An Invitation

Ben Smedberg boldly writes:

I’d like to invite my blog readers and Mozilla coworkers to Jesus Christ.

Making a religious invitation to coworkers and friends at Mozilla is difficult. We spend our time and build our deepest relationships in a setting of on email, video, and online chat, where off-topic discussions are typically out of place. I want to share my experience of Christ with those who may be interested, but I don’t want to offend or upset those who aren’t.

This year, however, presents me with a unique opportunity. Most Mozilla employees will be together for a shared planning week. If you will be there, please feel free to find me during our down time and ask me about my experience of Christ.

Amen to all of that. Online collaboration is great, but as Ben says, it’s hard to find opportunities to discuss things which are important outside of a Mozilla context. There are several Christians at Mozilla attending the work week in Portland (roc is another, for example) and any of us would be happy to talk.

I hope everyone has a great week!

15 thoughts on “An Invitation

  1. Comments are closed there, but you say that you agree with what that post says, so I’ll ask you.

    That blog post says: “… every time I handed my life over to Christ, I ended up being successful”.

    Can you please explain what does “handing one’s life over to Christ” mean?

    Thank you!

  2. This really is not appropriate for Planet Mozilla and even more so pushing religion on coworkers can make it difficult for people to approach you for other things.

    Keep that in mind.

    • It’s an invitation. No-one is pushing anything on anyone. Accept or decline, as you choose :-)

      Do people really think that if they come and talk to me about a Mozilla-related topic then I will say “before I answer, can I ask: do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”. That would be a suggestion entirely unsupported by 15 years of evidence…

  3. Gerv,

    does this mean it would be okay for you if I were to invite people to religions like “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, “Satanism” (yes I am using that deliberately to polarize ;) ) or Scientology (which is considered worse here in Germany than I suppose it would be in the US) publicly on Planet Mozilla?

    If you would be okay with that, I would totally post a blog post about that, you know that ;)

    And if you wouldn’t, we’d have to ask ourselves which religion is acceptable and which one is not. And before we get into a deep discussion about this, I would really suggest to leave religion out of Mozilla entirely. Religion does not have anything to do with software. I don’t know where you draw the line but I believe that Christianity is a rather common religion that people who haven’t found their way to it, they won’t, even after your little invitations.

  4. “does this mean it would be okay for you if I were to invite people to religions like “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, “Satanism” (yes I am using that deliberately to polarize ;) ) or Scientology (which is considered worse here in Germany than I suppose it would be in the US) publicly on Planet Mozilla?”

    Yes. Although others might not be, particularly if you don’t genuinely hold that belief. They would think, quite rightly, that you were just stirring up trouble.

    • Gerv, please,

      how bad of an opinion do you have of me if you think I am stirring up trouble…. I am rather eager to genuinely find out where the line is on this topic. ;)

      Also, how do you define “stirring up trouble”. One could accuse you of the same thing. Does one have to “genuinely hold a belief”? How do you define that? I thought that in order to be a member of a specific religion you have to self-identify with that religion. Or would you say you’re not a Christian anymore if you don’t proclaim it actively at many occasions? Has religion become Mozilla all of a sudden (where you’re bound to promoting it in a certain way)?

      It really is uncalled for in Mozilla World in my opinion, you can be a Christian in your free time, but please leave your beliefs at the door when being a Mozillian. I know it’s hard, but you can do it, so can Benjamin Smedberg ;) Inviting people to a religion is not even a bold step, it’s a stupid one.

      Jehova’s Witnesses often rang my door bell and wanted to invite me to their religion as well. And the most positive thing I could say to them was something along the lines of “No, thanks!”. To conclude: It just doesn’t work that way. You don’t make life-changing decisions, like changing your religion, only because someone invites you to them. I originally was a Christian (baptised and stuff like that) because my family was Christian as well. I later changed my mind because I found religion to be a burden.

      Also, please don’t think I am picking on you. I would’ve written the same in Benjamin Smedberg’s blog if only he allowed comments to be posted.

      • “I am rather eager to genuinely find out where the line is on this topic. ;)”

        Well, I have no interest in “finding out where the line is”. I have an interest in being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.

        “you can be a Christian in your free time, but please leave your beliefs at the door when being a Mozillian”

        Everyone has a worldview – a fundamental set of beliefs about how they view the world. You might know it as “weltanschauung”. Someone can no more leave that “at the door” than they can leave their left leg. That is as true of your worldview as it is of mine.

        • “Well, I have no interest in “finding out where the line is”. I have an interest in being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

          “Everyone has a worldview – a fundamental set of beliefs about how they view the world. You might know it as “weltanschauung”. Someone can no more leave that “at the door” than they can leave their left leg. That is as true of your worldview as it is of mine.”

          Does being faithful to your religious symbol include telling other people about it? Because I do have a certain Weltanschauung, yes, but it’s very important to be cautious, understanding and unobtrusive about it, especially at a multi-cultural place like Mozilla, something like that can get quite nasty. I think that the best way would be not to mention it at all. You have your religious views, I have mine, we can get along fine if you respect that and don’t try to change other people’s views. And Mozilla isn’t about religion at all, is it?

          Inviting other people to your “religion” is crossing a line and is not what I understand by “unobtrusive”.

            • So your god doesn’t welcome people that are unable to speak? ;)

              It’s possible to be a Christian nevertheless. I know a lot of people who don’t go round telling other people about god. To be honest, you’re the only Christian I know who is like that.

              What’re you afraid of?

  5. I suspect there are more than just “several” Christians here. It seems like it’s become the socially expected thing for atheist developers to publicly declare their lack of religious affiliation, and not coincidentally for religious members to stay quiet about it. But given the places we draw most developers from, I suspect a pretty high percentage are (at least nominally) Christian.

    disclaimer: I am one of those atheist developers, I have many times in my life been annoyed by Christian friends trying to convert me, but I wasn’t bothered in the least by bsmedberg’s post.

    I guess I just proved that we like to declare our lack of affiliation, since I just did! :-)

    (And “atheist” is really just the closest label, it makes me a little uncomfortable because I do have a notion of something I think of as a God, it’s just that my God bears a lot more resemblance to the laws of physics than some dude up in the sky (forgive me for misrepresenting your beliefs.) I find mine more compelling and evocative of wonder, but that’s personal and I’m glad you have something that clearly gives you so much meaning and purpose.)

  6. Hey gerv,

    one might also accuse you of being a hypocrite. Let me quote from your earlier blog post here: http://blog.gerv.net/2014/04/who-we-are-and-how-we-should-be/

    “Our most recent attempt to write this down was the Community Participation Guidelines. As I see it, the principle behind the CPGs was, in regard to non-mission things: leave it outside. We agreed to agree on the mission, and agreed to disagree on everything else.”

    How disappointing, with this post you disobeyed the CPGs (not the first time, I might add). Do you still, with good conscience, consider yourself a Mozillian? If so, that tells me a lot about what the community really means to you. Or do those rules apply to anyone but you?

    • Troll.

      Two quick points: Firstly, that post, if you read the whole thing, is commenting that the current CPGs are not fit for purpose, as they clearly didn’t prevent the Brendan incident, and so we need to rethink them. Secondly, the above invitation is precisely an invitation to take it outside (“during our down time”).

      If you are witch-hunting people who are clearly not leaving it outside, why not try and find out who booked an act to sing a gay marriage campaign song at the Mozilla party in Portland? Or, you could just stop stirring up trouble. I’d recommend the latter.

      • “Troll.”

        Thank you. I’m flattered :-)

        “Two quick points: Firstly, that post, if you read the whole thing, is commenting that the current CPGs are not fit for purpose, as they clearly didn’t prevent the Brendan incident…”

        Or this incident, or that other invitation, or one of your previous blog posts, for that matter…

        “…and so we need to rethink them. Secondly, the above invitation is precisely an invitation to take it outside (“during our down time”).”

        I know it is an invitation to do exactly that. But your invitation still happened “inside” (aka on planet.mozilla.org), right? For me, this is crossing the line, for you it might not be, but that’s a matter of opinion and strictness.

        “If you are witch-hunting people who are clearly not leaving it outside, why not try and find out who booked an act to sing a gay marriage campaign song at the Mozilla party in Portland?”

        Sorry, I distanced myself from the Mozilla corporation some time ago. And reading a lot of the recent reviews on glassdoor.com (and some of the “I’m leaving” blog posts on Planet) about Mozilla, it seems my decision was the right one. Your company has leadership issues, my dear friend.

        I guess you have the best means to investigate that incident above, so go ahead and do it. And, just to be clear about that, this does not mean that I am okay AT ALL with what happened there. Respect should come from both sides.

        “Or, you could just stop stirring up trouble.”
        I am not stirring up trouble :-) I might be in the future, but not today.