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On Chick-Fil-A and “Standing up for God”

July 30, 2012

Perhaps the loudest battle cry of my teen-aged Christian generation was, “Stand up for God!”

It meant a lot of things to us – not conforming to the typical teenage behavior, praying at football games in a huge huddle when we were no longer allowed to do it over the PA system, going to church events instead of wild parties, sitting with the unpopular kids. It meant wearing Christian T-shirts and WWJD bracelets, and when we could finally drive, Christian bumper stickers. We were desperate to be different, to be that fish swimming upstream among thousands of other fish swimming downstream (who else had that shirt?).

Sometimes the fervor was good, but mostly it was loud, meant to attract attention and get everyone to be like us. We wanted to be “Jesus Freaks” and we didn’t care about what people thought of us (there ain’t no disguisin’ the truth, after all). There was a hint of martyrdom to the whole thing, that by living out our faith while banging on pots and pans, we were going to be labeled and scoffed at and scorned.

So I remember my WWJD bracelet and wonder, “Would Jesus boycott Chick-Fil-A? Would He show up for the Appreciation Day and buy a sandwich to support them?”

There’s so much noise here, so much yelling – on both sides. One side yells out, “Bigots! Haters!” and the other cries out, “Freedom of Speech! We’re being persecuted for our beliefs!”

And I imagine Jesus, ignoring the yelling match, drawing in the dirt and waiting for the stones to drop and all to walk away. I imagine Him washing the feet a young lesbian who has heard her entire life that she is going to hell, that she is worthless, that God hates her.

We are not called to monitor the legislation of this country. We have the freedom to participate, so please do if you feel strongly about the issues. But the shape of a Jesus-centered life does not take the form of a Chick-Fil-A bag waved in the faces of the LGBT community, or of a chicken sandwich avoided. The shape of a Jesus-centered life is cruciform, and a life submitted to the Cross does not seek to gain power over others. We forget that our goal is not to make people act righteous on the outside, but to usher them to Jesus, who washes the inner tombs and gives real Life.

We must “love our enemies” until we realize that “our enemies are not flesh and blood.” We must never forget that this isn’t just about legislation or the definition of marriage, but people, with real feelings. They aren’t “shaking their fists at God” in defiance, they are struggling with real attractions and emotions that bring bullying and hatred into their lives.

I cannot get around the biblical teachings that homosexual practices are sinful. I’ve studied the passages for myself, and I don’t think I can handle the text responsibly and say that it’s okay. But the LGBT community should not look at Christians and think, “They are against gay marriage.” They, like everyone else, should think, “Look how they love! Look how I have been loved by them!”

And Church,  I think there are very few of them who can say this. We are failing to love because we are not submitting our lives to this crucified Jesus. We are too busy claiming persecution for our beliefs – a pretty good slap in the face to Christians worldwide who are facing real persecution.

So, buy your chicken sandwich or avoid the chicken sandwich. But realize that your stance on Chick-Fil-A does not give you permission to avoid the LGBT community, because they are not people that Jesus forgets. It’s not about “standing up for God” as much as it is serving as the Son of Man served us, loving as He loved us, and showing this resurrected Jesus to everyone so that they may come to Him and have Life.

77 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim permalink
    July 30, 2012 2:07 pm

    “They, like everyone else, should think, ‘Look how they love! Look how I have been loved by them!'”

    If only that’s how we would view all the people who behave and believe contrary to Scripture. What’s even sadder is that we do this to people inside the body of Christ, too, the very people that we consider our fellow believers. Vilification is easy; it’s love that’s hard.

    Great job with this, Aubry.

    Tim

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 3:55 pm

      Vilification is precisely the right word. We do it far too often. Thanks, Tim.

  2. jessreflects permalink
    July 30, 2012 2:14 pm

    I love this and completely agree. The image of Jesus drawing a line in the sand? Oh, yes.

  3. Brittany G permalink
    July 30, 2012 2:27 pm

    Well presented Aubry.

  4. Kimberly permalink
    July 30, 2012 3:38 pm

    Aubry, you put into words everything I’ve been thinking and feeling about this issue. Thank you!!!

  5. James permalink
    July 30, 2012 3:40 pm

    Aubrey, I don’t remember ever reading your thoughts on the homosexual community, so now that you bring it up, How do you think the local church should approach the LGBT community? Should we allow them into membership, baptism, volunteer,? how far should they go?

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 4:07 pm

      That’s a tricky issue and there is probably more than one good answer, depending on the individual – whether they are believers or not and where they are in their understanding of their homosexuality in light of God’s truths. I think volunteering should cast a pretty wide net – we often have non-believers of all kinds doing church or community projects, serving alongside Christians, and I think this is great.Since we are approaching homosexual actions as sin, then the church should expect that LGBT seekers understand that prior to membership – and this may take a lot of one-on-one time with gentle teaching and understanding. The whole culture is telling all of us to just “be who we are,” but Jesus calls us to be holy – and is the One who makes us holy. Baptism is a public sign of repentance and being united with Christ in his death and resurrection. We shouldn’t expect any members to be sinless after baptism, but rather, an agreement with Jesus about the nature of their sin and repentant hearts. Frankly, it will just take a lot of work and relationship-building, which is something we’re fairly bad at in our microwave-discipleship Church culture. Same with leadership – teaching, pastoring, deaconship – there is a higher level of accountability to God, so the person must not be a new believer, must show wisdom, must be mature, and walking with the Lord. I obviously highly disagree with denominations that employ and ordain non-celibate pastors of any kind – gay or straight. So those are my thoughts on that – would love to hear yours.

      • jaydee permalink
        August 1, 2012 12:42 am

        non-celibate?! please explain… married pastors cannot have sex? pastors should not be married? this is kind of vague and i want to make sure I understand you completely.

      • aubrygrace permalink*
        August 1, 2012 7:36 pm

        Ha, I meant unmarried yet non celibate.

      • August 1, 2012 5:34 pm

        Yeah, please do explain this one.

      • boc permalink
        August 1, 2012 7:07 pm

        jaydee, if I am not mistaken what aubrygrace is referring to traces back to the original tenets of Catholicism in that priests and nuns are married to the church. The “non-celebate” is a poor label in my opinion given that it focuses on sex rather than marriage.

  6. Terra permalink
    July 30, 2012 4:48 pm

    Aubry,
    God gives u the right words to share! I love this! Thank you!

  7. sadiedodson permalink
    July 30, 2012 5:00 pm

    Well said. Thanks!

  8. Amy McGowan permalink
    July 30, 2012 5:09 pm

    Well done, Aub.

  9. July 30, 2012 6:07 pm

    Amen!

  10. Joseph permalink
    July 30, 2012 6:35 pm

    Best blog post on the topic to date.

  11. Leslie Dixon permalink
    July 30, 2012 6:55 pm

    “We must “love our enemies” until we realize that “our enemies are not flesh and blood.” We must never forget that this isn’t just about legislation or the definition of marriage, but people, with real feelings. They aren’t “shaking their fists at God” in defiance, they are struggling with real attractions and emotions that bring bullying and hatred into their lives.”

    This is the point in all of this cultural warfare. There will be people on both sides who participate in the discussion for non-biblical reasons or react with non-biblical motives, but Christians must realize that there is a greater battle to be won, and that is that people come to know the love and redemption available through Jesus, who justifies us before a holy God. What about our behavior is going to point people to Jesus? So, I think while standing up for biblical truth there is a delicate line that believers must walk to make sure the discussion is about heart issues as well. We (followers of Christ) will never lead a person to Christ by chasing him/her with a bat and threatening damnation. And Jesus never did either.

    One caveat: Personally, I will buy a sandwich from CFA on Aug. 1st and really any time I can afford one and feel like eating one (I love its fattening food! lol), not to throw it in some one else’s face that I don’t agree with their lifestyle, but because I do know what it is like to be bold enough to stand on a biblical truth and not have people around showing/telling me that they agree and recognizing the faith that it took to stand on that truth. I don’t think Mr. Cathy was trying to reignite any sort of cultural war, and probably would have wanted to stay out of the limelight on this issue if able. When faced, however, with a choice to state his belief based on the Bible (which he has been faithful to do on many other issues as well) or shrink back from near certain negative backlash and possible loss of business, he stood for truth. I support him and CFA for that choice, and, as his Christian sister, am proud to show him that support.

    Christians must find a way to proclaim truth in love, as Jesus did. Neglecting love in motive/presentation or truth in substance will never demonstrate the completeness of the gospel nor lead someone to the life-changing arms of Jesus.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 4:11 pm

      We are actually planning on going to CFA for the exact same reasons tomorrow (plus, it’s our fave fast food, so we didn’t need much of a reason), but we will do so quietly :) I admire Cathy for answering boldly and gently with an issue he probably wasn’t all that excited about confronting publicly, especially put on the spot like that.

    • Ashley Gurley permalink
      August 1, 2012 10:17 pm

      I love this. It’s exactly what I was going to say. I agree that there are many people screaming out of hate. But at the same time Jesus was washing feet and loving, He was standing up for truth. Cathy stood up for truth. That makes him a-ok in my book! I believe in standing up and being bold. If I were closer to a Chic-fil-a I probably would have gone today, as well. And maybe not “quietly” like you said, Aubry, but not hatefully, either.

  12. David Pearson permalink
    July 30, 2012 10:56 pm

    I’ve thought about what I should personally do in this Chik-fil-a debate, and I think shouting rhetoric at the LGBT community would be at best hollow and useless and at worst destructive. What I want to do instead is to go to a LGBT meeting, introduce myself as a Christian, somehow tactfully state my belief that homosexuality is a sin, apologize for all the hate and vitriol that has been thrown at them, and then offer to volunteer in whatever way they need.

    I’ve been trying to look at this from their point of view and I’ve come to the conclusion that their anger and scoffing toward Christians is entirely reasonable — perhaps even justified. We have been telling them that what they consider to be an essential, immutable aspect of their being is an affront toward God and that they will burn in hell for eternity as punishment. They have been beaten and murdered, ostracized, and withstood international pressures to change a very intimate part of their selves. Is it any wonder that they hate us? How can we expect them to listen to what we have to say — much less allow us to speak authority into their lives?

    Let’s put aside our pride, ask their forgiveness, and humbly serve them as Christ commands.

  13. Brandon Attaway permalink
    July 30, 2012 11:57 pm

    Aubrey, I like and agree with most of what you said in your post. The only thing I would disagree with is where you said that we are not called to monitor the legislation of this country. I have two thoughts on this. 1.) We are called to have a defense for the gospel both in and out of season. Paul was not shy about vigorously defending the gospel, so in this nation that is supposed to be by and for the people I believe we should keep an eye on what our elected representatives are doing with our government. 2.) (And I’ll grant that this one might be a stretch,) Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. If God placed us in this great nation which was born by people coming here to escape the spiritual persecution of their homelands to build new homes where they could worship God freely, and then again our forefathers fought the war of Revolution to escape the tyranny they were living under, then shouldn’t we do our part to safeguard what we have been given? And what so many of our forefathers died to give us?

    I don’t want you to misunderstand, I’m not saying these things to be argumentative. I absolutely agree with you that we most show love to these people. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God, and the second greatest was to love your neighbor. Then later he said that the world would know whose we’re His because they would have love for one another.

    I just felt I should share this for your consideration. Thank you for your thoughts. I was very glad to read your note. God bless you.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 4:25 pm

      Well, we might just have to agree to disagree, which I’m fine with :) I’m not making the connection between defending the Gospel in and out of season and monitoring those elected to the country’s political systems. It seems to me that the US is simply another kingdom of this world that itself needs to be redeemed by Christ, because it is sinful through and through ….I’d hate to think that our Christian witness is tied to the policies of the country, because we’re doing a poor job if that’s the case. While gay marriage might still be illegal in most states, having affairs, promiscuity, drunkenness, and a host of other sins are perfectly legal. So I don’t think gay marriage will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back – we are already a nation thoroughly entrenched in sin, outer and inner.

      Also, this might be somewhat non-patriotic to say, but I hardly consider “taxation without representation” a horribly oppressive tyranny. But I’m no historian (or politician for that matter). While our forefathers had good intentions, I’m not convinced that our focus(as Christians) should be on protecting what they died for. It’s a grass that withers and the flower that fades. Rather, we should be throwing our resources into reaching the nations with the Gospel – which is something that WILL last. It’s a matter of allegiance to a better kingdom. I’ll obey the laws of this land and give to Caesar what’s his, but the point of that parable is whose image is stamped on the possession. We have God’s image stamped on us, and we are to give to God what had His image on it. Bringing it back around to the discussion at hand – this includes the LGBT community. God wants what is His, and they have His image.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! :)

      • Tim permalink
        July 31, 2012 4:29 pm

        “While our forefathers had good intentions, I’m not convinced that our focus(as Christians) should be on protecting what they died for. It’s a grass that withers and the flower that fades.”

        Wow, that’s good Aubry! (And this from a guy whose job description explicitly requires him to uphold the Constitution.)

        Tim

  14. July 31, 2012 1:06 am

    Excellent article, well said! -Audrey M.

  15. Fan permalink
    July 31, 2012 10:38 am

    This is great, Aubry. Thanks for putting your thoughts on here. They refreshed me in the midst of the chaos of this issue.
    – Nancy

  16. Mattie Dodson permalink
    July 31, 2012 11:36 am

    Very true, Aubry! I loved this. You are very wise.

  17. Sheila Davis permalink
    July 31, 2012 2:11 pm

    Personally, the only time I have heard hatred being spewed, it has been from the gay and lesbian community and they especially seem to hate the Bible. I even heard a gay reporter say that the Bible supported slavery and therefore is not a valid document to consult regarding human sexuality. They will use “judge not” for there own agenda to try and intimidate and silence Christians about what the Bible says regarding human sexuality. And we can either cower and shut up for fear of being portrayed as hate mongers and bigots or we can stand and storm the gates of hell which cannot stand against us. I believe Aubry has mischaracterized those who would support a business for standing up for biblical truth and has accused us of “telling a young lesbian that she is going to hell, that she is worthless, that God hates her.” I have never heard a Christian say that and if I did, I would question whether or not they were a Christian.

    • Tim permalink
      July 31, 2012 7:14 pm

      Google Westboro Baptist Church to see how the hate comes from those who claim Christ as their savior.

      Blessings,
      Tim

      • Houston permalink
        August 2, 2012 6:54 pm

        Tim, that’s an extreme example and I would think that most all Christians would separate themselves from Westboro’s movement

      • Tim permalink
        August 2, 2012 7:05 pm

        It is an extreme example, Houston. It was meant to be, in the context of the extreme language Sheila posed: “telling a young lesbian that she is going to hell, that she is worthless, that God hates her.” I have never heard a Christian say that and if I did, I would question whether or not they were a Christian.

        Shelia said she had never heard of Christians being so hateful, and I only meant to show that such extreme hatefulness does in fact occur with those who call themselves Christians. I am with you in hoping that Christians would instead separate themselves from such hatefulness.

        Blessings,
        Tim

  18. Emily permalink
    July 31, 2012 3:01 pm

    This is not rhetorical, this is a real question that I’ve been struggling with for a long time. HOW?? How do we “love”? Where is the line between loving someone and condoning their sinful behavior? How can I show love to someone who is living a life of sin without dealing with their sin? And at what point is it ok to talk about their sin? Especially since merely stating what I believe automatically causes people to “feel” judged. (Like if I were to say I’m against drinking alcohol, most everyone who drinks would feel judged, even though I’m passing no judgement) I very seriously desire an answer to this question, but don’t have the time to keep checking to see if anyone has replied. So please, if you have an answer for me, especially if it contains scripture in context, please email me. emilywheat@att.net (And just in case, please don’t email me about alcohol consumption and your beliefs on the topic. It was just an example. I’m just looking for an answer on how to love. Thank you.)

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 4:39 pm

      (I’m emailing this to Emily, but wanted others to see my reply as well)
      I struggled with this question for a long time. How to love and not condone? Especially with such a tricky issue where everything is certain to be taken the wrong way? First, just be a friend. I made the mistake of telling a friend when she came out that I loved her forever, but didn’t condone what she was doing. I regret doing this, because she was hearing a storm of hate from others and non-acceptance. She needed ONE Christian voice in that tumultuous time to just speak love. And I don’t know if she ever heard it. Everyone’s love for her seemed to hinge on her lifestyle choices, so she just cut them off and ran with a crowd that will never, ever speak truth to her. I should have just expressed my love and God’s love for her, and promising to pray for her as she walked steps to be what she thought was “true to herself.” By making sure she knew I didn’t agree with her, I cut myself off from her circle of trust and now no longer have any right to speak into her life.

      So, be a friend. Keep having meals together. Keep hanging out. LGBT friends will automatically assume because you’re Christian that you disagree with them. Live a holy life before them and slowly earn their trust. Later, probably after much time when they finally feel fully safe with you, you may be able to share – very gently – with them. It takes time, hard work, and a lot of grace.

      I also like what Dave mentioned about reaching out intentionally to the LGBT community. We send missionaries all over the world to different people groups, and this is a very large one right within reach of us. Local churches should think hard about this group and how to serve them with all the love and acceptance that Christ has shown to us, just as we are.

      I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this hard issue – great question, Emily!

      • Tim permalink
        July 31, 2012 6:21 pm

        Here’s one way I do it, Aubry and Emily:

        When we were in San Diego last month, we had dinner with one of my judge friends, a guy I’ve served with on statewide judiciary issues. It was me and my wife and our daughter, along with him and his husband. My friend is a great guy and his husband is a riot and we all like each other a lot and try to get together whenever we are in each other’s neck of the woods.

        I’m just trying to be a good friend and Christ’s ambassador.

        Tim

      • August 2, 2012 1:09 pm

        You were not wrong to speak the truth. To keep silent when a brother (or sister) falls into sin is itself a sin. She did not reject you, she rejected the message of truth you spoke. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” — Prov 27:6

    • Laurie permalink
      August 3, 2012 11:44 am

      Greg, Aubrey didn’t say her friend was a sister in the Lord. Responding to a Christian who might be choosing to go back into a homosexual lifestyle is totally different from relating homosexuals that have not come to know the Lord yet.

      Having a homosexual uncle who was with his partner for years before he died, I have had personal experience on how to stay true to Christ but be full of love. My uncle and his partner knew (and know..one is dead, the other alive) that I am a born again Christian and that I take the Bible as truth regarding homosexuality. However, they also know that I interact with them in a loving, non-judgemental way and that I do love them. I have given the responsibility of judging and sorting out to the Lord. I made myself clear about what the Bible said about homosexuality (they asked me, and I told them) and have ever been alert to do my part to love, serve and speak when prompted. It seems to have worked out and I am pretty sure that my uncle met the Lord before he died and that his partner is on the way. Yes, homosexuality is sin but so are many, many things. I think that hate is right up there. What about gossip? What about gluttony? The point is: Father wants to be reunited with his children. He wants them to turn away from self-rule to His rule. When that happens, things get sorted out. The Holy Spirit is really good at that. And it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance.
      So! My part? Not being ashamed of the gospel – that God became a man and shed His blood as payment for man’s sin and that because of His resurrection, we can share in that forgiveness and new life. That’s my part – to proclaim the gospel, not to proclaim judgement. Jesus didn’t come to the world to judge the world but to save it. I’ll follow my Master’s lead. He who is without sin, cast the first stone against another.

  19. David permalink
    July 31, 2012 4:19 pm

    I think you make some great points about having a compassionate spirit and showing the love of God to others. However I think you miss the point of supporting Chick Fil A. Its not about waggeling ones finger in the face of hurting people. If it were I would whole heartedly agree with you. Rather Its about not giving in to the fear of what others think of you and supporting someone who has defied such a fear. So its about letting Mr. Cathy know that there are 7000 others who have not yet bowed a knee to Baal. Some may protest for the wrong reason but you shoudn’t paint everyone that way.

    I also agree partially with you about how Jesus would approach the situation. However I think its presumptous on anyones part to use ones fallible human thoughts and opinions to say we really know what He would do. I know that Jesus was compassionate to sinners and I do well to follow his example. I also know that he had no trouble saying “go and sin no more” which he said as well as “he who has no sin cast the first stone”. We as Christians seem to always forget the first line or the second and that is the real problem. We as Christians need to love the sinner but yet not compromise with the sin. That where the two groups of christians who fail to reach people come from. We have camp A who condemn sinners and wouldnt know compassion if they hit it in the road. Then we have camp B who are just as bad as camp A and compromise with and try to identify with the sinner so much that they fall into sin themselves and do nothing effective to help deliver people out of the sin. They are so open minded that their biblical brain falls out. What we really need is balance. We need to tell those who are casting stones to remember there own sins but we also need to say go and sin no more. We need to point out the brood of vipers when we see them coming.

    As far as gay marriage. Standing up for ones belief is not an attack of anothers personage. Now one can use it as a martyr’s pose in order to justify ones attacking of another but the two are not the same. For example I believe abortion is murder and I defend that stance vehemently. Now that does not mean I am spiteful or hateful and I love and minister those who have been deceived into this behavior the same as I would anyone. I do not attack or condemn. However as the Disciple john said a righteous man makes judgements about all things and I relay that judgement based on the word of God to those I believe will listen and I shape my actions and convictions accordingly. The same goes for gay marriage. Just because I believe that God setup an example of a male and female archetype in the home and I say so publicly does not mean that I am bashing a person who believes differently. The person who opposes my view should be just as free to express the opposite and I will treat them the same as any other person made in the image of God deserves to be treated. However that doesnt mean that I compromise and say that its ok to continue sinning, or go into fear because I am afraid that voicing my convictions may hurt someones feelings. If I know in my heart that I was doing the best I could to speak the truth in love its all that I can do and God knows my heart. I will not capitulate and lose the chance speak the truth for those who will listen because someone else will try to paint my efforts as politically incorrect or hateful. Truth be told there are many who use such a method to suppress and silence dissenting voices. Its a method of manipulation known as emotional blackmail. The person who emotionally blackmails in this context uses a false righteous indignation and claims anything the other person says is hate speech and tries to manipulate there words to fit there presuppositions. The feel if they can make the other side feel guilty or fearful that it will silence and sadly for many Christians this works perfectly as most Christians desperately do not want to be viewed as incompassionate.

    I personally am going to strive to love everyone more then ever before no matter what there sin is. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. So I am no better then any other person including those who label themselves as “gay”. However neither will I suppress the truth in unrighteousness to make up for some false sense of guilt about the emotional blackmail coming from the other side.

    V.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

    17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    ….and yes you are right. We do need to crucify ourselves but im not going to crucify the truth. Its not speaking the truth thats wrong. Its not having a motivation of love thats wrong.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    The most true expression of love is telling the truth which make people free and turns them to God. We deny people the opportunity to be free when we hide the truth. I want every hurting person who is caught up in the web of deceit or fornication to see the love in us but that cant be seperate from the truth. You have to know the enemy to defeat him. You have to know that you are in chains to break them. We need love and truth. I will pray for those who do not protest at this chic fil a thing on both sides. For those who are christians to stand for the truth in love and for the others to be able to have a moment of clarity to see beyond there agenda. I will support Mr. Cathy’s right to speak freely and I will most certainly point out the over reaction to it on both sides.

    • Sheila Davis permalink
      July 31, 2012 4:45 pm

      Thank you, David!!!! I tire of people over-simplifying issues and paint people with broad brushes. You very eloquently and with great detail have spoken my thoughts on the issue as well!!

      • aubrygrace permalink*
        July 31, 2012 5:12 pm

        I’m sure there are very nuanced positions to this issue, but these are the loudest voices I am hearing, so I chose to focus on them for the sake of not writing a book. It’s not intended to paint all with a broad brush, it’s intended to speak to the majorities. When you write, you find that you have to limit things somewhere. I’m sorry you found the article inadequate.

      • Sheila Davis permalink
        July 31, 2012 5:35 pm

        Yes, I thought your article very inadequate in capturing what is going on with this issue and I feel you “turned on” your fellow believers and grossly mischaracterized them. I have not heard this “hatred” from Christians that you seem to have heard, but I have heard it from the gay community. I think you are very naive when it comes to their agenda. All one has to do is say it is wrong and you will hear that person called every vile name in the book by these so-called persecuted people. I think just like the “race baiting” that goes on for political purposes in our discourse, the so-called “bullying” that homosexuals experience is greatly exaggerated for political purposes as well.

      • aubrygrace permalink*
        July 31, 2012 5:47 pm

        I don’t think I turned on anyone by encouraging them to love better. I’ve definitely heard hatred from the Christian community, so maybe we run in very different circles. I have several gay friends who have experienced loads of bullying as well, so I just disagree with you. The fact that their suicide rate is significantly higher than the general population should concern all of us. I’m not talking “agendas” and political games. I’m talking about people.

      • Sheila Davis permalink
        July 31, 2012 6:02 pm

        It didn’t sound like you were encouraging but admonishing. I don’t condone ill treatment of anyone and I’m sorry to hear about your friends, but I don’t believe that behavior is the norm among believers. I have great love for the Church for it is the Bride and Body of Christ and I take great offense when I feel it is being unfairly accused. We seem to think it’s okay to believe the worst of Christians and the best of immoral unbelievers. Of course, individually we need to love everyone but we need to push back against the agenda to destroy traditional marriage by redefining it.

      • Tim permalink
        July 31, 2012 6:19 pm

        Sheila, not everyone in the LGBTQ community responds as you say they do (“All one has to do is say it is wrong and you will hear that person called every vile name in the book by these so-called persecuted people”), just as not everyone in the Body of Christ acts the same when facing hard issues in the world God placed us in.

        And discrimination against gays, etc., is a reality. I’ve seen it in my community, and in the trial court in which I serve. No one should be bullied for this, yet some people will engage in discrimination, bullying and all out crimes (theft, beatings, murder) because the victim is gay. Christians should be appalled at this and speak up against it. Jesus did when he saw people bullied for their sexual conduct.

        Everyone who is acting contrary to God’s word needs correction, not condemnation.

        Blessings,
        Tim

      • Sheila Davis permalink
        July 31, 2012 6:39 pm

        Crime is crime regardless of the sexual orientation of the victim and we should be diligent to bring the perpetrators to justice. But I truly believe that the “statistics” of crimes against homosexuals are exaggerated so that an agenda can be pushed to rewrite laws in favor of one section of the population over another. I believe ultimately that the gay community knows that the Bible is the last “hurtle” they have to overcome in convincing people that being gay is okay and not immoral. Once they gain the political power they need, what’s to stop them from pushing legislation that will make it illegal to hold the position that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin?

      • Tim permalink
        July 31, 2012 7:05 pm

        “I truly believe that the “statistics” of crimes against homosexuals are exaggerated”

        Here are the FBI statistics, based on actual hate crime research numbers and not “beliefs” –

        ■17.6 percent were victims because of a bias against a particular sexual orientation.
        … of these:
        ■57.5 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-male homosexual bias.
        ■27.3 percent were victims because of an anti-homosexual bias.
        ■11.6 percent were victims because of an anti-female homosexual bias.
        ■2.0 percent were victims because of an anti-heterosexual bias.
        ■1.6 percent were victims because of an anti-bisexual bias.

        So when it comes to statistics about sexual orientation crimes of violence (17.6% of the total crimes in the report), only 2% of them were because the victim was a heterosexual. The other 98% were based on the victim being LGB. All 100% of these crimes are appalling, and represent real victims regardless of their status. (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/victims.html)

        Blessings,
        Tim

      • Sheila Davis permalink
        July 31, 2012 7:28 pm

        Do you have any statistics that show how many of the perpetrators claimed to be Christian? Why do Christians get persecuted for the sins of wicked people who hate others? I have reread Ms. Smith’s original article again now several times, and believe I may have misread her original intent of said article. Yes, I believe we are called as Christians to love all people regardless of their lifestyles and I don’t think we should use this opportunity to show our support of a Christian business and its right to its views, as an opportunity to condemn homosexuals. And I don’t believe that was Mr. Huckabee’s intent either . Mr. Cathy was attacked for his beliefs and I plan to by a sandwich to show him that he is not alone in his convictions.

      • Tim permalink
        July 31, 2012 7:34 pm

        You ask if the perpetrators were Christians? I don’t have statistics on that, whether by belief or by research. (I thought you were saying that statistics of gay crime victims were inflated. I didn’t realize you were saying Christians were being wrongly accused of crimes of violence against LGBTQ victims.)
        ;-)
        Tim

      • Sheila Davis permalink
        July 31, 2012 8:01 pm

        Well, unfortunately we live in a society where everything is politicized and I do believe this is an issue that will be used to take away our freedom of religion. Of course, rather than curse the darkness, we as believers need to be on our knees praying that God will heal our land. Christianity has been the singlemost reason that human injustices have been overcome in the past. We truly need another Great Awakening. :)

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      July 31, 2012 4:51 pm

      Well, I rather agree with you. I definitely agree in the balance of truth and love. But I think we turn off the LGBT community too quickly because we’re so afraid that they will think we condone what they’re doing. They need to hear our love and feel our protection from the stones before we say, “Go and sin no more.” And with the current cultural climate that tells them that their sexuality is the entirety of their identity, it takes a lot of time and trust-building to get to this point. My point is that we are quick with truth but slow with love, and this is out of balance, too.

      I don’t think it’s presumptuous at all to imagine Jesus’ reactions. I didn’t say, “This is what He would do.” I have no idea what He would do – I can just only imagine, and I think we do that every day when we decide what’s in His will and what isn’t. Thanks for your thorough response.

  20. July 31, 2012 7:43 pm

    I work at a Chick-Fil-A located in the mall, and some of our most dedicated customers are gays who work in nearby stores. Why? We treat them with love and respect. They know that personally, we don’t agree with their lifestyle. But we smile and talk and ask about their lives. In fact, one guy told us that he thinks the protests are stupid and obnoxious and that if someone didn’t like what we stood for, they should just not buy our food (as he was purchasing his daily meal). Stand for your beliefs and display your love.

  21. Rob permalink
    August 1, 2012 11:42 am

    Hate the sin but love the sinner. He who is without sin cast the first stone.

  22. Sis permalink
    August 1, 2012 5:16 pm

    Aubry, whether you are naive about any other agendas or not, you show yourself to be spot-on when it comes to the agenda of Christ. Thank you for your heartfelt message here, I received great encouragement from it today.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 2, 2012 10:23 am

      Thank you for your kind words. Blessings.

  23. uherbach permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:27 pm

    I am not a Christian, but I was raised in a Christian home with Christian values. I was touched by your post. I love your straight-forward explanations for the best ways in which Christians can interact with persons who have been isolated by some Christian groups. If the world lived by the values that you express so eloquently, we would not question our brothers but love them as Christ taught regardless of creed.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 2, 2012 10:22 am

      Beautiful words. Thank you so much. Peace to you.

  24. August 1, 2012 11:52 pm

    Honestly, Christians would do well to just throw out the whole Old Testament in its entirety. There’s so much messed up stuff in there e.g. condoning slavery, rape, murder, and human sacrifice. And the parts “denouncing” homosexuality in the NT are vague at best (when translated from the original Greek). It’s pretty clear that most Christians’ view homosexuality is not in line with Jesus’, focusing far too much on OT lawyering instead of NT loving.

    • Tim permalink
      August 2, 2012 12:03 am

      A lot of people suggested that in the early church days too, but that’s a very short-sighted thing to do. The wiser heads realized that all Scripture is God breathed and useful for his people (2 Timothy 3:16-17), not just the New Testament writings. Throw out the Old Testament and you throw out the Bible Jesus read.

      Blessings,
      Tim

      • August 2, 2012 1:33 am

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t mind too much. Jesus strongly criticized those who emphasized the OT law. And I strongly disagree that it’s “shortsighted.” I think it’s actually the best thing for Christians and the Church in the long run, as it takes the focus off the “law” and puts it on the “love.”

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 2, 2012 10:21 am

      Here’s the deal. You can’t tell a group of people to throw out their holy book because it doesn’t suit the cultural ideals of the day, and then just grab the stuff out of it that you like. Christians worship a God of love, but also a holy God. We believe we were given Scripture to live by, so we wrestle with the parts that we don’t agree with, try to figure out what it means for us today, and conform our lives to the Scriptures. We cannot make God in our image by deciding that we won’t do as He says because we wouldn’t do things that way.

      Nowhere does the OT condone slavery, rape, murder, or human sacrifice. You cannot read a document written thousands of years ago to an entirely different people with a different culture and history, and expect to read it straight into our times. The Bible gives guidelines for slave owners, assuming that they own slaves. The Law demanded that Israel treat their slaves with dignity, pay them honest wages, give them a day off every week, and even made provisions to set slaves free every 50 years (year of Jubilee). The quality of life this would have given slaves is astounding compared to the other surrounding cultures of the times. The Bible is very much against rape and is for the provision of women. Once raped, she was to marry the rapist (which sounds horrid to us), but once her virginity had been taken, no one else would have married her. It’s not like she could go out and get a job – marrying the man who raped her would give her a life after a horrible tragedy, and it would force the rapist to take responsibility for the rest of his life. Obviously, we have better structures in place these days to take care of rape victims. God’s Law shows us that He cares deeply about justice because He is a holy God – this looks different in different cultures.

      With murder, I’m assuming you’re talking about the conquest of the Promised Land. And I wrestled with this for years. God wiped out nearly all of humanity with the Flood for their sinfulness, and then uses Israel on a more minor scale to slaughter entire people groups. But God had talked about these sinful people to Abraham 400 years earlier – He was very patient, waiting for them to repent. They were doing child sacrifices and all sorts of horrible things. Finally, God judged those nations through Israel. God hates sin, and seeks to root it out because of its destructive nature. He knows that sin effects everyone, not just the one who sins.

      Jesus didn’t throw out the OT – he fulfilled it by becoming the sacrifice that the Law required for sin. God is still holy and is still just, and He will root out sin once and for all soon. Until then, he calls people to come to Jesus not just to learn how to love, but to take on His life and leave a life of sin – because that only leads to death. And as those who are under the curse of death from sin, it’s hardly up to us to decide what is sin and what isn’t.

      I’ve looked at the original Greek (which is not a secret language that suddenly enlightens the reader) and it is not so vague as you describe.

      • Tim permalink
        August 2, 2012 10:28 am

        Wow that was good, Aubry.

      • August 3, 2012 3:37 am

        Sacrifice: Jephthah sacrifices his daughter as a burnt offering to keep his covenant with God. God does nothing to stop him.

        Slavery: too many to count, but here’s a nice one from Exodus–

        “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)”

        Nice to know you can beat your slaves, so long as they don’t die.

        Rape, pillage, and Murder: Judges 21, Numbers 31, Deuteronmy 20, etc.

        And seriously? What kind of psychopath would have a rape victim marry her attacker? Disgusting.

        Don’t you think God would have known that people (like yourself) would be reading His word thousands of years later? Shouldn’t God’s word and commandments withstand the test of time?

        Or are you saying that they do not, and should not, apply today in the same way they did thousands of years ago, seeing as times have changed? Perhaps similarly, condemnation of homosexuality shouldn’t be applied the same way.

  25. kayejohn permalink
    August 2, 2012 12:18 am

    I started to comment.. and then it turned reallyyyy lengthy! So…

    This is wonderfully written. And I was with you except for the whole bit about not being able to get around the biblical teaching that homosexuality is wrong.

    If you have the time/interest… continued here…

    http://makemeatree.com/2012/08/01/because-i-dont-have-a-tv-to-watch-the-olympics-on/

  26. Barbara Tatum permalink
    August 2, 2012 3:58 am

    This was one of the most respectful dialogues I’ve seen on this issue, yet it completely ignored what, to me, compels all human beings who respect the dignity and sanctity of human life, to stop frequenting Chick Fil A- the fact that corporate donations have funded organizations like Exodus International, which not only has a well documented history of association with Holocaust deniers, but also has a history of promoting the criminalization of homosexuality, first in Uganda leading up to proposed legislation in 2009 that would have made homosexuality a capital offense, and then, after a major public backlash and retractions of that statement, a board member for that organization, working in his official capacity, made similar statements in Jamaica just a couple of months ago. I do not deny that Exodus has engaged in a very intentional PR campaign to try to distance themselves from this- there was a major public backlash to the proposed law in Uganda and they backpedaled like crazy when that news started to break, but if you research stuff starting around 2008 and look at what they were promoting in Uganda, who they were working with, it is very, very difficult to avoid coming to the conclusion that, at worst, they intentionally sought legislation like the kill-gay legislation, and, at best, that they were willfully blind to the level of animosity towards gays in Uganda and continued to promote anti-gay rhetoric through the willful spreading of misinformation about gays in reckless disregard of the consequences while working with a Holocaust denier. Chick Fil A also funded the Family Research Council, which lobbied against the passage of a House Resolution to condemn that bill (they say it was to change language in the bill that they deemed pro-homosexual but do not deny opposing passage of the bill as written- the bill was never passed). I am a big fan of Jesus Christ, not such a fan of many of his self-proclaimed followers, but a big fan of Jesus Christ., I just don’t see how anyone who claims to love and honor Jesus Christ could ever give another penny to a company that donated to organizations that, in any way, promote genocidal behavior, whether through Holocaust denial, by making statements suggesting that people need to adhere to Leviticus when dealing with homosexuals, or by refusing to oppose genocide because doing so might send some type of pro-gay message. I simply think that genocide and Jesus are irreconcilable concepts.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 2, 2012 10:06 am

      I agree that there is some major injustice going on in the world, and I don’t doubt what you’ve said about Exodus or FRC – I’m ignorant of all the in’s and out’s of each of those organizations. But I don’t think boycotting Chick-Fil-A because the company funds those programs is all that effective, rather than speaking out about these companies directly. They are the ones perpetrating injustice. Truett Cathy is simply a Christian trying to live out his beliefs, and if your statements about these organizations are true, then he has been lied to as well. He doesn’t believe he’s sponsoring genocidal behavior, he thinks he’s helping the cause of the family, and helping homosexuals out of their lifestyle (Exodus).
      There is so much injustice on a corporate scale. But punishing the companies at the tail end of it is not quite as effective as going for the perpetrators of the injustice. Do we stop patronzing gas stations or stores that sell any petroleum products (which is…every business ever created) because oil companies are causing injustice (and they are)? What about Hershey, which gets much of its chocolate from child slavery? Do we look up every CEO who has ever purchased chocolate from them? I’m not brushing off the injustice. I just think people are attacking the wrong companies.

  27. August 2, 2012 9:49 am

    Thanks for this! Here’s something worth considering–http://www.theidentitybridge.com/bridge-at-battle-of-chick-fil-a/

  28. gdthrasher permalink
    August 2, 2012 2:30 pm

    “They aren’t ‘shaking their fists at God’ in defiance, they are struggling with real attractions and emotions that bring bullying and hatred into their lives.”

    You admit in your post that you cannot explain away the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual relations. The Bible also teaches us that you are either for or against God – there is no middle ground. Therefore, anyone living in that lifestyle IS (even if only figuratively) shaking their fists at God in defiance. And while terrible and wrong on the part of the perpetrators, the bullying and hatred is there as a consequence of their sin. All sin is a result of lusts and emotions, not just sexual sins.

    Anyway, I’ve posted my thoughts on the matter on my blog ( http://gdthrasher.com/i-hate-the-gays/ ) if you are interested.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 2, 2012 3:44 pm

      I’m certainly not down-playing the severity of sin and our need for holiness. We are all worthy of death and every breath God gives us is pure grace.
      Sin makes us defensive – which you will know if you’ve ever been confronted about your own sin, even by someone who is trying to be gentle and caring. The defensiveness increases to the point of not being able to listen if they approach you in an unloving way. I’m saying that because this issue is SO complicated and multi-faceted and emotional – much more than other sins of our day – we need to approach people with caring and love and gentleness. It’s okay to take time to let truth unfold so that they can hear it well. And it’s okay to listen to their concerns to figure out what Jesus wants to say to their hearts – not just their sin. We can trust the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and bring them to repentance – we just need to help them see Jesus.

      • gdthrasher permalink
        August 3, 2012 11:37 am

        I don’t disagree with anything in your response, but I do wish to point out that defensiveness concerning sin is a mark against the sinner, not the one shedding light on it. I’m not saying to beat a sinner over the head with your Bible until they relent. I’m saying that it should be clear upfront where you stand.

  29. Amber permalink
    August 3, 2012 6:27 pm

    Bravo!

  30. August 6, 2012 10:16 am

    Wow Aubry!

    I thought this topic would get a bigger response! Maybe your next topic should be on Calvinism?

    I am responding to your email exchange with Laurie. I think that most gay/lesbian people know instictively what the Bible says and how the Christian church views their lifestyle. Therefore, we do not need to point this out, as if somehow they missed the memo.

    I think we can relax as believers a bit (or a lot!) in our own personal interactions with them. I think your advice is good. I think it is more helpful when we focus more on our sanctification, our own struggle to say no to our own sin and cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ. If more of that was happening, I think their would be less problems here.

    The issue I personally wrestle with is the gay/lesbian believer living an active gay/lesbian lifestyle. I admit, I don’t know how to navigate through that mine field.

    When we were leading a house church, I receved an email from a man who had had an operation to become a woman. Later, while in a relationship with another woman, he realized that he had made a mistake. In the meantime, they had both come to Christ, wanted to get married and wanted to know if they would be accepted at our fellowship.

    Would they? Would they be at yours?

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first if this was a hoax or if it was true, and it opened up a very messy can of worms for me personally. How does a church practice this “love the person, but con’t condone the lifestyle thing”? How would you want your fellowship to respond?

    I will admit that this truly is a rare case. This is not something every pastor has to know how to answer. But it did happen to me.

    When I was pastoring, we had a terriffic husband and wife who had three adult children. One son was hopelessly struggling with cocaine addiction, the other was an extremly flamboyant cross dressing homosexual. They were both welcomed to our services, and thought the cross-dressing son, received many raised eybrows, he always felt welcomed. Today, 15 years later, he is still the same.

    • aubrygrace permalink*
      August 7, 2012 4:48 pm

      Ha, I wouldn’t touch Calvinism with a 10-foot pole.
      Some good questions to ponder, for sure. And with the growing popularity of sex-change operations, we’d be foolish not to think hard about this. How should the Church respond? That will probably be on my mind for awhile. I’d love to hear anyone else’s input on these!

      • Tim permalink
        August 7, 2012 4:53 pm

        I think the church should respond through the members of the body of Christ. For me, I’d invite the couple over for dinner and get to know them.

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