Losing the race at Chick-fil-A

Published 9:31 pm Friday, August 10, 2012

Christians are called to run the race of life so as to win a prize. Modern culture sets up hurdles and hindrances in that race that are so high and so frequent it is a wonder anyone navigates the course successfully. The nets of worldly temptation are everywhere, and they are designed so that the more one wriggles, the more tightly the nets ensnare.

Modern church culture isn’t much better. We have as many hurdles and hoops. Apparently the new hoop for “right” Jesus following has to do with how often Jesus disciples eat at Chick-fil-A. I wonder if Jesus ate chicken sandwiches. Was there a giant fish on a billboard near the Sea of Galilee saying, “Eat more chikin”? I digress.

Don’t misunderstand sarcasm for acrimony. I love Chick-fil-A, from its corporate affirmation of biblical values to their great customer service and food. I’ll probably eat there three times before this column even runs. What I’m getting at has little to do with chicken sandwiches.


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Some say worldliness has crept into churches by way of scanty attire, modern music and methods or other surface-level shifts in church culture. What about the net of worldliness that traps us into a spirit of competition with the world? Is our race against the world? Is it against homosexuals?

But, you say, “It wasn’t that way. I guzzled my sweet tea and chomped my waffle fries in affirmation of traditional family values.”

One thing Dan Cathy said really stuck with me: “We are very much supportive of the family … and we are married to our first wives.” Cathy is at least alluding to a gaping irony in this. The divorce rate among Christians is no lower than among unbelievers.

Shouldn’t we do something about that log in our eye before we take our message of moral purity to the streets? Should we not at least speak in careful humility and love? Our battle is with the ruler of this world, not those he enslaves. (Ephesians 6:12)

I’m thrilled that Chick-fil-A got some extra business last week. I don’t ever want to live in a world devoid of Chick-n-Minis. But I’m concerned what hoop I will have to jump through next to prove my devotion to Jesus. Will I be asked to decorate my home only in overstock clearance holiday items from Hobby Lobby?

The Bible has already given us a few litmus tests for Jesus following. I’m not sure we are living up to those.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27 NIV84)

Did anybody buy a chicken sandwich for an orphan or a gallon of sweet tea for a widow?

Trying to beat the world at its own game is a trap. Jesus didn’t come to coach us to beat the world at its games. Our enemy in this race isn’t the media. It isn’t gay activists. The enemy lives in us. It’s the temptation to play the world’s games of winning arguments and seizing political influence.

We are not culture warriors but servants. If we run this race by the world’s rules we may win a few arguments, but we’ll lose the race.

Our task isn’t to beat the world. It is to win the world to the love of Christ through the love of Christ.