Wednesday, August 1, 2012

from a recovering legalist...on chicken sandwiches

i don't even really know how to start this post except to admit, i'm a recovering legalist. somewhere in between accepting God's forgiveness of my sins and telling others about Christ, i fell into extreme legalism in college. i missed all the parts of my bible that explained grace. i just didn't get it. drinking is from the devil. skip a quiet time, God doesn't love me. gain too much weight, i'm not taking care of my body and God will use a skinnier, prettier messenger. it. was. BAD. extreme legalism to the nth degree. and you know where it landed me? a fall into sin at the end of college that had a grip on me for several years and a life that certainly didn't reflect anything remotely close to "christian."

i tell you this because it's why i won't be at the 'fil-a today. i support them as a company, respect that they forego profits on Sundays, and i love their grilled chicken delux (hold the bacon, please), and their peach shakes, pahhhh-leeazzzeee! for the love of goodness.

the CEO, founders and employees didn't plan today's rally. i don't even think they want it (i asked the sweet man who took my order last Thurs about it and he said, "i didn't know about it. i'm just here to serve people." he was standing outside in the 105 degree heat taking orders before you drove up to the drive-thru speaker, so that things ran more efficiently and there wasn't a traffic jam on rogers avenue to get a chicken sandwich. god bless 'him.

as for me, i won't be there today...and i don't think Dan Cathy will miss my patronage when he posts this quarter's profits. but if i get my butt to swimming on fri, i'll probably reward myself with a peach hand-spun shake!

i probably wouldn't even be writing this post if the strangest thing didn't happen to me yesterday.

i decided to go ahead and dine-in at panera bread today even though i should have taken my salad/soup treat to-go. my compromise: instead of 15 mins of eating in solitude, go rescue my laptop from the 115-degree car and actually do an august budget worksheet for the love of dave ramsey. that would shock my hubby and make him do a happy dance.

this man was speaking to a woman behind me about how tough it was to find a job. i dismissed the conversation and told myself to quit being nosey and figure out if i could budget 1 or 2 pedicures in this month (after all, my toes look terrible right NOW, and i'm heading to the beach in 31 days.) 10 minutes into my creamy tomatoe soup and fuji apple chicken salad, the man approaches me and says i look very organized. i smiled (extra BIG) and said thanks, "it's bugeting time, which i don't particularly like," hoping that would be friendly enough to be polite and end the conversation as i needed to get on with my day.

"you heading to chick-fil-a tomorrow to support them?"

"(surprised by his question) hmmm...actually, probably not." should i leave it there? uh...uh...uh...'i'll be in the basement. i told myself  'shut up, you don't have time to talk about this.' (side note - please link to Jen Hatmaker's blog and read it ASAP!!)

"well, see, i'm not going tomorrow, but if i can squeeze in a workout on friday morning i might treat myself to a peach shake!"

"why wouldn't you go tomorrow?"

"well, ummm....(gosh i'm SO NOT good at this debate/confrontation thing!), i just want to be in the basement. i don't want to stand with a bunch of people, christians, and cast stones at my friends."

"you support gays?"

"i love them. Jesus does. so i do. prostitutes and thieves alike. sinners. because i'm one too."

he proceeded to tell me that he had done a lot of bad things in his life but now he was in church and well, gays and their liberal agendas were shoving their beliefs down his throat and he was just sick of it. he was worried about our country's moral fabric.

"they march in their military uniforms in gay pride parades for God's sake."

"does that bother you? i'm a military wife. it doesn't bother me."

"well i'm an iraq verteran and yes it bothers me. the liberal left agenda is trying to tell ME what to think."

"look, i don't know a lot about 'hot topics' and politics because most of the time i'm trying to tread above water from stinky diapers, tantrums and the like from my daughters. but what i do know is that that gay soldier, my gay friends, and the gay person in this restaurant, all need to know Jesus loves them. when we as christians stand against them, they don't get the message of love. i just can't help myself to love them."

he started backing away from me mumbling about taking back our country. i interrupted him (which i hate to do, because i HATE when people do it to me), and asked him if he had sought the career placement services at the nearby military base about finding a job because i couldn't help to hear he was looking for a job. he told me he was from Florida, not a military retiree, and practically backed out the door.

just when i thought i could finish my now cold creamy tomato soup that i had pounded (walked) the treadmill for an incline (of only 3.0) for, i was in for it.

another, seriously? i don't debate religion. politics. war. and most things. i fumble words. if you want to challenge me on an issue, give me a pen and paper for my response. not my stinkin' mouth that trips over words and throws out an 'ass' inappropriately when i don't know what else to say.
this man in his late 60s/70s dining with his precious wife 2 tables from me said,

"so did he win you over? will you be at chick-fil-a tomorrow?"

"hmmm, well, i don't think so. we won't be on this side of town and i'm not sure you heard me explain to him but i don't feel it's necessary to join a group of people together and i say, i'm protesting what you were protesting last week because i support this great Christian company and founder.
too much finger pointing. actions without love.

he answered my fumbled statements with a lot of "hmmmm's" and "that's interesting's".

he talked about moral values and losing ground in this country if we're not careful.

i had less to say and smiled more.

he went on enjoying his panini and i wanted to crawl in a hole. i felt the redness tingling up my neck. but there was a feeling i couldn't leave unless i gave him Jen Hatmaker's website / blog post address on this very subject because she was so much more eloquent than me. before i slipped out, i dropped off the paper with her info /blog on it and they said thanks.

2 people randomly confront me on why i'd rather be in the basement tomorrow than pulling through chick-fil-a. seriously?

as i drove around completing my errands, i just began to pray that if there were any strongholds of legalism for these souls, God would free them from it. i don't know if they struggled with this issue in other instances but it seemed (insert my opinion) that the water they were treading in was very, very familiar. i'm not even sure i had a non-Christian friend my first 2 years of college and i was a leader for a ministry that focused on high school people who didn't know Jesus. wow, good gracious!

since i need to wrap this up, a just have one more thing to say. i don't have any problem with you going to chick-fil-a today or not. but do me a favor. when you place your order, double it, and then drive to the scariest street in your city and find someone with a sign begging for money who you have judged to "use it for drugs or alcohol" and give them your extra chicken sandwich. chances are, they are hungry.

enough with the judgement. find a place of love.

remember the Chick-fil-a worker's attitude and heart i encountered? "i'm just here to serve people."

this 20-something sure could teach us a thing or two. and he was probably just 19.

1 John 4:7 Let us love one another for love comes from God.

1 comment:

Miss Ouiser said...

Hey, Cort, I really like what you have to say. If more "Christians" were real Christians like you, the world would be a better place. Personally, I'm not going to CFA again. I don't think the Cathy family will miss my money. I'm not going to yell at anyone or try to shove my opinions down anyone's throat. For me, it's to stick to my own personal moral compass and principles. If I can't stand up and say "my money won't fund hate," I can't set an example for my daughter. I can't look at myself in the mirror. I have been to the "church that Truett Cathy build" in Jonesboro, GA. It's huge, it's got lots of space and fine, beautiful things. However, at night,they don't use their space for the homeless. They don't invite the poorest in for food and shelter. It sits quietly waiting for the services to make the "faithful" feel like God loves them. That to me, shows the example of what CFA stands for. Words, not actions. They'd rather write a check for hypocrisy than put the true, socialist, love thy neighbor example of Jesus that you, Cortney, stand for. I've said it before, and I'll say it are one of the only true Christians I know.