adam and eve, bigotry, chik-fil-a, christian, christian ideals, church, compassion, differences, faith, Good News, gospel, grace, hatred, homosexuality, human-rights, jake kaufman, Jesus, love, meal, religion, serving, sin
We are great slacktivists.
On Wednesday, August 1st 2012, record numbers flocked to their local Chik-fil-A’s to stand up for their values and stand behind a corporation whose CEO holds to Christian ideals. Lines wrapped around buildings, some people held signs, and twitter and facebook were absorbed with proud Chik-fil-A sentiments. The church was taking a stand; a public, large display that we believe that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
So here we are, in the aftermath of our good Christian duty.
What did we accomplish? Did we build a bridge with our homosexual neighbors who have very confusing and complicating views of the church? Did we have a conversation with our friends who support gay rights? Did we shower people who disagree with us with unexpected grace and compassion? Did we take the opportunity the controversy created to understand those who are different than us? Did we, in short, love our neighbors? Or, did we just draw a line in the sand and alienate others over an issue?
It seems that we are a reactive bunch.
What we should’ve done is invite the LGBT community to Chik-fil-A with us; to show them that we aren’t afraid of them, that we are interested in sitting down with them and sharing a meal. What we should’ve done was focus on the people rather than the issue. How much different would the headlines be if we share a meal with those we are different from, rather than using a meal drive a wedge between us?
But, we’re lame. And too often, we think that our faith gives us a license to police the world and condemn people who are different. I say we because I didn’t do anything that I just mentioned above.
I know, I know, you’re tired of reading blogs about this whole thing. I am, too. But it’s an important moment in our society, one that has underscored a significant issue being played out in real-time. So it’s necessary, I think, to discuss.
So, for future reference, here’s how we can disagree without being jerks:
ONE: Remember that behind every issue, there are real people. What’s more important, making your stance known or identifying with the struggles that people are going through? Is it more Jesus like to argue about policies and decry sins, or to love people unconditionally by serving them?
TWO: Be honest with your beliefs, but don’t be arrogant. It really is okay to disagree with someone. But, don’t be so arrogant to believe that your specific way of thinking is the only acceptable and right way of thinking. Life, faith, and sin are complicated. Never simplify it by reducing things to your way or the highway.
THREE: Don’t ever use a sign to broadcast your belief. Use your actions, walk in people’s shoes, embrace someone different. Don’t use a sign to tell people they are going to hell. Don’t wave your Bible at them. Be brave enough to sit down and have dinner with them.
I think that we still have time to re-write this story. I think we still have time to step down off our pedestals, and walk with people in their struggles. I think that this can be the greatest moment facing the church; an opportunity for grace to replace hate, understanding to replace bigotry, and faith to replace differences.
It’s time that we promote Good News rather than stir bad news. What are your thoughts about how the church handled the controversy?
Here are some other interesting reads into reaction from the Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day: