How did I miss this insightful essay?
Back in April, the New Yorker published a piece by freelance writer Dan Piepenbring entitled “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” While the article exposes the evils of fast foods, their advertising slogan “Eat Mor Chikin,” and his disapproval of opening their stores in the Big Apple, the writer seems more upset about the values of the founder, the late S. Truett Cathy, his son, Dan, the current CEO, and the conservative culture of the Corporation.
Piepenbring’s essay includes these complaints “The brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.”
Also “Its headquarters in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet.
Furthermore, “Its stores close on Sundays.”
And worse yet “The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God.’”
Really, these are bad things? Promoting service to others, providing an opportunity for your employees to worship on Sunday and giving God the glory, is something to be shunned? And even excoriated?
Of course, the author is upset that their CEO opposes same-sex marriage. And that of course, is a great danger to our Republic.
Now, full disclosure demands my admission to liking Chick-fil-A. I like their sandwiches. Their salads. Their shakes. Their waffle fries. And, of course, I do like the basic values espoused by the Cathy family and the corporation. I’ve even been known to stand in long lines like New Yorkers are doing to eat there.
However, I doubt I would eat at Chick-fil-A if the food was terrible. Furthermore, not everyone is eating there because they agree with their religious views. In fact, ThePreachersWord could site some Biblical and theological differences we would have with the Cathy’s. But that’s not the point.
What seems to be missed by the angry detractors of the chicken chain as well as some religious folks, is that Christianity is not a corporate proposition. It is an individual relationship. It’s personal. No company can be Christian. In fact, no nation can be Christian. The word “Christian” is the “new name” given by God to individuals, born again followers of Jesus Christ. (Ax 11:26; Ax 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16).
However, one’s commitments and convictions should influence their actions and attitudes in all walks of life. I recall a politician running for office several years ago who claimed to be a Christian but stated that he would not let his personal values influence his public life. Seriously?
The principles and precepts of Christianity should impact all of our relationships. In our family life, our vocation, and our social interactions, the values we embrace ought to direct our decisions and influence our choices. Morality cannot be not practiced in a vacuum. It must be open. Honest. And transparent. Our Christian walk must be exercised for all to see (Eph. 4:17-6:20). It is the essence of Christ’s command to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt 5:13-16).
While bigotry is dangerous and destructive, as described in the Atlantic piece, the irony is the very fears that some seem to harbor about Christianity, are the very ones expressed toward Christians. The ideology of a sizeable segment of our society says that it is acceptable for humanists, atheists, and infidels to express their amoral views, but Christians must keep quiet.
To the contrary, more than ever, followers of Christ need to lift their voices to share the Good News both in word and in deed. Let’s let our light shine, not just in a church building, but in the marketplace. In our social interactions. And in our opportunities for public discourse.
Let us use every opportunity to honor Jesus and proclaim our faith. Openly. Honestly. Lovingly. And publicly.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman