Saturday, August 04, 2012

Food for Thought

In light of the whole Chik-Fil-A "thing" this week I am sharing a blog post that I hope you'll read.  I read so many opinions on the whole thing, but I think "The Last Crusade" shares my heart the very best.  What a wasted opportunity for the Christian community.  Regardless of the fact that my family likes to throw our money at Chick-Fil-A on a regular basis because of their Christian values, wonderful customer service, and really yummy food, I think we as a Christian community could have shown our support in a different way than throwing more money at an already rich franchise.  And, on yeah, we sort of forgot about the whole thing where we are to show love to all people.

Even IF I think being gay is a sin.  Even IF I think there really is no such thing as gay marriage in the eyes of God.  Does our big stand at Chick-Fil-A help or hinder my goal as a Christian to go out into all the world and bring the word of Christ to the lost (if we're assuming our Gay friends are, in fact, lost)?  Do we think the attendance of gay people in church this week will be less or more across American tomorrow morning?  Are they feeling more or less loved by conservative Christians?  Did our stand with Chik-Fil-A cause the divide to widen, or narrow?  And which would have Jesus wanted?

Where would have Jesus been on Wednesday?  Would he have used up 2-3 hours of his day waiting in line for a yummy Christian sandwich to show that (1) He's a Christian and (2) He doesn't agree with Gay Marriage, or would He have been out there walking amongst "the least of these?"  Maybe He would have been trying to bridge the gap between conservative Christians and gay people.  Maybe, just maybe, He would have even been admonishing we Christians for wasting our time, throwing our money at an already rich franchise when we could have been instead giving our $5 each to someone who was close to starvation.  Now *THAT* would have sent a message to the world that I think the Lord would be proud of.

Believe me, I don't have it figured out.  I didn't have it figured out on Wednesday.  I knew I felt some sort of uncomfortable feeling in my spirit.  I didn't go to get my sandwich (but I certainly considered it).  If the lines weren't so long, maybe I would have?  "The Last Crusade" helped me to figure out what my spirit was feeling.


erika tindall 12:36 PM  

(please don't approve this b/c blog comments get crawled by search engines. This is really just to you anyway. :) thanks!) A lot of people went to show their support for free speech. So while some people looked at it as only a religious issue, some people looked at it as only a constitutional issue. Of course, for most of us, it was probably a blend of both.

If I would've had time to go, it would've been about supporting a founder of a company who has a particular viewpoint (which we all do) yet still serves people who are living their lives counter to what he believes... meaning he is loving all, which we're all called to do. Hate the sin, love the sinner. ;)

Heather 12:50 PM  

Miss Anita, I love you SO much. I really do. And you have no idea how much I needed to see this right now. Today. This moment. You know I've struggled for years with my faith and I literally told Nathan last night that I didn't want anything to do with Christians or *Christianity* anymore because I've been so absolutely disgusted with the recent goings on, that I just wanted to practice my faith in private and avoid "those people". Not just the chicken thing, but stupidity after the batman shooting. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for helping me remember what being Christian means, not the poisonous hate, bigotry and stupidity that I've seen recently. You truly inspire me. Your words, truly, brought me from the dark back into the light. Love you.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

The display of Christian values on Chic-Fil-A Day made me even more happy to have left the faith I was raised in and become an atheist. No one really believes this is about free speech. Nobody on the left is protesting the owner's ability to say whatever it is he thinks and believes. We are turned off by his hatred of a certain segment of society. And all of the lovely Christians showing up to support and celebrate those values just reinforced to everyone in the gay community that Christians fully support the limiting of their right to have their loving unions legally recognized. If your god is all about you eating greasy chicken sandwiches to increase the profits of a corporation that was already doing quite well to show others how wrong they are for simply being who they are, then I most definitely have no interest in your small-minded god.

And for the record, most in the gay community find the 'hate the sinner, love the sin' nonsense line to be patronizing and ridiculous. If you are busy hating part of who they are, they are most certainly not interested in your "love."

Mary Ellyn 10:55 AM  

While you are raising some good questions, I think this situation is a sad commentary on our society in general. Here are some thoughts that I have.

You packed quite a bit to respond to in this post. So much is on the verge of changing in American society -- fundamental things. Your capitalized ‘Ifs’ lead me to believe you are not sure what you believe regarding homosexuality. Perhaps that is part of your angst about this particular situation. I’m on the same page that I wish people helped those less fortunate a bit more.

People went to Chick Fil A to eat food and show their support with their pocketbook and large numbers. And money does speak.

It goes way beyond a private business owner stating his beliefs in a public forum. There is an unspoken anxiety about freedom of speech (and even thought) in this country. We have a new definition of tolerance when it comes to stating a politically unpopular opinion -- you will be labeled a 'hater' by some. It seems to be primarily focused on one general group in our society -- those who profess to be Christian.

Here's a bit more of the story on how Mr Cathy's interview was presented in the media. He spoke only of marriage in a Biblical context. He did NOT address gay marriage -- the media did. (I encourage you to check out the article for yourself.)

Here's the original interview of Mr Cathy:

Perhaps Jeff Bezos the founder of should take the $2.5 million that he announced (on July 27) he is donating to help a Washington state law that legalized gay marriage survive a November referendum and help foster kids in the state of Washington instead!

Chick Fil A is a small, successful business (using the word ‘rich’ seems judgmental to me). It is a small fish in the pond compared to Amazon or Microsoft or Starbucks or General Mills or JC Penney or Macys or Levi or Apple or Google who have all donated large sums of money to the LGBT community. Maybe they could have helped orphans or kids from shattered families or families struggling with autism or mentally disabled adults or efforts that serve an entire community (not a small vocal community). And it is okay to be successful in business.

I’m taking a wild guess, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus is not political in the sense that you described. John 3:16-18 comes to mind. Jesus speaks very clearly in Scripture and He doesn’t address Chick Fil A! :-)

A. Gillispie 11:43 AM  

Erika, sorry friend, the comments go out automatically! Sorry about that. Appreciate your comment!

Heather, glad I said something to renew your faith in Christ-followers. Just keep your eyes on what Jesus would do and you're golden. The Christian community (me included) often loses sight of that. We're just all a big 'ol jumbled mess of sinners.

Anonymous, your anger at the day, I feel, is justified. This is exactly my point. We (Christians) have only caused a greater divide in the gay community by taking a "stand" such as this. I don't believe this is how Christ would have chosen for us to go about things. The "hate the sin, love the sinner" thing isn't just something applied to the GLTB community. That is something taught across the board. I love my children, but I don't like it when they sin--that sort of thing. But even with Christians who believe it is a sin to be gay, all sins are equal in the eyes of God. It is no more a sin to be gay than it is to have pre-marital sex. There are plenty of Christians and plenty of churches across this country who would welcome you with open arms, even if they didn't agree with your lifestyle--even conservative churches. There were plenty of gay folks in my S. Baptist church growing up. =-)

ME, I capitolized the "IF" because I didn't want to make what I believed the point of my blogpost. What I believe doesn't matter, so I added some ambiguity to it.

Also, I wasn't suggesting anything about the businesses giving to charities. I was suggesting that we Americans may have better used our money that day by giving it to charities rather than giving it to an already successful food franchise.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Thank you for your response. To clarify, I am not LGBTQ. I am a person who loves and supports my LGBTQ friends, without considering there to be any sin involved in how they identify themselves and who they love.

I know the "love the sinner, hate the sin" line is common in some Christian circles. But I still believe it comes across as exceptionally patronizing and gross to those of us who don't believe that to be gay is to sin. To say to someone "I think you are totally wrong and your lifestyle is wrong and I don't support your access to equal rights, but I love you anyway!" is not appealing to most folks. Thanks, but no thanks. It's condescension masked as love. I would assert that cutesy catch phrases such as these easily gloss over the discrimination and ill feelings at play and further place a wedge between the gay and Christian communities.

Mary Ellyn 12:50 PM  

The whole reason that Chick Fil A became a news items was the marriage issue being changed by the media to say that Mr. Cathy made statements that were against same sex marriage -- he didn't.
It is good to read the original interview to see exactly what he said.

All the comments, with the exception of the first one, have focused on the gay issue -- how unloving, condescending, hateful Christians are to the LGBT community. The comments have not talked about giving money to charity.

Is this post really about people not financially supporting those less fortunate? I know that is heavy on your heart. :-) Chick Fil A diverts the conversation to LGBT discussion.

Anita --- your comments confuse me. Christians taking a stand? Isn't that what a Christian is to do when things in the culture violate what Scripture says?

I would agree 100% with your statement "It is no more a sin to be gay than it is to have pre-marital sex" which is true." Sin is sin.

When you spend money at a business you are helping that business which employs people and brought a ton of product from the chicken farmers and the bakers. I bet the cooks and servers at the local Chick Fil A aren't making big bucks. I bet they had a bigger paycheck for that week. Is that bad?

Not sure what Christian value is demonstrated when you spend your money at a local restaurant?

A. Gillispie 12:51 PM  

Anonymous, Oops! Sorry I assumed you were gay. There were things in your original comment that lead me to believe that, but you know what they say about assuming! ;-)

What I have to just say again, is this whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" thing really isn't a cutesy catch phrase for Christians. It is a deep core belief. I am a broken person. My belief system teaches that we are all broken people. All sins are equal. My sin of over-eating and yelling at my kids is no less sinful than the person who murders someone over a carton of cigarettes. If I focused on the sins of people, I would have nobody to love. I must therefore love the people, while hoping they will choose to stop the sin. If they don't choose to stop the sin, that's between them and God. Not my business. My job as a Christian is to love people. That's what Christ did. He never turned away from a person because of their sin. I know we differ in opinion of whether or not being gay is a sin, but please know that I have very close loving relationships with gay people in my life. Their sin (or lack thereof) is none of my business.

Oh! And for what it's worth, I never said anything about my feelings for equal rights. You might be surprised about my personal opinion on this, but that's not what the post was about. =-)

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

I was actually more responding to the use of the phrase in the first comment, not your defense of it.

I understand that the sentiments behind this phrase are something you feel passionately about, but that does not change the fact that these words come across as condescending and less than loving to others. If the intent is to show Christian love, then maybe the script needs to be rewritten, because this one isn't working.