In The Red: The Morning After Chick-Fil-A Day
Today I’m giving the best perspective I can offer on my feelings… the morning after Chick-Fil-A day. This is taken from a comment I made in reply to some very well spoken questions I received on Facebook from a Christian sister who has a heart of gold. I very much appreciate the conversation this recent uprising has spawned among my friends and me, so I wanted to share a bit of it more publicly. Her original thoughts are posted as a comment on this post.
I think you are addressing some very legitimate concerns for Christian Americans. As it happens, I’m answering you from the airport because I’m on my way to DC for a four day prayer conference for our nation. I’ve been doing this and thinking about these issues for 12 years, with a very open mind, and I completely agree with you on many of the things you say. I absolutely affirm that Christians should be involved in the affairs of our nation. I think every thinking person of other beliefs would say the same. My questions and comments about the CFA saga have not been intended to infer otherwise.
I have simply been asking if, at every opportunity, we should always speak up, especially in situations where people already have a good idea where we stand on a topic.
I’m simply saying I think we need to be more careful and really think about whether speaking up is going to produce fruit. I think it gets easy for us to feel attacked, or to engage culture wars with a rally cry that doesn’t really do anything to change the state of our nation. I think if this had been a situation of actual persecution, Dan Cathy should have spoken up.
I still affirm his American right to do exactly as he did, even though it wasn’t persecution.
I’ve just been trying to ask if we can stop and think, every time it’s easy to give the Sunday School answers, is there perhaps a better way to approach it, when you know you will be alienating a portion of society with your words. It was the Baptist Press who asked the question of Dan Cathy, and by virtue of the fact that they are the “press”, Cathy knew it would be published; it wasn’t an opportunity they were taking to make a difference. It was an opportunity they were taking to make a statement.
And, in the wake of his perhaps simple statements, many Christians took it to a new level, making demeaning graphics, comments, and taking opportunity to blurt out what are TRULY offensive and hateful remarks, that absolutely do NOT help our cause.
I’m asking, if we could just take a minute, as Christians, to consider the maturity level of some who would follow us, and evaluate whether THEY can handle they controversy we’re about to create? I have seen well known leaders in my stream of the Church post some things that are absolutely shocking and that they must be getting a real kick out of saying, but fly in the face of who Jesus was toward the lost. They’re acting like Old Testament prophets whose only method of dispensing truth was pre-grace.
Jesus made remarks to Capernaum (New Testament city where Jesus called his disciples to him), that if Sodom & Gomorrah (Old Testament cities known for their gluttony as well as their homosexuality) had been given the same opportunities to see the love and miracles that Jesus showed Capernaum, then they would have repented.
As it stands, the things I’ve been seeing on Facebook are nothing more than an expression of fear and carelessness and laziness toward the lost, and they clearly haven’t done the diligence of forming relationship outside their belief set in a long time. So if we continue acting like Old Testament prophets in the New Covenant era, we can expect modern day Sodom & Gomorrah not to repent.
I think as Christians, we have to be really careful about too closely identifying our nation as a Christian nation.
We were founded primarily by believers, and we were founded on principles of freedom that survive best when men rule their own hearts and keep them from darkness. But we were definitely not founded to be a nation of Christians only; we were founded with the right to worship as we wish. I know you know this, but it’s good to remember, our forefathers were running from the fact that the Anglican church had become too intertwined with their government, to the point that they were indistinguishable.
When government becomes theocracy, ultimate power is in place because those who govern now have place to make into law their brand of morality, AND bear the sword, and oppression ensues.
It’s a dangerous combination for any people, and many Christians probably think it would be wonderful, because really, how unsafe can Christianity be? And maybe their personal expression of Christianity would be great. But how does that play out over a few presidencies? After a while, when theocracy is corrupted by its absolute power and adopts doctrines contrary to scripture for the sake of the king’s convenience, then we’re all up a creek.
The truth is, enforcing Christian morals on a nation (by way of law) would still not change hearts, and if hearts are not changed, we are still a goat nation, no matter what our law books and courthouses say.
This nation may have at one time held innocence and been primarily a Christian nation. I wish it were so again, but I would only want it if people truly wanted God in their hearts. God does not want our “worship with our lips, if our hearts are far from him”. Our nation did not come to this place overnight, and it is going to take a good amount of digging in on relational levels to allow God to work through us to reposition the hearts of men.
My point is, this is not a problem that gets solved from the top down.
We who are Christians, should definitely put on our American citizen hats, and should engage the political realm. We should vote, we should defend our rights when they are truly being attacked, and we should defend the rights of non-believing groups when they are being attacked. We should ALWAYS work to decrease the influence and size of government. We should also put on our Christian citizen hats to engage the culture, but with those hats on, our brains should be on kingdom growth. Our citizenship is first in heaven, second in America.
We should really think about the outcome before we engage the culture, each and every time. We should count the cost, and see if our return on investment from a harvest standpoint is going to leave us in the red or not.
I know many friendships between atheists & gays and Christians were broken on Facebook, for the world to see this week. That breaks my heart far more than it pleases me to see people “standing in lines together”.
I fear that we are deeper in the red as a result of this week. If we have produced lasting fruit, it’s likely been for the darkness.
Because I’m friends with a lot of different kinds of people, I see this from a few more angles than what would just be comfortable for me as a Christian who would love it if we could all agree about issues like gay marriage. It’s so much easier to just bury our heads in our Bibles and stick with our Christian friends, but it’s not obedience.
I think your thought that “some are called to this” and “some are called to that”, is accurate on some level, and I think both are necessary. I think we should put equal amounts of energy, as Christians, into both commissions that Christ left us with, which is discipling men and discipling nations.
I don’t think you get to disciple a nation with much progress until you’ve done what’s needed to disciple men first.
And I think since we have let that slip, for a number of generations, since the 60’s on a moral level and since the 30’s on an economic level, we gotta go back to the hearts of men and educate and love. But we all share some degree of both callings. The ones, like myself, who desire to deal in both realms should be seeking a rule of law where the government simply decreases. I think its reaches into American life are gruesome. I think its reach into the freedom for parents to educate their own children is tragic and completely offensive and wrong. I think those things should be fought, tooth and nail, as you do.
It is my prayer as I board this plane that we can be effective in creating one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice… for ALL.
August 2, 2012