The Subtleties of Religious Discrimination ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Subtleties of Religious Discrimination

The interviewer was adept at discrimination with such a subtle manner that one could never make the claim

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This story is likely to be the opposite of what you’re thinking based on the title.  When I left my first consulting position, I cast a wide net, seeking to land a job with a larger consulting firm. I was pleased to be contacted by Arthur Anderson Consulting, and looked forward to my scheduled interview.

On that evening, I met a man named Roger in one of the restaurants downtown. Roger was staying there for a long time while working with a client in the area.

From the outset, Roger wasn’t as cordial as I had assumed someone in his position would be. He seemed to take an immediate disliking to me for one reason or another. A bit into the conversation, I understood what was occurring. Roger was fishing around to see whether or not I was of the same faith that he was.

Adept at Discrimination

Roger was smart enough to not play his cards outright, but I was sufficiently aware to determine that this interviewer was seeking to reject me, and apparently all others, who did not share his faith. Roger was adept at discrimination, with such a subtle manner that one could never make the claim. In carefully chosen words, he let me know that I didn’t have “what it takes” to be an Arthur Anderson consultant.

Still, the discussion revealed, if anything, that I was abundantly qualified. Indeed, on critical consulting issues, I was more qualified than Roger. Of course, when someone is predisposed to discriminate in a job interview, it doesn’t matter how qualified the applicant might be. In this case, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was the more competent of us two; on some level, Roger knew this to be so.

As years passed, I bore no ill-will toward Arthur Anderson Consulting. Moreover, in my travels as a management consultant with a another firm, and then as an author and speaker, I had encountered numerous Arthur Anderson Consulting partners and associates in my audiences. I found it to be particularly rewarding to receive “raving fan” type letters, kudos of high praise from such individuals.

Arthur Anderson Consulting subsequently filed for bankruptcy following the fallout from the scandal at one of its major clients, Enron. Nevertheless, I proudly display my Arthur Anderson kudo letters when a consulting firm inquires about my services.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

The Elusive Nature of Integrity

Integrity is the summation of the decisions we’ve made and actually yields an easier, joyful, and more powerful life

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In the operating room of a great hospital a young nurse had her first day of full responsibility. “You’ve removed eleven sponges, Doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used twelve.”

“I’ve removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We’ll close the incision now.”

“No,” the nurse objected. “We used twelve.”

“I’ll take the responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture!”

“You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient!”

The doctor smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge. “You’ll do,” he said. He had been testing her for integrity – and she had it.

This story, related decades ago by noted editor and author Arthur Gordon, illustrates a key component of integrity: having the courage of your convictions – sticking to your guns, doing what you believe is right, and not fearing to speak out. Such actions are needed in the world today where looking good, showing up well, and garnering favorable press predominate. At the root of our existence is the need for the re-emergence of integrity as a common element in the collective character of humankind.

No Paragons

No one lives a life of absolute integrity. Rather, it is an ideal for which to strive. Even those who consistently display integrity can be overwhelmed by what is left over – what wasn’t acted upon and what wasn’t met with integrity.

Integrity is difficult to define. Eleven dictionaries carry eleven different definitions. We know integrity when we see it, but we have trouble explaining it. There is an illusive nature to integrity. It cannot be self-proclaimed, only observed in others. Yet most acts of integrity are performed in private and not subject to public review.

Those who have integrity in large measure have discovered something that the rest of the world must know – that integrity, which many look upon as being comprised of sacrifice, struggle and non-advantageous decision making, actually makes life easier, joyful and powerful.

After the fall youth soccer season, the head coach of  the second grade team resigned. To ensure continuity, the assistant coach was asked to take over as head coach for the spring season. He accepted the position.
Less than a month before the season started, the new  coach changed jobs. His new job was a high-pressure executive position requiring longer hours and more travel. There would be conflicts between the demands of the new job and the needs of the soccer team. But the new coach stuck to his commitment to the players and their parents.
He was rewarded for toughing it out. The soccer team, playing in a more difficult division, had a good season. But the best part of the story is what happened on the job: he earned a bonus for outstanding performance!

Historian Arnold Toynbee observed that of 21 notable civilizations, 19 perished “not from external conquest but from the evaporation of belief within.”  In his address to the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Charles H. Brower remarked that “today our country still has a choice. I believe it has always begun to make that choice. I believe it is going back to its old beliefs – such things as ideas, pride, patriotism, loyalty, devotion and even hard work.” Though those words were spoken over three decades ago, their ring of truth is now being heard.

Curiously, we discount acts of integrity practiced by others, not believing that they can have done what they’ve done simply because they thought it to be right. Paradoxically, we’re quick to condemn others who vividly display a lack of integrity, all the while overlooking or forgetting our own lapses.

Emily Carruthers was a teacher in an elementary school in Spokane. A dispute between the school administration and the teacher’s union surfaced. At a union meeting the teachers discussed striking. After the vote to strike, Carruthers got up and voiced her opinion. She knew her opinion would be unpopular and she knew that she would alienate people because of it. Nevertheless she told the teachers that she would cross the picket line as she deplores strikes.

What is Integrity?

Many things, really. Perhaps it is the pivotal concept of what it means to be human and involves fully accepting one’s humanity. Integrity has many synonyms however no single synonym is sufficient;  trustworthiness, loyalty, virtue, sincerity, candor, uprightness, honesty. Integrity is also the avoidance of deception and the avoidance of expediency. It is being complete and undivided.

During a bitter cold snap, quick action by concerned neighbors stopped flooding from a burst pipe in an unoccupied house. Early one morning, water was spotted gushing from under the back door of the house. Two neighbors, who had no key, got inside by dismantling a window frame.
They found the entire lower level of the house flooded with two feet of frigid water. The two men ignored the icy geyser spraying from the ruptured pipe and shut off the water line. Using push brooms, they swept the water out the back door. They moved furnishings upstairs to dry out. Then they reassembled the window frame.
Another challenge was notifying the homeowners of the situation. Neighbors knew only that they were visiting relatives in the Miami area. Long distance directory assistance provided a list of a half dozen people with the same Iranian surname. On the second call, the residents were located. Because of the early notification, they were able to expedite the insurance claim. Neighborly resourcefulness and persistence had averted a major household disaster.

All that We Are

Integrity is an achievement, not a gift. It is not the characteristic that determines decisions. It is the summation of the decisions we’ve made. Integrity communicates to others immediately. It is being the same person to everyone. It’s not noble; it’s not altruistic; it is a practical vehicle for living effectively, for having life work. It is maintaining values steadfastly and focusing on what you believe is right.

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Faith

Here’s What Life Would Look Like if Revival Broke Out

Imagine churches overflowing with people eager to worship and learn more about God.

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What would life look like for society if God brought revival? Probably something like this:

Imagine a society where every morning begins with families gathered together, reading the Bible and praying for guidance, wisdom, and strength to live according to God’s will. As the sun rises, neighborhoods come alive with the sounds of worship music, and the aroma of shared breakfasts where neighbors regularly meet to encourage one another in their faith and discuss the Scriptures. Schools and workplaces start the day with prayer and a short devotional, setting a tone of humility, gratitude, and purpose for the day ahead.

Imagine a community where businesses operate with integrity and transparency, prioritizing ethical practices over profit. Employers and employees treat each other with respect and kindness, creating a workplace culture that reflects Christ’s love. Decision-making processes are guided by biblical principles, and customer service goes beyond transactions, aiming to serve and bless others. Financial success is seen as an opportunity to give generously and invest in community projects, ensuring that no one goes without their basic needs met.

Imagine a government that seeks to uphold justice and righteousness, drawing from biblical teachings to enact laws that protect the vulnerable and promote the common good. Leaders at every level are chosen for their godly character and wisdom, dedicating their service to God and the people they represent. Public policies are crafted with compassion and a commitment to fairness, addressing issues like poverty, healthcare, and education with a heart for restoration and hope. National days of prayer and fasting bring the country together, uniting citizens in their desire for God’s guidance and blessing.

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Imagine churches overflowing with people eager to worship and learn more about God. Congregations are vibrant and active, with members participating in various ministries and outreach programs, sharing the gospel and meeting the needs of their communities. Sunday services are a time of joyous celebration and deep reflection, and the love among believers is palpable. Discipleship and mentorship flourish, with seasoned Christians guiding new believers in their spiritual growth. The church acts as a refuge and a beacon of hope, drawing people from all walks of life into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ.

Imagine a culture where the arts, media, and entertainment reflect biblical values and the beauty of God’s creation. Music, films, and literature inspire and uplift, conveying messages of truth, redemption, and love. Social media platforms are used to spread positivity, encouragement, and the gospel, fostering a virtual community of believers who support and pray for each other. Public discourse is marked by grace and respect, even in disagreements, as people strive to see and treat others as image-bearers of God.

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Imagine individuals living with a profound sense of purpose and identity rooted in Christ. Personal relationships are characterized by selflessness, forgiveness, and a genuine desire to honor God in every interaction. Families are strong and united, with parents diligently teaching their children the ways of the Lord and setting an example of faith and obedience. People find joy and fulfillment in serving others, seeing their daily activities—whether mundane or extraordinary—as acts of worship. In this revival of biblical Christianity, life is lived abundantly, to the glory of God, and the love of Christ transforms hearts, homes, and nations.

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