by Kent Johnson, RFBF Senior Corporate Advisor, comments at the start of the monthly Faith and Belief Employee Resource Group community call, June 2, 2020
There’s a light at the end of the long tunnel of cynicism and distrust that divides and enflames people today. Kent Johnson’s comments at the start of this month’s vignettes from American Airlines spotlight the significance of a workplace movement that’s bringing people together across the world. There’s hope.
Today we again spotlight and celebrate a change that’s gaining momentum worldwide: an appreciation of the significance of faith and belief in daily work.
Expressions of faith and belief are still considered inappropriate in many workplaces. But the personal stories shared by leaders in this series illustrate how that is changing.
We don’t want anybody to miss the significance of this change.
This isn’t JUST about making workplaces more welcoming, more inclusive, more comfortable and more vibrant; though it is that. It’s not JUST about strengthening profitability and recruitment and collaboration, or strengthening corporate cultures, though we’re hearing lots of stories about all of those.
There’s something even more powerful and life-changing going on here.
Our point is this: As you hear these personal stories of faith and belief at work, consider their HEALING effect. ESPECIALLY as we see racial discord around the murder of George Floyd.
We’ve seen reconciliation take place across divides that are often presumed to be hostile.
- (1) Devout Muslims and Jews and atheists, connecting in meaningful friendships; and collaborating together in outreach to the needy.
- (2) Deep respect, kindness and admiration prevailing between LGBTQ people and advocates of traditional faiths.
- (3) Evangelical Christians, Hindus and Buddhists eagerly learning about one another’s beliefs and how those beliefs relate to the workplace.
- (4) Expressions of joy as people are acknowledged for who they truly are, beneath the surface.
This movement is at war with a prevailing culture of divisiveness. It stands opposed to the cynicism and distrust that characterizes much of public dialogue today:
- ⇒ The kind of cynicism that presumes that people who are “not like us” are driven by hateful motives.
- ⇒ That “they” distrust us; and they consider themselves better than us.
- ⇒ That I’d need to change before they’d consider me a worthwhile human being.
This movement for freedom of religion and belief is healing deep tears in the fabric of civility:
- ⇒ rifts that are perpetrated when people are ignorant and suspicious of one another’s core values and beliefs.
- ⇒ This healing work is happening
- ⇒ Right in our workplaces
- ⇒ Thousands of times a day; in personal connections.
- ⇒ We’re seeing examples right here.
- ⇒ This is a significant development.