unpopular

There are so many firestorms on the Internet right now, it’s hard to know which ones to comment on and which ones are better to let burn themselves out. I thought of the Chick-Fil-A controversy yesterday when I came across what the Jews in Rome said to Paul:  “We want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere” (Acts 28:22).

I found that strangely encouraging, and wrote an Our Daily Journey entry on it. As always, I welcome any comments that catch loose ends or faulty reasoning–better to catch it now before it goes public (he wrote on his blog).

Chick-Fil-A is a popular fast food chain in America whose president, Dan Cathy, also happens to be a Christian. Biblical values permeate its 1,600 restaurants, which besides providing exceptional food and service, often display a verse for the day and are always closed on Sunday. Chick-Fil-A also started the WinShape Foundation, which provides college scholarships, foster care programs, and marriage enrichment ministries.

And that is a problem, for Cathy only supports traditional, heterosexual marriages. When Cathy’s position became public, many Americans accused him of homophobia. They vowed to boycott his restaurants that serve chicken “with a side of bigotry.” The mayor of Boston announced he will not allow a Chick-Fil-A to open in his city, and even the Muppets said they will stop making toys for the chain.

It’s not surprising that supporters of gay marriage think Dan Cathy is guilty of hatred and intolerance, for that label was hung on Christians from our beginning. Most people think Jesus was meek and mild, but the religious leaders of his day told Pilate that “he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!” (Luke 23:5). The Apostle Paul was chased and stoned by Jews, for they assumed his message threatened the dominance of their religion and its role in society.

When Paul finally made it to Rome, he invited its Jewish leaders to meet and learn about Jesus. They replied that while they had not heard anything bad about Paul, they knew that the movement he led was “denounced everywhere.” Paul didn’t give up, but he “explained and testified about the Kingdom of God…from morning until evening. Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe” (Acts 28:23-24).

It hurts to be misunderstood, but we must never stop loving people, especially when they’re sure we don’t.

5 Comments

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  1. People who are both sides of the issue of Homosexuality need to understand that we just need to go to the bible for the answers. It is very clear that Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes and that people who choose to be homosexual will be judged for that when they meet the father. I think that christians who take a stand against it are simply telling the truth from the word and showing true love for their brothers and sisters by making the word clear. I support the owners of Chic-Fil-A for taking this biblical stand and pray that all Christians will join in the truth of the word with them.

    Bill in New Port Richey, Florida

  2. I just want to say well done on this post. The verse from Acts is strangely encouraging indeed! It speaks clearly into this situation.I love the last paragraph as well.

    About the situation: even though, not being an American, I have never tasted Chic-Fil-A (nor even seen one!) I think they need all our support. May the Lord strengthen them in this time.

  3. “It hurts to be misunderstood, but we must never stop loving people, especially when they’re sure we don’t.” Yes. Exactly. Thanks, Mike, for stating that so clearly.

  4. Jonathan Shelley July 25, 2012 — 8:38 am

    Mike,
    Assuming that the Jews weren’t using hyperbole, it would seem that Christianity has been denounced as divisive, hateful, and intolerant since the beginning, and that that reputation has followed it into contemporary discussions. At what point do we need to consider that perhaps our critics are right, that our message of love is really one of judgment, rejection, and sacrifice, and stop apologizing for that? Christ did not come to bring peace but a sword, and the Gospel is only good news to those who realize their depravity and repent; for everyone else it is an announcement of righteous condemnation and impending eternal punishment. Yes, we love, and we keep loving even though we are rejected, but I don’t think we are misunderstood. I think, in a way, our critics understand us all too well, and we need to be careful that we don’t get caught up in a public relations debate. They hated Christ, so if we are truly his followers, they will hate us too. If we aren’t rejected as Christ was rejected, than we aren’t doing our job.

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