Good morning, friends. This little post has been brewing since I got a text from my mom at 7:30 am. She was on her way to Chick-fil-A to buy a chicken sandwich. They make a good sandwich, to be sure, but the closest store is an hour away and this is a particular day to make the trek for chicken. And, with all my freshly-wakened, Wednesday morning (pre-coffee) clarity, I wondered if this emphasizing of polarization is productive. How can we sit down with the sick - those in need of the Great Physician - if we persist in putting ourselves in opposition? The lifestyle of the woman at the well didn't stop Jesus from hanging out there - he didn't go out of his way to go to a different well, one that supported a monogamous lifestyle.
He very intentionally went to where the hurting hung out because (though the woman didn't understand she needed saving) he knew he could offer something they would never find in the cycle of their sin. We have to step into the cycle of brokenness in the lives of the wayward in order to point to the freedom of wholeness. It is so crucial that we recognize how desperately we daily cling to Christ for wholeness. It's not as if we share a message that we've attained. Rather, we lean into God's faithfulness and hang on his words and stand on his promises because He is our wholeness.
We have been rescued from the cycle of brokenness and this is a message to share with the broken.
Don't get me wrong - I agree with Dan Cathy's beliefs (which I think were originally intended to communicate his disappointment in the divorce rate) and boy! can he make a great chicken sandwich! But at the end of the day, I want to be able to sit down with the prostitute, the lesbian, the bi-sexual, and every kind of wayward. I'm not sure that they would feel welcome at a table full of my friends who clearly oppose what they claim as identity.
It's a question of effectiveness, I think. I appreciate what everyone is saying, but I'm just wondering if it is all turning into noise.
Matthew Hall yesterday tweeted, "If not resisted, the siren song of political power/influence will usually drown out theological conviction & prophetic witness.
#theory" and I think I agree.
In my Bible study this morning, I read:
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:15-18 ESV)
What does it mean to rightly handle the word of truth? avoid irreverent babble? Is it possible that people on both sides can lead people into more and more ungodliness? I just pray against the talk that spreads like gangrene and that in its place we would lean into the Word so much that what comes out in our speech is gentleness and compassion and hope. By all means, eat your chicken sandwich and enjoy it (Dan Cathy didn't get so huge on the sale of a bad product), but consider what is the best way to engage with those who are sick and in need of a physician.
Go make a friend - have lunch, sit across the table, listen and care about the person looking back at you. See them and let them see you. Let's pray they see Christ, whose love constrains us to obedience.
[bandcamp album=2352304848 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]
How Long (Love Constraining to Obedience) by Wayfarer
To see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pardoning voice Can change a slave into a child and duty into choice No strength of nature can suffice to serve the Lord aright And what she has she misapplies for want of clearer light
How long, how long beneath the law I lay How long, how long I struggled to obey
Then to abstain from outward sin was more than I could do Now If I feel its power within, I feel I hate it too Then all my servile works were done, a righteousness to raise Now, freely chosen in the Son, I freely choose His ways
How long, how long beneath the law I lay How long, how long I struggled to obey How long, how long in bondage and distress How long, how long I tried without success...
Articles that give some great insight:
Chick-fil-A Controversy Draws In Jonathan Merritt's Sexuality by Jasmine Young (Christianity Today)