Yesterday a major battle in the culture war went down at fast food establishments and all over social media. Apparently true disciples of Jesus ingest fatty (and delicious!) chicken sandwiches while thumbing their nose at the unwashed liberals. Or maybe the true disciples of Jesus show how much they love their neighbor by heaping judgment and condemnation at the right wing crazies. It’s all a little unclear, lost in a cloud of salt and ketchup.
Hopefully today the dust (and grease) has settled and we can take a step back from the insanity.
Here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t protest or boycott his enemies, he had dinner with them. And Jesus didn’t buy a sandwich to show his support for a certain ideology, he lived it.
Jesus didn’t call us to buy sandwiches or to protest someone else’s opinion. He did say a lot about loving our neighbor, but not a lot of that happened outside chicken restaurants across the U.S. yesterday.
What happened was more fighting over a political and cultural issue. But instead of fighting for Jesus, we were fighting for chicken. Jesus isn’t a chicken (fried, grilled or otherwise).
If you want to take a stand on a political or cultural issue, go for it. As we learned yesterday from our church communication hero G.K. Chesterton, sometimes it’s OK to be political or controversial. But at the end of the day your love for Jesus should outshine your love/hate for chicken (and don’t we all love/hate chicken?). But if all people see is your protest sign or your bag of chicken, they’re not seeing Jesus. If all they see is your out-of-context rant on Facebook, they’re not seeing the love you normally show in person. If all people see in you is another culture battle, then they probably want nothing to do with you.
We’re kind of obsessed with how the local church communicates around here and while this battle wasn’t primarily waged by churches, it is being fought and defended by people in the pews and people behind pulpits. Before your pastor weighs in or your congregation starts rallying to one side or the other and your Facebook page gets sucked in, you better think about what your role communicates.
Because while everybody is fighting over chicken, most of culture has already decided about Christianity. They’ve decided that we’re judgmental. That we hate homosexuals. That we’re too political. And they don’t want to listen to anything else we have to say. So before you wave another chicken finger in the air, maybe we should think about how that statement helps us communicate Jesus to a dying world.
There have been a lot of excellent commentaries on this issue lately, but here are a few that caught our eye: