“Our job is to focus on our behavior in the church, not to fix sin in the culture.” ~ Levi Lusko
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:9-10
Disney, Starbucks, now Target…
As a believer in an age of boycotts, I find myself confronted with the following question:
What is an appropriate, God-honoring, biblical response to entities (human and non) that endorse unbiblical policies?
My back is pinned to the wall because many in the household of faith contend that the Church should protest, picket, and boycott anything that knowingly or unknowingly stands opposed to God’s Word and His will.
Hello, Red Cup Christians!
Call me crazy, but I do not think “effective” communication, understanding, and change result from threats or attacks. And that’s often what boycotts are. It may be non-physical, but the intent usually is to damage.
Boycotting typically is a mud-slinging tactic conveniently packaged for the lazy, fearful, and arrogant at heart. You don’t even need to face “the opposition” for you to be satisfied with your do-gooder yourself. You march to the beat of, “We’ll show them!”
You take your business elsewhere and tell everyone you know to do the same. “Hit them where it hurts! Then, after they’re bankrupt, they’ll show up in church and repent.,” is the logic.
Or maybe they won’t, and you’re somewhat okay with that. So long as that dirty money doesn’t make its way to those dirty sinners and that dirty company is silenced, Jesus is happy.
This, in the Christian boycotter’s mind, is “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”…
For some Christians, engaging is not a priority. Just remove the ________ (you fill in the blank) and they will be happy.
Or, certain Christians may force the course of an issue through a legislative process, but let’s be honest, we have not penetrated any hearts or minds through such an avenue. Without effectively gripping hearts, there is no change and producing no change means there is no victory.
Pharisees look to laws, and that should give any Christian great pause and concern over which methods are worth employing.
Changing law ≠ changing lives.
Even Chuck Colson, a huge conservative activist in his day, espoused “proposing, not imposing.” (http://www.colsoncenter.org/twominutewarning/entry/33/18101)
I have a simple exercise that reveals a profound reality about humans. Anyone from any belief system can try this. Any identity association will work. Select any given identity (religious, Republican, straight, whatever) and imagine the exact opposite (irreligious, Democrat, homosexual). Choose whatever you like…I’m going with a Christian and atheist parallel.
Imagine, dear Christian, that someone wants to convert you into an atheist. They want your mind and actions to flip 180 degrees. I’m not saying someone could sway you because I know you’re solid as a rock, but just go with me. If someone desired to effect dramatic life-change in you, would you respond to:
1) Angry, impersonal rants and financial threats from strangers OR
2) Peaceable, personal conversations from someone who earned your trust?
Shooting arrows from moat-surrounded towers
Building bridges as we leave our towers
Now, be honest! Which of these brings the results we all would want or need? Think back to a time when you made a 180 degree swing. Was it vitriolic mediums (poster boards, blogs, news articles, etc.) that swayed you? Was it when people threatened you or your ability to support your family that you “saw the error in your ways?” Probably not.
Maybe you’re like me, or maybe you’re not, but there is only one of the two above-mentioned methods that effectively rocks my world and convinces me to pull an about-face.
In this volitile world, boycotting is a LOSER…don’t invest in it!
The hypocrisy is overwhelming when Christians boycott Target after the news media educated them. There are over 400 businesses that espouse similar views on these social issues today…good luck being consistent if you truly believe boycotting is a biblical endeavor!
Frankly, this isn’t about bathrooms, folks, but a dramatic, cultural shift from long-settled definitions. Target has had the same mindset for years on these social issues. Why get bothered now? Even if Target reverts back to its traditional policy, what disciples of Jesus have been made?
Boycotts fixate upon symptoms, not roots.
Also, where’s the love? There are thousands of people involved with this company that had NO say in this policy. So shop at Target, like you did last month before you confused the news media as the Holy Spirit, and use the bathroom before you go.
Boycotting a business affects far more than the minority that CNN obsesses over.
As Aaron Wilson writes,
“We live in Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah challenged the Jewish people to, ‘seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.’” (Jeremiah 29:7)
(see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/april-web-only/christians-can-hold-their-bladders-and-still-shop-at-target.html or http://www.summit.org/blogs/summit-announcements/should-christians-boycott-target-two-views/)
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, a church well-known for its sexual proclivities because of its surrounding culture, the Church must engage our culture. If I ever find myself in a place where engagement with my God’s world is not a priority, I have abandoned it and the gospel. Redemptive history can be summed up by one word: “presence.”
Unfortunately, many methods utilized are rather disengaging and only hurt the witness and therefore mission of the Church. (The Great Commision: Mt. 28:19-20, which is always tied to and undergirded by the Great Commandment: Mt. 22:36-40)
In closing, if the Church can’t acknowledge, with decency, love and respect, the humanity in those it disagrees with, let’s stop pretending like we care about humanity. Enough celebrating how our God loves the world and then going out to do all that we can to strangle it for Jesus.
Join me in boycotting the ‘business’ of believers boycotting.