I started a new job a few months ago, and my co-workers are kind to me. The company I work for is pretty small, but it’s definitely tight. You know how sometimes people go out to drinks after work to get to know each other better? Well, these people go to church together. They all seem to get together on Sundays for service and at least once during the week for choir rehearsal or some other church activity. They keep inviting me to join them, but I don’t want to go. I have my own church and spiritual life, and I do not want to go to theirs. I don’t have anything against them, but I believe that I should not have to intersect my religious life with my job. Since everyone else participates, do you think my absence will negatively impact my job?
— Not My Church
Dear Not My Church: I will give you the same advice I give to people whose co-workers invite them out every Friday for drinks after work: You don’t have to go all the time, but it is wise to go occasionally. At the very least, go once so that you have an understanding of what these people value and how they spend their time. Find out if your company is affiliated with the church. Even if it is, you are not required to go there, but it’s good to know the history of your company and the church that your co-workers attend. Do some sleuthing so that you get a clear picture of your company’s culture and what the expectations are of the employees.
You do not need to become a regular parishioner, choir member or anything else. But out of respect for them and curiosity for you, go to a service and pay attention.