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Responding to Chick-fil-A Antagonist

I hesitated to venture into the Chick-fil-A skirmish, but it seems as though the discussion will continue for a while, so here I go.

A few preliminary thoughts:

Chick-fil-A makes amazing food. Healthy? No. Delicious? Yes. Enough said.

In addition to food, Chick-fil-A does a lot of other great things. This includes business leadership training, college scholarships, 11 foster care homes, many local charities and educational toys in their kids meals!

While those things may be true, let’s recognize that…

Christians have unfairly targeted homosexuals. It’s always easier to focus on other people’s sin and ignore your own. This is why Jesus said we should notice the log in our own eye before we point out the speck in someone else’s eye. Christians often ignore their own more “acceptable” sins of gluttony (e.g. fat pastors), pride, greed, etc.

Christians have failed to love homosexuals as Jesus commanded. All human beings are made in the image of God and therefore have immense worth. Because of this, they are worthy of being loved, regardless of their morality. There are many followers of Jesus who need to do a heart check because of their lack of love.

Having said those things, here is my response to Chick-fil-A antagonist:

1. Your accusations of hate are hateful.

Dan’s Cathy’s original message has been greatly distorted. His words are far less hateful than what many are implying. He said Chick-fil-A supports the “biblical definition of a family.” Not very hateful.

While some gay marriage proponents have responded with civil-discourse, many have responded with the same mean-spirited “hate speech” they falsely accuse Cathy of. It is greatly inconsistent (dare we say hypocritical) to hatefully call others hateful.

2. Your tolerance is intolerant.

The definition of tolerance is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.”

The problem with your tolerance is that while you want people to be tolerant of you, you refuse to be tolerant of others. If you’re going to raise the banner of tolerance, it has to go both ways.

3. Your allegation of discrimination is discriminating.

Just like people, companies have values. Some value ecology. Some value innovation. Some value greed. Some value the “traditional family.” You don’t have to agree with them and you are not obligated to buy their product or to use their service. That’s called discretion.

Discrimination is different.

When the mayors of Boston and Chicago vow to not to allow Chick-fil-A in their cities, that is discriminatory. Cities/mayors can’t prevent or throw-out businesses from a city when their values differ from those of a company. What if a conservative mayor were to ban pro-homosexual companies from their city? Again… greatly inconsistent.

4. Your accusations of narrow-mindedness are narrow-minded.

Chick-fil-A antagonist say that Cathy’s statements are a reflection of a person who has yet to discover the truth, that he is speaking from ignorance or basing his opinion on an archaic book (the Bible) that no longer has relevance in modern society.

The problem with such a view is that it assumes you have found perfect knowledge. When I think I have perfect knowledge, anyone who disagrees with what I think, therefore, has imperfect knowledge. That’s a good definition of being narrow-minded.

Tim Keller says it well, “To reject the Bible as regressive is to assume that you have now arrived at the ultimate historic moment, from which all that is regressive and progressive can be discerned. That belief is surely as narrow and exclusive as the views in the Bible you regard as offensive.”

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Tall Black Socks

(Picture shown not the writer!)

Twenty years ago, the only people who wore tall black socks with shorts were sixty-plus year old men.

Some were vacationers accessorizing with clip-on sunglasses, fanny pack, and a large camera hanging from their neck. Others were sample junkies wandering Costco mid-afternoon like golden-age zombies feeding on promotional products served in tiny white paper cups.

But, as often happens, the fashion winds changed and began blowing in a new direction.

I was at a party recently with a group of high school/college aged students and noticed each of them wearing shorts with tall black socks. But, unlike the afore-mentioned persons, they were cool.

So I don’t sound like a complete fashion idiot, I understand this is not new. The trend has been fully accepted for some time. The issue is more of a personal one, specifically, when or if I adopt it as my own.

When the trend first emerged I considered joining in, but did not. When it was picking up steam, I thought about it once again, but resisted. Now that it is well-accepted, I still haven’t made the leap.

Here’s my reason. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a middle-aged man. (Though it’s no surprise to others, it’s still a shock to me.) I don’t know how it happened and I still can’t quite wrap my brain around it but, nevertheless, I am no longer young.

The practical ramifications of such a sobering reality is that I am half-way between the older men who are “black sock mocked” and the young men who are “black sock cool.” I know that if I try to be fashion-savvy by wearing tall black socks with my shorts, I run the danger of being one of “those guys.”

You know the ones I’m talking about. We’ve all seen them. You probably know one. They try so hard to be hip that it screams “desperate.” Desperate to be young again. Desperate to be cool. Desperate to fit in. It’s the fashion version of scratching your fingernails on the chalkboard and I don’t want to be one.

I’ve yet to decide whether I will start wearing tall black socks with shorts, but I have reached a conclusion on something greater. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” While we may be obsessed with how we look and what we wear, God is far more concerned with something no one can see… our hearts.

I can’t help getting older. I can’t reverse time and be young again. I won’t be able to keep up with all the latest styles and trends, but what I can do is work on my heart. Instead of being desperate to be young, cool or to fit in, I can be desperate to have a heart that honors and please the Lord. And that, never goes out of style.

Advice for Graduates: Things you might not learn at college.

Graduation announcements have been streaming into my mailbox. Over the next several days, I will attend parties for many of these young men and women transitioning to the next stage of life. Here are a few things I would share with them (and the millions of other soon to be collegians), about what you might not learn at college.

Many of your peers are lost and confused.
These same lost and confused people will engage in behaviors for no good reason other than the fact that someone else is doing it. It is the “lost leading the lost” and it is never a good idea to follow people who don’t know where they’re going. Have a purpose and a reason (good ones) for the things you do.

You don’t have to figure it all out.
A lot of people head into their college years with a well-thought out plan about what they want to do with their life, others have no idea. Either way, remember that life and wisdom and maturity have a funny way of shaking things up and directing us into places we never imagined we would go. Even those with a plan often times end up changing it. Be okay with figuring it out as you go. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Wisdom is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is good, but wisdom is better. The world is full of really smart people who do really dumb things and those dumb things have a way of negating all of their intellectual potential. Spend your college years working on your character as much as you do your studies and you will be wise instead of just intelligent. (Proverbs 4:6-7).

Decisions have consequences.
Many college students say, “This is college, This is the time of life you’re supposed to be wild.” That’s garbage. I’m all for having fun (and highly recommend it), but there is no such thing as a choice that doesn’t have consequences (emotional, physical, spiritual, legal, mental, etc.) College is not some kind of magical “no consequence” zone that erases all the stupid things people do when they graduate.

Seize the moment.
After college, most graduates start a job, get a mortgage/lease, get married, have kids, etc. The reality is, these well-worthy responsibilities severely limit your ability to “go.” So seize the moment. Do something epic. Go big. My specific advice… spend a summer, a semester or an entire year serving Christ somewhere. You will not regret it. (There are lots of great organizations that do this, here is one example: http://www.adventures.org/trips/?prg=passport.)

What additional advice would you offer college students?

6 Ways to Kill your Marriage

As a pastor, I often deal with marriages that are either failing or in jeopardy. Here are six things most of them have in common.

#1. Care more about your own needs.

Each of us have our default setting on “me.” Getting my needs met… getting what I want. Unfortunately this doesn’t lend itself to healthy relationships. Healthy marriages consider the needs of their spouse and are willing to put those needs above their own. (See Philippians 2:3-4)

#2. Stop dating.

There’s a reason couples feel the way they did when they first met. They were working hard to win the other’s affection, they were trying to impress, so they went above and beyond to do and be their best. Amazing how that impacts a relationship.

#3. Make _____ more important than your spouse.

Fill in the blank with whatever you like: work, a hobby, friends etc. No spouse wants to be, or should ever be, second to anyone or anything (other than Christ.)

#4. Have unrealistic expectations.

Unrealistic expectations mean one simple thing- you will always be disappointed and continual feelings of disappointment lead to bitterness and resentment. Strong marriages keep expectations in check and show gratitude for what they do have in their spouse, instead of always thinking about what they don’t have.

#5. Stop working at it.

Anything worth anything requires work and marriage is no exception.

#6. Neglect your spiritual life.

A weak spiritual life is often a good indicator of a weak marriage. We must rely on the Spirit’s power to enable us to live beyond our natural self. We must embrace the values and priorities of Jesus to guide how we relate to our spouse and we must see that our marriage is an opportunity to bring Glory to God.

What other sure-fire marriage killers have you seen?