LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Another Boycott by Christians

Mcdonalds Perhaps you've heard that the American Family Association is now going after McDonalds.

What do you think about such boycotts?

My thoughts (from Pop Goes the Church)...

Christians have a longstanding history of being against pop culture, which came to the forefront in 1977 with the formation of the American Family Association. Over the past three decades, they have led boycotts against 7-Eleven, American Airlines, Abercrombie and Fitch , and even American Girl. They were joined by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority during the 1980s, which was followed by the very public boycott of Disney by the Southern Baptist Convention that began in 1997 and ended in 2005.

Even more recently with the release of The Golden Compass in December 2007, Christians made headlines by standing against this children’s movie for its perceived atheistic message. Over 955 news articles were written about the response of Christians to this movie, with headlines such as “Christian Group Protests The Golden Compass” and “Church Warns Fantasy Film is Anti-Religion” and “Religious Groups Call for Boycott of The Golden Compass.”

It seems as if every week I receive an opportunity by e-mail to boycott this, petition that, sign a covenant, or let a business know my Christian beliefs about its product. Honestly, these types of activities make me sick. Those businesses and organizations we want to boycott are being run and led by people—human beings—with families and kids and lives and choices. We may as well say to them, “Go to hell because I don’t give a rip about your eternity. Just stay away from me and my family and out of our picket-fence-protected homes.” Our actions are perceived as holier than thou, and they put us in the category of “all Christians are the same.”

When did we decide the church should dictate, control, or mandate the direction of our culture? Isn’t culture just a reflection of who we are as a society? Why are we focused on the fruit rather than the root? It would be like smashing all the apples from a tree in anger because they aren’t big enough or tasty enough rather than considering the soil, sunlight, and environmental conditions; getting mad at the food when we should really be talking to the cook; or blaming the kids when we should talk to the parents.

Christians even use the Bible as a hammer against society hopefully to force it to reform. We think those who do not follow Jesus should act like those who do.

In their book A Matrix of Meanings, Detweiler and Taylor make a great point...

In the New Testament, only the Gospels were written with the general public in mind. Yet many in the church read pop culture in light of Peter, Paul, and John's letters. Books of the Bible intended as “in-house” documents, designed to purify God's people, have been used inappropriately to correct the broader culture. So the warnings against sexual immorality in I Corinthians 7 get directed toward audiences Paul never intended.

The authors go on to point out Paul’s writing in I Corinthians 5:12–13, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."

I like how the same passage reads in The Message , “God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.”

Yet time and again, those who call themselves Christians, and many who are pastors or religious leaders, condemn the culture and reinforce the stereotype that all Christians are judgmental and unloving. It is no wonder that people such as Jeff, a twenty-five-year-old who doesn’t go to church, was quoted in unChristian saying, “Christians talk about hating sin and loving sinners, but the way they go about things, they might as well call it what it is. They hate the sin and the sinner.”

Am I wrong? What are your thoughts?