Ice Cream, Anyone? {Why I’m passing on the celebratory chicken sandwich}

There will not be any celebratory chicken sandwiches for me today.

I’ve followed the Chick-fil-A controversy and do I think they got slammed for their religious beliefs? You bet you. Good for them. “So they went on their way…rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” Acts 5:41. I am proud Chick-fil-A had a backbone.

You know though, what I’m not so proud of is the way so many have picked up torches and sickles to reenact a scene from Shrek. We’re all in a ogre frenzy.

Problem is, there isn’t an ogre.

Instead, there are fearfully and wonderfully made people on both sides of this delicate issue and we’re treating it like it’s a Jr. High cafeteria food fight. Chicken sandwiches and Ben & Jerry ice cream flinging and splatting all over each other. It’s embarrassing. It’s ineffective.

The scene this week has given me a most tremendous stomachache. Why? Because, Christian brother and sisters, we are called to feast. The table is central to the ministry of Jesus. Can you recall with whom He sat at the table? {The sinners and despised.} Do you recall how He broke bread? {Brokenness is an essential requirement of the table.} Washed feet? {Dirty, stinky, traveled-bad-ways feet.} Loved His enemies? {Loved. Not just tolerated…but accepted…while they were still tax collectors, adulterers, heck, maybe even gay.} We are called to feast in the same manner.

I think if Jesus were physically here, I wouldn’t find him today eating at Chick-fil-A. He knows they already have their blessing, according to the Sermon on the Mount, that is. I suspect He would be out seeking those who need a blessing. I think he’d be preparing a table for His gay friends who carry the tremendous weight of their sexuality–the one that keeps them out of far too many churches, friendships, and from here on out, Chick-fil-As. I think Jesus would serve them ice cream, tell them a story to make them smile, and then offer them genuine friendship to help them with the burden that keeps them awake at night.

That’s the Jesus I know. That’s the Jesus I am going to try to imitate today.

I know in response, that many will say “It’s not about the gays.” “The issue is marriage.” I understand this conversation is politically nuanced. However, when we as a Christian community boycott and/or celebrate products we are sending a message to people–real people. Who are the people in this conversation most in need of a gospel-refreshing message? Will they hear it outside of crammed Chick-fil-A restaurants today? Will moms who have sons struggling to receive love because of their sexual identity believe we could be a community of hope and encouragement to her boy? Has anybody thought about what kind of pressure marriages face when homosexuality surfaces in a family? Has anybody checked the suicide rate of teens struggling with sexual confusion? Can we broaden our lens to see that there is much more brokenness than just the break down of traditional marriage? Can we go to work on binding up the brokenhearted and see what that does for institution of marriage? Please?

So tonight it will be Ben & Jerry’s for me. I will try the new Chocolate Therapy, savor the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and giggle over the Chunky Monkey. May I serve up a scoop or two for you?

Update: Early this morning I “retweeted” from Twitter a post by Pastor Perry Noble. I’ve been asked why:  I thought it was interesting that he and I both were sensitive to the apparent contradiction in how many Christians have boycotted Ben and Jerry’s for their activism. However, I do have to say that I’m very uncomfortable with the inference in his post that there is link between pedophilia and homosexuality. I don’t believe it’s a reference he intended to make, but it’s certainly there. Thanks for those who have asked me about my purpose in promoting his link. For the most part, I think he added a some good wisdom and biblical perspective for how to respond to this…and all that is greatly needed at times like this.

13 thoughts on “Ice Cream, Anyone? {Why I’m passing on the celebratory chicken sandwich}

  1. Pingback: Are you supporting Chick-fil-A day? | AlanRudnick.org

  2. Really good post. This whole thing bothers me too, and you articulate it well. We don’t have a Chick Fil A anywhere near us. I have to agree with you in your post, that Jesus wouldn’t be there– he’d be with the ones who need him. That is a powerful word.

    • Thanks for reading and thanks for being sensitive to those who have a great need to hear and see the love of Christ. We can continue to be prayerful about how we present a gospel-refreshing message to others.

  3. Umm…. “the one that keeps them out of far too many churches, friendships, and from here on out, Chick-fil-As.” Why does this keep them out of any of these places? If the church won’t accept them, I’d say “Good deal – I’ll find a church that truly follows God’s teachings, thank you and good-bye”. If a friendship excludes them because they’re gay, then those people not only aren’t true friends, but why would you want to be friends with someone who doesn’t accept you with all your flaws and foibles? And “from here on out, Chick-Fil-A’s”? Why? No one representing CFA said he doesn’t want gays there… that he doesn’t like gay people, that he ‘hates’ gay people (which is what I keep hearing, but cannot find evidence of anywhere). I don’t understand that comment. Talk about “damning with faint praise.” The founders of Chick Fil A believe in traditional family values – and for that they should be crucified? I think not. I don’t personally have a problem with gays. My boss is a lesbian, my favorite boss ever in life is a gay man, and I love him and his partner dearly. I have other gay friends. But I personally hold traditional family values. Does that mean that deep down, I truly hate these people I call friends? You can say it does, but I know that’s not the case. But I did go to Chick Fil A today as a gesture of support for Dan Cathy and for CFA, because I believe that they, also, have the right to believe as they believe. Would Jesus have visited CFA today? He was there. If gay people – heck, if ANY people – want to boycott CFA, I say, go ahead! No one is trying to force you to support a company you don’t believe in. But don’t belittle me because I choose to support a company I DO believe in. Where’s the love there? I’ve supported CFA since the day I knew they existed, and will continue to do so. If you’ll notice, however, those who boycott Ben and Jerry’s due to THEIR views do so without calling the people at Ben & Jerry’s names, without yelling about how much they “hate” those of us with traditional views… could ‘the other side’ do that, too? If all the name-calling and flinging around of the “hate” word could stop, we might be able to have a reasonable discussion about this topic. As it is, though, conservatives are called “hate-mongers” anytime one opens his or her mouth and voicing an opinion those on the left don’t like. Where’s the love there? Really?

    • FGH, Thanks for reading and for your response. I apologize if my post sounded belittling. Certainly that was not in my heart. It’s a sensitive issue. I suppose it would do us both well to remain prayerful about what the Lord requires of us and then to walk humbly in that conviction. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

  4. Brenda, I completely understand your perspective but for me it was purely about free speech and the ability to protect it. I buy Ben and Jerry’s and will continue to do so. I buy Chic Fil A and will continue to do so. No business should be denied a license in the United States of America due to the stance it has on marriage. A patron can CHOOSE to spend their money there AFTER they are open but the choice should always be ours as Americans.

    • Jeanine, Thanks for your thoughts. I too love free speech, by no means was I attempting to marginalize it as a gift we Americans are privileged to enjoy (and protect). What I think I did a poor job of attempting to communicate is my concern that at times like this, it’s necessary for our responses to be first Christian, then American. As a Christian, my first concern is not for freedom of speech (Christianity has flourished for centuries where it doesn’t exist), but for the freedom of souls. My freedom (of any kind) can’t become a stumbling block to others (Romans 13-14; I Cor. 8:9; 9). I think my post may have come across as judging those who chose to dine at Chic-fil-A yesterday. I’m sorry for that. I was hoping to provoke some other ways of thinking about the situation that kept in view the message that would be received by those who don’t know Christ. Maybe there are quieter, possibly even more effective political ways, to have the plea for freedom of speech be heard–letters to congressman, prayer, etc. I’m glad you shared your thoughts here.

  5. Pingback: Roundup of Chick-fil-A comments | AlanRudnick.org

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