As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, though it’s been a week later since Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, I’m still processing.
This whole Chick-Fil-A scene affirms the position of the futility of the Christian engaged in the “culture war.” Last Wednesday, “taking a stand”, ordering a chicken sandwich and setting a sales record galvanized countless people. But at the same time, it hurt countless others, those within our community and those outside. The point is simple, If the Church truly desires to reach out in love, the culture war is the wrong approach.
I know some are eager to point out that “the truth hurts” and so forth and I get all that. This is ever more reason that the culture war approach is erroneous and why telling the truth in a true context of love is essential. Maybe more later but check out yesterday’s post for more context.
So why write about it a week later? Many of us have already moved on. And while this is true in some sense, my concern is that we will continue the culture war mentality and behavior at the next emotionally and culturally charged opportunity.
All of this represents so many things for so many people – this is among the reasons why this issue is so divisive and volatile. So, I realize that many readers will not agree with many of my points. For some, they don’t go far enough, for others they go too far and that’s a relative statement depending on your starting point. I know that some within my family, my church and many friends will not see to eye to eye with me. I’ve always been fine with that, so long as we can discuss the matters with kindness, intelligence and respect for one another. My hope here is to add perspective for the sake of dialogue and so that we build bridges, share food at the table, draw closer to one another as we draw closer to our Creator. These are among my convictions, your right to disagree is respected.
So with all the “nice stuff” that I just expressed, let’s begin with the moments that we could have gone without. The previous post already articulated my concern with what standing in line and the message that it sends to “the other” so I’ll move on to some other aspects.
First, about those mayors in Boston and Chicago: That seemed like a desperate attempt to secure votes during their next election campaigns – nothing more, I’m dismissing their comments in the same way that I dismiss attack campaign commercials.
But second, is it fair to ask if Mike Huckabee did the same? Perhaps not in the same sense since I assume he is under contract at Fox News but to gain more credibility and enhance his “brand” among conservatives. I appreciated a good bit of Huckabee back in 2008. To keep it simple, I thought he was not only articulate, but intelligent and different from the typical conservative talking heads like Hannity and O’Reilly and so forth. But since he’s been on Fox News, eh, he lost me. To be fair, I’m not much of a fan of most on CNN, MSNBC and even Stewart and Colbert annoy me to some degree. Much of the problem is the type of show that all these personalities have to create to stay on the air to keep the commercials playing. It’s a crappy way to find news, commentary or perspective. And that’s among the reasons why I opened this paragraph with my question about Huckabee.
Third, it’s hard for me to speak out against anyone in the LGBT community – it undermines the point of these posts. Yes, many reacted poorly, many expressed hateful sentiments and so forth but I am not interested in going any deeper than that. I would simply like to say that I realize that there have been countless hurts experienced (they run deep and are soul-piercing) and though I will never know and understand what many have been through, I am sympathetic. But I do ask that the LGBT be wiling to try to understand that to many of us, this is still a debate. And the country is divided on this and though there are many that are closed-minded, there are many that are not. So let’s be careful to not caricaturize or stereotype the other. I’ll do my best too. Further, I realize, that it’s not just a debate to many but it will always be to those on the “outside” until it gets personal. Hence, the need for conversation and friendship, communities to merge and grow.
That said, it spoke volumes to me that many who identify themselves as “gay-affirming” were not only gracious in their sentiments but also helpful. I know some had to respond quickly and they were hurt and angry. They had to write and communicate while keeping that in check. Others chose not to comment at all – that’s commendable too. I may not be able to notice all of what goes on but I did notice some of these moments.
Lastly for this post, we all have our convictions, passions, views etc. This is good. At least we’re not apathetic. But let us channel these good things towards fruitful dialogue.
Among the lessons that I have learned the last decade is this country will not “get fixed” by defeating our “opponents” with our rhetoric, legislation, tactics of guilt, shame, or anger regardless of our strong our convictions, or passion. Sure, the respective sides will each win a battle or two, make a point at the expense of someone, break a record even, someone will lose, and so forth but that only points to how effective we are at hurting each other - this is not progress for our respective positions.
Depending on the context, I consider myself to be a Christian pluralist. I have my convictions, they are important to me, but hopefully, I can respect yours and others as well. In all honesty, it’s a difficult ideal to keep, you lose some friends, you create suspicion and draw criticism, but there’s a wonderful flipside too.
The flipside if you can articulate your thoughts in a way that is suited for actual dialogue, you can respect the other side while whole-heartledy believing yours. You can hold your view with an open hand and appreciate the reciprocation. It’s a moment that experiences free will for you and the other and therefore you understand a fraction of God’s engagement with His creation. On a relational level, you can see the potential of creating trust, which builds friendship which should have care, encouragement and seek the betterment for the other. Among other things, friendship means you are not fighting a culture war against each other.
I think there’s much to gain these days if we can engage in conversation and friendship. May God give us the strength, patience and endurance to do what we must and see each other as He sees us.
I’ve been asked what then should Cathy have said, afterall he was just giving his opinion. The second pushback was something to the effect of If you didn’t want Chick-Fil-A to suffer, then how should we, (the conservatives, I assume) have responded? My response coming soon and a suggestion of where to go from here for Chick-Fil-A and fellow conservatives and traditional moderates. Thanks for reading, thanks for processing with me.