Random Thoughts About The Great Chicken War of 2012
(1) Culture war continues to be a primary way that group beliefs are communicated. Spikes in culture war offer an unhealthy but particularly effective way to reach masses with our message. To illustrate, I recently posted about 57 prisoners that came to Christ in a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit. My Chick-Fil-A post at the peak of The Great Chicken War of 2012 scored a viral rating, garnering 500% more reads than the story about our fifty-seven brothers. The movements of Christ are often over-shadowed by culture war.
(2) Culture war tends to promote secondary messages over core beliefs. Spikes in culture war tend to scale our messages down the ladder of core beliefs – at the cost of our identity or witness. One Christian said of my Chick-Fil-A post: “Sometimes you have to stand up and show support instead of being so passive.” This reflected his conviction that we should (a) stand for First Amendment Rights; and (b) oppose gay marriage. The Gospel – our core message – is so often missed in the midst of culture war.
(3) Culture war seems to satisfy a tribal desire for camaraderie, but the unforeseen side-effects often blind us to redemptive spirituality. When we coalesce around a belief, our witness becomes issue-focused instead of people-centric. You cannot witness the presence of Jesus to another individual by standing in a record-breaking line to purchase a chicken sandwich (unless you talk about Jesus, I suppose). In that setting, it would likely be evangelizing the evangelized. While eating chicken sandwiches will never damage your witness, “we” can damage it when we confuse culture war for the Kingdom of God.
(4) I mentioned a blinding effect. What I mean is this: we can be so passionate about preserving the technical definition of biblical marriage at the very same time that we fail to tangibly protect it. If we remove this plank, we see that the number of evangelical heterosexual marriages failing the biblical mandate far outnumber same-sex marriages in America. We sometimes escape our greater responsibility to God by finding someone else to blame for the problems before us…right before us. We need better vision.
(5) Sometimes, a viral moment unexpectedly brings opponents together – in the very midst of culture war – as they discover some principle they agree on. This occurred when a corporate executive filmed himself bullying an unsuspecting Chick-Fil-A employee. LGBT+ leaders quickly condemned his behavior – and he was fired by his employer. Ouch! We, as evangelicals, must also speak out against anti-gay bullying that results in countless LGBT+ teen suicides each year. Increasingly, this is happening – and it will continue to be a top priority of Lead Them Home.
This week, we may have unintentionally made chicken big and Jesus little. Now that this flash-point culture war is coming to a close (I hope), let us get back to the business of cultivating a redemptive witness where Jesus is grand and chicken is simply delicious. As a closing thought: Jesus was often over-shadowed, missed and confused for something He never intended to be (an earthly king, for example), but He never failed to reach those He loves. Let us follow Him and do his core work no matter how tempting culture war can be.
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