Work is stressful enough without having to put up with some self righteous idiot trying to preach at us. Religious belief should be a private matter. Proselytizing at work should be classified as outright harassment because it can have the same effects. It makes people uncomfortable, irritated, angry, ashamed… If that employee had told the woman that her pants made her look fat, or that he disliked some physical attribute about her, he could be brought up on charges of harassment. But because it’s “religious” he gets a pass? No. It doesn’t work that way. harassment is harassment, period. We need to stop permitting religion to be used as an umbrella to shield what is nothing more than pure harassment and prejudice.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’ve heard people talk about this person in a way that makes his views sound more important than others’. “Careful what you say around him, he’s very religious.” What is that? Don’t be yourself at work because someone’s deeply held religious beliefs will cause them to be “triggered” and feel persecuted? Why do we feel the need to elevate one person’s views over another’s? Speaking out against religion or speaking near a religious person in a way that makes them uncomfortable is taboo and unwelcome in most places. The things that makes lot of religious people uncomfortable are often just normal everyday things, but a book said, “No way! You stay away from that stuff.”

      When I was a believer, sometimes people at work would ask questions and I’d answer them but I never forced my views on anyone. And you know what? Everyone respected me for it. Not all agreed with my beliefs but they appreciated me keeping it to myself. They would voluntarily watch their language and keep vulgar talk to a minimum. Not because they were told to but because they liked and respected me. Things like that create harmony where there could be turmoil. But, it also means I was never a true believer because true believers talk about Jesus all the time to anyone and everyone.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Unfortunately Christians do NOT see it as something to be left to the poor, childish, unsuspecting nonbelievers; quite the opposite actually. Christians are compelled to proselytize, it is a required duty to god. They see it as necessary so as not to allow an ignorant soul to wallow through life without the benefit of “knowing” Jesus. Augustine thought it better to beat pagans and other non-believers into the fold with rods rather than leave them to an afterlife of teeth-gnashing and hell fire. He considered it an express command from God himself and he was not alone. Many or most of the so-called church fathers were of the same mind which is why they and their followers destroyed pagan statues, temples, deforested entire groves of pagan forests, etc simply to remove the temptation or opportunity to continue their heathen worship. Christians frequently sang hymns and quoted scripture and laughed merrily while they destroyed priceless ancient temples and statues, believing God would hold them in a special place for having done so.

      Very important point: they are absolutely no different today. They would watch gleefully while your house and belongings burned to the ground because they believed – without a shred of evidence and even against all common sense – that they were doing it for your own good, for your very salvation.

      Personally, I invite the opportunity to debate such believers as I usually – not always, but usually – discover they know scripture about as well as they know the Constitution or any other work. They are use to having scripture fed to them one discordant line after another, free of any continuity that makes the otherwise specious phrase meaningful. Sorry to say that I delight in such things.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. WAM! BAM! Thank you … sir! Great post! And soooo on-target! And RAPAR also summed it up quite well.

    Probably because I’m no longer in the working world — and I do minimal socializing — I don’t have to deal with these kind of people. But if someone were to criticize me as this guy did to your boss, I think I’d be tempted to smile sweetly and say, “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you go recite some thoughts and prayers for me and see if “God” changes my ways.”

    BTW, your last paragraph most definitely summed things up quite well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Nan. Some things (especially after deconverting) really get under my skin. People pushing their personal beliefs, values and ideology on others drive me nuts. It’s an invasion of privacy and personal space. Your life isn’t mine to shape and mold. This is why I couldn’t do it as a believer. I had my views, but I didn’t care if others shared them…at least I didn’t care enough to let them know.

      It’s very simple: mind your own business and I’ll mind mine. “Do unto others…” and all that stuff. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Good post Ben. If someone’s actually offended by this then they have issues themselves. Although the way some Christians act (as you mentioned) is certainly offensive. It would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that their actions hurt others.

    When I first deconverted, it really irked me how Christians get nosey about other peoples affairs. I haven’t been to church for a while now thankfully (at least 2 years), so that anger has subsided somewhat.

    Like

  6. My question is? Do they continuously preach because their God demands it (I have zero theology knowledge) or because they assume their God will be pleased? Or? Perhaps deep down inside (perhaps subconsciously?) they still have lingering concerns of their belief’s legitimacy and try to bury these by being pro-active on behalf of their faith? The more times they preach the more they believe in what their preaching? A kind of self-confirmation, using preaching as a tool? I have a constant preaching friend and I’m still very confused on his motivation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Corkywk- I think it’s a combination of all of those things, along with a rather unhealthy dose of egocentrism and narcissism. I have, unfortunately, had to deal with quite a few people like this and all of them were extremely self centered despite professing their “love” for humanity. And along with that they had this belief that they were somehow “special” and better than everyone else because of their belief. With a lot of these people it goes back to the concept of gnosis, in a way, that they are somehow special because they’ve been granted some kind of special knowledge and that you should feel privileged because they’ve chosen to pass that knowledge along to you. Their proselytizing satisfies their need to affirm that they are better than you are, that they’re smarter, and that they’re god’s special pet and you aren’t. Most public expressions of religion are like that, they are more about the individual trying to make himself or herself look good in the eyes of others and show off how “holy” they are, and has nothing to do with actual worship. The lavish displays, the rituals, the arm waving, all of that directly contradicts the teachings of Jesus himself who said people should pray and worship in private and not make a public display of themselves. But of course most of them don’t seem to care what Jesus actually said in the bible and pretty much do whatever they like.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. As someone who was Christian for much of their life, yes they preach because the Bible has this thing called ‘The Great Commission’, where believers are to “make disciples of all nations”. This is what this guy is doing, he believes he is giving them the central Christian Gospel message. The thing is though, the Bible also talks about adversity and persecution of Christians, and that they should persist in spite of that. I can’t say for sure, but I think he genuinely believes in the stuff he is preaching, and having a negative reception to it only makes some Christians wanna preach more, because they are taught that being ridiculed is to be expected and a good thing. But as grouchyfarmer also said, there’s a component of narcissism also – Christianity has often served narcissistic people well.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. I think, like others have mentioned, it is a combination of things. One, the Bible commands it. And two, they feel like everyone in the world should think like they do because they “know” they are right.

      I think many people preach out of fear as well. They feel like if they don’t push the message out, God will punish them for being unfaithful. I was a poor evangelist when I was a Christian. I used my blog to share, but in person I was quite shy about it. I justified my unwillingness to share in person by saying “people will see Jesus through me by my example” or “blog posts still count.”

      I think the motivation for evangelism varies and is quite personal. It shouldn’t be different for different people though. It should all be for the same reason as the source material is the same for all believers, but they can’t even agree on that. So people tend to do whatever they want and feel good about themselves, convinced that Jesus would be pleased with their efforts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks guys for your experienced input. I’ve learned a great deal on this site and although the news is quite sobering as it relates to my old but now religious fanatical friend at least now I have an idea of what I’m up against. I just couldn’t understand, not only his refusal to stop preaching to me but his overall personality change, complete now with a one-track mind and interest only in his faith. We’ve been more than brothers with a history going back to public school. So many good time memories together fostered by how we are (were?) so much alike.

        Today, he doesn’t seem interested in talking about the good old days anymore, just his new found faith. Suddenly after 50 some odd years of friendship, I don’t even recognize him anymore. I was hoping I could free him and give him back his old life but I see now how impossible that seems. Damn this delusional hold that’s squeezing the very reality out of his life. And now, out of our friendship.

        I once believed that religion was a personal choice, held individually close and quite. That some needed it as a crutch in preparation for their eventual demise and okay, no harm no foul. But now my eyes are opening to include a different (darker) side of religious fervor.

        You might say? I’ve finally seen the light!

        Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s