I found this story pretty amusing.
Apparently, a company was seeking to fill a position that involved communication with Chinese clientele. They wanted someone who was qualified, a hard worker, and not an “arrogant American” who might be so proud of their national heritage that they ruin business partnerships and opportunities with foreign clients.
I thought this was funny, first of all, because the company felt they needed to include this specification in a job description. As far as I can tell from the company’s website(s), this is a Chicago-based company, not a foreign company. So, an American company feels they need to specify that they do not want any arrogant Americans in this position. Considering the politically and socially charged climate surrounding the immigration and foreign-relations issues, I can’t say that I blame them. What company would want an “arrogant American” employee looking down his nose at foreign clients?
I also thought this was funny because of the nature of the responding criticism. It seems no one is all that upset about the “arrogant” bit of the comment. They are just riled up because of the “American” specification. They believe this could be discrimination on the basis of nationality. To tell you the truth, I think the brilliant sarcasm in the job description was lost on the critics.
This all reminds me that there is a fine line between national pride and American arrogance; between being proud of where you come from, and looking down on people from other countries. Whoever wrote that job description must know the fineness of that line, as well.
We, as Christians, miss that line all too often–and I don’t just mean when it comes to being “proud to be an American.” We stroll right across the line in our Christian pride. There have been plenty of times in my life when I have not just been proud to be a follower of Christ, but I have looked down on those who aren’t. I have been downright arrogant. And I am ashamed of that.
Jesus told us, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Then He proceeded to show us that by developing a reputation of spending time with prostitutes, tax-collectors, adulteresses, revolutionaries, doubters, liars, lepers, social outcasts, and anyone else the religious elite considered second class. And, what is our reputation as followers of Christ today? Hypocrites? Fundamentalists? Snobs? Gay-bashers? Right-wing nuts?
Perhaps you’re right. Maybe we don’t deserve all those titles. Or maybe we, like the critics in the story above, are so focused on the “Christian” part of the description, so worried that they are discriminating against us, so sure that all the name-calling is only the result of the world misunderstanding our religion, so convinced that they just don’t like Christians, that we miss the “arrogant” bit.
Is it possible that they could at least be partly right? That we have had our instances of snobbery and hypocrisy? Then we have some work to do. I have some work to do.
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”