So I was going to write a long post about what I thought concerning today’s “Support Chick-Fil-A” reverse boycott. I planned on explaining that I’m sure the intentions of those who started this idea and promoted it and took part in it were probably nothing but good. I was going to say that if I were near a Chick-Fil-A, I might have even got myself a sandwich (maybe… not sure… I’d have thought that one through a bit). I was going to make sure to emphasize that I believe Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, should be able to share his opinion and not have to worry about some radical anti-constitutional politician threaten to keep his business out of a certain city. I thought I’d probably then spend some time writing about why I think Christians should avoid getting all public with their participation in this “Support Chick-Fil-A” day because I think it will end up hurting the cause of Christ, especially amongst the LGBTQ community, and others who are just supportive of that communities rights and feelings.
But then I read a recent post by Barnabas Piper, “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: A bold mistake.”
Piper’s post has everything in it that I want to say, so I’m going to refer you readers to it. It’s excellent. For those of you who are too lazy or not yet convinced it’s worth your time, he writes,
“Homosexuality is one of the most defining, contentious, and complex issues facing this generation of the church. We cannot sacrifice our biblical convictions but neither can we sacrifice the church’s ability to serve people of opposing viewpoints and lifestyles. The 452,000 people supporting Chick-fil-A are delivering more than one message, and the message the homosexual community and its supporters see is “us versus you.” The event also sends a message of separatism and territorialism in the “reclaiming” of those restaurants that are being boycotted, a collective action easily seen as a shaking of the fist or a wagging of the finger.”
He also writes,
“I do not question the motives of Mike Huckabee or those thousands joining him, but what about the wider effects? How is the Kingdom of God served by this? Is Jesus represented well to the gay community and the politicians pandering to them? Marching on Chick-fil-A tomorrow like an army will produce nothing more than defined battle lines, and the result will be greater contention and fewer softened hearts. On both sides.”
Denny Burk, a Baptist blogger that I really enjoy reading, acknowledges the importance of what Piper is writing when he reminds us that “at the end of the day, we wish to see people converted to Christ, not to Chick-fil-a.” Exactly. Burk also adds that eating at Chick-Fil-A today isn’t exactly a silly idea. He writes,
“Having said that, I don’t think that means that everyone needs to stay home from Chick-fil-a today. But it does mean that we should behave like Christians wherever we go. No swagger, no one-upmanship. Just humility, gratefulness, and love. If the watching world sees that from us today, I think we’ll be alright.”
Yes, no swagger or one-upmanship. Instead we should have humility, gratefulness, and love.
Unfortunately, my social networking has included some very “swaggeristic” pictures of people at Chick-Fil-A… not everyone, but a few. Hmmmm.
Thanks, Barnabas Piper… you took the words right out of my mouth!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
A response to Barnabas Piper:
Piper’s response, I thought, hit the nail on the head… again:
Ah, I wish you had seen the conversation between one of our mutual svs friends and myself as I attempted to defend non-participation as a possible response of love and truth. I talked developing an ethos and pathos before others so that our logos is not horribly distorted, and I also talked about how the logos itself can be distorted when it is so focused on one aspect of truth so much that it doesn’t really get the whole context across. We went back and forth maybe 50 times but really did not seem to get anywhere as I was patently only interested in making others comfortable and in loving them in a way that was not love. Sigh…. I was quite heavy-hearted on CFA day even if I could theoretically see the possibility of participation as a good (more so if we weren’t such a majority that Cathy would feel unsupported in his right to exist); I feel the whole project was very unwise though and never should have been. Commit to making CFA an eatery of choice if you want to support its message; don’t spend all day making a point that is just as likely to be taken as bullying fists in the face as the point which you are defending was.
The “support Chick Fil A movement” was more about free speech rights than it was about religious right vs wrong. People were really only supporting their own views of gay marriage (or the antithesis of it). Of course corporate free speech is an idiotic concept. But I don’t think this was intended to be that, but it was made that by the right. Maybe the bible does say this or that about the subject, but the Constitution says no one is exempt from rights within the jurisdiction of the US. Of course the mayor of Boston was also way off base.