I do have some profound comments on the Olympics. They'll have to wait because of my not-so-profound thoughts on the chicken controversy.
I've been seeing both sides and riding the fence on this issue so long that my eyes are crossed and...the upper portion of my lower limbs is chafing.
On one side of the fence are those who stood in rock-concert long lines to buy a chicken sandwich yesterday. Some of those in the queue were there in support of the owner’s stance on traditional marriage, some in support of his right to free speech, and many, no doubt, for both. A goodly portion were also Christians, showing solidarity for another professing believer.
As a fan of free speech and traditional marriage I was firmly on the chicken side of the fence. But when my mind’s eye wandered to the other side the trouble began.
Some folks stayed on that side because they hate the policies and beliefs of the franchise owner. Or they believe free speech is free only in limited circumstances. Can’t do much about them. Some were there because they are vegetarians. A few anxious beef producers of America were leaning over the fence, telling people that chicken may be fine for lunch but beef is what’s for dinner.
But could there be some mixed in over there who are struggling with traditional marriage?
Not only the gay couples. The divorced people. Those who have cheated on a husband or wife. Those living together before marriage. Those who have engaged in intimate relations before marriage. The husbands who don’t love their wives as Christ loves the church, the wives with so little respect for their husbands that they will mock and criticize them in public. All these are outside the sphere of traditional marriage as defined in the Bible.
Yes. You’re right. Many of those described above aren’t struggling. They are (they believe) happy with their choices. But not all. I guarantee not all. What about the ones God may be drawing to hear His Word and be doused in grace? What about those who have realized the lives they lead aren’t free choices, but are chaining them to a cruel master? Will they look at the chicken lovers and say, “Christians? Christians won’t let me into their church. They hate me. I can tell. They’re waiting in line 2 hours for a fast-food chicken sandwich, for goodness sake.”
We can’t tear the fence down. That is done by Someone more powerful. But can we lean over? Can we talk over the fence to those on the other side? Invite them through the narrow gate but explain that none of us, not even the ones who have upheld every external command regarding marriage, are good enough to go through?
Maybe explain that their sin and our sin are all sin and all keep us away from God. But He tears down dividing walls, He convicts of sin, He cleanses, He purifies. Can we encourage them to meet Him with us at church? Convince them that they don’t have to clean up first. God will take care of that. Let them see that chicken-lovers are also fellow-sinner-lovers.
Oh. And we love vegetarians too.