If you want a post with some sizzle, post something about Chick-fil-A. If you want it to generate a lot of conversation, make it controversial. If you really want to make it provocative, recast a story of something that took place in Chick-fil-A with the words “Spiritual Molestation” as the title. (we’ll see, cuz I’m doing it right here!)
Recently there was this experience in a Chick-fil-A that went a bit viral on Facebook. You can read what happened here. A blogger from Love Wins Ministries didn’t see what happened as good, but called it spiritual molestation, and later in his blog called it a “story about power and control.” You can read his blog here.
I think I get what Hugh Hollowell is trying to say. As Christians we offer love and that Gospel of Jesus without strings and without obligation. We give a cup of water, feed the hungry and clothe the naked without obligating them to something. But I think he goes too far; and I think he forgets…
I think he forgets Jesus and how God has often operated in the world as we see in Scripture.
If what happened in a Chick-Fil-A, then what about: God causing Jonah’s only shade to shrivel up? Isaac’s trauma at being placed on the altar? Hosea being told to marry a prostitute?
While I understand that Hugh is concerned that the man in the story is being “used,” I think it would be helpful to look at the ministry of Jesus for a moment.
In Mark 12:41-44 Jesus a very poor widow give all she has (making her maybe poorer than the man in Chick-fil-A). Instead of letting her giving pass by in secret, Jesus uses her as an object lesson.
In the beginning of Matthew 9 some people bring a paralyzed man before Jesus, and out of love he forgives the man’s sins. But the man is still paralyzed and lying on his matt. The teachers of the law were mumbling to themselves about Jesus. Knowing the evil in their hearts, Jesus uses the man and his paralysis to demonstrate his power to forgive. Healing the man Jesus says this to those around him, “I will prove to you the Son of Man has authority on Earth…” It could have been anybody with any ailment. The paralyzed man isn’t central in the story – it is about power and control between Jesus and religious leaders.
Even Paul, in prison, when he is told others are boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus only so Paul suffers more, says as long as Jesus is proclaimed he is good with it.
But all of this is an example, a microscopic example, of the fracturing taking place in the Church in North America. Rather than being busy about the work of the Gospel, we fight, nitpick and shoot our own. And we justify ourselves by saying the truth must be known – about those other people – who love Jesus – the same Jesus we love – and maybe love him more than we do.
Church, hear this! The world is not impressed with our inbred divisive bickering.
Hugh is right. The Gospel of John is clear. God so loved the world. Period. The Gospel is Love. God is Love. Jesus is God and all Jesus did, and does, was done in love. Even when he heals a man only to make a point to someone else, it is Love.
Dear Church, let us love one another, for love comes from God.