Chick-fil-a is apparently a chain of about 1600 chicken fast food stores in the US. Being an Aussie, I wouldn’t know. But apparently the chain has been in the news recently because of an allegedly anti-gay stance, mainly, as far as I can tell, seen through large donations to christian anti-gay causes. Recently protests by gays were answered with a “Chick-fil-a appreciation day”. I’m not really concerned about the details, just setting the scene.
I mention all this simply to link to this post, The morning after Chick-fil-A day. The author, Mike Patz, is a pastor, and offers some very sensible thoughts about how christians relate to non-believers. It is probably most relevant in the US, but I think we all need to learn.
Worth a look I reckon.
Semantics can prejudice an issue. America’s secular media frame their reporting in the sort of language you used: “gay,” “anti-gay,” Christian media frame it with such terms as “biblical view of marriage,” “homosexual,” and “pro-family.”
This is reminiscent of the longer-lived issue of whether one is “pro-choice” or “pro-abortion, or, on the other hand, whether one is “pro-life” or “anti-abortion.”
Everyone wants to be seen as “pro” while no one wants to be “anti-.” And the labels one chooses often says something about where one stands on the issue.
That’s an interesting thought Mike. I didn’t really think of it in those terms.
I guess it depends on a person’s emphasis. A “pro-marriage” person would talk about marriage, and not about homosexuality; an “anti-gay” person would focus more on homosexuality than marriage. I don’t really know which of these emphases Chick-fil-a supported, but the press reporting said that the pro-family groups they supported were also anti-gay, so perhaps either word would be appropriate. What do you think?
At the root of the issue, one either believes in sexual freedom or sexual purity. If the former, he thinks Dan Cathy is the persecutor; if the latter, he thinks that Dan Cathy is the persecuted.
I don’t see it the same as you, but this isn’t the point of my post, nor the blog I referenced. The question is, are we christians acting in a loving way, regardless of what we believe and say? Based on what we see in the gospels, what would Jesus say?
I read the blog you referenced. The writer wants everyone to be nice to each other but he never made it clear whether he thought homosexuality was a sin or not. What about you – do you think it is or isn’t?
I’m not interested in discussing that right now. His point, and mine, is that even if we disagree or think something is wrong, we need to show love towards the person concerned, just as Jesus did.
Does that mean that people should stop objecting to Dan Cathy’s comments or that he should stop making them?
In other words, who is it that you think is not showing love towards the other person concerned, just as Jesus did?
Mike, I don’t know about that. I don’t live in the US, and I haven’t followed the public discussion. I only mentioned the Chick-fil-a situation to set the scene.
And I’m not interested in pointing the finger at any particular person. I don’t think christianity is about legalism, and like Jesus said, I should be very wary of judging another.
My point is that (like Mike Patz), is that I believe christians too often sound judgmental and legalistic, and so we give unbelievers the idea that christianity is about judgment. And so unbelievers miss the fact that the central message we have is of grace, freely offered and freely accepted.
So I would like to see, whatever our views on ethical and political issues, that we so speak with grace that that is the most obvious message. Does that make sense to you?
Not so far.
Here’s a newspaper account of the remarks that sparked the controversy:
Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family,” according to Dan Cathy, president of the popular fast food chain. That is, “the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said.
In a new interview with Baptist Press, Cathy puts on the record what critics say his company’s actions have indicated for years. “Well, guilty as charged,” he said in the interview when asked about Chick-fil-A’s backing of families led by a man and a woman.
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” Cathy said.
Do you think Cathy sounds judgmental and legalistic? If so, how would you have amended his answers to the questions to better meet the standard of grace you and Mike Patz are promoting?
I’m sorry that my comments on speaking with grace don’t make sense to you. What did you not understand or agree with?
I gave you a specific and a couple of questions which would allow you to explain yourself. If you don’t want to answer them, then I can only say that your point of view is too generic and vague to understand.
Your questions were related to a particular person, and I already said I wasn’t prepared to pass judgment on another person, especially when I wasn’t familiar with the situation.
My point of view is that we should speak with grace and love, and that we should ask the Spirit to guide us in doing that. I think this is quite easy to understand (not vague or generic), but not always easy to put into practice. If you understand that principle, then you understand what I am getting at. For the specifics, you need to pray for the Spirit’s guidance, not ask me. If all christians did that, we would be following Jesus more closely, I believe, and would better help non-believers to see him. Is that clearer?
If I take your admonition to speak with grace and love as general and applying to all situations, then, of course, it makes sense. However, you brought it up in connection with the Chick-Fil-A controversy and specifically in connection with a blog post by Mike Patz that criticized Christians for their stance in the controversy. Since I find nothing wrong with the Dan Cathy remarks that ignited the controversy, I was asking where you thought your admonition applied.
If you don’t want to say how your admonition applies in the Chick-Fil-A case, why did you bring it up in connection with the Chick-Fil-A case?
As for your directing me to the Holy Spirit, that’s not helpful. I go to the Holy Spirit to find out what Christ is saying to me. If I want to know what you are saying to me, I should come to you. It wasn’t what Christ was saying to me that I was confused about; rather, it was what you were saying.
By the way, and back to the original point, Patz’s blog post struck me as judgmental and legalistic. Yes, I think he demonstrated the very behavior he was condemning in others. He made assumptions using stereotypes and condemned without offering specific facts which warranted condemnation.
As for the point of homosexuality, I think one has to make a decision about whether it is right or wrong. If it’s a sin, then it needs to be noted as such, albeit with grace and love. If it’s not a sin, then it’s sin to call it a sin. And that point, too, needs to be made with grace and love. To equivocate about it only prolongs the confusion. It’s the truth we’re supposed to speak in love (Eph 4:15); without truth what’s love to speak about? Is the truth that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is contrary to the will of God? Or is the truth that God has given a certain number of people a homosexual orientation and it is cruel to deny them the opportunity to marry each other?
You don’t seem to want to address any of these issues so this will probably be my last comment on this post. (I say this so that you won’t fear I’ll badger you about them.)
Mike, I’m sorry if you find my answers frustrating and unsatisfactory. I think you may be looking for something different than I was saying.
You keep mentioning the Chick-fil-a situation and the chain’s CEO, but I only mentioned Chick-fil-a to introduce Mike’s post, I never mentioned the CEO, neither to criticise nor to support, and neither did Mike. Both of us spoke about being more loving, sensitive and strategic in the things we say, especially publicly. Any criticisms of christians were clearly general, not aimed at any person or group.
I am not addressing the other issues you raise because that isn’t my purpose, and because I think addressing them would be unhelpful. If gay people think christians hate them (and hence God hates them), it may be best to show love before we think of anything else.
So I have written another post, outlining my views on speaking out or not. If you are interested, it is Just because you know something doesn’t mean you have to say it!. I hope that clarifies. You might also be interested in my posts on Gay marriage, Westboro, love and hate and Does God prefer belief or obedience?.
Very interesting Unklee! I was not aware of this taking place. I liked reading Mike’s thoughts and his sensible/thoughtful approach to dialoguing. Plus this musing of his is spot on: “I’m still not sure why Christians are so militant in their opposition of homosexual immorality while they seem to go so mild with their opposition of heterosexual immorality”…
Thanks Em. Isn’t it good how we can all connect around the world!?