I may have mentioned before, but this blog is going to be about a lot, not just race reports....this is not a race report. I have been amazed by how many emails I have been getting about my stance on the Chick-Fil-A drama. I have no idea why you guys care, but I can't put all my thoughts on a Facebook status, so I will write it down on a blog.
First of all, if you don't know what the drama is...Google it. I am not a national blogging icon, so I am not going to reference articles and all that junk. If you don't know what the drama is about, I envy you. I would love to be in the dark about this...better yet I would love to eat some chicken without someone telling me I stand for or against something because of it. There are 2 sides to the argument about CFA and Gay rights, and frankly I am in the middle screaming, "I just want a delicious chicken sandwich!!" So here we go, here are my thoughts....buckle your seatbelts and leave your bibles and rainbow necklaces at the door. Come with an open mind and you may leave with peace. HAHA, I don't have that kind of power:) Lets look at the sides first and then expand from there.
First and foremost I am not a Homosexual. I know and have friends that are. I have listened to their side and understand their argument enough I will attempt to write it down. However, please understand that I cannot express every single Homosexual's personal view on this, nor could I with Christians. The way I have come to understand the views on this side are that this is a civil and or human rights issue. That CFA is against homosexuality and should be forced to change its view if it ever hopes to have another gay or lesbian patron. They want the country to accept them as human beings and not as freaks, and to afford them the same rights as everyone else in the country. They want the Declaration of Independence to be just as much for them, that it is for those crazy bible wielding Christians.
I want to say as an American I agree with 95% of what the LBGT community feels. We cannot pick and choose who gets rights in this country, and we sure as heck can't do it based on religion choices. In college my girlfriend (now my wife) had a stroke. Her family has not always been the great standard of excellence on nurturing, so 99% of the responsibility of caring for her fell on me.....Now mind you, I had only been dating her for around 4 months. My mother called me and informed me that if I, at anytime, did not give 100% of my support to Angie and my care for her ever lacked, then she would promptly remove my testicles and disown me. I had a responsibility and I would be caring for her, not running away like most men in college would have done. Her care was hard though, doctors ignored me, the hospitals would not talk to me, and in the end, I was going to be helping pay the bill. I had no rights though, because I was not married to her. I think about my LBGT brothers and sisters that have been with their partners for years and years and the pain and fear they must go through every time their significant other goes through a medical crisis....It would be hell.
Conservative Christian Side:
I want to intentionally say Conservative Christian here...or CC. The reason being because somewhere over the years there has been a group of Christians that feel they are a political party, instead of a faith....these are CC's to me. Their feelings are that a marriage in the bible is said to be between a man and a woman and that anything other than that is a sin, or even worse and abomination. Now, to all my LBGT friends, as a Christian let me explain their extremist views here so you can kind of, at the minimum, understand why they think they have to fight against you. You see the old testament is chopped full of stories on the wrath that God would display against His enemies. There are stories of kings that would try and restore the ways of God, but wouldn't kick out and fully destroy the enemies of God and the people that worshiped other Gods in their chosen land. They were and will always be written as kings that were not good in God's eyes because of those things. Almost every prophet in the old testament talks about God's judgement and wrath upon the people that did not fully embrace Him and how He would smite them from the face of the earth because of it. The bible tells us now that when the time comes for us to face judgement, then we will have to answer for everything we did on earth. By the old testament alone it would make a Christian's butt pucker to have to go before God and tell him that he did not fully support that which God commanded us to do. What will we say when he says, "Why did you support homosexuality?" They believe it is better for people to hate them here on earth, than to have God send them to hell for eternity.
As a Christian, that was raised in what I will refer for now as an "Old Covenant" mentality, I will tell you that I get it, and would have stood for this just the same a few years ago. However there is another point of their argument, one that every time I hear it, it baffles me to the point where I get that dog, cocked head to the side, look......BBBUUUTTTT this is actually the biggest point to understand in this CFA drama!! There are a large majority of CC's that believe if you sit quietly and allow people to do as they please and go against Christian values, that eventually, Christians will have their rights removed too and will lose their rights to worship freely. This is actually a very valid argument to a point. In Arizona right now there is a man who has bible studies at his house and the city is fining him and telling him it is illegal to do so. Also we cannot forget that praying in schools is practically illegal now. History has shown that every time the country adopts something that Christians don't like, it becomes harder for Christians to worship. So before I move on, we have to see that this is not a black and white issue for either side. It doesn't mean you have to agree with either side, but you can't sit there and say its simple.
Staley's Side...PS, I'm Staley:)
First of all, I am a Christian, down to he very marrow in my bones, I worship Jesus. I have seen and drank from His cup and my heart is full. I have layed hands on the sick to pray for them, and seen them healed. Broken bones, open wounds, all healed right before my eyes. I have prayed for tormented people that don't speak a word of English, and had them look me in the eye and call me by name as the demon inside of them tried to scare me off. BTW, those things shocked even me. I know that God is real, I know that He is not just a fictional character in an old book. I have gotten to know Him as a God, a King, a Father, but most importantly...my best friend. So the question of, "Is there a God?" is not a question or a thought in my life. The question is for me, how do I love Him with every single fiber in my body, and how do I honor Him, as I would want my children to honor me. I believe in doing so I need to adopt the 2 core things that Jesus taught. See the bible tells us of a time, when the disciples were hanging with Jesus, and they just wanted to know, out of all the hundreds of commandments that they had been raised to believe and follow, which one was the most important to get right. You see the "Old Covenant" led people to follow laws. There was a direct consequence to the laws, and even more than now, you did not want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. So Jesus told them this...and I'm going to put it in easy to understand words..."First, Love God with everything in your being, Your heart, Your mind, Your soul, Your strength...love me." "Second love EVERYONE, as you would want to be loved." A "New Covenant" Mentality, is that Jesus came to FULFILL the old laws and with those 2 commandments, everything in a nutshell would be fulfilled. He did not abolish them, but instead fulfilled them. He showed that down to the very seed and nature of his commands for our life, is love. He later tells the disciples that if they go around healing, prophetically speaking over people, telling people about Him, but they don't have love, then He won't know them in Heaven. They missed the whole purpose of creation. God has done everything for us, because He loves us. We are the imperfect ones, we are the ones that drop the ball, not Him!
I once found myself sitting on a bench with a gay man outside of a Starbucks. I was close to 500lbs, and struggled with all kinds of sins, including the sins that caused me to be 500lbs. The two of us were having a great conversation, when a couple of kids walked by us. These kids were all "Gothed" out. They had the makeup on, the crazy hair, and satanic based shirts. The gay man looked at me and said, "Wow, now those kids need Jesus!" What was my thought? I thought to myself, "Umm, you need Jesus!" The next day in my quiet time I was flat out, called out, for those thoughts. God basically let me know, I needed Jesus as much as everyone in that story. See He was blunt and let me know that there is only ONE unforgivable sin in the world and that is not accepting His love for me....Period. I learned in that moment, that there is no special place in hell for people. Hell is hell, more than a place I look at it as a total separation from the One who created me. Therefore, I have worked the last couple years on looking at people with Christ's eyes and not my own. When Christ looks at me, He sees my potential, He gets excited about what I can and will do. He does not look at me with judgement. The bible is clear, there is 1 day, not 500, not even 2, just 1 day for us to be judged. That means God is always looking at me in pursuit of greatness, not in disappointment. I sin everyday, I'm not perfect, and I know that God does not hold it against me. When I curse under my breath at the car that cut me off, He celebrates when I repent, but doesn't say, "Well maybe tomorrow I will love you a little more, if you are a good boy." No, the power and love of God, is continuous and never changing. 2 Minutes after I sin, He may use me to impact someone's life. Not 20 minutes later when I realized I did the wrong thing. Therefore, how can I look at another of God's creations and judge them? I can't and frankly, Billy Graham himself could not convince me otherwise. I will love my LBGT brothers and sisters, I will love them so much it hurts. I will cheer for them when there is a moment to celebrate, and I will hold them tight when they are in pain. Why?...I love them, not because the bible tell me so, but because I somehow get God's love for me. The world would look at me now and see a good Christian man, but I am not good. Sometimes I treat my wife like junk, most of the time I'm selfish, Sometimes I throw cups of water down in aid stations to slow the runner down that's behind me...now, I may go to hell for that one:) However, in the end, I love, I chose love, I pursue love. I have a friend named Richard. I call him a friend loosely, because I have never met the man. He is a Facebook friend. Richard is an openly gay man. However, I have never once looked at him as a gay man. See the reason I friended him is because of HIS love. You see Richard was once obese like myself, and like myself he overcame it. He, however, is an example to the formally obese community. You see, he and his partner Carlos have made it a mission in their lives to help others overcome obesity and train them to be athletes. He doesn't ask for money, he just helps. In fact, if you get his help, he accepts you into his family! You are welcome on he and Carlos' ranch, to laugh, eat, and grow together. He does not look down on you for your choices, even if you are not training as hard as you should. He meets his friends in their place of need and he walks them through it. He is a perfect reflection of God's love....really, a gay man loves people the way God desires to love us. Who knew?!?!?! I believe that God is proud of Richard. I believe that God looks at the angels around Him and says, "That's my boy!" Like any proud father would do. In fact I pray my children grow to have even a fraction of the love that this man has. God does not look at those angels and ever say, "I'd be more proud if he would like girls." That is human love, not Godly love to think that way. I tell you this now, I guard my kids because I believe that it is my duty to do so. I would let Richard and Carlos spend a weekend with my girls before half of the people I am related too. I trust them, and I have never even talked to them in person. However....what does this have to do with Chicken and Homosexuals, whats my thoughts on the CFA drama?......
Staley's Thoughts on the CFA Drama:
Both sides are wrong....period. The owner of a business has every right afforded to him by the constitution to not like something. As well as every LBGT person has the right to protest him not liking something. Here is the problem....both sides are getting ugly. As Christians, standing up for CFA and knocking Homosexuals gets you nowhere and only teaches people that God hates them unless they are perfect. We are becoming a faith more known for what we hate than what we love. Jesus told us that it is better that we are hated, because He is there. We are to relinquish our rights and turn over completely to His trust. Heck, he even tells us that its good for us to be persecuted, if we are He calls us BLESSED! By fighting against Homosexuality and "Defending" Christ, we are actually removing ourselves from His will and evoking our own. Remember this Psalm, in fact memorize it....."Be still and know that I AM GOD, I WILL be exhaulted on the earth, I WILL be exhaulted among the nations." We don't have to defend someone that is greater than us, God is going to get what God deserves. We need HIS defense, not the other way. If you believe that God needs you to do His work, then you worship a small god. My God is mighty, My God is powerful, My God OVERCAME DEATH!! Love and worship Him. Do as you feel He is calling you to do. When you stand before God on that day of judgement,and he asks, "Why did you not stand with the others and fight homosexuals." I think you will be ok and make Him proud when you said, "You loved me, even though I was not perfect, therefore, I was just doing that which you taught me." Don't be afraid of God, you will find he is a lot more gentler than you can ever imagine. If a LBGT wants to be legally married, don't stand in their way. Jesus told us when we feed or care for the needs of his children, then we are doing it directly to Him. Allow them the rights, so that their needs can be met. No man or woman on this planet can take away from the POWER of my marriage, so you are not loosing anything by letting them marry.
However to my LBGT brothers and sisters, there is a hitch on your side also. In Chicago and Boston there are pushes by government officials to stop CFA restaurants from starting. No CFA in this country has ever been accused of discrimination. In fact the one CFA in Chicago has several Homosexuals working for it. The same owners that are being stopped from opening another one are the same ones that own the other one. You won't get anywhere in life by taking someone else's rights away from them, so you can get your rights. We all lose in that way. In fact it causes a bigger war than is needed. Love has to prevail over this. As a Christian I will stand with you and say that what Cathey believes is wrong, however I need you to say that what Boston and Chicago politicians are doing is wrong also. CFA has done nothing wrong. The man that owns the name has said misguided things, but no one has done anything legally wrong. A LBGT person is freely allowed to work, eat, and patron any CFA establishment. No one has been denied work or service because of who they love. Therefore, CFA's rights as Americans are being withheld because politicians don't like the personal views of one of the people in its thousands of employees. Frankly, in Chicago, we all know that the politicians are only doing it to line their pockets with kickbacks. They did the same thing to Walmart a few years ago. Now that they have millions of dollars in contributions, and Walmart is expanding everywhere. They are using your pain for their gain. In a time of financial hardship we are stopping others from getting employment....even LBGT people! I'm not saying back down from your beliefs. If you want to picket outside of every CFA in America..DO IT!! In fact, I'll do it with you, but I will be eating a chicken sandwich while doing it:) Just as we need to stand for Gay Rights, we have to stand for Constitutional rights too, or we are fighting for nothing. CFA has rights, just as I believe every LBGT brother and sister has rights.
Its Ok, if you do not agree with me. People on both sides are going to disagree. These are just my thoughts. I am open to comments for the time being. I will not reply to them though, simply because I am not a debater. People that debate are typically not doers. You can sit and talk about it till you are blue in the face, but unless you get off the couch and do something about it, then you were wasting your breath. Extremely negative comments will be deleted. Hateful words towards others, will be deleted. Attacks, will be deleted. With that being said, feel free to share this with others....I'll brace myself:) Finally, there will be typos. Every blog I do, 2 weeks down the road I read it and it looks like a 5 year old typed it. As a stay at home dad and a triathlete that trains, I don't have a lot of time for things...like proofreading:) So forgive me please.