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The Quickest Way to Kill a Conversation

November 13, 2012

I attended a business conference last week, and at the end of the first day found myself enjoying a very pleasant dinner cruise around the Marina Del Rey harbor with the other participants.

I met plenty of nice folks throughout the day, and we shared many business discussions revolving around the topics presented by the speakers. But over the course of the dinner, the conversation at my table of eight turned more personal. This could have something to do with the wine bar. Anyway, we soon began laughing and swapping stories like old chums as we discovered delightful commonalities in our various backgrounds – geographies, companies, scooping on industry dirt.

I decided to let my guard down and be thoroughly authentic with these people. What harm could that do? As you know, I have recently taken full ownership over my identity as a writer, and determined this was an ideal opportunity to let it all hang out, so to speak, with my new friends. No need to hide these things!

I casually dropped the word, “writer” and “author” a couple of times in association with my many professional activities,  subtly alerting the crowd to my humble creative abilities. Then, as the table began to discuss the next day’s travel plans, I announced with great confidence, “Well, I’m actually not heading back to Philadelphia. I’m flying out from here to San Antonio for a writers retreat.”

I was referring  to The High Calling Editor’s Retreat at Laity Lodge in Texas that was starting the  next day. But I didn’t stop there. “Yes, it’s really quite wonderful to go from ‘all-business’  to ‘all-creative’ in the span of a couple days!” At this, I sat back in my chair and swilled another satisfying sip of Merlot.  And bong-bong, here I am! 

This intrigued my new friends very much, and quite possibly also elevated my status a couple notches in their eyes.

“Oh, how interesting!” said a bookish-looking woman wrapped in a black shawl. “What kind of writing do you do?”

Although I was all too ready to promote my dual identity as executive-slash-creatively-awesome-writer, this particular question I was not prepared for. What kind of writing am I doing? What do you call this stuff?

“I, uh, I write about spiritual life, and how it connects with finding purpose in our work,” I said. My mouth became fuzzy, and, fumbling for the right words, I suddenly felt as if I somehow began speaking a different dialect.

Upon hearing this, she pursed her lips and inhaled quickly, as if she was about to respond, but hesitated and didn’t say anything at all.

“I’m a Christian,” I continued, filling in the blank space that seemed to require further explanation. “I write about how our faith  can influence our professional life.”

At this, she said, “Oh,” and then abruptly turned to the woman seated to her left.

“Sheila, what do you think those lights are?” she asked, waving vaguely towards the galley window.

Ah, yes. The rewards of occupying an incomprehensible, non-existent niche in business writing.

But don’t think for a second that’s going to stop me.

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124 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2012 6:39 am

    I really enjoyed your post. Looking forward to many more. Serving The Lord as he calls us to the workplace does give work great meaning . It makes the everyday Supernatural. Thanks for all you are doing.

  2. November 13, 2012 7:18 am

    Hahaha. How true this is! I’ve heard that screech of the conversational brakes. the intentionality of your last sentence is a key victory. Write on!

    • November 13, 2012 6:31 pm

      Oh, I like the way you put that: “the screech of conversational brakes”- No, YOU are the writer!

  3. November 13, 2012 8:14 am

    I honestly bet that the majority of people would be interested. Spirituality in business seems like it would be a huge hit. People may be afraid that you’re going to start preaching to them, but I bet most would find it interesting. I don’t know – maybe I’m just ridiculously biased :)

    • November 13, 2012 6:32 pm

      Yeah, I think it’s hit or miss. I guess it always involves taking a risk, No harm, no foul.

  4. November 13, 2012 9:07 am

    In vino, veritas . . .

    I received the exact same reaction, multiple times, when I attended a blogging conference in NYC. Every time I gave my elevator pitch about my blog and got to the word faith, I was met by that same “Oh!” coupled with a getmethehellouttahere expression.

    The gospel offends. There’s just not getting around it. Even when offered over a fine Merlot by an amiable fellow like you.

    • November 13, 2012 6:33 pm

      Nance, You have such a fine and literate way of putting things. I so appreciate your comments.

  5. November 13, 2012 9:40 am

    I have a similar story. 140 characters was not enough to share it. In NYC I was with a friend at a bar talking about writing.
    “What do you write?” the bartender asks.
    “Christian books and essays,” I said.
    “Oh! Like this: See Dick and Jane. See Dick do Jane. See Dick and Jane burn forever in Hell. Like that?”
    “Not really like that,” I said.

    It took me a long time to figure out that I didn’t need to be angry at the bartender, but at the stupid Christian culture that can be so easily ridiculed and misconstrued because of our impatient manipulations of others.

    • November 13, 2012 3:17 pm

      I have never read a Christian book like that, except for a Chick tract from 30 years ago. It’s the devil’s perception and not reality.

      • November 14, 2012 11:54 am

        David, I’m with you on this. He was tapping into the caricature of Christianity that often appears in the media. Mostly, it is forced upon the faith, but there are a few wild personalities that seem to do their best to give the media enough weird hair and bizzaro prophecies.

    • November 13, 2012 6:35 pm

      Yes, this does say more about the world’s reaction to “Christians” than it does anything else. Reminds me of that book, “Unchristian” and all the negative perceptions that are out there in the public sphere when they hear the word Christian. Oh well. It’s not my fault (is it?).

      And, yes, this explanation is far superior to the tweet you sent me that was basically about Dick and Jane having sex and then burning in hell. I wasn’t quite sure…

  6. November 13, 2012 10:20 am

    I’m curious to know what prompted you to feel you needed to say that you are Christian, as explanation for what you do. When I read you and many others who write about “spiritual life, and how it connects with finding purpose in our work”, I truly never think the posts have meaning only for Christians (and I am one). That’s what attracts me to the posts: their larger meaning, not the writers’ personal identity. We label ourselves, and inevitably close doors.

    Writing, for me, is about opening doors, getting people to cross a threshold to see things from a different perspective, to move people into a different, maybe even uncomfortable, place that gets them thinking. It’s a magnificent tool, and it’s used wonderfully by so many in The High Calling community, including you.

    Now that you know how that particular conversation went, the challenge is, how are you going to respond the next time to keep a person from turning away – and here, I’d add, I think the woman turned away because of her own discomfit and discomfort, which means that there’s opportunity for both sides to create a bridge to understanding.

    • November 13, 2012 10:36 am

      Such wisdom, Maureen. I’ll come back to this when I have some time.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • November 13, 2012 3:20 pm

      Maureen, the gospel is supposed to make people feel uncomfortable. You hit the nail on the head. It was her own discomfort. If, at the mere utterance of Christ’s name, she had to change the subject, then there’s no wrong in what the Camel said, or how it said it.. We don’t have to necessarily change our message just so people keep listening — and I’m grateful that the Camel will keep on keeping it real right here.

      • GiRRL_Earth permalink
        November 21, 2012 10:32 am

        I am hesitant to comment because I know there will be repercussions but @David: “It was her own discomfort” Really?

        Sigh.

        Let me say this, if I was the one sitting at that table, as a non-practicing Jew (to which I am), I would avoid the topic of “Christian” altogether because I just wouldn’t want to go there. Especially with the knowledge that most Christians dislike Jews. My whole life I’ve had to hear “the Jews killed Jesus!” Perhaps like me, that woman is Jewish and knows better than to get into it with a Christian. Or, maybe she doesn’t believe in God. Whatever the case may be, let’s give this woman the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming she’s “uncomfortable” with Christ.

        Besides, isn’t it standard practice to not discuss religion or politics in mixed company? I don’t blame that woman for changing the subject. I would have done the very same.

        My two cents.

    • November 13, 2012 6:39 pm

      Maureen, I usually wouldn’t mention myself as a Christian (especially the “label” that goes with that), except I was so comfortable with these people that it blurted right out of me. Also I was trying to fill in the blanks and explain myself, and that’s just the natural way it came out. I agree with you, and usually take the path that a higher ‘spirituality’ will apply to a wider range of people’s experience. But I used that with another person to the same thud response. Maybe it was just the group I was with, or it was too far out of context for them to react the way they might have wanted to. I do wish I could have engaged her (and others) more to bridge the barriers, as you say.

    • November 21, 2012 7:01 am

      Not sure if liking a comment is possible, but I LIKE your comment :)

    • November 21, 2012 7:40 am

      I like what you say here Maureen.

  7. November 13, 2012 11:34 am

    Hey!

    I think i know just what you need!

    Remember those things that pass through your hands every time you meet new people of business? You know. They’re made of stiff paper and are rectangular in shape…fit right into your little business hand. Yep, you got it. The business card. What you need is are “BLOG” cards. I can’t believe you don’t have a card holder full of them in your pocket right now.

    With blog cards, the conversation would be:

    She said, “So…what kind of writing do you do?” I reached for my handy-dandy blog card and winked at her. Looking to my left and to my right for dramatic appeal, i took her hand and slipped her the card, saying “Check it out for yourself, gorgeous.”

  8. November 13, 2012 7:30 pm

    Smiling slightly over your story … been there.

    You really have two things going on here – one is the writing think in this brave new online world and the other is the Christian thing.

    Be of good cheer, JB:) You are one of the explorers of new lands here on both counts.

    Writing is a creative endeavor. However, like all creative endeavors, those who are not creating tend to want the creators to stay in comfortable and known places. Instead you are making a new thing .

    The Christian angle is a little different, in my view. Some of us are trying to offer a more inclusive and useful interpretation of what a Christian is and does, but it’s not new. It actually has been around much longer than the current image of Christians that many seem to have.

    In both cases, I am personally very happy that you are out there doing what you do and look forward to each new adventure:)

    John

  9. November 13, 2012 8:59 pm

    So, I’m always very curious. Do you think that if you’d left off the “Christian” part and left it at “spiritual” the reaction would’ve been any different? I know I used to feel different until I worked at becoming a Christian. I just came from three days of Deepak Chopra the Kellogg School at Northwestern and was amazed by how many were open to a more authentic and spiritual type of business leader.

  10. pastordt permalink
    November 14, 2012 1:57 am

    You SO rocked this story, Jim. And I can just picture it. We went on a cruise once (not our thing at all – at least the big boats and this was one) and ate dinner with the same six people each night. I deliberately did not talk about what I did for a living, until I was directly asked. When I said ‘pastor,’ the entire conversation shifted. In that case, there was a quick effort to . . . how shall I say this? To assume that I was somehow set apart, would judge them for their lifestyle choices, etc. I did not know these people well enough to get into it very much (wasn’t near that sense of camaraderie with this group), but tried to be gracious and welcoming. It can shut down conversation so fast to be ‘found out’ as a pastor. And that makes me sad, actually. And you were at Marina del Rey?? About 90 minutes for Santa Barbara. :>)

  11. November 17, 2012 11:01 am

    Jim, there are a lot of Christian businesspeople who would react the same way.

  12. November 17, 2012 5:39 pm

    interesting story Jimbrad the camel. I think she exposed herself as a person who has closed the door on her own spirituality. however your words are light and truth. exposing the darkness. who knows. one day in a dark time she may remember and His words never return void.

  13. November 20, 2012 9:41 am

    If you are living and working in the United States, and in a business setting with people you do not know well, telling people you’re Christian sends a pile of meta-messages, whether you intend it or not, or want to or not.

    I attend church and am a Christian and blog very, very rarely about it because many people: 1) belong to a different faith (or none), and make the assumption (false, or not) that I am judging or dismissing them; 2) even if Christian belong to a very different denomination (Southern Baptist vs Episcopal, to name two I am familiar with, as an Episcopalian) or 3) a very different sort of parish (social justice-minded or complacent). The word “Christian” is about as specific as the word “blue” — it means many different things to each listener, even a fellow Christian.

    Why do people change the subject? They may come from another nation which is far less overtly religious. People loathe being preached to/at. People are really fed up with the political BS of the religious right which, last time I checked, was Christian. So the very word brings with it many connotations beyond what you might hope or intend. The larger culture is the issue, not what you write or want to say.

    • November 20, 2012 10:01 am

      You said everything I would have said, with just more eloquence. Glad you got here before I did.

    • November 20, 2012 1:19 pm

      YES. I, being unmarried and without kids by choice at 46, atheist, queer, and politically liberal would definitely think, “Oh great, ten seconds from now I’m going to get condescended to,” while my eyes glaze over.

      I understand that it’s a difficult balance for the OP to strike. If it’s something that means something to them, then the bald truth is that yes, they are a writer writing about business dealings from a Christian perspective. But that brand has been sullied, and not by we godless heathens either but by other Christians. Probably the best way to bring it up is to say something like, “It’s about reconciling business behavior and spirituality. I hesitate to explain further just because it’s always sensitive to bring up religion in a casual setting, and Christianity has a bad image sometimes … ” and just let the other person in the conversation ask for more information if they want or try to find some gentle way to deflect it. And at least that acknowledges that the OP realizes that it’s a tender topic.

      What combat Babe said below is correct: bringing up religion or politics in casual settings is NEVER going to not risk being rude. To then insist that it’s NOT rude because I’M CHRISTIAN and that makes it okay is pretty much the picture of the arrogance that many people associate with Christians and that has damaged the image of the religion so badly. MY religion allows me to behave in a boorish fashion because I’M RIGHT.

      • November 22, 2012 10:41 am

        I actually really like this response, “It’s about reconciling business behavior and spirituality. I hesitate to explain further just because it’s always sensitive to bring up religion in a casual setting, and Christianity has a bad image sometimes … ”

    • November 20, 2012 1:56 pm

      ^ what these two gals said

  14. November 20, 2012 9:55 am

    What a great share. Isn’t it something how proud we feel once we’ve made a commitment to pursue _________, only to learn how much we don’t know about the commitment, yet? When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a professional listener. It’s less complicated for the ‘bookish’ crowd, and less awkward for me than discussing what I write about.

    Silly folks, arent’ we?

  15. November 20, 2012 10:14 am

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed! Some people could segue into another topic if they become uncomfortable with the topic of religion being brought up, but some people lack the finesse and it becomes outright uncomfortable to discuss religion and politics in a public setting where you don’t know what you’re going to get. I do not think sitting here snubbing noses to ones who aren’t as free spoken on their beliefs (as I have read in some of these comments) as some are can cause further misconceptions on Christians and their beliefs (holier than thou may sound familiar). Also, opening your mouth can get you into a heated discussion you maybe were unprepared for. My mom always taught me and her mom taught her, do not discuss religion and politics in public with unfamiliar people as it is considered rude and a sharp cause of discomfort to those around. This is just my take on it.

    • November 20, 2012 1:01 pm

      ” … do not discuss religion and politics in public with unfamiliar people as it is considered rude and a sharp cause of discomfort to those around.” Ditto ditto ditto.

  16. November 20, 2012 10:30 am

    In that conversation, I love the way you decided to be fully authentic and to boldly share your newly claimed identity as a writer. For what it’s worth, that’s exactly the type of conversation that would have had me happily sipping Merlot all night. I hope the Texan retreat was fabulous and affirming, and that you continue to experience great success and confidence in your true abilities. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  17. November 20, 2012 10:50 am

    I enjoyed your post. I experience a similar reaction in other areas of my life. It’s like the ‘C-word’ is forbidden!

  18. November 20, 2012 10:51 am

    I loved this article mostly because of it´s ending: you´re determined to continue doing what you like and no matter how other people react to that. I guess if your conversation partner was a little bit more open minded or even curious and therefore, opened up a little bit to listen more about the things you you do, she would have been impressed and not had an impression that you ´re a “religion fanatic”. I think everybody has the right to have an opinion , it´s just most of the times we base it on so little it turns aout to be completely wrong. Congratulations on the book!

  19. November 20, 2012 11:11 am

    Religion and our connection to God are two different things and are not synonymous. In fact, there are many paths to find God and have a relationship with Him. For example,”Christianity Today” reported in 2010 that there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world and that 32% of the world’s population is considered to be Christian. In the US, 79.5% of the population is considered Christian. In Brazil that number is 90.2%. In Mexico it is 95%.

    However, all of those Christians do not belong to the same Christian religion or sect. There are more than 1,500 different Christian faith groups in North America and about 40,000 in the world. Within that diversity of spiritual belief with a Christian connection to God there are not that many that go about preaching or talking about his or her belief and when someone brings it up in a non-religious conversation, suspicion is aroused that this individual may be one of “them”, a fundamentalist evangelical Christian involved in politics.

    Gustavo Vázquez Lozano posted a report on fundamentalist Christians in the US. You may Google him to find it. It is a pdf. file and I couldn’t copy and paste the link.

    Lozano says, “In recent times, the United States has been under the influence of more vocal, more well–financed Fundamentalist Christians.”

    How many are there? Lozano says, “Several recent studies and surveys by sociologists and political scientists have estimated the number of Evangelicals in the U.S. at about 25–30% of the population, or roughly between 70 and 80 million people. The German Partei Bibeltreuer Christen (PBC) estimated 20 to 30 percent of Americans can be described as fundamentalist Christians.”

    Here is the rub. Almost 80% of Americans are considered Christians but only 20 to 30% are Evangelicals and few of us really want to be preached to and told we are wrong in our beliefs and that the 50 to 60% of Americans that are not Evangelicals must save themselves by falling into line and help take over the country turning it into a fundamentalist theocracy similar to Iran that is an Islamic theocracy ruled over by Muslim fundamentalists who torture and execute those that do not do as they are told.

    The history of the Church already teaches us what happens when a religion rules every facet of our lives: the Crusades 1095 – 1434 where Christians killed anyone that was not a Christian and also killed Christians. Then there was the Inquisitions starting in 12th century France to persecute heresy, and who defined what heresy was? The leaders of the Church.

    The Inquisitions ran from 1184 to 1860 (six-hundred-and-seventy-six-years of fear and suffering).

    In conclusion, when someone in a social gathering, for example at your business conference, brings up religion as a topic and starts to throw around key phrases that may identify one as a member of the outspoken politically religious right, that turns many people off and may drive them away unless they are also a member of this radical group that wants to rule over the rest of us even though he or she may not admit it.

    You may want to read Gustavo Vázquez Lozano’s report to see why so many of us shy away from anyone willing to speak up about his or her spiritual beliefs sounding as if he or she is one of those fundamentalist evangelical Christians. When a close friend that I’d known for more than fifty years converted and then started to preach to me, it destroyed our friendship. To stop him, I spammed his e-mail address. He was relentless.

    My spiritual beliefs are between me and God and no one is going to step in and tell me I’m wrong and they are right and I have to listen to them or I’m doomed. I suspect that most of the 70 to 80% of Americans that do not belong to the Evangelical movement feel the same way no matter what their religion.

    • November 20, 2012 1:56 pm

      Whatever I believe, no matter how personal or unspoken I think it should be, will dictate my actions and affect others.

  20. November 20, 2012 11:12 am

    Next time try saying “Non-fiction pieces.” then if pressed explain what.
    I find that saying fiction or non fiction when people ask what I write quickly satisfies most people’s curiosity allowing me to move on.

  21. November 20, 2012 11:12 am

    Shrinkingthecamel is a great username!

  22. Cindy Barge permalink
    November 20, 2012 11:16 am

    You simply did not fit in the box she had made in which to fit all Christians. The shock of THAT stunned her and everyone else at the table. How could you possibly be a Christian when you have just demonstrated you are intelligent, warm, interesting, well spoken, amusing, genteel, kind, conversational, easy to get along with? Shocking!

    • November 20, 2012 1:04 pm

      You know, I’ve thought the same thing as an atheist about religious people who INSIST that I am misguided, evil, and immoral. I’m sitting right there being normal, well-adjusted, and successful, and yet they continue to think I’m the worst form of human being imaginable.

  23. November 20, 2012 11:43 am

    This is so good! And it’s so true. I work for a Christian university and conversations similar to this are not unusual. Being a Christian artist (writer, dancer, musician, whatever) is definitely going against the flow, but the intersection of art, culture, and worldview is desperately needed.

  24. November 20, 2012 11:57 am

    Your last sentence, “But don’t think for a second that’s going to stop me”, just about sums it up!

  25. November 20, 2012 12:13 pm

    I think that religion is person and I like keeping it safe for me and don’t mention this topic in public.

  26. November 20, 2012 12:42 pm

    The last sentence was my favorite. Let her run. That is the goal of every Christian. If people are not running toward or from the Jesus that shines through our lives then we need to seriously question if we are living so that He can be seen. I think it’s great that you spoke from your heart.

  27. November 20, 2012 12:42 pm

    I loved this post and will be reading more of what you need to say! So say it!!

  28. November 20, 2012 12:56 pm

    Great post, keep being a light. We are called to spread the news, not save it for ourselves! Congrats on FP!

  29. November 20, 2012 12:58 pm

    I hate the way people judge me right away when I tell them I’m a christian. I even feel like it’s almost like ‘coming out of the closet’, revealing that you’re christian. Society these days…

  30. November 20, 2012 12:59 pm

    Sitting around at “the wine bar” and swapping lies, this is a good witness?

    ds

  31. November 20, 2012 1:07 pm

    Wow this is pretty funny. Great post! I can understand that some people would not know how to respond to that, but don’t be discouraged. Our God given purpose should be the thing ordering our steps in our line of work. :-)

  32. Nerd With Taste permalink
    November 20, 2012 1:14 pm

    You go man! I hope you never stop writing, and that you will ignore everyone who decides they aren’t happy with it. It’s none of their business anyway, right? ~ nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com

  33. November 20, 2012 1:28 pm

    Who is the preparer of the soil and who is the sower? Who knows when the powerful seed will germinate. I realize you being a Christian isn’t the real seed that you want to plant,but telling the gospel without some sort of preamble could have been “harsh” too. It is so easy to offend these days. But on the other hand some things sure pass for inoffensive that would have had our ancestors blushing or taking you out for a whoopin.

  34. November 20, 2012 1:53 pm

    Have to say, I liked the piece, but I would agree about your non-existent niche – there is a reason it does not exist. God and religion have the same place at the office or “work mixer” as they do in congress – keep it to yourself.

  35. November 20, 2012 1:56 pm

    Usually just saying I am a writer does it for me. I rarely need to elaborate!

  36. November 20, 2012 2:08 pm

    You were probably doing okay fumbling around the spiritual stuff, but you killed the conversation by declaring you Christianity. You turned the conversation from writing to Christ. I would have lost any interest in your writing as well, the instant you made your declaration. I might not have been as nice as the person that gracefully changed the subject by asking another about “lights.” There is something in declaring “I am Christian.” or “I am Jewish.” or “I am a Muslim.” or ” I am ” There was absolutely no reason to claim being a Christian. I guess Christian authors are different from all others. Maybe they are. If an author emphasizes his Christianity, I would not read that author’s works. There are many authors that are Christian that I read; they just do not go chest-thumping their Christianity, or whatever screwball religion they possess.

  37. November 20, 2012 3:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Joshua Lisec and commented:
    Thought-provoking…

  38. November 20, 2012 4:17 pm

    Today’s world:
    “I’m gay””that’s great for you for coming out.
    “I’m pro-choice” “that’s great for you for standing up for women’s rights”
    “I’m a vegetarian” “that’s great that you love animals so”
    “I’m a Christian” “you should really keep that to yourself”
    I see now why C.S. Lewis calls us as Christians “soldiers in enemy territory”
    “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom 8:31

    • November 22, 2012 11:22 am

      Christians are like soldiers?? That’s exactly the warlike image that’s got you all stereotyped. BTW, there HAS been an awful lot of “warring”, namely Christians slaughtering others in the name of G’d.
      Victimising oneself is hardly a good idea, IMHO

      • November 22, 2012 1:00 pm

        “that’s got you all stereotyped.”
        And if you said that exact same statement about Blacks, Hispanics, gays, or women you would be condemned for being a “hate criminal.” But it’s ok to make blanket statements about Christians because it’s politically correct, right?

      • November 22, 2012 2:15 pm

        I just referred to some people’s perplexity at certain comments. I have fortunately been living in a country with millions and millions of Christians of all denominations, plus a plethora of other religions and beliefs, and I have learned to live more than peacefully among them all :)

  39. November 20, 2012 7:00 pm

    You do the Lord’s work with the gifts you are given. I was not graced with people skills, but I work well with children and am blessed to be fairly creative. I may not ever reach the masses from the pulpit, but I can bless a small group of young hearts each week. We work with what we are given for His glory.

  40. November 20, 2012 7:13 pm

    ROFLMAO! I loved it.

    I may understand why the girl decided to drop the conversation. You know, people tend to feel scared when someone is so open about their perspectives on life, so when she heard ‘I’m a Christian,’ that was it. That shouldn’t happen, though. I think whether we agree with the rest of the people at the table or not, we should still listen to them and try to have the most civilised conversations. I would have kept on paying attention.

    Anyways, nice post again.

  41. November 20, 2012 7:20 pm

    Good for you! There’s no reason to be hesitant about your life’s calling. She’s obviously uncomfortable with the subject. Could it be you struck the newly exposed nerve of a Christian who cannot be seen as one where she works? You may have had more impact on her than you realize.

  42. November 20, 2012 8:16 pm

    Say J.B. , that shouldn’t have killed the conversation. But I would just guess she is into what the world can offer with no regard where she came from or where she is going . But you are commissioned to tell her the TRUTH in love . THANK YOU SO MUCH

  43. November 20, 2012 9:01 pm

    Servin’ the Lawd, makin’ bank… what could be better? Can’t imagine why people’d want to avoid that subject at the dinner table…

  44. mike permalink
    November 20, 2012 9:16 pm

    ..If i might come at this from a non-partisan,non patronizing angle.If one looks objectively,the post is sprinkled with Freudian slips,revealing not only a smug self righetous arrogance but also pronounced ego centric self centeredness.From my observations,these traits seem inherent in the majority of aspiring ‘Christian writers’ that I’ve encountered making this circuit.In fact,i recognize the names of several ‘aspirants’ in the comments section. My sole intent with this comment is simply to MAKE YOU THINK.

  45. November 20, 2012 10:02 pm

    Nothing wrong with being your authentic self. I’m sure every single one of us has ended a conversation by sharing something of ourselves that people can’t relate to don’t understand. My response “I didn’t know English at the time” to “How come you don’t know about this?” usually sparks conversation, but as soon as I elaborate: “I was in several refugee camps”, some don’t know how to respond. Just gotta pick your approach with different people hehe

    • November 22, 2012 11:26 am

      Just drop it… there’s no explaining this sort of nuance to a “Christian in distress” once they got their mind set. There’s no such thing as “maybe the others did not know what to respond to your comment, or how to take it”. It is either getting a hollering “PRAISE THE LORD!!!” response, or an everybody-is-against-us-Xtians feeling.

  46. November 20, 2012 10:40 pm

    Interesting.

  47. November 20, 2012 10:45 pm

    What do you mean by this? “incomprehensible, non-existent niche in business writing” ’cause you obviously have a market…here! :D

    Thanks for this post!

  48. November 20, 2012 11:53 pm

    ha ha ha loved this! it sounds so darn familiar! great post!

  49. stephenii permalink
    November 21, 2012 12:52 am

    Great Blog Post, Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I too strive to combine my Christian faith and professional life.

    You are right, our faith is a quick way to kill a conversation, unfortunately. I am currently employed in the most conservative strict Muslim nation in the world and faith and business here are quite different that I’m used to.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  50. November 21, 2012 1:23 am

    I love your delivery in story telling. I once came out about my creative side in a job interview. I can still hear laughter when I close my eyes. Sounds like you are rolling right along.

  51. November 21, 2012 2:48 am

    Reblogged this on anandkenta.

  52. November 21, 2012 4:56 am

    Nice post. Really interesting!

  53. November 21, 2012 6:18 am

    Gud 1…Kudos…

  54. November 21, 2012 6:46 am

    Conversation halters? At least you’re writing something with sense. I am writing and living vicariously through someone else. How sad can that be.. :( I hope I can find something and will have the passion to write about something worthwhile I guess..

  55. November 21, 2012 9:08 am

    Enjoyed reading your post. I have an ongoing “conversation” with this fella that’s an atheist. It’s interesting. Not like your friend who turned away, he constantly challenges and questions. Could be a lot more like that, that would be interested in reading your work. Keep going!

  56. November 21, 2012 9:12 am

    Why did you fumble? I always find it interesting when people aren’t proud of what they are writing–especially when it comes to religion. I have no religious path and don’t judge other’s paths but just wonder why you, as a Christian, wouldn’t OWN it?

  57. November 21, 2012 9:17 am

    Love it! Yes that “C” word can certainly get a reaction or non-reaction as it may be the case. I proudly share that I am a Christian although I believe that people know anyhow by your actions. I am lucky to work in a business where I am delightfully surrounded by those who show their faith also – makes my working day very blessed indeed.

  58. November 21, 2012 9:47 am

    Nice post. I am sure that many of us can relate to such situations – be it religion or other sensitive things. I am one of those who let my guard down so easily and have been caught in these awkward moments with other strangers – interestingly enough most of my awkward moments have occured with some thoughts of mine around my own faith and beliefs. Thank you for sharing – it was indeed a lovely post – very well written! Magdalene

  59. November 21, 2012 10:03 am

    I hear the same screech of conversation regularly … at moms groups, public school functions with my kids … I even got it yesterday at a bookstore, of all places! Yes, I write about faith and parenting and finding God in the dailies of life. The problem is that few actually want to find Him and therefore my pursuit of Him offends. If it doesn’t offend, then it settles upon them as a complete and utter waste of time and talent.

    All this to say, “You’re not alone.”

  60. November 21, 2012 10:21 am

    Great attitude! It reminds me of that saying, “If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”. Don’t let your eyes off the goal! :)

  61. Rajini Kumar permalink
    November 21, 2012 10:26 am

    Reblogged this on Rajnie's Blog and commented:
    Wonderfully Ended. Cheers! :)

  62. November 21, 2012 11:30 am

    I always feel a little guilty about how much I enjoy killing a conversation that way…

  63. November 21, 2012 12:03 pm

    I am a Christian writer also and God is using my talent for writing and love for Him to reach the world. Keep your eyes on Jesus as you have and He will take you to places you would have never imagined. Thank you for listening to God and I will pray for you. In Christ Jesus’ Love, Julia

  64. November 21, 2012 12:59 pm

    When I was attacked and stabbed 21 times I called out for God. Then at that moment Gods hand came up and knocked my attacker off of me and I survived. Several of the stab wounds were through my scull and I have tracking issues. I hired an editor a week ago to take a look at my blog posts as I feel very insecure in my writings . The editor said I need to be very careful when using the word God as I may loose readers. I told her but God did save my life. When I called for him after the 21st stab wound my attacker stopped. Thank you for sharing..
    Have a beautiful day,
    Becki

  65. November 21, 2012 2:33 pm

    Although I will refrain from plunging into the religious/faith depth of this discussion, I do completely agree that no comments should ever prevent you from going on. Or worse, no comments at all. I was greatly encouraged by a few people to ‘share’ my writing, and I still felt it was ‘not professional’, ‘not meant to be shared’. I then realised I had been writing to share, for all forms of artful expression can be so if and only if they are shared.
    So I opened my blog a few months back. Repercussions? Very mixed: most people who read me get there almost by chance, and few even comment. I found though that the strength for writing was to be gathered from the sheer pleasure of writing, opening it up to the world, and maybe -only maybe- changing somebody’s day into something a little more pleasurable.
    Whether for God of for man (as in my case), I salute your endeavour!

  66. November 21, 2012 2:58 pm

    Let us who are called by God in the name of Jesus not be ashamed to tell of God’s glory. The world says to keep quiet, but God is in control and will provide the way for His word to be used by His people. Praise God the Father, God the Son which is Christ Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit!

  67. November 21, 2012 3:27 pm

    Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your words and He is faithful to do so and in the right timing with boldness He will speak through you for others to know of His truth in Jesus which is amazing,

  68. A. S. Ellis permalink
    November 21, 2012 3:34 pm

    Good! Don’t let it stop you!

  69. November 21, 2012 4:13 pm

    Interesting that people seem to be more willing to talk about money than religion.

  70. November 21, 2012 5:34 pm

    It would have been a crystal clear answer from you had this been a conversation in writing. Sometimes writing skills and oral skills can mistakenly be treated the same. Writing is mostly dependent on content while speaking is also dependent on the delivery of that content (the abrupt fumbling you felt that instant). Really liked your post.

  71. November 21, 2012 8:18 pm

    No, don’t ever let it stop you! I very much enjoyed reading your post. I hope you will never be ashamed to 1) Tell people what you do and 2) Tell them proudly what you are. There is NO shame in loving Jesus. God Bless you!

  72. November 21, 2012 9:15 pm

    LOL! I enjoyed how you told this story with humour. And hey, if you believe in what you are doing, all the more power to ya! :)

  73. November 21, 2012 10:11 pm

    Thanks for your post. I teach theology and still haven’t found a way to answer “What do you do?” that doesn’t kill the conversation. On the plus side, every now and then someone will want to know what I actually do when I do that, and then an interesting conversation ensues.

  74. November 21, 2012 10:37 pm

    I totally get this. As a writer who happens to be a Christian and also happens to write about spiritual things from time to time, I know it can be awkward! If your spirituality guides your life, how inauthentic would it be not to talk about it? I believe that many people would like to explore spirituality, they just don’t know how to talk about it. Keep on trying! Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and congrats on the Freshly Pressed.

  75. November 21, 2012 11:10 pm

    ahahaha. so true so true!

  76. November 22, 2012 12:46 am

    Reblogged this on Pen To Parchment, LLC and commented:
    I found this to be pretty interesting.

  77. November 22, 2012 12:47 am

    Yes, keep writing! Write, whether we are ready for it or not. I would be interested in your book; knowing the challenges of integrating my faith/work/relationships/hobbies…yep not always simple. By the way, where did Shrinking the Camel come from?

  78. Who Am I? permalink
    November 22, 2012 3:10 am

    Spiritually-oriented people are considered anachronists in typical business circles.

  79. thetalkinghangover permalink
    November 22, 2012 6:25 am

    I think it might have been the “I’m a Christian” statement that stopped her rather than the writing. when someone says to me they are a christian I’m usually stumped as to what to reply as well.
    The eternal question of “what do you write about?” is best summed up here.
    I wont name the author.

    “so youre a writer?”
    “yes”
    “what do you write about”
    “everything.”
    “My wife?”
    “yes, she’s in there.

  80. November 22, 2012 7:20 am

    What an opportunity and gift God has given you to spread the News! May God bless your writing and adventures along the way!

  81. November 22, 2012 7:51 am

    Ah yes, the conversation stopper of all time! You can say you enjoy rubbing peanut butter all over yourself and dancing to Boy George and you will still have at least a few interested parties, but drop the Christian bomb and you’ve lost them. Its unfair I think…. but reality.
    I love your writing, I love your blog and well done on getting freshly pressed!!

  82. November 22, 2012 7:56 am

    There is a saying about how the forbidden fruits are the sweetest. In other words we like to talk about what everyone thinks is “ok” yet when you start talking about chrsitianity, your faith and spirituality body language of your audience begins to say ” eeh change the topic please” i salute you for coming forth ..I chose to take the road less travelled.

  83. November 22, 2012 9:02 am

    Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless all of you in Jesus name, Amen!

  84. November 22, 2012 11:41 am

    very well… :)

  85. November 22, 2012 12:00 pm

    Thanks everyone, for your encouragement, thoughts and challenges. All are much appreciated and welcomed.

  86. November 22, 2012 3:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Bummyla and commented:
    I Shall Never Be Ashamed Of The Gospel Of My LORD And Saviour Jesus Christ! So Help Me God! Amen! In Jesus Christ Name I Pray! Amen!!!!!

  87. November 22, 2012 5:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Grace & Truth.

  88. November 22, 2012 8:34 pm

    Good for you! Don’t regret being forthright and revealing yourself… The next time you may meet a soul-mate!

  89. November 23, 2012 7:38 am

    Some of the comments here saddened me. Christians (no matter what denomination) are called to spread the Gospel. Evangelism has been given a bad name but think about it: every Christian today would not be one if someone hadn’t of told them about Jesus, be it parents, the Bible (so God himself), relatives, friends, church pastors, etc.

    And it’s not just Christianity. Every religion is spread the same way–by talking, thinking, and discussing beliefs.

    If people are offended by just the mention of the world “Christianity”, it’s a problem they have, not you, my friend.

    The problem today is either people have had a bad experience with Christians or religion and carry that hurt and pain with them. They haven’t let go, forgiven, or given it to God as Christians do.

    Still, what we must remember is this: God wants ALL of us. He wants each and every person on this planet to call Him Father. He wants His Creations to come home to Him when the time comes.

    Follow your heart; it will not lead you astray. When you are prompted to mention God, you must. For it could be the person in the corner who hasn’t said much who will hear, who will think, and who will investigate, and who will eventually believe the Truth–and be saved.

    For it does not matter what society or people think; it only matters what God thinks.

    It does not matter what minor discomfort you might have caused someone at the mere mention of your religion who will either be touched by it or not. What matters is that you spoke your heart. And in God’s eyes that is all that matters.

    After all, He just wants your (and everyone’s) heart.

  90. November 24, 2012 4:22 pm

    It’s sad how selfish people are. The fact that your writing didn’t relate directly to her is why she changed the subject and that is very sad. Had it been me and someone told me they were writing about something that didn’t relate to me, I’d start asking questions: “What inspires you?” “Tell me more!” “How long have you been writing?”

    SHE was the conversation killer — not you :)

  91. November 25, 2012 5:21 am

    Hahaha- I can relate so much from a social point of view. :) Keep going, there’s many of us that appreciate your writing!

  92. November 25, 2012 7:33 am

    I have experienced a similar situation so it was a joy to read this blog and realise I’m not the only one out there.

  93. December 3, 2012 10:36 am

    love your writing style !

  94. December 3, 2012 10:52 am

    Thank you for listening to God and writing for His glory. Some people get the wrong idea about what it means to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is actually about loving all people and being selfless. Of course, we as Christians still wrestle with our sinful nature and do or say things we regret later. But the point is that since we have the Holy Spirit, He convicts us of our sins that we still do at times and changes our hearts continually. God the Father, God the Son Christ Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit are perfect. True Christians listen to God and seek His forgiveness and recognize how weak we are and need Him to live for Him. You of course did not do anything sinful when she changed the subject when you were telling her of what you write about. I am just writing this for others to know as well about True Christians and not the false ones who claim to be Christians but defile His name without anycare at all.

  95. December 17, 2012 4:09 pm

    Haha, short and sweet. Great article. Can totally relate.

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