Christian Living, Culture, Life, spirituality, Thoughts, Work

the big picture

So, I’m sure many of you are aware of the decision Target’s corporate office made to allow transgender into whichever restroom they identify with. I’m sure many of you are either livid or don’t care – or maybe if you’re like me, you have mixed feelings.

I don’t think that the decision was right. I’ll start by saying that. I think that it’s opening up a lot of bad doors for perverts to take advantage of. Because, sadly, we do live in a world where someone will fake being transgender just to get inside a restroom to spy on someone. That’s our reality. And Target’s decision just opened the door for that.

target

BUT – and this is where things get sticky – I just can’t support a Target boycott. I’ve had to take a step back and examine this situation in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I’m biased. I work at Target. However, I’m not emotionally attached to the company, so I’m not that biased.

It does make me angry, though, when I hear of all these people trying to destroy Target. If enough people boycott it, Target could very well go bankrupt. And the reality is that the head honchos at the corporate offices, they’re lives are not going to be affected. They’ll still leave the company with a decent amount of money in their back pockets. People like me, though? People who make our living as cashiers or cafe employees or sales floor team members or guest services advisers? Thousands of people like me will be out of a job – we’ll be collateral damage in this endless, bloody social “revolution” that’s going nowhere.

Think for a moment about how many fellow believers – brothers and sisters in Christ – work at Target. How many young Christian men and women like myself have to work 40 hours a week at Target just to pay for their seminary bills? And you want to destroy that?

Yes, I get it. You’re taking a stand. You’re fighting the power. And I’m sure it feels good to be a part of something great and potentially “revolutionary.” But you’re not looking at the big picture.

Let me tell you why Target is important to me. I’ll bullet-point it for you:

  • Without Target, I would not just be a poor, tired college student – I’d be poor, tired, and unemployed and broke.
  • Without Target’s employment, I would not be able to afford my college classes, which are helping me achieve my ministerial license.
  • Without Target, I wouldn’t have met the amazing people I’ve met. God’s placed me in an incredible place of ministry there and he’s placed such a burden on my heart for my fellow workers who don’t yet know the joy of Jesus and sometimes the only time I have to show them who He is is when I’m working with them. Without Target, that mission field is gone.

It’s three simple points, but they’re big ones.

Some of you may be stuck on where I said, “bloody social revolution that’s going nowhere.” Let me explain.

When it comes to things like homosexuality, moral decline, tolerance, etc…. the only revolution that will change things is a spiritual revolution. Taking a moral stand is good, of course, but there’s a line that we have to be careful not to cross; that line falls between separation (we are not of this world) and segregation (we have no connection to the world).

Boycotting Target, you destroy the opportunity to minister to the beautiful people working there or shopping there – and, yes, those beautiful people exist. Boycotting Target, you could potentially destroy lives and families if Target were to go bankrupt. Boycotting Target, you could make yourself look even worse in the eyes of the world, the people we’re called to win for the Kingdom. Boycotting Target, you’re forgetting the focus of our faith. It isn’t to boycott every company that flaunts its liberal values. (If that were the case, I’d expect you to boycott Starbucks, Amazon, and a plethora of other companies.) The focus of our faith is found in Jesus’ command to, “Go into all the world and preach.”

That being said, do what you need to do. If you’re a woman and you don’t feel comfortable using the Target restrooms, don’t. You have the right to the protection of your privacy and well being. But ask yourself if boycotting Target, in the long run, is worth it. If the collateral damage is worth it. If the consequences are worth it.

“Respect what is right in the sight of all men. And if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” – Romans 12:17-18

Christian Living, Life, Living, Thoughts, Work

how target changed my faith

Professionally, I’ve worked in fairly “sheltered” environments. My first job, which I held for three years, was under a Christian manager, so the environment there was, for the most part, spiritually pleasant. My second job, I worked for Family Christian Stores. I worked there twice, actually, because I took some time off, worked for a construction company whose owner was a believer, then I attended college on-campus. Then, when I left that school, I went back to work for Family Christian.

I needed more hours, though, so I quit and applied to various places. At the top of my list was Target, since I have nearly seven years of retail experience. I got a call a mere two days after submitting my application and they wanted to interview me. We set up a time, I went in for my interview, and the lady who interviewed me thought I would fit great so she asked to schedule an interview with my would-be supervisor. Of course, I said yes.

My second interview went extremely well. My would-be supervisor really wanted me on her team. I decided, though, to wait until after the holidays to start work, since I would be traveling and didn’t want to take so much time off of work only weeks after starting the job.

My supervisor was very excited and so was I! It all seemed like a God thing, in all honesty.

road tripI started work just days before the New Year and needless to say, I’ve been surprised in many ways in the last two weeks. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned – these are the things that changed my faith.

In all my years of retail, I’ve always strived to be the friendliest person on the team. My first day of work, an older woman told me, “You are so dang cheerful.” I was thrilled because, honestly, I feel like my attempts at being bright and extra kind to people go unnoticed. Then, last night, a middle-aged man told me, “You’re so enthusiastic.” This blew me away because, again, it often feels like going the extra mile and being extra kind goes unnoticed – especially in what we call a “secular” (meaning: non-religious) work environment.

It’s hard, though. I’ve always worked in a spiritually pleasant environment, but, suddenly, I’m in this place and it’s like I can feel the weight of the spiritual darkness around me. (If you’re a Pentecostal Christian or even an Evangelical or Charismatic, you probably know what I mean.) Last night, I realized that, sub-consciously, I would end up praying for many of my customers as I served them. And, in many cases, I could almost sense some things about them, because I could feel the spiritual atmosphere they carried with them.

Sometimes, I just look into a customer’s eyes and immediately I know in my heart – and I hear it in the back of my mind – “This person is sad today.” or “This person’s had a rough day.” or “This person’s hurting.” And I would just begin to pray over them. Sometimes, it’s a wordless prayer – meaning, it’s more that I’m letting my spirit lift up a prayer for the person rather than composing an actual dialogue in my mind. I mean, most of the time I’m talking with the customer, so I have little opportunity to compose a very articulate prayer. But God hears the cries of my soul. And for that, I’m thankful.

Working at Target has changed my faith because now I’ve become more spiritually aware of the people around me. The Bible calls it “discernment” or “the discerning of spirits.” (1 Corinthians 12:10) I’ve never really needed to be spiritually aware of things like that before. Now, though, I’m in a place where my own spiritual atmosphere can affect even the hardest of hearts as I serve them. Smiling just a little bit brighter for that lesbian couple can do a lot more than we ever could possibly imagine.

It’s a new experience, and it’s hard. I find that, even when I work half shifts (4-5 hours) I come home drained – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. And all I want to do is revive my soul by spending time with my Savior.

It’s a new level of spirituality. It’s a new level of faith. It’s active. It’s alive. It’s Christ in me.