When government regimes were toppled “by the people”, we all applauded social media and patted ourselves on the back for developing such a powerful, grassroots tool of change.
Social media is good … right?
Just as John Dyer has pointed out in his book, From the Garden to the City, “although tools themselves are oriented toward a particular set of uses that will emerge when a large number of people use them,” we must also keep in mind that “people are free to choose how they will use their tools.”
How has the Church used the tool of social media during this “Chick-Fil-A” social discourse?
Considering the droves of people who turned-out for the unofficial, completely social media driven “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day,” I would say:
I considered sharing a few Internet memes that I’ve seen floating around my social media feeds, but I don’t want that hitched to ChurchMag. We talk about the intersection of Church and technology, here, and although this story has become just that, the “creative” that has stemmed from this is nothing to be proud of.
The fact that the Church is called to feed the hungry and shelter the outcast, I find it exceedingly awkward that so much of the Church turned out in grooves to make a stand against the outcast by feeding themselves.
Naturally, according to NPR, those on the other side of this debate have decided to counter the “appreciation”:
“Two days after Chick-fil-A set a one-day sales record thanks to a show of support for company President Dan Cathy and his outspoken stand against same-sex marriage, it’s “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” for gay rights activists. They plan to kiss their loved ones outside the fast-food chain’s outlets and post photos on Tumblr and other social media sites.”
I’m sure we haven’t heard or seen the last of this, as this social debate continues to take center stage — during Presidential elections, no less — in our streams of social media.
More un-follows and un-friends will ensue, I’m sure.
What Was Said
I find it best to conclude and make my point with all this Internet ugly with the words of Dan Cathy. So much of this is a turning and twisting of words, so let’s just look at what exactly he said (via Get Religion):
“We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian business.”
“That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”
“In that spirit … [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,” Cathy added. “But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners. It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. …
“We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
There you have it.
As a Christian man, he has opinions. Those opinions effect all of his decision, just like everyone else. Like, for instance, believing it’s wrong to discriminate, mock and hate others.
His business, on the other hand, is not Christian.
I have a hard time concluding this. It’s such a mess and this thing will continue to ping-pong back and forth for a while. So, let me leave you with this:
“Let it go.”
Social media is not the place to settle civic debate. Places like the ballot box is a good place to start. Let the power of Caesar stay with Ceaser, and let’s put on the full Armor of God and walk in peace.
What would have Jesus done?