The Week in Review (8/4): Chick-Fil-A Saga + Olympic Athletes for Jesus

On the faith and culture front

*I hope you had the time, means and opportunity to patronize a Chick-fil-A near you on August 1st. Sadly, being a Yankee and all, I’ve never even tasted the stuff. I had to cheer y’all on from a distance. Meanwhile, I was appalled to read this piece by Barnabas Piper (and many other pieces like it) making a sour lemon face over the movement because it might come off as “territorial,” “divisive,” etc. Yeah, you know just the thought of some homeschooling family with 21 kids showing up to buy chicken sandwiches terrifies me. Seriously, what a wimp. I have no idea why people are acting like this guy has any valid points whatsoever. Maybe it’s just the old man’s name making people pay attention to him? As far as this issue is concerned, everything he and his ilk are bothered by is stuff they shouldn’t be bothered by. Number one, it’s actually a scary thing to see ostensible conservatives shaking a finger at their fellow Christians for just about the most peaceful form of support you could imagine (seriously, wasn’t Gandhi all about this kind of thing?), and number two, there’s nothing wrong with “swagger” and “one-upmanship” when we’re one-upping evil. Although in one sense I’m not happy about the boycott because it always depresses me to see evil people making strides in the harassment of good people, I also get a kick out of a headline like this. Presumably that makes me an ungracious, confrontational Christian. I don’t give a waffle fry. MOR CHIKIN!

*Denny Burk had a good article about a young Olympic gymnast named Gabby Douglas and how her Christian faith has been suppressed in the press.

*Speaking of Christians at the Olympics, three cheers for Missy Franklin! She’s also representing her country and her faith with class and excellence, and just yesterday she won her third gold medal while setting a new world record. Here’s a Crosswalk feature on her. An added poignant touch to Franklin’s story is that she is from Aurora, CO, and she’s stated that she hopes to “shine some light on Colorado and make them proud” in the wake of the massacre.

On the Southern Gospel front:

Slow news week, but here are a few tidbits I collected from various SG artists’ visits to Chick-fil-A.

Bryan Walker posted a pic of his double order of nuggets (my mouth watered).

Gerald Wolfe gave running twitter updates on Greater Vision’s looooong wait inside a mall in Missouri (over an hour). In response to Walker’s photo, he said, “I had 2 of those, plus a Chikin Sandwich, then bought nuggets for 3 people who had never had ChikFilA before. My pleasure!” Chris Allman put a video on Socialcam.

My favorite was Lauren Talley’s novel idea for the upcoming election: “I say this coming November, we place polling booths inside Chick-fil-A.”

And from Karen Peck Gooch: “God bless Chick-Fil-A!!!!:)”

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “The Week in Review (8/4): Chick-Fil-A Saga + Olympic Athletes for Jesus

  1. I recently got the job I’ve been praying about for several years. I jump in there every day and give my all and I feel it when I get home. But I got up out of that recliner and turned off the Big Bang Theory on Aug 1st, to ride to Gaffney with some friends and wait in line just to get into the parking lot so we could go inside and order peach shakes. It’s a good feeling to be part of a good thing and support God is always the right thing to do.

  2. I did not visit Chick-fil-A at the restaurant almost within walking distance of my house. I did join a near-record number turnout at our church that night, where we had CFA sandwiches and nuggets that we had ordered ahead of time :)

    My niece got her first job at the one near their home in GA. My nephew works for Cathy’s WinShape organization, training young adults to be leaders – - godly people in an ungodly world. My oldest daughter is a manager at the one I mentioned is near us. My younger daughter also works there. I get the calendar every year – they do a goofy cow calendar with a great coupon-a-month on it.

    I am so thankful that my daughters work in a location where Christian music is all they hear piped in, and that they are learning how to deal with people in an environment where 1) people are treated well, 2) customers, even on days other than the special one this past week, are often encouraging (but they get their share of obnoxious ones, just like any other retail business) and 3) the service is head-and-shoulders above that of any other fast food restaurant, even on their worst day.

    They have made friends with an (unsaved) co-worker and now she and her boyfriend attend church with us every Sunday – rarely missing a day. They have another co-worker friend who is a very godly fellow and who they have a ball with.

    But Barnabas Piper is making excellent points. We are not in competition with the world. We know how it ends. We win. There is no contest. Our purpose here is to communicate the gospel. Jesus said they will know us by our love.

    When the world begins to like us, there will be something seriously wrong. Jesus Christ and writers of the New Testament (as well as the Old) make it clear that we will face persecution. The preaching of the gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

    Go through the Gospels, and you will see that Jesus was gentle and fellowshipped with those outside the church, and frequently got angry with those in the church. I am not suggesting that we condone any sin, including homosexuality. My biggest concern with the video you discussed a few days ago featuring Tim Keller is that he said “the Bible has reservations” about homosexuality. I feel like he did OK beyond that, but that was an unfortunate way to describe it. The Bible is clear about the sinfulness of homosexuality.

    But we have a responsibility to communicate the gospel. And Paul said “let your words be seasoned with salt”. Paul knew that we can go about our mission in a right way and a wrong way. I think Barnabas Piper is concerned that we communicate the gospel truthfully but without *needlessly* dividing people. As he says and as the Bible makes clear, division is going to happen anyway. The Word of God is a double-edged sword. We do not need to add salt to the sword – simply to be willing to use it – the sword of the Word – not the sword of activism (however mild that activism might be).

    • Yes, you got your metaphors a bit tangled up there, but I did take your meaning. :)

      I was going to respond to you right here in the thread, but my comment got so long I decided it might work better to use some of your objections as a foil for a full blog post. So I think I’ll save those thoughts for the nonce and meanwhile see if any other readers would like to offer their responses.

    • Lydia

      Professor Pook,

      I see several problems with your comments in support of Barnabas Piper. I’m not necessarily going to talk about all of them, but here are a few.

      First, you echo B.P. in talking about not wanting “needlessly to divide people.” Let’s recognize here that Mr. Cathy himself was asked his opinion and that all the attacks on the restaurant occurred because he wasn’t afraid under that pressure to stand up and speak the truth when he was asked. The division, therefore, was already there, and the aggression was coming from the other side. The appreciation day, then, wasn’t “dividing people.” It was rather standing up and being counted on the side of the truth that Cathy had spoken, on one side of a division that is already there, on the side of a business being harassed by those who hate Jesus Christ, because its chief had not been afraid to answer a hostile question from the world, from the world trying to force him to give the answer _they_ wanted. You yourself mention that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Precisely. And the world hates us because we stand for what God stands for. So the division is there, and we need to be willing to speak up. We aren’t supposed to be trying to convert people by feigning _unity_ with unbelievers and then hoping that they will have good feelings about that unity and want to hang out with us. That isn’t true witnessing or true conversion.

      Second, you mention that there is no competition and that “we will win” in the end. Now, while that’s true in one sense it’s somewhat misleading in this context, because we are also responsible to try to mitigate evil and the loss of souls here in this world. To put it starkly, the Christian parents of a young person led into the homosexual lifestyle, denying Christ, and ultimately going to hell will be happy in heaven somehow despite the ultimate loss of their child. But it would be much, much better had that young person’s soul not been lost. Let’s make no mistake: The homosexual agenda will cost many, many souls. While we are busy hushing our voices to whispers and making no gestures, however peaceful, against the homosexual agenda, for fear of somehow alienating and not winning to Christ those who are already entirely hostile, we risk forgetting about the innocent five-year-olds who will be sexually confused, debauched, and led into sin and possibly in the end to hell by the victory of the homosexual agenda in our culture. What about their souls?

      Third, you actually go so far as to say “not the sword of activism (however mild that activism might be).” Now, that’s a very strong statement. I hope you don’t mean it. Because taken at face value, that means no pro-life rallies (they are activism and a gesture and show that “we” have a different set of values from “them”), no picketing abortion clinics, no lobbying our Congressmen, no signs or activism as citizens in support of defense of marriage acts in our states, no activism in opposition to wicked pro-homosexual ordinances in our states and cities. The list goes on and on. What you are essentially urging is complete capitulation on the culture front, and that is obviously wrong. (Here I recommend this post by Michael J. Kruger. http://michaeljkruger.com/is-the-chick-fil-a-appreciation-day-really-a-bold-mistake/)

      Fourth, I urge that we remember this: A habit of constantly hushing oneself, making no gesture (however mild) to stand up for what we believe, lest we offend people or drive them away, is very bad for our own relationship with God and our own Christian commitment. There is a reason why the old songwriters wrote things like “Stand Up for What I Stand For” and “Dare to be a Daniel.” The final line of that says, “Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known.” To make it known. Not just to have your belief privately in your heart but never to do or say anything to stand up for it, unless doing or saying something is unavoidable. After all, Daniel could have closed his window when he prayed toward Jerusalem. He could have found some more secret place in which to pray. Or he could have prayed “in his heart” so no one knew. But that would have been a kind of betrayal and not really being committed to God. Similarly, insisting that we avoid as much as possible making any gesture in defense of marriage, such as the Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day, that we never speak out “needlessly” will, I predict, undermine the church’s actual commitment and stance on these issues. Our kids will quickly get the message that “not needlessly dividing” and “not engaging in activism, however mild” lest people feel alienated are the _real_ priorities. Whether we want this to happen or not, they will quickly get the message that these take priority over the truth. Again, the old song writers knew that being brave for the truth, as Paul said, not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, is part of keeping the truth front and center in our own minds and hearts. When we start making a virtue of keeping quiet so as to appear nice and “win hearts and minds,” we risk our own clarity and commitment and, over the long run, that of our children and churches. This is all the more true in our own day and age when the assaults of the Enemy and of an ungodly worldview are simply relentless.

      If the spine stops working, eventually the whole body stops working.

      • Thanks for the response, Lydia!

        I will take individual points for time’s sake, plus I am interested in seeing YGG’s follow-up post.

        “We aren’t supposed to be trying to convert people by feigning _unity_ with unbelievers and then hoping that they will have good feelings about that unity and want to hang out with us.”

        I agree that feigning unity is not a means of conversion. Much is done in the name of unity that sacrifices truth and more critical matters. I would not suggest unity with someone who is advocating normalization of homosexuality.

        We must always return to scripture, and you have done that, Thank you! An example that I think applies here is the one that Jesus set, to the chagrin of the Pharisees. He dined with Zaccheus and Z’s friends. The Pharisees were incensed that Jesus dined with sinners rather than shunning them and hanging with the religious.

        I am *certainly* not calling anyone in this discussion (nor those participating Wednesday) a Pharisee. My point is that Jesus was demonstrating compassion and love to those who at the time were acknowledged unbelievers. Not for the purpose of feigning unity, but because that was the way to reach them.

      • Coincidentally, Zacchaeus gets a mention in my follow-up post.

      • Lydia,

        Ironically, when I was debating about whether to comment on the original post, the events surrounding Daniel’s life were the very examples that came to mind regarding the idea of activism. He and his three friends were only activists in that they did not stop what they were already doing, and what they were already doing was being obedient to God’s word. The activism came from the other side – - the king’s minions encouraged the king to make a law which they knew Daniel would violate. Not because he was an activist, but because he was a faithful follower of the law of God. If he were wanting to be activist with his practice of daily prayer, he might have decided to move his prayer time out into the marketplace, just to “show them”. But he simply continued what he had already been faithful to do.

        And in the beginning of the book, the matter of the food they were expected to eat was handled by simply 1) living a life of integrity that the chief of the eunuchs took notice of (by God’s grace) and then 2) offering a simple way to demonstrate the wisdom of their obedience to the steward.

        If by activism you mean obedience, then certainly every Christian who is walking in faith daily, yielded to the Lord, will be an activist. But I don’t think that is the traditional understanding of the word.

    • marywrightt

      I was fine with going out to support the cause. If I were standing out numbered by the bad guys it would make me feel better to look across the hill and see thousands of reinforcements. There may always be more sinners than saints but God will always win and when God says or does something, it is a guarantee- like the blood of Christ Jesus.

      Jesus said some people are made unicks and some are born that way – maybe homosexuals were meant to be unicks and they let the devil talk them into thinking that if they werent attracted to the opposite sex then they must be gay. I dont mind unicks in the church or any where else but I hold real issues with people who try to hide sinful lifestyles.

      But when that is not the case, I am delighted to be completely wrong.

      • I usually try be hands-off with spelling issues, but I can’t resist… it’s actually “eunuchs” that you want. Good phonetic try though. ;)

        I think you’re onto something when you talk about looking over the hill and being encouraged by reinforcements. Cue Lord of the Rings analogies. (Arrival of Rohan at Helm’s Deep, arrival of Aragorn at Pelennor Fields, etc.)

      • marywrightt

        I had pictured Elisha (2Kings) but LOR works too! lol

      • Oh, er, yeah… the Bible is a great book too. :)

  3. OK, some of my words might be a bit confusing, like referencing salt in two different ways :D Paul’s use is of course in the sense of salt as a helpful seasoning, and my other use was in the sense of salt as an irritant.

    I hope my point was clear in spite of my scattered words.

  4. Lydia

    Professor: Let me ask you outright: Are you literally saying that all political activism is *wrong*? Are you seriously saying that? How does this apply to pro-life activism? How would this apply to supporting, perhaps even putting up a sign for, a marriage protection amendment in one’s state? How would this apply to sidewalk counseling or carrying (non-graphic) signs outside of an abortion clinic? How would this apply to writing a letter to the editor opposing a local homosexual rights ordinance? The list goes on and on. If you are literally saying that all activism is wrong, there is really nothing more to be said. There is no prohibition on it in Scripture, and many, many good arguments can be given for not being political pacifists and not abandoning the culture to be utterly taken over by those who hate the Lord and even increasingly hate humanity and nature. Not the least of these is the argument regarding the loss of souls which I made above.

    • There is nothing inherently wrong with political activism.

      Further, it is a fairly nebulous term. (Obviously I am not much of an activist considering it took me a week to respond LOL. The new school (i.e., church) year is cranking up and is getting hectic.)

      And in this crazy world today, evangelism would be considered activism. And, unfortunately, political activism. So, from the world’s terms (or at least or culture nowadays), activism is commanded by Matthew 28:19ff. Activism, again, in the form of evangelism. That is the most effective activism there is.

      A big risk of more typical activism is that it tends to de-emphasize the message of the gospel. Typical activism brings together people who have some common purpose (good or bad). Purposes that we would naturally consider good ones such as abortion and the matter of marriage will bring together Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others with those of us who by grace have had our blind eyes opened to the truth. But our reasons for the wrong of abortion and the right of heterosexual monogamous marriage are based on reasons that are at odds with these (and any other) groups. We do not worship the same God, and our justification for our convictions are based on His terms, not man’s.

      That is why it is always interesting when people try to pin down the politicians who support our positions. When it comes down to it, if they gave the most valid reasons for those positions, they would be run out of Washington for being right-wing fanatics.

      Thanks for the discussion. It is nice to be able to do this in a smaller audience than is normal for many forums. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t given this topic thought. I appreciate hearing the challenges and have the “accountability” for lack of a better term to defend my statements. If it was hundreds of us I would find it easier to be lazy and drop it, figuring my words would be lost among all the others (not that my words are necessarily worth reading).

      • Well, it’s true that non-Christians can sometimes be in agreement with Christians on issues like gay “marriage” and sanctity of life, but that doesn’t mean that when we engage in political activism on those issues, we’re actively downplaying theological differences with these people. I’ve never been under the illusion that Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses worship the same God I do, even though I do notice and appreciate their counter-culturalism in other respects.

      • And as far as Muslims are concerned, I’m not sure where you’re getting that they uphold the sanctity of life, but that’s definitely NOT true! Unless killing your sons and daughters for converting to Christianity has suddenly become the new definition of pro-life.

  5. Pingback: Further Thoughts On Chick-Fil-A Flap | Southern Gospel Yankee

  6. You are no doubt correct although I admit I have not heard their views specifically on abortion. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold to inconsistent views, rejecting abortion but somehow affirming their conviction that murder is an acceptable response to one of their own rejecting Islam (not to mention what they are willing to do to unbelievers). But I don’t know that for certain.

    • Lydia

      I think that many people know that abortion is wrong and homosexuality is wrong because of the “law written on the heart” (Romans 1). Which would mean that our reasons for our positions on these things are _not_ necessarily incompatible with the reasons of a non-Christian. For example, if a non-Christian sees an ultrasound or a photo of a baby in the womb and says, “Oh, my goodness! It’s a baby! How could I ever endorse killing that child?” that person is accessing the natural light. I have access to the natural light as well, though I’m also a Christian. So I don’t see there as being this underlying hidden disagreement about our reasons for our positions that we have to sweep under the rug when we engage in political activism on these issues.

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