Chick-Fil-A and My Sanctification or Can Christians eat food offered to Idols?

For a lot of my fellow Christians tomorrow, August 1st, has become a moment of defiance.   By now everyone has heard the comments of Dan Cathy concerning marriage.   Those comments in support of “traditional marriage” have led to a public debate about freedom, responsibility, and social justice.  Many people have said they are going to boycott Chick-Fil-A for taking such a stand, not unlike many people on the other side of this debate declaring they were going to boycott J.C. Penny when they published a picture of two men in an advertisement a month or so ago.   From politicians to people in the pews, this firestorm has mobilized people on both sides to become vocal and active in their communities.

Thus, I have received many invitations to “dine in” at Chick-Fil-A tomorrow with other people on a particular side of this debate.  There are multiple reasons for this “dine-in.” For some it is merely to show support for a company that many feel has been unfairly attacked for participating in free speech.   For others it is to push back in some cultural battle for the soul of America.  Likewise, there are those who just believe that marriage should solely be between a man and woman and want to show their support for Dan Cathy’s affirmation.  And we cannot ignore those who in general are bitter towards people of the opposite side of the political spectrum (this is on the Left and Right) and will say and do anything to cause them angst.   However, for whatever reason people have for eating at Chick-Fil-A tomorrow, and inviting me to do so, I will have to graciously decline.

There are multiple reasons as to why I will not be at Chick-Fil-A tomorrow and all of them center on my orthodox Christian faith.   It is true that I believe in the sacrament of marriage; and it is also true that the sacrament of marriage is not the same thing as Western heterosexual marriage.   (The difference between the two will have taken up in a different piece.)  So I don’t believe that what is taking place tomorrow has a 1:1 correspondence to my Christian faith as some would like to argue.  And even if it did, I am still perplexed as to why Christians would think that the best thing they could do would be to spend money.  I am not against money, nor am I against eating at Chick-Fil-A, but I am very worried that the supposed “Christian” response to what is viewed as a cultural crisis has been reduced once again to simply buying something.      Even if I were to presuppose the assumptions of my well intended Christian friends, how does consumerism lend itself to transforming a society which has been corrupted by consumerism?

Herein lays the crux of the problem for me then, if it were true that Christians in America were in a “war for the soul of America,”  and that war consisted in making America more Christian, how does participating in consumerism help that?   I venture to say that in reality many of my Christian friends are caught up in trying to preserve a culture that is less than Christian.  I am not saying that because of their values in this particular case, but because of their response.   The response is wrong.  Participating in American’s system of consumerism, that carries in itself a lot of blame for the destruction of family and society, does not make America more Christian.

There is only one sure way for America to become holy, and it can only be found in the path least traveled.   Saint Francis summed it up when he said, “sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”   Christians in America need to realize that the hard work of making America Christian begins in every individual Christian life.   It is easy to buy a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and “stick it to liberals;” it is much harder to be men and women of prayer, to fast, to give alms, and to learn to love our enemies.  But that is where the battle has to be fought.  There is a war, but it is one which should be waged within us to root out our own sin.  This world will become holy only through individual men and women becoming holy, and that has to begin with us.  Therefore, tomorrow I will not be at Chick-Fil-A, but I will say a prayer, read Scripture, attempt patience, forgive those that wrong me, practice silence, ask for forgiveness; and through cooperating with the Grace of God in the Presence of Holy Spirit maybe a small insignificant part of America will be sanctified tomorrow in that with God’s help I myself might be made holier than I am today.


24 responses to “Chick-Fil-A and My Sanctification or Can Christians eat food offered to Idols?

  • Bill Humble

    ” It is true that I believe in the sacrament of marriage; and it is also true that the sacrament of marriage is not the same thing as Western heterosexual marriage”.

    Amen, amen, and a big fat hearty AMEN. That wise assessment of yours cuts very quickly to the heart of the issue.

  • Amy Harper

    Could you give more explanation on the above comment about the sacrament of marriage being different than “western heterosexual marriage”? I’m in no way debating, just would like a little clarification for I have never heard that comment before. By the way, I agree with the above blog….it starts inside of us. We must be able to pray for our enemies and listen to the Holy Spirit to guide our actions – not our emotions. We discussed that in our Sunday School class this past Sunday and it struck a cord with me.

  • Grace Lewis

    I really appreciate your perspective on this issue. I’ve been avoiding it, mostly because I wasn’t really sure what I thought, but this gives clarity and a refreshingly different view.

    Like Bill, your sentence about marriage stood out to me. I hope that you will elaborate on this at some point.

  • thoughts with accent

    I totally agree with you in that we cannot attempt to “transforming a society” or “making America more Christian” via laws. Neither can we argue that the Chick-fil-A appreciation day has “correspondence to my Christian faith”.

    I don’t know about the rest of people out there, but as for me, today has nothing to do with my sanctification. I am not choosing to eat Chick-fil-A to make America more Christian. As you well pointed, Christianity and holiness are spiritual matters and they can only come through spiritual means (holy life, loving, giving etc).

    Nevertheless, since I have to participate in “American’s system of consumerism” anyhow (I have to give my money to some business everyday to get some food in return -which by the way is morally and Biblically neutral in itself), I am choosing today to do that business transaction with an entity that I freely want to give my money to. Not for religious reasons, but for political reasons. I value their values and, in this free market, you give your business to whom you want to give to.

    My macro goal is not to Christianize America, but to align and support with those who i agree with. One day I will be persecuted and unfairly (from the political and democratic stand point) attacked for standing for what I believe in. This support is the kind I would want to receive.

    • Fr. Dale Brown

      I think that is very well and good! I would not paint with a broad brush and say that “Christianity” is just a “spiritual” matter. Often that means something I am uncomfortable with. Likewise, I would say that there is a difference between consumerism and spending money morally. How we spend our money is a moral/Christian issue. But I am glad you saw the difference between the Christian and Democratic issue.

  • Social Butterfly Effects

    I have been in positions in a classroom of people where I was the only one that had my belief and where I was ridiculed for my belief. Not to say that there weren’t others that believed what I believed but they were too scared to go against the popular position.. as I looked around at them I stood there alone… and disappointed in them.

    To ME… going to Chick fil A was standing with them… letting them know that they did not stand alone… and like it was mentioned in another comment, my money would have gone somewhere anyway. I was happy to have blessed them with it…and in return I got a wonderful blessing of a meal.

    I know that it will get harder to voice our beliefs, we will become more and more unpopular… all we will have as affirmations is each other. It has already been written for us to do this…

    Hebrews 10:25

    “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”

    • Fr. Dale Brown

      Dear Friend,

      I respect your position of wanting to “stand” with your fellow Christians, however Hebrews 10:25 is definitely not about American Protests. It is about attending the Eucharist.

      • Social Butterfly Effects

        Dear Friend, if you respect my position… would you really want to take what I’ve said and pigeon whole it into semantics… when I read John 10:9 I dont picture Jesus being an actual iron gate…it is more in what is in the message of what He is saying… the bible is full of messages that contextually happened in other times but the message can be put in today’s time and situations. So while I respect your ability to say what you say, I don’t believe there is a need to say it. The message still applies today as it did then.

      • thoughts with accent

        I think Social Butterfly Effects has made a great point. I was drawn to this blog in the first place, by the concept of not supporting CFA day to “Christianize” and impact the opposite side religion wise but to support my side political wise. Nevertheless, as she (notes) the point of mutual encouragement to those who fold Biblical values is as if not more important.

        By the way, I hope you are not suggesting that doing things to encourage our brothers as she suggests, is not Biblical.
        (a) There are MANY Bible verses that command us to do just that. And based on CFA’s communication today, the are “encouraged to continue standing for what is right”.
        See some verses…{many of not all of them *outside “the church”*} Acts 11:23; Acts 15:32; Acts 20:2; Acts 27:36; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11.

      • thoughts with accent

        (b) to say that “Hebrews 10:25 is definitely not about American Protests. It is about attending the Eucharist.” is half true. (1) This verse is not about American protest, but as Social Butterfly Effects clarified, her application is about encouragement, not American politics; and (2) I would remind you that what I assume you mean by “Eucharist” -in todays definition, is NOT commanded in the Bible but a tradition of men based on the Bible; not a bad thing necessarily, unless you are using this man made doctrine to exclude the application of a more Bblical doctrine -that of encouraging one another, as Social Butterfly Effects tried to do.

  • Social Butterfly Effects

    Friend? Interesting. Am I really your friend? While many scriptures in the bible happened in other places to specific groups.. the messages can still be applied to the body of God today… because it’s all the same body. I serve an eternal God whose messages are not limited to the years in which the scriptures were written. I realize it is your prerogative to say that it only applies to people of that time… but it is my prerogative to disagree.

  • Fr. Dale Brown

    Friends, I will leave you to your thoughts. There are too many things that would have to be addressed by your responses that are not directly tied to the original post. Hebrews is about “gathering” for the Eucharist in the worship of God. To even reduce that down to “eating at Chick Fil A” as a exercise of encouraging one another shows how far we are from being Biblical Christians in America.

    And to your last response Social Butterfly, as far as I am concerned everyone is my friend, a Christian ought to have no-enemies, and I believe whole-heartedly that Hebrews applies today. So I encourage you to find a local Anglo-Catholic, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox Church and participate in the Divine Liturgy at Holy Eucharist this Sunday and through that participate in the fulfilling of the verse you quoted. Blessings.

  • Social Butterfly Effects

    Matthew 5:44 would disagree with you “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” clearly there are enemies…and you have answer Oh so much with your last response…. I am very happy with the Church I’m currently attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa 🙂 . May God’s Mercy and Grace be on us all and may those that have an ear to hear, hear what the Spirit says (Rev 3:22).

    • Fr. Dale Brown

      Social Butterfly it is never good to “proof text” with Scripture. There are those that consider themselves our enemy but we must never consider them as enemies. That is why we are to pray for them. If you consider me an enemy that is something you must deal with, I cannot consider you anything other than a friend. Blessings.

      • Social Butterfly Effects

        It is always good to use scripture… it’s not like we create the enemies… they just rise… like when we want to support our fellow brother in Christ… we didn’t create enemies.. they just rose up themselves against us… I personally don’t know you… and I don’t use the word “friend” so freely. all I know of you is this article…and to me… this article came off very judgmental against my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ…saying that they were in “defiance” you don’t know why people went and supported… you don’t know their hearts… and as far as commercialism is concerned… CFA offered to give a free meal the same as was bought Wed if they come back on Friday… people in line were buying up hundreds to go give away to people… and so to me since this article seemed negative in general.. it made me question what made you call ME a friend.
        Proverbs 22: 24

        Good Day Mister

  • A friend

    This is a really excellent blog; it is unfortunate that it got off-track. Personally I’m hoping maybe next time we want to show solidarity with someone’s views, we can all send an encouraging email and use the millions of dollars spent on chicken yesterday to do something that really shows Jesus’ priorities…like maybe feeding everyone in Bosnia for a day, or getting clean water to most of the third world. I would love to one day be known as a Christian for what I am FOR.

  • Fyne

    Dale Brown. Is there any reason why you didn’t just stay home from Chick-Fil-A, without blogging about it?

  • thoughts with accent

    Dale, would you mind explaining your position about “…and it is also true that the sacrament of marriage is not the same thing as Western heterosexual marriage”?

  • Michelle Forsythe

    I guess you think you are better and holier Christian because you did not go to a dine in at Chick-fil-a … Maybe the things you listed at the end we all did too, plus went to chic-fil-a. Aren’t you being judgemental towards your brothers and sisters in Christ?

    • Jeremyloves

      Brother, I stand with you. Many on August 1st ‘took a stand’ which Christ never did rally’s, fighting, etc. as some Christians today do. I would rather do what Jeaus did and not do. I would rather pray and realize ‘that which is first is natural, and afterwards that which is spirit.’ Christians love to go after the natural when Jesus said its about the spiritual now. Come on Christians, obey Jesus than offering up your own sacrifice and pray He blesses it. Christians would rather fight, war and take stands rather than actually over Him. Can you imagine Jeaus being here and standing in some stupid line at chick fil a line to support his ‘brother.? No!!!!! He would walk away from all of them and say ‘can you pray one hour with Me?’ or He would hanging out with the tax collectors and prostitutes.

  • Of Specks, Motes, and the Cacophony of Rage | Jason Muses

    […] concentrate on the tree branches in our own eyes. Back when the Chick-fil-A brouhaha started, I read a great blog post by a young man named Dale Brown. Dale happens to be married to a former student of mine, and he’s also a priest. I thought […]

  • ddos vps

    I have read so many articles regarding the blogger lovers except this piece of writing is really a nice article, keep it up.|

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