Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I drove an hour to show support for Chick-Fil-A

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I love Chick-Fil-A.  I have shared my sentiments toward them for years.  So today, when I was able to drive an hour to the closest establishment to show my support for them, I did so for many reasons.  The first reason is that I do have a genuine affinity for the organization and their products.  I have admired the founder of Chick-Fil-A for years for his integrity and character.  I love that encouraging Christian music is always playing in their restaurants.  It's just an atmosphere I love being in.  And the chicken and sweet tea take me to a happy place.  Today, the crowd was delightful and no one was hateful or ugly. A good time and good food was had by all. No harm done.

Another reason is that there has been much "distorting", not real reporting, going on surrounding the circumstances that led to why Gov. Mike Huckabee called for people to show their support of Chick-Fil-A.  I also admire Gov. Huckabee as a man of character and integrity and am thankful that he was brave enough to speak out against the campaign that was waged against Chick-Fil-A and their owners.  What actually happened was that the president of Chick-Fil-A, a southern baptist - mind you, was being interviewed by the Baptist Press and was asked about his views on marriage.  His answer was predictable.  He supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  From that interview, the liberal media and those in opposition to traditional marriage called for a boycott of Chick-Fil-A restaurants.  There never was any discrimination on Chick-Fil-A's part; they always treated both employees and customers with equality and respect.  Gov. Huckabee called on people to show their support of Chick-Fil-A amidst all the unfair accusations and threats (some by political officials) that resulted from the media and groups falsely reporting the facts.  There was a lot of hate being spewed....but it wasn't by Chick-Fil-A; it was by people who opposed the president of the company's answer to a question.  The discrimination was against Chick-Fil-A.

Something about the whole thing just made me realize that our culture is upside down.  In today's culture, what is right is purported to be wrong and what is wrong is considered the new normal.  Many people may sit back quietly and just let it play out, but I don't have to be one of them.  I have to pray and be led by God as to what is right for me to do in the situation.  What is interesting is that, like mine, there are any number of opinions out there supporting or opposing, analyzing or condemning why people should or shouldn't be supporting Chick-Fil-A.  They are entitled to their opinions.  What I will speak out against though, is the view that we are somehow in error for showing our support.  Our support has been called everything from judgemental to hateful.  People have perched themselves upon their well constructed self-righteous thrones and accused us of not "loving" the way Jesus would.  I have considered all of these diatribes and I respectfully say, "Rubbish"!  Here's why....

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit lives within me.  He is the same Holy Spirit that lives within each believer, but He guides all of us differently, according to the passions He has placed within us.  It may be okay for one person to lay low and never show support or dissent for anything, but it is also okay for others to show support and dissent when it is warranted.  Anyone suggesting differently may be assuming that they know only what God can know.  As I was driving home today I was listening to a radio program wherein a gentleman was passive in showing support for Chick-Fil-A.  He liked the company, but thought showing support for them would hurt the cause of Christ.  He is entitled to his opinion and it may be right for him.  It may make him feel better to think that he is loving people better by not ever putting his beliefs out there enough to offend anyone.  That doesn't mean it is right for me or that his opinion is God's will for everyone. 

My understanding of culture and truth is that the way and cross of Jesus Christ will be offensive to some.  They will be opposed to the discomfort of truth and will only be comfortable with grace.  Jesus hung out with sinners, thank goodness, or I would have never had a chance to know Him.  However, once we are in His presence, He loves us too much to leave us where He found us; He commands a change that reconciles with His truth.  I view that as grace.  I call that God's best for us.  I also believe that we should do our best to create environments wherein grace invites people in so we can show them the love of Christ.  The hope there is that they recognize God's love for them and want the balance of His truth in their lives to live out His best for them.  Reality is, that it doesn't always happen that way.

Another thought struck me today, as I was trying to get inside this passivist's head and understand where he was coming from.  First of all, I failed to do so - I couldn't agree that his viewpoint was a universal "right" thing to do.  Right for him, maybe, but not for everyone.  I started thinking about the all but non-existent church in England.  It was once a vibrant, thriving church that has become, at best, lukewarm, but more probably, ineffective.  I wondered if, when there was a crossroads in the culture, the people allowed the Holy Spirit to guide them with passionate grace and truth ,or if they just decided to sit on their hands and take a passivist stance.  I think the answer is obvious.  The culture took over and the church diminished into little or no influence.  I would say that passivist approach hurt the cause of Christ. 

I know many will disagree, but I'll ask them to consult with their Holy Spirit and I'll remain perfectly content to consult with mine.  After all, I don't want to find out what our country would look like in the future if we all maintained the same view.  It's not an option for me.  I'm completely at peace for supporting Chick-Fil-A today and I'm quiet sure God is not upset at me for doing so.  We aren't all puppets wherein God is the Great Puppeteer who maneuvers all of our strings equally.  He gives us all different passions and allows us to use them freely.  We can either use them, or not - for fear of insulting someone.  I choose to use my passions for His glory and I am not ashamed.  I'll leave the results to Him.