For all my character flaws, I feel as though I’m generally a pretty good natured guy. But these past few weeks I’ve been extremely angry.
The majority of clients we work with are fantastic – good natured, easy going, and excited to be collectively striving to acheive a shared goal. But once in a while you get a bad apple.
For some reason, we have a disproportionate share of bad apples in the form of faith-based schools. Again, most have been great to work with. But we’ve had a few recently that seem to absolutely contradict their beliefs via their behavior.
The irony in some of the emails I get is so heavy I feel like my desk is going to break under the weight. The following represents an exaggeration, but by the tiniest of degrees:
I woke up this morning hoping it’d be a good day, but I see you’ve decided to destroy such a wish. I’m sure I’ve worked with more idiotic companies in the past, I just can’t seem to think of one off-hand. If you’d consult the copy we submitted to your incapable hands on February 12th, you’ll clearly see that the second paragraph on page two is supposed to say “…our culture is the product of our students and their relationship with Christ. With God as their counsel and guide, they conduct themselves with dignity, patience and grace.” You misspelled the fifth word, idiot. Call me when you’ve fixed this, and when you’ve gotten a clue.
This client has called our salespeople shady, our designers incompetent, our editorial staff lazy and our client services team liars. For a company that is used to having productive client relationships, regular recommendations to other departments in the university, and clients who volunteer to stand up in front of their peers to testify to the effectiveness of our programs, these couple of clients have represented enormous drains on resources and employee morale.
In a way, though, dealing with these couple clients has been an enormous blessing. I used to wonder why so many people criticize Christians when they slip up, or when they exhibit patterns of behavior that seem contrary to their theology. But now I get it.
Engaging with these few bad apples has seriously upset me. I’ve never felt as ashamed to be associated with Christianity as I am when my colleagues read the emails that are blasted their way from these folks in Christian higher ed. It is absolutely appalling that they don’t recognize the sharpness in their words, don’t understand that every single word that comes out of their mouths or is typed into a correspondence has an impact on what people think of their faith. They, of all people, should know that their obligations as representatives of their university pale in comparison to their obligations as witnesses of the faith they claim to profess. I pray their institutions don’t produce graduates of simliar character.
I get it now – Christians are held to a standard, whether we realize it or not. People are often dispositioned against the beliefs already, and any character flaws, vices, or careless words serve as fuel on an already smoldering fire. I don’t claim to be a great (or even average) carrier of the proverbial torch, but when I see an email from one of these clients taking something that my team has put a ton of energy into and just rip it to shreds, it breaks my heart. Not because we have more work to do, but because of the bad taste it leaves in the mouths of everyone they come in contact with.
You claim to walk with God – I fear you took an enormous fork in the road somewhere. Open up that Bible you claim to love to much and read try reading it again – you skipped a few testaments.Follow @intentionally