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American priorities: Chick-Fil-A and Faith vs Works

5 August 2012

Blogger Clarissa cited a post of mine, in a question about the US Evangelical “Faith versus Works” thing:

If you hang around evangelicals long enough, you’ll hear over and over again that we’re NOT saved by our works, but rather by our FAITH – and that if you even start to think your works might matter in gaining salvation, well, then you’re not saved.” I always thought that this was what Catholics believed. Now it turns out that Protestant Evangelicals have the same approach. Is there Christian denomination where works matter more? Or, at least, matter somewhat? I might consider joining up. Maybe the Orthodox Christians can clear this up for us?

American Priorities

Well, I went to the link she gave, and found that it was all about Evangelicals and Chick-Fil-A. I had never heard of Chick-Fil-A until last week, but then, if you read blogs, or Twitter or Facebook or other online forums you wouldn’t have been able to escape it. I Googled for Chick-Fil-A, and after reading a couple of things decided that it would be a waste of time trying to find more. As I wrote in a comment on Clarissa’s blog:

While I’ve heard of the Chick-Fil-A brouhaha, I really haven’t a clue what it is all about, and I don’t think it is worth taking the trouble to find out. As one of those little poster thingies on Facebook pointed out, the USA goes around invading lots of countries, killing people with drones, and all sorts of other stuff, but none of those things get them as worked up and willing to comment as the opinion of a guy who sells chicken sandwiches. And trying to sort out the opinions of the opinions of the guy who sells chicken sandwiches seems to be a daunting task and a huge waste of time, unless you are an American, and then, no doubt, it is Really Important. But the guy who sells chicken sandwiches doesn’t sell them in this neck of the woods, so the whole thing is hugely irrelevant.

So wading through the linked post about that to find out where the faith vs works thing comes into it seemed a bit too much. I think that the general Orthodox view is that that controversy is two sides of the same Western coin, and, unless you are really keen on theological nit-picking suffice it to say that the Orthodox believe in synergy between faith and works.

I read the first couple of paragraphs of the linked blog post, and decided it would take several hours, if not days, of research to try to understand it, and that it probably wasn’t worth the effort.

So if I can’t be bothered to try to understand it, why on earth am I writing a blog post about it?

Well, it just goes to show, doesn’t it, than in spite of social media making the global village even smaller in a way that Marshall McLuhan never dreamt about, we are still divided by culture, just as much as we were when it would have taken three months to send a letter from Durban to Boston by sailing ship.

And, as I commented about that poster thingy on Facebook:

For those who may be wondering what this is about, “we” in the poster below refers to the USA, so by sharing this I am asserting my anti-American credentials — we hate them because of their freedom, doncha know, their freedom to do all those things, including their freedom to give priority to the opinions of a guy who sells chicken sandwiches. I’m not sure what his opinions are, but so many people were expressing opinions for and against his opinions that I felt compelled to Google for Chick-Fil-A. But don’t worry, Americans, we get equally obsessed with trivialities, like some guy who threw a sushi party, who filled the front pages of the Sunday newspapers, and kept the commentariat going for months.

So that’s something that’s common to most cultures. We all like to major on minors, as the Americans say.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rangjan permalink
    5 August 2012 10:07 pm

    I though Matt 7:14 was quite clear.

    • 6 August 2012 6:12 am

      Matt 7:14 is indeed quite clear, as is the Song of Solomon 7:2; but I don’t see how either is relevant to anything said in the post.

      • Rangjan permalink
        9 August 2012 2:31 pm

        Sorry, I meant Matt 7:16 ! (You will know them by their fruits). I feel that evangelicals seem more obsessed with believing the “true” faith than with practicing it.

  2. 7 August 2012 3:59 am

    Steve: Thanks so much… you made my day! Great, great, great post. Think that sticky thing is the best FB thing to happen in my view since the stock cratered to a price a little closer to unreality. I mean seriously… maybe I just don’t get (anti)social media. And yes, one of the harder things with being an American is we soooooo need to get over ourselves.

  3. 12 August 2012 11:56 am

    I also didn’t really follow this issue. Perhaps with a similar response to that you described, I found myself turned off in the first paragraph of the news reports. However I did stumble on two personal accounts that I found engaging.

    The first was by Jane Devin, a gay woman in Tuscan, who descibes the fear and intimidation she experienced in feeling a subject of hate by Christian CFA supporters.

    The second was by Dallas Stevens, “worship pastor at a church in Texas”, who participated in the “support CFA day” and found himself face to face with counter-demonstrators.

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