I took some time off last week, hung out with my family and decided to cut back on my social media intake and blogging. I know I’m late in posting on this but like with many things, I want to add to the conversation and be counted for whatever it is I am for/against. These thoughts have been brewing for a little while now and though I thought twice about posting on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, I am getting a handle on my words now.
I had the privilege of given the sermon last week; it was on the imprecatory Psalms, specifically Ps. 109 and was called, “A Song to My Enemy.” Toward the end, I tried to make the point that Christians can not simultaneously build the Kingdom of God and fight a culture war. They are mutually exclusive and simply put, Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God.
I also tried to make the point that “others” are not our enemies and that includes “liberal ‘whatevers’, ultra-conservative (insert name of choice here), the LGBTQ community, the media, the marketers, members of the finance world, scientists, etc.” While we are called to hate evil and pursue justice, Jesus makes it clear to that our love is to be for the other, even those we differ strongly with – hence he uses the word “enemy.”
About Chick-Fil-A: I actually like their food and I take my two little boys on our errand days. If I am being honest, I would probably like Chick-Fil-A if they were owned by an agnostic who loved the Red Sox. Until this week, I thought it was a healthier option that most fast-food places but there is a lot of MSG and other common fast-food additives (Google Chick-Fil-A, MSG for more). Further, Thomas Turner from Everyday Liturgy wrote a great post on sustainable and just practices that has me thinking. Check out the follow-up post he wrote the day after before calling him an idealist.. While I don’t understand the issues this way, I am motivated to read more and also examine the other angles – thanks Thomas.
When I first heard that Dan Cathy first made these comments, my first thought was “Why?” My second thought is why are the Chick-Fil-A founders such celebrities in the Christian scene? I complained about this recently on my review of the Preaching Rocket conference. I get that anyone can be a celebrity today and that our culture holds CEO’s in special esteem but this strikes me as getting weirder and weirder.
In any case, I read the interview here and felt that Cathy has every right to answer the question however he wishes. He is entitled to believe and express his views in an appropriate manner. Further, I appreciated that he didn’t go out of his way to attack the gay community. Like many have pointed out, it would be one thing if Chick-Fil-A discriminated in the serving or hiring of the members of the LGBTQ community. And while I thought this was extremely unhelpful to the cultural landscape, I didn’t want to see him or his company suffer either for answering the question in this way. I think that’s fair.
For the past few years on this blog, among the consistent themes has been sticking up for the cultural scapegoat. I’ve posted that we need to stop yelling at Mel Gibson, even Mark Driscoll (for those who know who he is) and a handful of others. It saddens me that we drag people out into the media spotlight like this, attempt to tie a noose around their neck and yell at each other until our scapegoats gets rescued, vanishes, or a new one appears (“Hey look there’s Sandusky!”).
So I didn’t want to see Chick-Fil-A suffer, however, I’m definitely not comfortable with Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day either. I have to say that the numerous Facebook/Twitter/emails I saw and received actually made me feel uncomfortable to how this must have looked to the “other”, particularly the gay community and then secondly, anyone outside the Church. (Though I realize that Fox News Host Mike Huckabee called for the Appreciation Day, it was certainly a hit among many in the Church). My concern is when people line up around the mall and create traffic jams to make the point of ordering chicken sandwiches, what does that say? Most people hate standing in line for more than seven minutes, last Wednesday, thousand could not wait to wait. This is where the “taking a stand” rhetoric is concerning.
It’s concerning because it sends the wrong message, even if they are never stated, not believed by a majority or not intended. But among the messages is, “you are my enemy” and according to Jesus, that simply is not Christian. Believe me, I’m all for religious freedom, I am traditional in many respects, but I have a heart for those outside the Church and for the many who feel detached or marginalized inside the Church and my concern is in the big picture, the events of last week did not help.
More later regarding the ridiculous comments from city mayors, the unnecessary use of the term “bigots,” religious freedom and a few people whose response I appreciated. Feel free to express your thoughts – thanks for reading.