I thought this was a great article by Russell Moore:
We need more Christians in these times who understand where he’s coming from. I wish I saw less overtly political and biased posts on social media sites and more bible-centric reflections on how we should engage our culture. While Jesus engaged the culture in a very profound way, his method was uniquely different than the solutions used by the world. For instance, while Russell’s stance on this particular issue is often viewed in Christian circles as weak, pasifist or even “liberal”, it’s really uniquely biblical. I look forward to the day that we start calling a spade a spade, and let the focus on WWJD (What would Jesus Do) take precedence over the first knee jerk reaction to things we disagree with as Christians.
The background to the story goes something like this……
Basically, Starbuck’s is backing a bill that will legalize gay marriage in Washington state. As a result Steven Andrew, an evangelical pastor in California, is calling for all evangelicals to stop their support of the company. I actually have to give the guy credit for using a peaceful , but effective method to try and stand against something that he’s against and I see nothing wrong with his action. As a matter of fact, I think that methods like this are much more effective for Christians who want to stand opposed to causes that offend them or their faith. In that respect I do think Moore was a little unfair to this pastor by equating the Starbucks ban with mimicking the world with “their angry power protests”. I see this as a peaceful demonstration against something that they don’t believe in, and I actually kind of dig the idea in concept. I often wonder why this tactic – non-violent, peaceful protests, and banning of the use of services isn’t used more often by Christians. However, I do agree with Moore’s broader point. If we’re not careful we’ll lose focus on the greater cause in the midst of trying to bring about social change.
The bible does not instruct us to engage the world with a power-over philosophy. I’m borrowing the term power-over from Greg Boyd. He used this term in his book “Myth of a Christian Nation”. In which he attempts to contrast the world’s method of power and political advancement from Christ’s method. A philosophy that uses the kingdoms of this world in attempt to win over the majority. That includes the government, private corporations, and Christian lobby groups with the sole agenda to change laws. All of these methods that exchange the need for true personal transformation with the goal of making the world more “moral” are a counterfeit. Shortly after Jesus called Zacchaeus (a corrupt tax collector) down from the tree and went to his house Zacchaeus repented of his sins and then restored it four fold back to those he had wronged. When Jesus saw that he had repented in his heart and witnessed the immediate transformation he says – “Today, salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19).
Jesus never set out to reform a corrupt tax system. He could have. Instead, his goal was to change the tax collector not a flawed and immoral system. On that same note, I think that is the point that Moore is trying to make here:
“We won’t win this argument by bringing corporations to the ground in surrender. We’ll engage this argument, first of all, by prompting our friends and neighbors to wonder why we don’t divorce each other, and why we don’t split up when a spouse loses his job or loses her health. We’ll engage this argument when we have a more exalted, and more mysterious, view of sexuality than those who see human persons as animals or machines. And, most of all, we’ll engage this argument when we proclaim the meaning behind marriage: the covenant union of Christ and his church.”
The power-under model set forth by Jesus, which is an attitude of service, should be our goal. If you would like to hear more about Boyd’s power-under check out this video:
Moore captures that idea in his final three paragraphs.
“A Roman governor thought Jesus was weak when he refused to use imperial means of resistance. But Jesus’ refusal to fight meant just the opposite of what Pilate assumed. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting,” Jesus said (Jn. 18:36).
Let others fight Mammon with Mammon. Let’s struggle against principalities and powers with the One thing they fear: a word of faithful witness that doesn’t blink before power, but doesn’t seek to imitate it either.
With the confidence of those who have been vindicated by the resurrection of Christ, we don’t need to be vindicated by the culture. That ought to free us to speak openly about what we believe, but with the gentleness of those who have nothing to prove. Let’s not boycott our neighbors. Let’s not picket or scream or bellow. Let’s offer a cup of cold water, or maybe even a grande skinny vanilla latte, in Jesus’ name.”