by Kent Johnson, J.D., Senior Corporate Advisor, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
Our hearts were stirred by many of the events at the 2022 RFBF Dare to Overcome conference in Washington, DC. One especially transformative and hopeful message was conveyed by Tom Holdman’s inspiring traveling stained glass artwork that stood day after day in the beautiful foyer outside the main conference room. (You can learn about it at this link; but there’s no substitute for seeing it in person.)
The seven huge panels depict “Seven Pillars of Humanity”: Knowledge, Faith, Creativity, Love, Unity, Freedom and Courage. Together, this epic work sings an inspiring and powerful story; one that breathes hope. It incorporates real people, real events, and solid truths.
Such is the fabric of work, as it should be. Just as the creation of this artwork required significant collaborative work of teams of people over time, so does today’s work. Every person, from the most powerful to the humblest newcomer, indeed, every slice of light, is an essential part of the whole story.
I so love the way the panels integrate all the pieces into a unifying, ennobling panorama of what it means to be human. The trials and tragedies are integrated into a holistic picture. And it’s beautiful. And hopeful.
In coming months, various companies will take turns to prominently display this powerful work in their office centers. This is fitting.
Everyday work ought to capture our imaginations and our spirits, and raise people’s sights to noble hopes and dreams like those reflected in these exquisite stained glass panels. Our workplaces, seen through this lens, serve as a crucible for humanity’s refinement and advance. As we create, make and market the useful products and services for which our companies are best known, our companies can also deliver a compelling cultural “product”: a way of relating that ennobles humanity.
And take notice: FAITH is an integral part of – and impetus for – that refinement and advance.
I pray that those of us up and down the reporting chains in workplaces everywhere will open up and receive “art” like this… and will begin to purposefully play our own unique roles in fashioning a bigger cultural artwork – pillars of humanity – right there, where we have been planted. At work.