UPDATE: A Report From the Front Lines of the Cultural Battle: A Lubbock, TX Chick-Fil-A on August 1st

Aug 2, 12 • Culture13 Comments

The Burner is friends with this guest poster on Facebook–a worship pastor at a non-denominational church in Lubbock, Tex. This guest posted this last night on his Facebook wall.

Today I was hugged by a gay person wearing a rainbow American flag.

And so far I have not died or turned gay myself.

You may ask “how did this happen?” As it turns out, I accidentally/sorta chose to go to Chick-Fil-A today–partly to support free speech, partly to make sure all the “christians” weren’t being obnoxious turds, and mostly to eat some freaking awesome chicken.

Of course the drive through line was long. So i took it as opportunity to teach my children (who are 11 and 9) about the balance between free speech, love, respect, and all sorts of other awesome things.

It hadn’t occurred to me until I drove up to the store that there would be protestors.

As we spent the 35mins patiently waiting in line, I read the signs and watched several folks (assumably LGBT, but not necessarily) peacefully protesting and holding signs, which is as much their right as is it is Dan Cathy’s right to proclaim his beliefs whether or not he runs a public retail food store. Anyway, what I heard while going through the line saddened my heart and made me ashamed to call myself “Christian.” (TO BE CLEAR: I will never be ashamed to call myself a follower of Christ, but I am making a clear distinction between those who do the work of the Kingdom, and love as Christ loved vs. people who say they are christians but live like they aren’t. To be fair, I am also making an assumption that the insults came from mostly “Christian” people, and this may or may not be the case.)

Regardless, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to show some sort of kindness to the protestors, but had really no way to say or express what was/is in my heart.

Honestly, I do believe that sin is ugly and tears us away from God, and that actively participating in homsexuality is a sin. But, so is hate, pride, arrogance, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, and a host of other things that are no more or no less sin. All of these things tear us away from the heart of God. So that brings me to the place that I am right now. I do not have any great answers, and I don’t know any solutions as of yet. The only thing I know to do is love–and not the “love the sinner, hate the sin” kinda love that probably all LGBT people are sick of hearing–real true love, that gets messy and dirty with people where they are. That shows kindness even when you may fundamentally disagree about faith/sexuality/race/whatever.

And picking up the story where I left it… After asking God for words or something to say as I waited for my food, I felt compelled to share with those protesting that I was sorry that some people (not all of course) were hurling insults and ridicule. I didn’t have any other thing to say but, “I love Jesus, and I love you guys. I am sorry.” As I spoke, I became overwhelmed and started to cry.

To my surprise, a woman who wore a “gay” american flag came to me and hugged me as to comfort me.

I was undone.

Here I was trying to show kindness, and it was being shown to me.

Although she had no idea that I am not a big hugger unless I know you and we are VERY close…

Either way, it set my heart on fire.

I still do not know how to process this.

I do not know where to go from here.

All I know is that it can never be an US vs THEM mentality (from either side.) Division is never going to help anyone. Choose Love. Start a rEVOLution. And maybe things can change…

Finally, to the rainbow caped crusader, I’d love to actually have a conversation with you and your friends where I wasn’t trying to communicate through tears and broken words. Thank you for your kindness to me today. I have no idea if you use FB or not, but should you, let’s talk.

You can read the post and the subsequent comments in its original form here.

UPDATE: Through the magic of Facebook, the ‘caped crusader’ did contact the author and 

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13 Responses to UPDATE: A Report From the Front Lines of the Cultural Battle: A Lubbock, TX Chick-Fil-A on August 1st

  1. [...] you’re revealing something about your own character that really is a shame.Dallas Stevens: “I was undone“As I spoke, I became overwhelmed and started to cry.To my surprise, a woman who wore a [...]

  2. Case says:

    Love is not a character flaw. 

  3. Ouri Maler says:

    First of all, kudos on the honesty here. That was a moving post.
    But if you’ll forgive me…You say that you believe homosexuality tears us away from God. How?
    I can see it with Pride. Pride messes with out judgement, makes us unable to admit our own mistakes and flaws.
    I can see it with Wrath. Wrath drives us to hate, and messes with our ability to love.
    I can see it with Greed. Greed drives us to value the things we want more than people, and thus, it limits our ability to love too.
    But homosexuality? Near as I can tell, the only way homosexuality drives people away from God is when religious people keep telling them that God hates them and/or hates the love they feel.
    (Now, I’m neither homosexual nor Christian myself, so there may be some perspective I’m missing here, but…)

  4. Kaylakaze says:

    So, did you still financially support the hate organization with a food purchase?

  5. EdinburghEye says:

    Dear TheBurner,

    I wanted to share this blog post with you from Jane Devin:
    http://janedevin.com/2012/08/01/being-gay-in-tucson-hurts/

    “I drove by the Chik-Fil-A on Broadway Street in Tucson and the
    drive-thru line was backed up to the street. I’ve never seen more than five cars in their drive-thru before and now, at 9:00 at night, there were dozens and dozens of them. Some people honked their horns. A security guard was present to direct traffic.
    “My reaction surprised me. It felt like all those people — young men in pickup trucks, parents with their kids, and older couples—were stomping on my chest. It felt like hidden bigotry had come out to celebrate itself. It felt like hatred and rejection. It felt like go home, you’re not wanted here.
    My response was visceral. My gut ached, a sob caught in my throat, and my eyes welled up with tears. I couldn’t drive away fast enough. And I’m not a person who cries easily, at least not usually, but I cried all the way home. Just those couple of minutes of seeing how many people are anti-gay, anti-me, hurt more than I could have ever expected.”

    I’m not a Christian, but I had a Christian childhood and my parents and my sister are still Christians.

    How much is “freaking awesome chicken” worth to you, to hurt the feelings of every person like Jane driving past who saw you and your kids taking part in a protest to make sure they felt unwelcome in your hometown?

    There are all sorts of ways to support free speech. I know you didn’t want to make the Jane in Texas who was driving past and saw you there with your kids feel like Jane in Tucson did. But you did, by being there.

    Who was acting more like Christ: the woman in the rainbow cape who saw you were upset and wanted to comfort you, or you, standing in line for chicken and to tell people whom you don’t even know that they’re sinners?

    • DallasFromTexas says:

       Dear EdinburghEye,

      I think you missed the point of my original FB post.   I wasn’t trying to tell anyone they were sinners.  in fact, it was my hope to do just the opposite.  If you’ll re-read my words, you’ll notice that I said nothing to the fact that the folks who were protesting the protest were wrong or sinners.  I said, or at least tried to say that I love you.  and I am sorry.  And, hopefully you will also notice that I did point out that the caped girl WAS acting like Christ.  That was the whole point of why i was undone.  Finally, I do have the right to patronize a store for any reason that i feel…  Whether it is to support free speech or whether it’s just to eat some chicken.   the truth is, people get their feelings hurt about all sorts of stuff.  i got my feelings hurt as i read these posts because I truly am trying to be open and hear a different perspective and honestly just Love people whether they are gay/straight black/brown/white, Christian/Muslim or whatever, and here you are criticizing my legitimate heartfelt effort.  but, it is your right to speak your mind just as much as it is my right to support what i believe in.

      i think what is being lost here is that I am trying to find middle ground where we can all look eye to eye and be real  and be kind, and start a conversation that isn’t laced with hate and preconceived ideas about what gay people are and what pastors or conservatives or rightwingers are.  everyone needs to move to the middle.  the thing that happned at chick fil a was a step for me if nothing else.

      • EdinburghEye says:

        Hi Dallas,

        Thanks for replying. I’ve re-read your post a couple of times since that initial (annoyed) comment and realised that I had rather misunderstood you – and furthermore, said something to you that you didn’t need to be told. I wasn’t sure whether you would read this thread, but I’d like to apologise for that.

        I don’t see why you shouldn’t eat chicken from Chick-Fil-A. But you should know that when you took part in that Wednesday chicken-fest it hadn’t anything to do with free speech (as Fred Clark at Slacktivist points out, Fred Phelps is living proof that you can speak as freely as you wish!) or love of chicken – it had to do with showing smugness, pride, and hatred to LGBT Americans.

        That you realised this, is absolutely to your credit: that you wrote about the experience honestly is utterly admirable.

        That you’re still trying to look for a way to move us towards you is, um, slightly less admirable, but it’s only human.

        We can’t move towards you.  We can’t agree to think of ourselves as less than human to make you comfortable. You have to come to us.

        I want to thank you also for inspiring me to write a blogpost about the unwelcoming words of the new Bishop of Aberdeen. He said something very unpleasant about gay marriage on Friday, and I was trying to process it and with the help of your story I finally did. Thank you for that.

  6. Next time you feel like “supporting freedom of speech” why not just donate money directly to hate groups, instead of going through corporate intermediaries who syphon some of your donation off in profits?

    TRiG.

  7. Chris Algoo says:

    The “sinner” was more Christlike than the Christians. Something to think about.

  8. Georgia Leigh says:

    I wrote this for my LGBT friends after all this.  Thanks for sharing your heart.

  9. dmeconis says:

    Please tell you’re friend that I’m lesbian and a Christian, and that I was raised in a church community that sees absolutely no conflict between the two. I would love to have a conversation with your friend about it, and about that experience outside the restaurant, any time.

    For what it is worth, here are my thoughts, addressed to your friend.

    —-

    A few years ago, I shared a bus with a middle-aged man. He was clearly a person who faced regular difficulties – his clothes were worn and his hair was wild. For most of the ride he sat and fidgeted, smiling to himself at odd moments. Everybody on the bus wore that expression of uncertain tension – was he preparing for an outburst? The driver was a sweet-faced young woman who seemed to be on her first week at the job, instead of the usual stern road veteran who can be trusted to tolerate no nonsense from a  troubled passenger. 

    A few stops before mine, the man pulled the cord to get off. 

    As the bus pulled up to the curb, he abruptly stood. He planted his feet right at the front of the bus, turned to his fellow passengers (who universally cringed in anticipation), spread his arms wide, and then hollered: “PEACE BE WITH YOU!” 

    Without hesitation, a sunny smile on her face, the driver replied: “And also with you!”

    And the man beamed, and stepped off the bus, and we drove away.

    I suppose that I ride the bus with Christ every day, but that day, he was a little easier to recognize him. 

    It seems from your writing that you recently had a similar encounter. 
    It is my great and constant grief that so many LGBT people (and the people who love them) who could benefit from and blossom within a loving faith community are told that there is no room for them at God’s table, or that their share of the feast of divine love is somehow not as generous as that given to effortlessly heterosexual followers of Christ. The point that always baffles me is – does a straight person who’s never seen my face actually better know me better than I know myself? Do they really know God’s plan for me, or have they devoted more thought to it, than I have? It seems like profound arrogance to claim such a thing. I’m furthermore not an addict or somebody afflicted with a severe mental disorder, biologically unable to determine and pursue my own best interest.Is it really believable that every gay person on earth is so shattered and confused that they are unable to tell happiness and love from misery and enslavement? How is it that so many of us pursue rewarding careers, raise children, participate in communities, and generally lead healthy and well-adjusted and, yes, Christian lives if we’re so disturbed? I think the simple fact is that many of my fellow Christians do not know how many gay people exist in their lives, simply because they assume that all of us must be visibly broken or debauched. They do not recognize a gay person unless there is a rainbow flag, or they inadvertently edit out my own rather obvious gayness because I do not conform to expectations. Surely, if I were gay, I would be a sex addict, or on drugs, or profoundly lonely or unfulfilled in my relationships, or faithless, or alienated from family and friends. And I am (through the grace of God) none of those things.When Rick Santorum posts that he’s enjoying a chicken sandwich in support of Dan Cathy’s comments, what I hear is that he is literally feasting on his own righteous certainty that some of the most essential joys of my life are worthless and demeaning. That the tears of holy joy I shed when I married my wife after three years, that the words of sanctification our pastor spoke at the ceremony (risking his position in the church to do so), that the love and enjoyment our families take from our union, that all the times my closest friends have told me “I’m so glad you two met. You are so much happier together, and I love you both”, that when my wife says, as she does nearly every day, “I love the life I get to live with you” – that every single one of us must be horribly, grievously, even maliciously mistaken. God is the only being who truly knows what love is. It is our task on this earth to learn to recognize God’s love and to seek it out, and when we find it to give it to others in the ways they need it most.Love isn’t a fistful of coins to be hoarded and doled out only after a stringent moral test. Love is a basket of loaves and fish. It multiplies as we share it in the great and ephemeral gathering that is our lives together on earth. That costumed protestor was the one of the few people that day who didn’t show up to buy food from an approved vendor. She came to share her portion of a more universal feast.I’m so glad that you were ready to receive it. May it be just one of many times in a life lived well, and with love.

  10. Jon Weimer, Ph.D. says:

    You were undone, because Jesus, if there is such a person, was speaking to you through this person and telling you to turn away from prejudice.  Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Like many Christians, there is a fundamental flaw in your reasoning.  How is it any of your business if someone is gay or lesbian in the first place?  How is it that it is your business if someone is prideful, adulterous, a liar, or a cheat.  Like many of your bretheren, you seem to forget that Jesus also said:

    1 JUDGE not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    - Matthew 7:1-5

  11. [...] group he was joining would be hurling abuse at the gay marriage people, but they were and they did, and this upset Stevens: Regardless, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to show some sort of kindness to the protestors, [...]

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