Blog - Embodying Truth

Workplace Radio

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Several men had gathered for our once-a-week Bible study. As usual, the passage and the study guide questions sent our conversation in several directions. Somehow the subject of living out our faith in the workplace came up. One of the men works on a loading dock. He explained that he keeps his radio tuned to a Christian radio station with the volume turned up so he can hear it as his work takes him here and there across the platform. His boss (who works inside) happened onto the dock the other day and questioned him about it. But the man’s attitude seemed to be: I have a right to listen to my kind of music.

Afterward, this conversation kept echoing in my mind. And the longer it lingered, the more questions it generated.

What if an Islamic co-worker on the same dock insisted on playing CDs of recorded prayers from a minaret? Would my friend have been equally ready to defend the Muslim man’s right to amplify his choices just as loudly?

Jesus gave us what we call the Golden Rule: ". . . in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12). What does that say to believers playing Christian music in public work spaces?

Even though non-believers who also use the dock may not say anything to the Christian about his filling the air with his music, what ideas or attitudes might his practice be generating in them?

Jesus called two commandments "great.” The second calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We have given the "great” label to his  commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Which "great” is greater? Does the "great” commission trump the "great” commandment?

Will loving our neighbors ever lead us to refrain from pushing our message on them?

What kind of religious traditions brought this Christian employee to think this way about his "radio rights” in the workplace?

How would you answer these questions? It’s possible you’ve seen something comparable where you work. I welcome your thoughts.

Comments (5)

Jackie Ferrado (5/12/2011 5:25:08 AM)
This situation actually happened to me. I was managing our customer service call center and supervised 4 people at that time. My team worked in one large room and had their own cubbie spaces. One person on the team had a radio. During one particular weekend the team was working in shifts to keep up with our end of enrollment processes. The radio station was usually set on a rock station, but one gal changed it to a Christian channel when she was working. When we were all back in the office on Monday she commented that she had changed the station and asked if anyone minded that it was on a Christian channel. I think she really expected that no one would object, however, one young lady said she did mind. Several of us didn't really know what to say or do for several seconds. Finally the gal who changed the station just sweetly said "okay, what would everyone like to listen to" and to our surprise the one who objected said "oh anything but that". I think the channel was changed back to a rock station. I recall thinking first that "I must be bold and start telling her about Jesus", but two things stopped me: 1) I was her supervisor and knew I could not do that; 2) I remembered that somewhere in scripture we are encouraged to demonstrate our love for God and for others by being an example of grace, so I didn't do anything bold and aggressive, but I did pray for her and the others in my work place that might not know God.
Christian Overman (5/12/2011 5:50:33 AM)
Great post, Larry.
David Rupert (5/12/2011 7:18:03 AM)
Larry...the workplace radio feud has been going on for a long time. And with the spread and popularity of Christian radio, no doubt this is an issue in many places. The idea that Christian radio in the workplace somehow will fulfill the great commission is a little silly. It probably does more harm than good.
Bob Barnes (5/13/2011 7:59:29 AM)
Years ago I worked in an operation shack where there were pin-ups on the wall. One person was on shift at a time. When I went on shift I would respectfully fold the pin-up and put them aside each day. Pretty soon when I came on shift I found that they were taken down and put aside. If I had made a big deal of it there would have been a different outcome
Bob G (5/18/2011 5:23:35 AM)
Nice thoughts Larry.
While there seems to be something wrong with using "rights" to justify Christian radio, I feel we shouldn't be too careful here. Who can deny that regular/non-Christain stations aren't "pushing" a worldview, among many other things? I've struggled over this issue in my physical therapy office. My main problem is that I...don't prefer...most Christian music.
Most of the time, we play no music at all. I want our office to be the Chic Fil A of orthopedic joint manipulations and other services as good as a Chic Fil A sandwich. Now THAT'S a testimony!

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