What I haven’t learned

I started working at my current job on March 3, 2005; five years, six months and 21 days ago. Or, put another way, I’ve worked at that job for 2,030 days.

Over the course of those 2,030 days I’ve learned to be a pretty good collector. I’ve learned how do deal with spending all day talking with people that are really not happy to be talking with me. I’ve learned to ignore the hostility, lies, and general rudeness of most of the debtors I’m to convince to pay their student loans. I’ve learned the requirements of my company’s various clients; what they will and will not accept as part of an acceptable repayment arrangement. I’ve learned that despite what most debtors seem to think, most Guaranteed Student Loan Companies are willing to bend over backwards to negotiate a repayment arrangement (thank all gods that are, or ever were, that I don’t collect credit card debt, that’s a whole different ball of wax), and I’ve learned how to deal with the constantly changing office dynamics.

I worked the second shift tonight, and tonight I was reminded of what I have not learned in 2,030 days of working in that office: I’ve not learned to keep my mouth shut when one of my coworkers is out to save my soul.

I very rarely discuss politics – mundane politics – on this blog. To my knowledge I’ve never discussed relegion, here, and I don’t really plan to start. I have my beliefs, and I take them very seriously. I also take the beliefs of my friends that read this blog seriously. I respect all people’s right to their religious beliefs, and I will not try preach to, or change anyone’s beliefs. I don’t expect others to believe as I do, nor do I feel a need to “convert” anyone. I am more than willing to discuss my beliefs, and the beliefs of others with respect and with genuine interest. What I am not willing to do is put up with people that are trying to convert me.

Now, several of the people that work in my office are members of COGIC, The Church of God In Christ.  Apparently it is a basic teaching of this church that they should try to convert other’s to their  belief, and today one of them tried to convert me. It didn’t go well.

Think about it, I am a guy that simply loves a good debate. I enjoy the skill of debate. I am also a guy that knows a great deal of the teachings of various church denominations, and of the scriptures of the bible. In other words, when it comes to a religious debate, I’m (and yes, I know this sounds arrogant, but it’s true) better armed and ready to go.

So, today one of my coworkers -let’s call her Sister Nitwit- begins a conversations with me by asking, “Cormac, do you believe in God?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you believe Christ died for your sins?”

“Um, Sister Nitwit, I really don’t think we should have this kind of conversation in the work place. ”

“Just answer the question, do you believe Christ died for your sins?”

And here is where it begins to go wrong for her, and kind of funny for me…

“Well SIster, you were warned. To answer your question, no, I don’t believe that. I mean, come on, he lived roughly 1,966 years before I was even born. Kind of hard to sin before you were born, isn’t it?”

What? Don’t you know that only true believers are going to get into heaven? It says so in the bible!” I could see at this point that she was just getting wound up, and ….to be honest, I was kind of enjoying this. I wasn’t angry or anything, but I’ve been through this kind of thing before. I knew what was about to happen. Don’t forget, I had warned her.

“Sister Nitwit, do you believe that everything written in that book,the bible,  a book that I will just mention was written quite along time after Christs death, is the word of God? Do you believe that it is all completely true?”

“Oh Lord Yes. It’s all true”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere that the only being truly capable of judging anyone is God? Doesn’t it say that one should “judge not lest ye be judged?”

“Yep, it sure does!”

“So, just a minute ago, when you implied I’d never get to Heaven, cause I’m not a true believer, weren’t you judging me? Did that mean that you had taken on the role your bible says is God’s alone?”

“Um…wait a minute…”

By this time I’m really enjoying myself, and while I could continue to describe the ways I tripped her up,  and pointed out the flaws in her logic, it wouldn’t do any good. By the time it was over I think she was probably convinced I was  Satan worshipper (I’m not, by the way). I should have just pretended to be to busy to talk. I should have just kept my mouth shut, because, and this is important, I was out numbered. And  by being better at this type of conversation that she is, I made her mad. That wasn’t really my intention, and at no point did I get angry myself. If anything, I was having fun.

She got mad though, and complained to my superior. That’s right, she got mad and complained to my superior about a conversation she started, and continued when I initially told her it wasn’t an appropriate conversation for a work place.

Now, fortunately my superior is actually pretty cool, and when I got called to his office, he was smiling when he said, “So, I hear you are trying to convert people to your heathen ways????”


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