Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Why I will not eat at Chick-Fil-A today!

You don’t like them?  You obviously don’t know me very well.  I’ve posted about my visits in the past… and not a week goes by that I don’t go there at least once, maybe twice … even while on weight watchers.

That’s right! You’re trying to lose weight so you can’t?  Wrong again.  I’ve made my weekly visits (or more) while losing over 40 pounds.  Sometimes I’m forced to select the grilled option or omit the waffle fries though, and always get a calorie-free drink, but I still enjoy the chicken.

You don’t like chicken?   What? Are you paying attention or just skimming through until you see the key word gay?  I love chicken.  It’s my leaner protein meat of choice, and the reason I give myself the right to get the breaded over the grilled is … is there really a need to answer that?  It just tastes so great that grilled is like cardboard in comparison!

I know, you just don’t like their business practices or the company themselves?  You would be completely in error my friends.  I am fascinated by the success of a business with a limited menu, a shorter work week, and so much consistency in management and customer service that I know I will always be greeted with a smile and a genuine “my pleasure”.  I’ve attended several John Maxwell led Chick-Fil-A leadercast seminars just to try to learn how to be a better manager myself.

Obviously then, in light of all of the recent hype and publicity, you must be gay!  Really?  I am happily heterosexual, married to one woman for one lifetime, celebrating 27 ½ years together as of next Thursday, August 9.

Ah, should have realized, there are no restaurants near you then!  Actually, there are three.

Friends, while I am a Christian, and believe, along with Dan Cathy that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman, and value freedom of speech, I know that we are each on our own journey with God.  I have more friends today who are self-proclaimed homosexuals than ever before in my life.  When God started bringing these friends into my life years ago, it rocked my theological world a bit.  I found myself in discussions with some of them trying to change them.  I ultimately realized I personally had enough things needing changing in my own life that I needed to just love them and accept them and let any changing I felt God required up to God Himself.  It wasn’t my job.  I only needed to focus on myself.  These friends are very kind to me and accept me for who I am – heterosexual white male Christian and all hopefully because they see my heart first.   

Because almost all of my gay friends say they are followers of Jesus, I refer to the writings of Paul in Romans 15 which reminds me:
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

While Jesus Himself never spoke about homosexuality, plenty of times He spoke of love and even proclaimed the greatest commandments of all to involve love…love for God Himself, and love for our neighbors equal to how we love ourselves.

So while it is important to thank a business whose CEO has convictions he is not ashamed of, and important that in America we have freedom to do or to not do business with any business we choose for whatever reason we choose, it is also not a war of us versus them, especially when some of them are some of us.  Love over-rides our differences because Christ died for all ….   I respect those who took part in the appreciation day because I’m sure their intent was good at heart.  I have many friends in that group as well … in number, probably more.  I just hope we can look at our motivations and how we treat people differently than knee jerk reactions from both sides have done.

While I may not always agree with statements or positions of the CEO of my own employer, he should still have the freedom to speak and to act.  I’m sure I frequent companies whose ideals I may disagree with … maybe they aren’t brave enough to admit their philosophical convictions for fear of losing customers.   So, I will be thanking Dan Cathy in writing with a copy of this blog instead of with my dollars today.  My sandwich can wait -- it is not as important as declaring how much I value all of my friendships.  These relationships are the vehicles that God uses to allow us to speak into the lives of each other and how He can change the things that need changed – which ironically may or may not be what we actually think needs changed in our friend.  That’s why He is God and we are not.

One other point I hope that my gay friends will acknowledge...  Of the hundreds (at least) of times that I have walked into a Chick-Fil-A, or passed through their drive-through, I have never been asked about my sexual orientation, never refused service, never received a smile only if I was with my wife and kids, never asked if I was a Christian … but always treated kindly and respectfully, and my money and presence was valued exactly the same as the customer both in front of and behind me because yes… there is always a line … much longer today I’m sure, just one other reason I won’t be eating there.  They’ll be fine.  And so will my friends…