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30
May
2012

Before You Boycott

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store front

It seems to be an ongoing trend for some Christian organizations to promote the idea that all good Christians will boycott certain business establishments because of their business policies regarding political and social issues in society.

This is a great idea.  But, I really think we need to go all the way with this. Choosing just one chain of stores isn’t good enough.  There are other sinful people out there that also need boycotting. 

I am proposing a solution that I think all good, clean Christians will really love.

We need to start a Christian grocery store chain.   We can call it “Jesus Saves”. It will only play music that starts with Hill and ends with Song, or maybe it should just play hymns written before 1937.  We’ll have to have a membership meeting to decide on that, but we’ll make sure to get a quorum by offering free-hotdogs and a bouncy castle after the meeting.  Mental note – make sure they’re kosher.

Of course, these stores won’t be open on Saturdays, because after all, that’s when the real Sabbath is. Come to think of it, we should probably close it on Sundays as well, just to be safe.  You know how God loves to smote those who disobey the law. 

We can have a nice Christian Coffee shop located at the front entrance called “Holy Grounds”. Your favourite libations can be bought in sizes Little Luther, Mid-Size Methodist, and Big ol’ Baptist.  We will form a committee to decide whether or not we can serve Guinness, or at least wine.  Although, with all those Christians in one place, maybe no one will belly up to the bar, so we might have to forgo that idea altogether.

The bottom line is this:  Christian can shop and drink in peace knowing that everything that is on the shelves and over the counter hasn’t come in contact with sin before it touches their sanctified hands. 

Or not.

Maybe instead of running away and boycotting businesses not run by Christians, that make decisions that we feel are contrary to what is biblical, but totally in line with what popular culture insists is right, we should instead encourage interaction. 

What if we flooded these places with Jesus-loving, abundant-thinking, life-giving Christians so they could begin to build genuine relationships – business and otherwise with people; not for the purpose of proving how right Christians are, but so that others might see how good God is.(1)(2)

What if, through our love, conversations and life examples, these people came to have a personal relationship with Jesus and then we let the Holy Spirit convict them of what is right and wrong? (3)(4)

Sometimes I wonder if we don’t think God is up to the task, so we better make lots of noise and tell people how bad they are, just in case He can’t get it done.

What if we stopped acting like these battles are going to be won first through paltry slacktivism and government policies instead of us doing the work of changing our own prideful hearts, admitting how much grace we all need and entering into real relationships where hearts and minds can be changed.  I remember a story (or four) in the bible about Jesus breaking bread and being friends with some pretty un-Christian characters.  Maybe that’s to be our example. (5)(6)(7)

I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t have any standards, or that one might have things that they choose not to support with their time and money. I just don’t think it’s as cut and dried as some would make it out to be.  I do think that Christians and Christian organizations should hold one another to a biblical standard.  But let’s make sure that the reason we choose to do or not do something doesn’t come from a place of self-righteous arrogance, but of grace-filled conviction.  We need to be very careful that the message from Christ-followers to those who are not under the influence of the Holy Spirit doesn’t come across sounding like “Thank God I am not like those sinners over there.” (8) We need to run everything through a filter of grace, first.

God is bigger than the boogeyman.  He doesn’t need us to cut the ear off of those who come against Him. (9)(10) He can handle it. He is in the heart-changing business.

If involvement in sin is going to be the measure for where we can and can’t shop, or eat, or drink, or buy, then we should all realize that we are going to be left cold, naked and hungry, because we won’t even be able to buy from ourselves. (11)(12)

We all have sinned.  We all fall short of God’s glorious standard, every single day.  If it wasn’t for the grace of God, none of us would have any hope.  But God can redeem anything.  And that is a message I can get behind and take with me just about anywhere. (13)

Let’s drink (or eat, or shop) to that.

(1)I Corinthians 9:19 – 23 (2) John 13:34-35 (3)I Peter 2: 12(4)Matthew 7:1-6 (5)Matthew 9:10-12 (6) Luke 7:37-43(7)Luke 19:5 – 7 (8)Luke 18:10-14  (9)Luke 2:47-53  (10)John 18:3-11(11)Psalm 14:3  (12)Romans 3:10 (13)John 3:16

 

Karina Loewen

Karina Loewen lives with her husband, Josh, and their five kids just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is passionate about living life on purpose and growing grace in her family. She blogs about their crazy-wonderful life at www.karinaloewen.blogspot.com in between doing other important things like:  dating her husband, pretending she can cook and craft, drinking coffee, homeschooling her kids, and folding laundry. Like any good Canadian, her favourite thing to do is to add a superfluous “u” to important words, but she probably doesn’t know your cousin Jim who lives in Saskatchewan.

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Comments

  1. Shannon McDowell says:

    Thank you for figuring out what my brain thinks and putting it into such gracious words!! Also, I am an amazing Canadian from Tsawwassen, BC. Living in Scottsdale, AZ. God Bless ya!

  2. Hey, thanks Shannon! That’s quite a transplant :) We’re enjoying a little of our usual liquid sunshine this morning, enjoy the Arizona heat today!

  3. Thank you for this post! What a great reminder that it is God who deals with sin in a persons heart, not us. Our job is to love others like Jesus, and proclaim his message.

  4. Darcy says:

    Awesome!! Thanks for challenging us to turn the lights on in our world.

  5. Bev K says:

    You’ve said it well Karina.

  6. Love it…..We encounter this in Guatemala with evangelical churches…and Philip and I love to meet the people at fiestas, etc….that is where Jesus went, to the people…not away from them….

  7. Zeteo says:

    Interesting post. I like it but I think you’ve set up a few false dichotomies worth noting. First, yes, the scenario you describe at the top of the post is silly, but certainly that’s not the only alternative to indiscriminate consumption.
    Also, in the paragraph with the (8) in it, the assumption seems to be that most boycott action seems to come from a place of self-righteousness. But when I make my own decisions about where to shop and what to buy it’s simply from a desire to live faithful to a savior who did not have a place to rest his head. (We often seem to think we need to advertise our choices…Why? Can’t we just live faithfully and quietly? In fact, that may be the problem more than anything else, that we are so vocal about our journey of faith that we sound self-righteous)
    That said, I totally agree that if we are to do this right we certainly need to be in critical conversation with one another, Scripture and tradition.
    I also wonder if we need to explore the paragraph with (11)(12). Perhaps the issue is that we haven’t gone far enough–why are we ok participating in an economy that worships the god of money? Perhaps we simply need more creativity when it comes to economic practice…
    Peace,
    Z

  8. Hey Z, Thanks for the comments. The first part was very silly, In fact, it was intended to be downright satirical.

    I did infer this later on – its not like we shouldn’t think about what we’re doing (buying indiscriminately) we just need to always examine our hearts first…to figure out the “why” behind our actions. We need to be even more careful when we are going to use a public forum/ social media to try and convince everyone else to join us in that boycott. I think we’re actually in agreement there, based on your comment.
    I think without turning to toxic isolationism or trying to create an alternate “Christian economy” the end result of trying to “not participate in an economy that worships the god of money” would lead us very far away from the very people we’re called to be in contact with…kind of like having a grocery store called “Jesus Saves”.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!