A Dangerous New Christian Trinity: Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-a & Duck Dynasty

If I hadn’t read it several times with my own eyes, I would think that Micah 6:8 says:

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you–
but to do justice  defend Hobby Lobby, and to love mercy eat regularly at Chick-fil-a,
and to walk humbly with your God protest the protesters of Phil Robertson?”

I’ve even preached from that passage a couple times. But a quick look at modern Christian practice reveals that I must have an antiquated version of the Scriptures. It seems we are more about craft stores, chicken sandwiches, and bearded guys than we are justice, mercy, and humility. Have you noticed that?

hobby-lobby-day

Every time I see a Facebook post lamenting how a craft store is CLOSING ALL 500 STORES!!!! I think two thoughts:

1. It’s not true. Hobby Lobby is actually opening dozens more stores in 2014.

2. I don’t like doing crafts. And Jesus still rose from the dead.

2012-07-31-petition-chickfila

Every time I hear someone talk about eating chicken like it’s an act of courageous faith, I think four things:

1. I get the #2, add bacon (duh) with provolone cheese and a Sweet Tea.

2. I  wish I could get full at Chick-fil-a without spending ten bucks.

3. The devil doesn’t care if you eat at Chick-fil-a. He probably would eat there, too, if he could. He’d get the Spicy Chicken, of course.

4. Jesus still rose from the dead.

imwithphil-298x300

And all this Phil Robertson nonsense–well, don’t even get me started. This had Facebook drama written all over it from the start. Never mind that the original GQ article was pretty fair and balanced (though a little potty-mouthed). Never mind that A&E never intended to “suspend” him for long. Never mind that there was too much money to be made to do anything drastic. Never mind that Phil probably shouldn’t have said the coarse things he said, as his family members admitted on his behalf. And never mind that Duck Dynasty is an entertaining show. All those things are givens. Only three thoughts keep ticking around in my head on this one.

1. What exactly was everyone throwing a fit about?

2. What exactly did it accomplish? (You sharing a social media link did not get Phil re-instated. That was going to happen all along.)

3. Didn’t Jesus still rise from the dead?

You can watch the camo’d out right-wingers, buy your crafts from Hobby Lobby, and stop for lunch at Chick-fil-a. Pat yourself on the back. Feel good about sticking it to the liberals. Share those Facebook posts. No need to look up if what they are purporting is accurate. Put stuff in ALL CAPS TO SHOW HOW MUCH YOU MEAN IT! Talk about it at church. Here’s some spectacular news–now you can support Phil by eating at Chick-fil-a.! That’ll show ’em what Christianity is all about!

chickday_0

Or will it?

A closer look at Micah 6:8 reveals that it does not, in fact, mention Righteous Rednecks, Holy Hobby Lobby, or Cherub Chicken. Rather, it talks about doing justice, loving mercy, and walking in humility before God.

In the first draft of this blog, this was my “don’t get me wrong…” back-off paragraph where I softened the blow of what I’ve said so far. I didn’t want to be too controversial, and in a politicized Christianity like the one that is often practiced in America I know I’m probably ruffling more feathers than I normally care to ruffle. Then I decided this is a line in the sand for me. So here it goes: constant protest may be a response to issues we disagree with, but that does not mean it is a Gospel response. The teachings of Jesus center around a cross, self-sacrifice, and serving the least of these. It may be time to consider putting down our protest signs and picking up our cross.

Fellow American Christians: The power of the Gospel is not found in over-priced decor, even if they are sold by a company whose CEO is a Christian. The power of the Gospel is not found in over-priced chicken sandwiches, no matter how delicious they are, just because that company’s CEO is a believer in Jesus. And the power of the Gospel is not found in hairy, folksy outdoorsmen–even if every episode of their “reality” show ends with a family prayer. So again…can we relax a little?

The power of the Gospel is found in Jesus Christ being dead in a tomb and then not being dead any more. He rose from the dead before there was Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-a, and Duck Dynasty, and he’ll be risen from the dead when our favorite Christian companies and brands are long gone. The power of the Gospel insists that we stand up for Jesus more and for Phil a little less. If one is doing the latter to the neglect of the former then one must examine their understanding of the Gospel more closely.

We can live without our crafts and chicken and Uncle Si. We cannot live without Jesus.

When someone un-raises Jesus from the dead, let’s pitch our fits and share our posts and lament until the Chick-fil-a cows come home. Until then, may we usher in the Kingdom of God through acts of justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

_________________________________

Titus Benton is a student pastor, writer, and Executive Director of The 25 Group, a nonprofit with the ambitious aim of leveraging the wealth of the American church to fund global Kingdom work. You can learn more about The 25 Group–and maybe even jump on board with this growing community of givers–by clicking here.

19 comments

  1. Micah 6:8 doesn’t mention the US Constitution, freedom of religion, the Founding Fathers or Jesus, for that matter. How nice to take one verse and use it to criticize everyone for responding to social issues. So, forget everything else including the culture and citizenship: just evangelize, right?

    1. Hey Richard, Thanks for reading and for your take. I suspect if we knew each other we could hash out our disagreements over a burger or a coffee as friends. Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to criticize the act of responding to social issues, I was suggesting a better response–a Gospel response. This response WOULD disregard the culture because the Gospel transcends culture. It would NOT disregard citizenship, however. But I would prioritize our Kingdom of God citizenship over our American citizenship any day of the week. I do not do this perfectly, by any means, and I totally get where you’re coming from. Thanks again for reading and responding. I appreciate the dialogue.

  2. Excellent points and such in your face truth. Thank you for speaking boldly in love and gospel truth. It seems we do need reminding of what we should stand FIRM on and For. 🙂

  3. You have put it on our hearts to focus beyond the cultural wars of this day to the everlasting truth…the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    I know you and you would not pass judgement on the hundreds of thousands who, perhaps for the first time in their lives, found a cause to combat the anti-God offspring “the church” failed to correct in the 60’s. It’s fact, had “the church” rebuked that generation into cultural submission, (as it had done in all prior generations), we would not be facing the cultural war that exists today. This is not a judgement, it’s a fact.

    Now, the “grown up 60’s generation”, has become the “opinion makers” of Hollywood, Major Media, Advertising, Educators and Politics. They choose the filth we are exposed to every waking minute and they successfully promote what they were taught in the Universities – a misguided need for State-ism, Self Expression in all its forms, Humanism, Egalitarianism, and its older name, Communism.

    The opinions manifest in many forms including preaching: “political correctness, tolerance and acceptance of all behaviors.” That personal conditions are the responsibility of someone else, normally the hard working or the wealthy. That “Public” Education preaches the way to cultural enlightenment is to ignore God, be a good serf and do your part – so someone else can live off the fruit of your hard work.

    Ironic, we pay massive sums in property taxes under “legalized confiscatory theft” and increasingly outrageous university admission fees just to have our children indoctrinated into “the new world order of serfdom.” Sadly, the new world order is not to turn to God, but there is a “Great Awakening” happening and people are speaking out in faith. Crawling as they may be, the goal of restoring God over this nation is afoot. Our work at GodsHub is one example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkysrAPyOvc Your work to pivot donations to needy missions is another.

    The bible predicts the judgement of greed, corruption, abuse of power, immorality and shaking our national fist at God will be “coming to a church like ours.” Perhaps in months, I don’t know, but it is coming and you can feel it. I do know that tens of thousands of ill-prepared and hopeless will need real basic help in the form of food, sanitation, hope and salvation. It is my hope that perhaps our tiny church can be a “beacon of light” in the community – for I fear the rest will be overwhelmed with the same needs. Is there a well defined plan in place to feed the hungry and hopeless masses who will rightfully come to our church doors?

    In my simple mind, to do so will require, as a start, a substantial commercial kitchen, lots of basic necessities and thousands of bibles. Perhaps, it would be a good time to read the LDS Manual. https://www.ldsavow.com/PrepManualGeneral.html While it is not my faith, it teaches “self-reliance” and allows a church to serve those people who put their faith in the State, instead of God.

    As I close what is in spirit an agreement, I am reminded as we lose the last of our God granted “inalienable rights and freedoms”, please consider giving a pass to those who “stand up for God in the face of public persecution” and are for those who believe in self-reliance.

    I am sure you can agree if hundreds of millions would be willing to “stand for their faith in the public square”, this country would once again be: “One Nation Under God.” Not so long ago, perhaps 50 years ago, this was true. It’s amazing what 70 plus years of progressive-ism has done for (to) this nation. I would not worry about a few Christian Radicals who stand up for their faith in the only way they know how…supporting it with words, deeds and money.

    It’s how the church functions after all…loans and all.

  4. Our culture is engineered to create controversy. It gets people talking & shopping & it’s just as true for the alleged “Christian” businessmen/entertainers as for the non- believers. I’m really tired of the emotional manipulation dragged up every time some one expresses an opinion that the media doesn’t agree with.

  5. It’s about the erosion of free speech and religious liberty in this country. You can make light of it if you wish, but I happen to think it’s a very serious matter. Many people, including my own father, shed their blood to keep this country free, and I don’t plan to give up these freedoms without a fight. You can do nothing if you choose, but don’t complain when your freedoms are gone.

  6. I do think you make some fine points and are putting things back into the balance of how we should be thinking about certain situations birthing into our daily lives. I truly believe at this time or any time for that matter anything that raises discussion about our father and savior is important. With that being said i do realize in a perfect world those things would always lead us in a positive direction that would glorify Christ through our words and actions but…..its not and
    never will be perfect so we have to and need to do what we can in our …pardon me for saying….ignorant baby steps to walk towards

  7. Uhhh, well . . . as one of those 60’s rabble-rousers may I just say something simple . . . hopefully not simplistic . . . but two things . . . it has been refreshing to me to see Christians stand up for ANYTHING in this day and age and culture. Maybe, just maybe, Titus, this will wake up a portion of The Church and cause them to actually THINK THROUGH WHY THEY STAND ON WHAT AND WHOM THEY STAND. ( You railed a bit on “us”for trying to do SOMETHING distinctively Christian . . . maybe, for some, this was the first distinctively Christian thing some have done in a long time. Let it be a “beginning”.) And, secondly . . . pardon me, but I do wish you young-bucks (and buckettes) could realize that for many of us . . . Christians that happen to live in America and were raised in America and have loved the freedoms that were given to us because we were Christians in America . . . many of us are grieving what we are losing. Please do not be so hard on us . . . we loved what we had and what we grew up with IN CHURCH AND IN SCHOOL AND AT CHURCH CAMP AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. There is a grieving process that we must go through and maybe sometimes, just sometimes, a way of working through our grief is to STAND Up and Holler ENOUGH! And, by the way, we grieve for what you will probably never know about losing . . . yes, hang on to Jesus and His life and His death and His resurrection . . . it is all we really have!!!

    1. As a 73 year old preacher I agree. You are right in your understanding that too many of the young “bucks” and “buckettes” haven’t lived long enough to really understand life as it really is and realize how many of our freedoms we have lost, and will continue to lose, if people don’t speak up. I’m a proud supporter of Phil, Hobby Lobby & Chick Filet.

  8. One hundred percent agree with this entry, Titus. Well put and bravo for saying what needs to be said. It is not human nature to actually follow the Bible, it is human nature to self-preserve. See all the comments of righteous indignation about what WE ought to do. Doing what the Bible says to do involves focusing on God, not ourselves or those here on Earth, other than to treat each other as God instructs us. Until humans follow the old cliche “let go and let God” and spend more time trusting Him than their spectacularly devised protests, the devil wins. Divide and conquer has worked very well for Satan and it is in fine form in America today. We are a lost nation, but not for the reasons the “moral” majority (HA!) keep telling themselves or the rest of us. GOOD NEWS however, read the end of the book…God still wins!!

  9. With “friends” like this, who needs enemies.

    So a few people went out and supported a fellow believer in need.

    So what if that fellow believer was a rich prosperous business man who never once requested that help.

    So what if that rich prosperous business man was gracious, kind, humble and thankful for all the unrequested help.

    I, like our friend author of the above article, see absolutely no “Jesus Lessons” in helping others or their reaction to being helped.

    Sarcasm aside, and truth be told, just like when the bible says “Sin is Sin” and one sin is all it takes, wether it’s murdering a baby, or stealing a candy bar, you are destined for hell. Persecution for your faith, is persecution.

    If you won’t stand for Hobby, Chick, or Duck, why would you stand for your neighbor, or that silly pastor in Iran, or the even sillier pastor in North Korea?

    Learning the lesson that standing firm in your faith is important.

    With out that singular lesson, Jesus wouldn’t be Jesus. And all his 1st Gen disciples would just be forgotten men of history.

    Instead they stood for their faith. They clung to their cross, and their friends and followers fought on.

  10. The point of supporting Phil or anyone else is to apply pressure to those who would persecute them for their beliefs, i.e. A&E., the Obama admin., etc. I can almost guarantee that if it were one of them being boycotted for loving gay marriage or worshipping gaya or fill in the blank with any subject they support, and they would scream the loudest of all. It makes no sense to try to quash someone else’s rights in order to elevate your own. I think in school they call that bullying. So I say mind your own business, and if you don’t like what someone has to say, DON’T LISTEN!, and remember that you have no right to deny someone else his right.

  11. First of all why was Micah 6:8 used, I have personally never heard anyone use this verse (or really any other Bible verse for that matter) to protest or show support for any of these. It has always been about defending that persons right for free speech, and for them not to be discriminated against for what they said. You also stated that Phil shouldn’t have said what he did. He was just answering the questions that were asked and giving his opinion. So did you want him to lie about his opinion, or what? I do agree with the overall point you are trying to make, though about how as Christians we should act. But saying that we should not say what we believe, or defending someone’s rights, and trying to make it sound like those who support these groups/people are only doing it because they find it in Micah 6:8 instead of just simply supporting and defending them for their constitutional rights is just simply not right. You have completely missed the real reason most people do it.

  12. Like all humans, Christians like to belong to a team. It’s our Christian Team Spirit that inspires us to protest the assumed robbery of our “freedoms.” To gather together in outrage over the perceived loss of our rights–which actually have always been privileges–and shout “NOT FAIR!” -not unlike football fans on a Sunday afternoon when the ref makes a call we don’t agree with. The Christian Team has the sense the U.S. is our territory. Our turf, and we’ll fight for our Team with whatever weaponry we can conscionably acquire and employ. The Christian Team thinks back dreamily to a simpler, “kinder” time, like in the 50’s when “God” was King in this country–or at least perceived to be by middle and upper class Caucasians, and we were not challenged by other teams on our own turf. Sure, there were Commie teams, but they were over in Russia and elsewhere, and a few African American teams, but they were quickly routed. Are we not like the winning team on a football field, the ones who have held the championship title for many years, only to see it in danger of being taken by a bigger, stronger New Team? (And they shouldn’t get to play anyway, they aren’t even in our district…shoot) Aren’t we pouting about our entitlement, our place of honor on this turf? God’s turf is our hearts. He doesn’t say in the Bible that patriotism is next to Godliness. He doesn’t advise that hating someone who tries to take away your privileges is a fantastic way of spreading His gospel. He doesn’t lay it out in a game plan, and tell us how to win. He said He will win. He doesn’t need us to fight for Him. He needs us to love others, and win the battle on the turf of our own hearts by the strength given by the Holy Spirit. But, it just feels so good to shout together as a team, doesn’t it? I suggest we shout together as a team in praise to God, all together. Wow, what a huge sound that would make and others might take notice and want to join in!!

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