No I didn’t go to Chick-Fil-A yesterday, but I was in Cancun. And I probably won’t go today — though today might be more dramatic — I’m still in Cancun. But I responded often enough on facebook that I decided to collect a few of my thoughts.
1. If you know me, you know that I’m not a big believer in Christian boycotts or protests. When Ben and Jerry’s renamed one of their flavors to support same-sex marriage (from Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby) I kept eating. When Target started selling gay-pride T-Shirts to support a MN group opposed to the ban on same-sex marriage, I kept shopping. When the Southern Baptists called for a Disney ban because they had a day where they catered to homosexuals, I disneyed on. When Altoona congregations came to protest a same-sex couple affirmation in our borough, I specifically told Calvary we would not join the protest.
I don’t think protests or boycotts are very effective at changing culture or changing hearts.
But at the same time, this feels a little bit different. Honestly doesn’t it to you? Let me bring it down to a smaller scale. Let’s say that my children start a business. They go into business together to start a landscaping company. It’s a great company. They decide that they want their company to be in alignment with their values. So they talk through their values and they pick out the ones that are most important to them and they begin to shape their company accordingly, even putting parameters on what they will do with their profits. One of those values happens to be a value on marriage. So one day a newspaper asks them about their company, and the interview heads into the realm of their values…and in the midst of talking about marriage, it comes out that these four business people believe in a traditional view of marriage. They actually put some of their profits into organizations that support local marriages. When news comes out about this, the local mayor goes on a campaign against them to close down their business. So my question simply is this: If those were my kids would I want my church to love my kids by supporting them in some way? In that case what does it mean to say that the world will know we are followers of Jesus by the love we have for each other. Honestly I’m not sure what the correct answer is…but I think it would be helpful to think through the question.
2) I don’t believe that politics will ever change the world. Politics is a little kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the BIG KINGDOM. Only the Big Kingdom can change the world and it typically happens one heart at a time. Having said that, Christ calls us to be salt and light in every area of culture and society. In other words Christ calls us to bring the Big Kingdom into every little kingdom we inhabit. So by all means get involved in politics, but do it with a Big Kingdom heart. Make no mistake this week eating at Chick-Fil-A was all about politics. In fairness to Dan Cathy and Chick-Fil-A, they DID NOT try to make this political. I believe they have a Big Kingdom heart. But the mayor’s responses followed by Mike Huckabee’s response followed by the people who ate yesterday and today…all made it political. There is nothing wrong with Christians being involved in politics as long as they bring a Big Kingdom mentality and heart.
3) I’m not an alarmist, an extremist, or a doomsday guy, but let’s be honest, there is a possibility that one day, in our country, preaching an evangelical interpretation of the biblical view of homosexuality will be deemed hate speech, worthy of prosecution. If that day comes we will have an even greater opportunity to be Big Kingdom minded.
4) One of my concerns for our community and our country (and this is not original with me) is that we have come to a place where we struggle to have meaningful dialogue with those who disagree with us. Words like tolerance are used when partisanship is really the name of the game. But it runs deeper than politics. Christians need to lead the way by going beyond tolerance to having a deep, deep love for those who not only disagree with us, but who would choose to demean us. Someone once said that the true mark of a servant is seen by how we respond when we are actually treated like one.
5) Last thing… last week I got an email message from someone in Myanmar, a country filled with poverty and greater religious persecution than I have ever experienced. It’s helpful once in a while to set a context for our issues that goes beyond our community and our nation.