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August 15, 2012

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I don't know if it is media or just our culture but every time there is a debate, the extremes are the only views presented and we are forced to pick a side and be railed on by the other because of it. And if you don't pick, you're apathetic or spineless. Then because of all that, it comes true like a self-fulfilling prophecy. We become more extreme in order to fight the other side, more spineless because we're trying to not offend people, or more apathetic because we realize we're going to get yelled at no matter what. I loved your article, I just don't know if this kind of thoughtful discussion can exist in the mainstream. We're too busy being entertained.

Thanks, Alex. You're so right about our desire for entertainment. That could easily be point #11: This was just a circus driven by the media's need for a news story. Thanks again for reading the post. -Tim

Amen, Brother Alex! And you, Tim--though I don't know where we'd be without Point 5. We might have to...change.

While I agree with much (most?) of what was said, I do have a couple of questions/comments, for some for which there is no definitive answer.
(1) A society (any group, really) lives by (exists according to) someone's (singularly or collectively) mores. Who gets to decide what these are? And if decisions are made by consensus, who determines when they change. And what is done to those who choose to not to follow the 'group's' decision? (2) Some people (both sides of the marriage debate) want to make every lifestyle issue political and divisive. Genuine dialogue (polite change of ideas) seems to be passé. I am completely in favor of 'market place' idea discussion. Some (both sides) however because of whatever reason (feeling threatened?) want to 'shout down' anyone with an opposing viewpoint. (3) Yes, there was a huge expenditure of time, money and human resource of the 'The Forever Line' day. Is there ever a time to labor in favor of a particular viewpoint? How much does one give of themselves to protest or support an idea (Ghandi, M L King, doing w/o meals and sending the resulting $ to another country, etc.) Is there a prescribed way of disagreeing (or agreeing) with societal issues? Is there a worthwhile cause that would require the ultimate price? Who gets to count calories to determine if anyone (a Christian) should have a meal? Does eating a meal, one that someone has deemed unhealthy, after praying over it make it 'holy', or is the prayer negated at a certain calorie count level? (4) If I read my bible simply asking for God to reveal Himself to me, and what I discover is in conflict with someone else, at what level of disagreement am I supposed to go in attempting to persuade that someone, desiring for that person more freedom within.

Changing focus: Any secular society is not necessarily righteous, as determined by the bible. Jesus' comment Mt. 22:21; Paul Rom. 13. I think that maybe Jesus purposefully made the issue 'unsettled'. 'Morality cannot be legislated' is correct ... but (see previous morals comment). There are without a doubt Christian brothers and sisters in the homosexual community, just as there are Christians who lie, cheat on taxes, gossip, etc. God does not have a chart rating sins. I think that most Christians in the 'western' world DO NOT have a true concept of wealth, its accruement and distribution. as determined by the scriptures. I think that "The Christian Right" is an impediment to the spreading of the good news of Jesus to all people.

Tim, I do not normally comment on any blog, but I so appreciate your afterthoughts. Thank you for taking the time to summarize...

Thoughtful, articulate, and challenging - thanks Tim!

I particularly appreciate how you place these discussions within the context of the Christian community. While some may disagree with these Anabaptist-leanings (I don't!), your reflections rightly wrestles with what it means for us to live as "aliens and strangers" (1 Pt. 2:11) in whatever social or political situation we find ourselves.

I agree and disagree with your parts of your post. It would be too lengthy for me to discuss all 10 adequately so I will stick to your premise and point #4.

"10 reasons why a restaurant is a bad place for a theological showdown."

Some may have used this event "debacle" as such but you need to remember why this all started. The founder of Chick-Fil-A was asked about what he believed. He responded honestly and did not deny Christ. Because of his answer, he was attacked by the GLBT community. Elected Officials from cities were banning the company from their city because of his beliefs. Imagine if a Mayor of a city said, "No homosexual business are allowed in this city. They better stay away." Such as the Mayor of the City of Chicago and San Francisco said about Chick-fil-A.

This blatant attack on Free Speech and Freedom of Religion in this country is being attacked.

Because of the attacks against Chick-fil-A, I stood in line for 2 hours to get my food. This "debacle" was not about a theological showdown but about standing against hate. Standing against the attack on free speech and freedom of religion.

On point #4.

If you look at your two points, 4 and 5, put them together. Would you be able to say this statement?

"I have thief and adulterer friends who are committed followers of Christ. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with their lifestyle, they love Jesus."

Would you be able to say:
"I have murderer and blasphemer friends who are committed followers of Christ. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with their lifestyle, they love Jesus."

If a person does not repent and TURN from their sin's, then they are not a follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit will come upon the believer and lead them to repentance if they are truly saved.

If you do not believe that homosexuality is a sin, adultery, and fornication in God's eyes, then you have implicated yourself of your point #5.

Tim - You hit several nails on the head for me. Thanks for thoughtfully articulating what has been floating around in my heart and mind.

I have a lot of problems with applying this post to the given situation. First of all Mr. Cathy isn't the one who decided to turn this into a debate. He simply stated his belief. I think a restaurant is as good a place as any to start the talk about these issues. The problem is only one side is interested in talking, and it isn't the gay community.
1. In general Christians do misuse this phrase, along with a plethora of others. However, what was said was that he supports the Biblical definition of marriage being one man and one woman. Seems like a correct use of the term to me.
2. The Bible is written to Christians, but that doesn't mean that truth isn't truth. My belief or disbelief of a principle or truth doesn't change it's validity. I could easily say the Old Testament doesn't apply to me because I'm not Jewish or under the covenent of the law. But God never threw out the law. Also if you claim that the epistles were only written for the churches they were written to, how then do you apply them to today?
3. I don't see how this is even relevant to Chick-fil-a, in fact it is the communities that often are trying to legislate his values. He believes in the sabbath and many communities will not let him expand into their communities because he chooses not to open on Sunday.
4. It seems to me that the gay community, at least the militant portion of that community, are the ones who started this "battle". Mr. Cathy simply expressed his belief. He did not ask the gay community to stage protests, he did not say they would not serve gay's or anything that directly showed discrimination against the gay community. He simply expressed a belief. Should he have not expressed that belief because it might offend? If that is the standard then we might as well close our churches.
5. Yes Christians are very good at picking and choosing scriptures that we like. Here again what does this have to do with Mr. Cathy? He wasn't asked about other area of scripture. Do you expect him to give a speech on all sin? Besides the fact that we are all in the process of becoming more Godly. I will be the first to say I am no where near where I need to be. I am a sinner just as much as anyone. But there is a huge difference between those who are striving to live godly lives and those who have chosen to live a life style that is directly in conflict with God's word and deny the truth of God's word willfully.
6. If I am understanding this point you are saying that Mr. Cathy should not have said what he said and christians should not have responded to it as they did because those who disagree would lable all Christians as haters. If we stop speaking truth and supporting those who do because we will offend some, we might as well not have any values. The fact is anytime any group says something is wrong it will offend someone and someone will start labliing a group as haters.
O.k. my computer is about to freeze but I think those are my most heartfelt objections to this post.

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