Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A [a response]

In light of Christians gathering en masse at Chick-fil-A to protest a protest, I feel compelled to interject a few thoughts.  This isn't a theological piece or a hermeneutic piece.  I believe this is a piece on people, that were created in the image of God.  This is a piece on love.  This is a PR piece - a perception piece.  And largely, this piece speaks volumes of your view of Jesus…

1. I'm saddened by the fact that Christians will gather at a moments notice in front of a fast-food chain to support an issue of the "culture war," but will remain silent in speaking against our national policies that don't view all nations as uniquely created by God; by enacting and inflicting financial sanctions that will forever cripple and weaken entire people groups and continents.

2.  I'm saddened by the fact that Christians don't gather every time capital punishment happens.  When Christians are overwhelmingly supportive of government-sanctioned death (complete with last supper), a message is being spoken - not the message of Jesus (who also enjoyed a last supper before his government-sanctioned execution).

3.  I'm saddened by the fact that Christians don't gather in support of the alien and immigrant.  The message is that not all are created equal, but only Americans - that not all are made in the image of God.  The fact that Christians aren't petitioning the government in a very well-organized way, is sad.  (If protests are happening, they're usually in support of keeping the alien away or deported)

4.  I'm saddened at how flippant Christians are at going to war with other nations and people groups.  Again, Christians are overwhelmingly supportive of war - which deny's the claim that God cares about the sanctity of life, and that Jesus really meant the whole, "love thy enemy" thing.

5.  I'm saddened once again that Christians are known for what they are against, rather than what they are for - not a great PR and perception move.  This time, the whole world watched Christians gather against people, enemies, and neighbors.  (Don't be surprised when Western-Christianity free-falls, and has even less opportunity for honest and healthy dialogue in culture)

But I'm mostly sad that the same Christians that would argue that Jesus can redeem the broken, give grace to the lost, heal the sick, disrupt systems of power, death, and destruction, with love, would be the same people that cannot show grace to the very people that Jesus came to serve.  These people serve a weak Jesus - a reactionary Jesus. 

So what's the answer? 
Let me first tell you what its not…it's not protesting gays, gay marriage, or co-opting faith and politics for the sake of a culture war.  The answer is never an idolatry of nationalism.

It's also not tolerance.  Derek Webb says it the best in my opinion.  He writes, "we prize tolerance too highly. People don't want to be tolerated, they want to be loved. Our standards are far too low."

We must see people as people; not as issues, moral failures, enemies, or opportunity for political gain.  We must see people as image bearers of God, that truly matter to the narrative of God's kingdom. 

  We must learn love.
         We must practice love.
                  We must embody love.



Genie said...

Thank you, Ross, for putting it so clearly and succinctly. How I wish more of the comments on the past few days happenings were as thoughtful and Christ-like. Keep the conversation going...

Ross Christopher said...

thanks. pass it along & continue the conversation!


Living on Love said...

Thank you, Ross, for sharing your perspective here. I agree with you 100%. Wouldn't it be amazing if Christians regularly came together in crowds like yesterday's event to make a difference in this world? To build communities? To spread love? To show grace and forgiveness and every other good thing? Keep it coming, bro! Here's our response:

Rachel Virginia said...


I agree that your post makes things SO clear especially the last two paragraphs. I have become so sad over these event but thank you for encouragement and insight. <3

Tolerance is a low standard! We can tolerate people without knowing each other. But, we can REALLY love people when we form relationships with them. It is easier to see a person and their part in the Kingdom when we get to know them for who they are! Thanks for jolting back a sense of clarity in my brain. :>


Den said...

Tolerance is such a weasel word. It essentially means I'll grit my teeth while I talk to you politely. You'll never get into my home, we'll never sit down and share a drink or two, and I'll always eye you suspiciously as you go about doing whatever alien thing it is that you do. You'll never be one with me. You're too different.

I see this sort of tolerance everywhere. We human beings have spent centuries being suspicious of the Other. Now, there's good reason to be suspicious of the Other. If our ancestors hadn't been suspicious, we might not exist today. That said, we need - somehow - to move beyond this mode of operation. Somehow, the seven billion of us on this lonely planet in this corner of our galaxy need to find ways to get along in a more loving way with each other. Anything less means we'll not be here, nor will any progeny at some point in the future. We will have failed.

Jesus was not a tolerater. He either loved you and waited to bless you when you were ready, or he confronted you and told you what was wrong. He didn't mince words. The State put that nonsense to an end - they nailed him up like a piece of siding and let him die as he was ridiculed by his own countrymen. I suppose we shouldn't expect any less today.

The prophet is without honor only in his own land. Voices calling out for more love - in its full flower - are met with derision and scorn. Things haven't really changed that much. Reactionary words drown out efforts to open our hearts and minds. We must persevere, though. We're given no other choice.

Ross Christopher said...

Lacy, thanks & great post as well!

Rachel, glad I could be a jolt. Pass this along & help jolt others! I agree tolerance is the lazy response.

Dennis, thanks for your words man! Very good stuff.