Because You Don’t Hate Your Job Nearly Enough… April 22, 2008

Because You Don’t Hate Your Job Nearly Enough…

You know how your workplace is wonderful and exciting and a source of constant joy?


Maybe this will help:

Already estimated to number 4,000 in the United States, corporate chaplains are a new breed of counsellors slowly finding their way into Canadian workplaces. They are usually people with a strong Christian faith who also possess a background in social work or counselling.

Say what now?

[Lee-Ann Lavoie, a former social worker and current master’s student in counselling] has been a part-time corporate chaplain at the High Country Inn and its sister properties, offering counselling and workshops to serve the personal and spiritual needs of employees.

“One thing I truly believe is that there is spiritual side of life, and everyone has a spiritual side,” Ms. Lavoie says. “Corporate chaplains open people up to that side at work.”

We do?

Lavoie says she’s not there to preach religion. And as long as she doesn’t, the corporations don’t face any legal troubles.

Still, I find it hard to believe no religion will seep into the conversations… consider the company providing the chaplains:

Outreach Canada, a Christian organization based in Delta, B.C., started placing corporate chaplains in businesses in that province and Alberta in 2004. The program has served a dozen companies in industries such as manufacturing, tourism and construction, and currently employs seven chaplains. Earlier this month, Corporate Chaplains Outreach Canada launched in Ontario and has plans to serve the entire country.

But the company says they’re all about spiritual growth, not religious growth.

Whatever that means.

(No really. What does that mean? Someone please tell me.)

Anyone else get the feeling, though, that if it were a Muslim company providing spiritual counselors, there’d be a lot of uncomfortable workers…?

(Thanks to Rachel for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • From the article:

    Bruce Mitchell, national director of Corporate Chaplains Outreach Canada, says chaplains are focused on delivering non-religious counselling services. He emphasizes that chaplains do not push religious beliefs on employees, though he acknowledges that some employees initially assume that’s the case.

    But if you go to their website, it’s all God all the time. So it looks like more lying for Jesus.

    If it is not religious, then why are the called “chaplains” and not “counselors” or “social workers”?

  • Ron in Houston

    I believe that a vast majority of the population have a “spiritual” side. I’d liken it to the overwhelming feelings of compassion you feel when you see someone else suffering. I think that’s sort of what they mean.

    I also think that the biological or chemical basis for spirituality is part of the reason that the religious meme continues to propagate in society.

    There are a number of “Christian” counselors whose real approach is a more secular spirituality.

  • Graham

    I work at a Christian company and am surrounded by people talking about their beliefs and criticizing people who don’t share them (like me, though they don’t know that) constantly. It drives me crazy and I feel sorry for people who have to put up with it in their workplaces. If the company isn’t religion-based it should have nothing to do with it.

  • the Shaggy


    “It’s more of a spiritual program than a religious one,” he says. “Most people aren’t that interested in talking about religion, but they sure would like help with their anorexic daughter, for example.”

    Spirituality is real-world problems. Duh.

    Does this type of justification remind you of chiropractics? Sure, some stuff they do is real good, but it is the same stuff you would get from a massage therapist. Which doesn’t have all the subluxation mumbo jumbo.

    Throw a single coat of white paint on a dark crimson wall and call it pink?

  • “Spiritual but not Religious” is a tagline some churches have been throwing out there at the mass public since at least the 1980s. Many Christian denominations insist, sometimes quite rabidly, that they follow no religion whatsoever, in order to, among other things, try and sidestep that obnoxious establishment clause and infiltrate secular society. Then, any judge that cites the first amendment is automatically an “activist judge”. This is really old news.

  • Siamang

    Because You Don’t Hate Your Job Nearly Enough…

    The title says it all. This would be really annoying… depending on how intrusive it was.

    For example, at my work we have Yoga classes and a massage therapist. I don’t care for either. But nobody comes around to my office and tries to rub my neck, so I don’t mind.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Spirituality is the feeling you get when you trip of drugs- the feeling of oneness with the universe or awe. It isn’t only drugs that do it, but given what religion does to your brain, the drugs may have fewer side effects. Feelings of awe are easy enough to get normally though-
    this is a good example.

  • Aquaria

    Yikes! Thank goodness the USPS is too cheap to do this for the employees. We’re lucky to have a break room.

  • Theo Doersing

    I see the term “spiritual” as an even more domesticated version of the word “religious”. It seems less offensive to claim you are spiritual than religious. There is too much baggage attached to a loaded word like “religion”. It is a classic example of an epistemological sleight of word to progress the same meme into a more resistant environment. Another good example would be believing in the “holy spirit” instead of the “holy ghost”. I can’t recall the last time I heard someone refer to the holy ghost. The word ghost is loaded with paranormal attachments and superstition.

  • the Shaggy

    “Spiritual” really seems to be synonymous with “Open-minded.” That sense where you have “other knowledge” and some belief in somthing.

    You use incense for a purpose other than the smell, you wear pendants you think make you feel better, and people believe you have some greater wisdom. All of it is bunk.

    Spirituality : Philosophy :: The Secret : Positive Thinking. It’s all the frosted windows and scarves thrown over lamps that make you get it confused.

  • grazatt

    Why do so many Christians think it is alright to lie for Jesus. Don’t the 10 commandments say though shall not lie?

  • I tend to think of “spiritual” as referring to those legitimate inspirational, uplifting feelings that we get when we experience something of the good life (as expressed nonreligiously, for example, by Epicurus). It doesn’t seem to me to be irrevocably yoked to religion.

    But the tide of opinion seems to be against me here, and as a linguist I have to concede that meaning relies on consensus among speakers. So I guess you’re right: spirituality has become tied to religion in a way that excludes us non-religious people.

    So what word do you use to describe those inspiring, uplifting feelings associated with the high points of human existence?

  • Karen

    Why do so many Christians think it is alright to lie for Jesus. Don’t the 10 commandments say though shall not lie?

    It’s an ends-justify-the-means thing for evangelicals. The thinking is that telling a few “little” lies is okay if they save someone from eternal torture in hell. Also, they tend to soften the fact that they’re lying by finding acceptable terms for what they do and excusing it away.

    The idea is that even those who’ve been deceived will forgive you if they become Christians eventually and have the “joy of the lord” etc.

  • Graham

    Christians are more than likely wrong and they are deceiving people into believing one of the biggest lies ever told. Lies fueled by lies fueled by a little bit of tingling in the stomach…probably indigestion.

  • spiritual (from

    1. of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.
    2. of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.
    3. closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.: the professor’s spiritual heir in linguistics.
    4. of or pertaining to spirits or to spiritualists; supernatural or spiritualistic.
    5. characterized by or suggesting predominance of the spirit; ethereal or delicately refined: She is more of a spiritual type than her rowdy brother.
    6. of or pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.
    7. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.
    8. of or belonging to the church; ecclesiastical: lords spiritual and temporal.
    9. of or relating to the mind or intellect. (emphasis mine)

    The term “spiritual” is mired in a long heritage of superstition, but it has some application beyond that. Though an atheist, I consider myself something of a spiritual person, and by “spiritual” I mean that I try to live focused on the inner life of the psyche. Superstitions and spiritualism just get in the way of the search for inner knowledge, which is the purported purpose of many religious sects. (Gnosticism, Hinduism, and Buddhism to name a few.)

  • Jen

    That would make work all the more irritating. I sometimes get in customers who mention spiritual things (ie: “That was a terrible storm. I think someone is trying to tell us something.” Me: (thinks) yes, like that we shouldn’t get to have electricity or showers.) though no one has ever tried to convert me. I would rather they just increase their 401k contributions and spare me a chaplain.

    For example, at my work we have Yoga classes and a massage therapist. I don’t care for either. But nobody comes around to my office and tries to rub my neck, so I don’t mind.

    I would love this. Please send your massage therapist to rub my neck, and hurry!

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