As followers of Jesus, should we show up at Chick-Fil-A today or Friday? A few thoughts… #chickfila

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Earlier this month, Dan Cathy made some comments on marriage and family in a Baptist Press interview that were quite possibly taken out of context by those who affirm same-sex marriage. Moreover, the Baptist Press probably mis-titled the interview in order to get more readership by stirring up controversy. Whether the article was titled poorly is a matter of interpretation I guess. Whether Cathy’s comments were intended to be a shot across the bow toward those in the gay and lesbian community can only be cleared up by Cathy himself. Nonetheless, what those who follow Jesus should now do about it is what I would suggest we need to seriously consider.

May I suggest three specific actions for all of us, both those who have adamantly spoken out from the gay and lesbian community as well as those who consider themselves religious conservatives, but especially all of us who profess to follow Jesus.

First, may we be gracious rather than gregarious. Webster defines “gregarious” as “tending to associate with others of one’s kind” in the sense of only socializing with the people of one’s own tribe or colony. Jesus was not gregarious. In fact, He took significant criticism for not being gregarious (read Matthew chapters 8 through 11). Unfortunately, human tendency is to be gregarious. Both of the opposing sides of the same-sex issue tend to associate only with their kind, and the result is typically a declarative imperative rather than a conversational viewpoint. Protests rather than relationships occur. A culture of grace is rarely displayed.

Next, may we look for opportunities to love others rather than lash out. Jesus said to love your enemies (Matthew 5). Now, I am not suggesting that the opposing sides of this issue are actual enemies. However, they are perceived as such and often act as such. For this reason, I am suggesting that those who say they follow Jesus, who say they love Him, should obey His commands (John 14:15). Jesus taught and modeled love for others. “Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends” (John 15:13). Paul asserted that we are to put the interests of others above our own as Jesus did, not even holding tightly to what was His right or what He deserved in order to be a servant of all of us (Philippians 2:3-11).

The only people whom Jesus lashed out against were those whom He called hypocrites (Matthew 6). It was a word derived from the actor’s guild in Tiberius near the Sea of Galilee. Jesus referred to the religious leaders as actors who were putting on a religious show but were not actually relating with the God of their religion. In some cases they were exploiting God-worship for personal gain (John 2), and in other cases they were proudly displaying how pious they assumed themselves to be (Luke 18). In either case, they were not loving others as much as they loved themselves. May we not be hypocrites.

Finally, may we have ongoing presence rather than only making presentations. It seems that both sides of this issue have become well-versed in declaring their own stories, making their own presentations, even staging their own protests. Mike Huckabee declared on his TV show that today (Wednesday, August 1st) should be “Appreciate Chick-Fil-A Day.” This was in response to the uproar from the gay and lesbian community regarding Cathy’s comments. In essence, Huckabee called all those who stand against same-sex marriage to go out today to support the chicken chain, one that our family happens to frequent. At the same time, the gay and lesbian organization GLAAD has called for national protests today along with a “same-sex kiss day” to be held this Friday, August 3rd, at all Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the nation.

Presentations rather than presence.

Presence would actually mean relationships. I wonder how many of those who will go to Chick-Fil-A today to support the restaurant have a homosexual friend whom they have ever respectfully conversed with about their sexual preferences. I wonder how many who will represent GLAAD with public displays of same-sex affection have ever had public displays of friendship with a conservative evangelical.

To love someone, presence is required. Relating WITH someone is what is imperative. The presentation someone wants to make of which someone is trying to convince another cannot be held in higher value than that other person with an opposing view.

I would suggest that one of the most underestimated aspects of loving someone is simply valuing their story, actually wanting to hear what they have to say. We want to tell our stories rather than listen to someone else’s. We want to value our viewpoint rather than actually try to see from someone else’s. Jesus modeled the opposite for us when He partied with Matthew (Matthew 9), when He went to the house of Zaccheaus (Luke 19), and when He conversed with the woman at the well (John 4). His hope was to show them they were loved and let them respond to that love. It was not just to try to show them they were wrong. You can declare to someone they are wrong with a presentation, but you can only show someone you love them with presence.

THE BOTTOM LINE
I am going to go to Chick-Fil-A on Friday. That is, I am going to go there unless I am in the hospital meeting our newest little one who is due Saturday. If you follow Jesus, I would suggest that you go that day, also. Not to try to counter-protest, but rather to converse with the protestors. Possibly create a friendship. Offer a bottle of water. Maybe even have a meal together, even if it is at another restaurant near that Chick-Fil-A.

You can read CNN.com’s article that prompted my writing this post by clicking here.

14 thoughts on “As followers of Jesus, should we show up at Chick-Fil-A today or Friday? A few thoughts… #chickfila

  1. Great thoughts here. I fear Christians are seeing this as a freedom of speech issue, but not seeing the damage that the spectacle today has done to our opportunity to advance God’s kingdom through building relationships.

  2. Sometimes it feels as if there’s no one left who can see both sides of this issue. I applaud you for reaffirming for me that there are understanding religious people out there. Thank you very much. I hope there’s some others out there that hear your voice and, even better, listen to it.

  3. i tried to go to chick-fil-a today, but the line was way too long. i didn’t go because i disagree with same-sex marriage, i went because i feel mr. cathy has the right to an opinion and business owners shouldn’t feel bullied or forced to feel one way or another about something or risk their business. and those businesses aren’t just about the owner or president, those businesses have employees. chick-fil-a doesn’t discriminate against homosexuals, dan cathy was just asked about his opinion on a topic and i feel that the company was unfairly attacked.

    other than that, i think you made some good points.

    • I agree. The freedom angle of this is important. I was suggesting that both GLAAD and Baptist Press made this into more than what was possible intended. Thanks for your wisdom shared here.

  4. It seems as though the church is once again in need of help in the public relations department! I believe your suggestions would go a long way towards changing some of the negative perceptions people have. Remember, it takes two people to have an argument!

  5. Jason, I totally agree with everything you wrote in your blog. I have friends who I dearly care about who are gay and have a different opinion on the marriage issue than I do or than most Christians
    do. How do we kindly and with Christlikeness explain why we support traditional marriage and are opposed to same-sex marriage without seeming hateful or prejudice? I know relationship is at the heart of it, but I am speaking practical, Biblical reasons.

    • That might be a good blog series to do in the next week or two – discuss how to be a friend with but hold to the convictions we have about marriage and sexuality. It is not easy, because of the baggage and animosity that has built up. Thanks for the questions. I will get back to you with some thoughts.

  6. There is a great restaurant near the Chick-Fil-A in Ocoee called House Blend Cafe’. We welcome anyone and everyone and great conversations!

  7. We are in a culture war in our country and the battle lines have been drawn. Therein lies one problem: we only see each other across battle lines and rarely face to face. May I suggest that if it can be done without spite a Christian supporter of free speech who goes to Chick-Fil-A buy an extra sandwich and offer it to a protester. Scripture is pretty explicit about this: we are to show mercy and kindness to those who would be against us.

  8. Thank you for this blog this morning Jason. I struggle to reconcile my church and my love for my brother and his partner/husband of 19 years. The hate and vitriol swirling around this issue–from both sides–has worn on me, particularly in the last week.
    Gracious rather than gregarious. Present rather that making presentations. I can strive for that.
    (I am in a SS class with your brother.)

  9. Ever since all this mess erupted I have struggled to get my views on this into perspective for my friends. I have them on both sides of the picket line. All of them were either totally left sided or right sided. I felt torn between the two because I held no ill feelings about either view. I was made to feel like I was a horrible person for not picking a side. I was hurt to think that my voice and feelings didn’t matter. You helped me to put my feelings into words that my friends could understand. Thank you SO much for this. I have a peace in my heart that I truly needed. Its nice to know that I’m not alone. God bless you!!

  10. Pingback: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner : Boycotts, Petitions, Soap Boxes & the Gospel #chickfila « DanSardinas.net

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