For some people, the idea of religion in the work place conjures visions of earnest and enthusiastic evangelical Christians attempting to win “converts” at work. However, there is another model of religion in the workplace that has more to do with advocacy than evangelism.
In an article entitled, “Alone in the New America” in the journal, First Things David and Amber Lapp, research fellows at the Institute for Family Studies, have written about the increasing alienation of working class young people who are unemployed or under employed in America and how religion has often not addressed those issues that have alienated them.
These are people who have learned to approach other people with suspicion and distrust. In the face of this modern phenomenon, the late Pope, John Paul II often focused on alienation, saying that people do not, “fulfill themselves in community”, and are “unable to develop appropriately in the direction of an authentic we “.
This kind of alienation effects more than the religious community. It spills over into the public sector. The young working poor have become a modern “lost generation”.
“:From the early Church to St. Vincent de Paul to Dorothy Day”, write the Lapps, “Christians [and others], have always responded to poverty and class divisions with a deeply personal encounter”. The present Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has advocated that believers go out “to every street corner”, to the margins of society. Francis speaks about the “art of accompaniment”, calling for the faithful to regularly do acts of solidarity with the poor and alienated.
Is this the place of religion in the workplace? I think it is, but what do you think?