As many of you know, I’m in Huntsville, AL trying to find a house. Surprisingly, Sunday afternoon is not a time when realtors want to waste time with renters. I can’t imagine why! But on to my topic for today.
ARE BOYCOTTS AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMMUNICATE MY VALUES?
My topic today relates to my friends at Starbucks…and related issues. Since I read about the public stance Starbucks has taken to back a political stance that I’m not completely in sync with. To me, it read something like throwing down the gauntlet even though I certainly wasn’t shocked with their position.
They are for diversity as long as a person is not of the belief that marriage is for a man and a woman only. That opinion is not included in the diversity they believe in. I know, I’m sharing my bias.
I’ve read of some who are taking the position that we must boycott Starbucks to show that we have the majority…I’m not sure we do, as our last election proved. Actually, whether we are in the majority or not, is really not the point.
As I have been driving in the car, I have been thinking over this and wondering if it is the way to go. After all, giving up my chai lattes would be a small price to pay for truth and principle and showing “the world” the rightness of my position.
But I remember the Kmart boycott a number of years back. It put many believers out of work while other companies and businesses that had the same beliefs and principles did fine because they flew under the radar while still having the same values. Christians came off as judgemental so-and-so’s who were inconsistent in their economic boycotts and were at times a bit clueless about the kinds of people running businesses.
HOW DO WE MAKE ETHICAL DECISIONS…AND HELP OUR CHILDREN LEARN HOW TO MAKE THEM?
In Sunday School today, we were discussing ethics, particularly in respect to raising children and got on this topic. Some points that were brought up were really helpful. I will mention them here and let you decide what you plan to do in relation to this and other such developments that take place. I realize that many who read this will come to a different conclusion than I am. That’s fine…as long as you don’t get upset with me for making a different decision from you. That’s the freedom we have in Christ!
- If we are going to boycott based on being pro-marriage between man/woman or pro-life or whatever our righteous cause, then we have a lot of places we need to boycott! Do you realize that we will have to stop going to movies, concerts, and doing business with multiple businesses if we don’t want to use our money to benefit gays, people who have abortions or maybe even have affairs? It becomes very complicated to be truly consistent in our beliefs. We would have to stop paying taxes too, because some of our tax money goes to pay for abortions right now. What about churches or christian organizations whose leaders become mired in immorality or absconding with funds? Ugh! What a mess! Turns out this isn’t as easy a decision as we thought.
- One point that I was reminded of was the difference between living in a closed system and an open system as taught by Frances Schaeffer. Hopefully, I’m passing it on correctly. Our culture is a closed system. There are no moral absolutes. Whatever the majority approves of is considered to be ok. As times change, “values” change in a closed system. Once homosexuality was considered to be illegal and unacceptable. Now, it is becoming more acceptable in many places as an acceptable life style.
- Now, to the open system. Sorry I can’t show the diagram. Each is it’s own circle. The closed system is a circle where the circle is totally closed. The open system has an opening at the top. GOD is outside the circle and His Word is an arrow into the circle that informs the values to those inside the circle. There are moral absolutes as stated in the 10 commandments and other places in His Word. Those living in this system often don’t communicate well with those in the closed system. This is especially true when we try to communicate re our values. We often run into problems because we overstate or even misinterpret what the Bible is actually saying. Another way we mess up is when we are so focused on being “right” that we don’t even want to hear what the differing views have to say that have the truth mixed in. That makes us sound very judgemental AND arrogant. Even we don’t like people like that! Why should they?
When this was discussed today, I realized why it is difficult to communicate the truths we want to, to those living in the closed system. We might as well be speaking two different languages…or worse!! If we go to their world and live by their rules by using economic pressure, we may not have the positive results we want. When we do that, we aren’t living by our values, but in the world without absolutes, by theirs. Does that really change anything in a positive way? It puts us in the position of always trying to prove we are “right” and we seem…and often are, self-righteous. Getting into an “I’m right, you’re wrong” discussion usually doesn’t end well…at all! If you have ever raised teen-agers, you have learned that the hard way!
We personally must go back to the basics. When Jesus and later Paul talked about the importance of (agape) love. (cf. I Corinthians 13, I John, Philippians 2) Maybe we aren’t supposed to be doing our changing on a grand scale in terms of group efforts that are meant to make a splash and get attention.
Maybe He wants us to be more covert in the sense that we just live our lives and love people with whom we cross paths the way Jesus did…sacrificially. Laying our lives down for them when needed…not always literally, but putting aside our important agendas and making the time to care for them and their needs…their true needs. Loving and encouraging them. Honoring and respecting them as human beings because we are pro-life in the broad sense.
Now that would be radical, wouldn’t it? It certainly isn’t very American. We’re so big and fancy and cool and democratic…
Can you imagine if all the people who had Christian neighbors had that kind of Christian neighbor? The kind that actually listened to a different viewpoint without interrupting? I know, I’m not good at it either! The kind that doesn’t have to be right all the time? Who doesn’t always have all the answers?
Don’t you think the world would be a different place? Don’t you think our nation would be different?
Maybe we have been fighting with the wrong weapons.
PS. I arrived home at 10 PM Tuesday nite. So glad to be here. That storm that is dumping snow in the west is headed this way. Our temperature has dropped 20 degrees so far today. (in the 50’s now) and we are expected to have storms this afternoon. Glad I’m home! Hoping our new roof doesn’t get pelted with hail…or blown away!