Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chick-fil-A, Homosexuals: Grace and Truth

Chicken was the talk in many towns today. #chickfila was trending on Twitter too. Why? Chick-fil-A appreciate day. Thank you Mike Huckabee. Supporting Dan Cathy (Chick-fil-A, CEO who spoke his mind (free-speech, America!) about a foundational idea in society: Biblical marriage. One man. One woman.

Many people supported Dan and his views on "Traditional marriage" by buying a meal at their local Chick-fil-A restaurant today. I did. What an amazing show of support for a fastfood (oops, quick-service) restaurant. People waited in my hometown for 45 minutes or more for lunch and the reports from the employees were that customers were patient and polite as they waited.

Americans who value "Traditional marriage" showed dramatically (and peacefully) that they are willing to speak out when it's about something they are passionate about. Even if it means taking an hour to by chicken nuggets. ("Could I get a Chocolate Chunk Cookie to go...")

Big Picture

However, in the big picture, I'm not sure we haven't also hurt our (Christians) ultimate goal: to lead people toward a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can change hearts and minds. 

This includes having civil conversations with those we disagree with. Is that even our goal? Or is our real goal we just want to "win" or "humiliate our opposition? I hope not...

Christians say they follow Jesus Christ. That's what Christian means: "being little Christs". So let's start there. Are we engaging this issue like Jesus would?

Another Way

Asked another way, are we showing them Christ as we follow and talk about Christ?

Jesus had lots of conversations. He had them with lots of people he disagreed with too. Why? To share grace and truth

Here's my beef (sorry Truett) with today: It feels like a victory on the surface. But in many ways, it's been a defeat (or at least a setback). 

I realize we're in a culture war. And we must fight. But how we fight makes all the difference. Are you fighting in a war in which you're willing to be a casualty? Jesus was. Jesus said, "Come and die" not "Come and win." 

Positives from today include so many "speaking out" to show that they support the biblical definition of marriage. However, many so-called Christians have taken to speaking out on this issue with arrogance and venom--especially online. And it sickens me. 

Should we speak out? Absolutely! If we follow Jesus, we had better speak out! Truth! But truth without grace grieves God as much as sin...because it is. 

We are "celebrating" a so-called victory today while undermining the culture war on this issue by how we celebrate. And it is a war. Whether you think so or not, many on the other side of this issue do. And they are using our words and actions today to build a case against us tomorrow. Where does it end? We are creating bigger divisions by beating our chests as we show pics of huge crowds today. (Here's mine) This has got to stop.

A Few More Thoughts

* There are things we must be tolerant of in America. But there are some things we can't tolerate--even as Christians. James Emery White explained that well on Monday.

* Many are calling all who went to Chick-fil-A haters and homophobes. I realize that this isn't true for many of us. I have friends who are homosexual. I don't hate or even dislike them. I disagree with them but I will not stop loving them. 

* We must speak in love and hear in love. Christians are supposed to be defined by the love we have for one another (within the church) and for the world (John 3:16 sound familiar?). How'd we do on that today? "Love is patient, love is kind..."

* Great job from what I'm hearing on assembling today peacefully to make a huge, supportive statement about Biblical marriage (not to mention free speech, but I digress). But this was easy. The real battle is what follows. And lives hang in the balance. Eternity hangs in the balance. 

* I know this may seem like I'm coming to the game late on this one, but homosexuals are passionate about this in part because they believe that they are BORN homosexuals. I know that it doesn't make sense that God would condemn homosexuals that he created homosexual. 

Imagine the confusion they are dealing with when Christians condemn them while they genuinely feel like they have no choice! Yes, they DO have a choice. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice on how they will engage others sexually. But if they don't believe that, then of course they're going to act and speak like many of them do. We shouldn't be surprised by it.

If you lack compassion for homosexuals, you're missing this big time. Jesus lived and confronted his opponents from a heart full of compassion. Many of us are failing here. Just read the social media posts from today. It's obvious we're not swaying anyone with our fastfood picnic. 

* Finally, because homosexuals believe they are born that way, they want rights that equal the rights of race. That's why they see it as a civil rights issue. They love to say, "Gay is the new black" for example. Here is a clear-headed and persuasive response for why gay is NOT the new black. But it's where many homosexuals are. We must meet them where they are if we are to have civil and reasonable conversations with those we disagree with. And SOME are open to that. We don't have to be disagreeable to disagree.

I hope and pray that we'll not only wise up but allow God to fill us up with His compassion and respond to homosexuals appropriately--with grace and truth.