8.23.2006

Blogged Down

Don't you hate it when you are busy and miss a couple of days checking your Bloglines and you have, hmm, about 300-500 feeds that are new? Yikes! And then you don't want to just not skim through them because what if you miss an important article or post? I usually start by clicking on the ones that I know I can afford not to skim (like the news blogs, etc.) and then I hit up my Have To reads, and then go from there. But it's a process and sometimes it stresses me out keeping up with all my blogs and then to blog on top of that! Whew, I'm blogged down. It is a lot of work keeping up with blogging and blogs. It's definitely worth it, but when life starts taking it's toll on you with the long to do lists, it can feel overwhelming. Anybody else feel this way or is this a clear sign of a newbie?

*Warning, possibly controversial rant*

On other matters, and I hope that any co-workers who read this won't mention this to me at work because I don't feel like being called out as "that" person, but I'm really really irritated that my work has decided to call our winter party our "Christmas" party. I work at a medium sized company, maybe 40-50 employees in my office with other branches elsewhere, you'd think we'd have some sort of political correctness or some consideration? But no, I also work in a company where, so it seems from my observation, 80-90% are Christians, and many are Very devout Christians. Now, I won't get into my views on religions or my spiritual beliefs, but I can easily say that I am in the minority here. I guess you could say I celebrate the "secular" version of Christmas, but growing up I had no idea it had any religious connotations and felt that it was a celebration of family and giving, and to me it still is. My office manager, a Very Catholic man (you can tell by his six children!) and a very nice man acted very offended that I suggested calling it a Holiday party. He stated that doing so would "erase" the traditions of Christmas (and he threw in Hanukkah and Kwanza for a tiny bit of political correctness because if you don't celebrate Christmas than you Have to at least celebrate one of those, right?) How is that erasing the traditions of those holidays? I really don't understand his perspective. One of our practice managers whom I first brought up the issue to stated in an email "as much as I would'’ve liked to make this Christian -– I really wasn'’t trying to. I was referring to the secular Christian holiday -– Santa etc." Hmm, I think intention sometimes leads to action. Who Doesn't call that time of year Holidays? Don't all the stores now-a-days say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas"? My office manager even made a comment about how the government has "Christmas" listed as a government employee holiday, I suppose to prove that it's okay to use the word since the government does. Hmm, I believe he's talking about the same government that still has "In God We Trust" on our distributed money. Yeah, so they're a really good frame of reference.

I get really emotional on this topic and get very frustrated how easily some Christians forget about being considerate to other religions and spiritual points of view. It's fine if you believe that your religion is the Only right one, but to disrespect others' beliefs is very upsetting to me. In the same manner that my office manager was offended by the idea of using "Holidays" instead of "Christmas" I often hear Christians get Very mad if I suggest taking "In God We Trust" off the money. They start ranting and raving about that being an American tradition even though that was only added to our money during the Communism scare. However, I don't suggest putting "In Buddha we trust" or "There is no god" or anything like that. I simply suggest taking it off and having nothing there, or having a non-religious related statement on there like "Go America, We Rock" or something, right? But no, it's Offensive to some Christians whom I've talked to take "In God We Trust" off our money. Now does that make sense? In the same way that calling our winter party "Holiday Party" does not erase the meaning of Christmas to true believers since it really isn't related at all, they will still celebrate Christmas with their family and friends, taking "In God We Trust" off our money will not erase people's belief or trust in their god, so why are people so afraid of it? I truly don't understand, if taking it off won't alter your faith whatsoever, what do you have against it? And if taking it off Does alter your beliefs and faith, then perhaps you need to reconsider your beliefs. It is not invalidating your faith if you Truly believe, and do you truly need validation from our money?

I know this is a hot topic, and I'm not dissing anyone's beliefs, I'm just frustrated at the lack of consideration Some Christians display to other people's beliefs. And I'm sure other religions show lack of respect to different beliefs other than just Christianity, but I, as a citizen of the United States, encounter this mostly from Christians so that is my frame of reference. I hope I didn't offend any of my readers and if I did, let me know how so I can be more careful in the future!

So, again, if you work with me and are reading this and wish to discuss anything with me on this subject matter, please do so privately since I do work with mostly Christians and do not feel comfortable possibly pissing off most of my office with my different beliefs and opinions. :)

Thanks!

Update: Hah, to further my point of Some Christians being afraid or offended by Not using Christian terminology for situations and items intended for the general public, my office manager has included this paragraph in a response to my feelings on the matter:

The problem is that there are people on both sides of this issue who feel that their beliefs are being infringed upon -– a rather sticky situation. As you saw in the media last year, there is a growing contingent who celebrate these December traditions that believe the imposition of "“Holiday"” is an attempt to suppress their beliefs. This is clearly evidenced by the controversy with the Sears & Target stores (do a Google search on "“Christmas controversy").

Of course I was aware of this controversy headed by our favorite conservative O'Reilly, but I feel that this elaborates on my point and confusion as to why people are offended by not announcing Christian proclamations and holidays in public forums. I Really don't get it and I feel this "contingent" my office manager is mentioning is an extremist contingent and may not represent the general public of Christians. Argh, I know I should let it drop and I will not respond to his most recent email because I obviously don't want to get him all fired up over it since it's obvious where he stands, but it baffles me the way he views suppressing people's beliefs. I feel that his view of suppressing beliefs is so entitled. You can't say Praise Buddha on our money but we HAVE to be able to say "In God We Trust" on our money otherwise our rights and beliefs are being infringed on and suppressed as Christians. Just like they HAVE to be able to see "Merry Christmas" everywhere otherwise their beliefs are being trampled on and discredited. When did it become neccassary to have Your own personal religious beliefs attached to every public forum possible? I don't see any of my beliefs on a banner in stores around my cultural or spiritual holidays. Isn't it enough for you to believe your beliefs personally and privately? Why Must it be displayed everywhere publically? To me, that reads as insecurity or lack of faith, or perhaps that entitlement I mentioned before. Why is it okay to have religious statements attached to public non-religious businesses?

Am I the only one that this doesn't make sense to or am I in crazy land?

5 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

This is a very tough issue. I know many people who feel they've lost their culture and heritage by having to suppress the celebration of Christmas. I mean, I also know many people who consider Santa offensive - it is an anagram of 'Satan' don't you know! - and feel that's just been one step along the way to eliminating the holiday entirely.

Of course, the Christmas tree originated from a pagan holiday that was converted to a Christian holiday with the big conversion to Christianity back in... whenever. the 300s, I think.

Anyway, it is a sticky issue. A friend of mine is a music teacher and every year the 'holiday' festivals are a huge issue. No Christmas music, some people complain. Include carols, others complain. All the time I spent working in the education field, it was the parent's choice. In all honesty, in retrospect - despite the range of kids I worked with over the years - there was no place where the parents opposed a 'Christmas' celebration.

As for me, in my life, I try not to be offensive. But I do celebrate Christmas and I put decorations up in the house. And to be honest, ever since the JW's made me a regular stop, I even decorate for Halloween. And I decorate for Christmas a lot more as a result.

Frankly, the last place I worked at that had a 'holiday' party, I walked out, because they'd hired a hypnotist who had people on stage doing embarrassing sexual stuff while allegedly 'under'. I considered if offensive. If people want to get drunk, hypnotized or whatever and do stupid stuff, I shouldn't have to watch it. As a result, I didn't get my employee 'Christmas' present, wrapped in appropriate paper with shining bow. My feelings? It was a celebration of debauchery. I've got no problem with people having their fun, but taking us to an alleged work party where we're seated in a theatre to watch that? Some 'parties' are worth skipping.

angie said...

It is a toughie. The only thing that bothers me is that it is an office party. Unless the company has an explicitly Christian persona/mission statement/whatever (and some do), it makes sense to be respectful and call it a holiday party. I think it cuts both ways, though - the thought of a holiday party or a winter party sans Christmas stuff like a tree or exchanging gifts or carols seems kinda boring and beside the point, IMHO. It obviously really bugs you, and you've spoken up about it. That's great. The question is, now that it's clear that you've been outvoted, how do you want to handle it? Do you go and be irritated, go and pretend like you're not, don't go at all, or find a way to make peace with the situation? I dunno. Your strong feelings probably aren't going to change anyone's mind, so all you can really do is decide how you want to deal with it.

Good luck!

Oh, and keeping up with all the blogs can be overwhelming. I've learned to just let it go when I've got to be away for a few days. Except for the few that I feel I absatively must visit every stinkin' day. Fortunately, I've kept it to about 10.

:o)

mai wen said...

Sandra, I agree, it's very difficult to keep both sides happy on this issue and I'm not really sure what the solution is. I grew up very different culturally with an Asian mother, knowing very little of American traditions, so I come for the perspective were I do feel like an outcast or supressed by the blatant Christian display publicly, but I can see the point of view of growing up with that culture and being used to seeing it everywhere and that becomes part of the experience for you, then when people complain and they "take it away" - even though in theory perhaps it never should have been there - it does feel like you're losing a part of your heritage and culture. There are so many layers and interesting aspects to this issue, like I do find it interesting that many of the Christian symbols come from pagan symbols, as well as the fact that our country was founded under the idea religious freedom, but what does that really mean? Thank you for your thoughts!

Angie, I totally agree, the fact that my company is not a Christian company in definition I do feel that it's inconsiderate. The funny thing is, from what I've heard, their "Christmas" parties have never had Christmas trees or exchanged presents or anything. Mostly they were set up with music and beer and that's about it. Last year didn't even have music and was extremely boring. So I'm not really sure why they're insisting on calling it a "Christmas" party when it truly seems that Christmas doesn't seem to even be the theme! You make a really good point about what am I going to do now, I hadn't quite decided yet. That is tough for me. I (obviously) have strong feelings on this topic and have expressed them respectfully to my superiors, but I can't change what they decide on this matter, and I accept this. All I can do is stand firm to my opinion, let them know I'm disappointed with the decision and go on. Most important to me in this situation was that I feel I stood up for the minority in my office (there were other people in my office that were bothered by this and expressed this to me since I'm on our company's "Employee Council") and let them know I and others were offended. Growing up a minority, you get to the point where you have to stand up for yourself but accept that you can't change every situation and try to make an impact where you can. Thank you very much for your comments, they really got me thinking and really helped me move on from being irritated to taking my next step to move on, which I needed!! Good idea on the keeping up with the blogs, I guess I'll just have to let some of them go when there's just too much for me to catch up on!

Amra Pajalic said...

Well if you wanted an indication of how flat out I am-I read your post when you commented about it on my blog. Started a comment which got aborted cause I was interupted and only now have gotten back to it. I was happy to read your update and that the HR Manager has had a good conversation about it.

I hate the whole Christmas thing being pushed down our throats and it not having any meaning, apart from the commercial. I worked for only one company which was really considerate and it was a Christian based but they didn't have their heads up their arse.

My pet peeve (because I work in Admin) is when people expect me to decorate the tree. You can just imagine my fucking response to that.

mai wen said...

Haha, did your resposne involve the words "Up" and "Yours"?

Mine would have!!

 

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