Hey guys!Coop, from While Rome Burns, has posed some interesting questions in a recent article, Buy Black Experiment.  in it, he begins provocatively:

I got the link from a blogger in my home state of Wisconsin, about a couple in Chicago who made a commitment at the beginning of the year to buy only from black-owned businesses. Now, as a white person, if I made the commitment to buy from only white-owned businesses, I’d be called a racist and a bigot, and probably rightfully so.

But lest you think this is a (somewhat accurate) examination of the intellectual inconsistencies involved in racial politics, Coop flips the question through the front doors of the church:

how is this any different than the commitment so many in the church make to buy only from Christian-owned businesses?

This immediately brought to mind Steve Taylor’s 80’s insight in “Guilty by Association” -

So you need a new car?
Let your fingers take a walk
Through the business guide for the “born again” flock
You’ll be keeping all your money
In the kingdom now
And you’ll only drink milk from a Christian cow

Don’t you go casting your bread
To keep the heathen well-fed
Line Christian pockets instead
Avoid temptation

Guilty by association

What do you think?  When I observe my own patterns, I think that where the line is crossed is in the heart.  There are times I shop specific Christian-owned businesses because – a) I know the owners, and I want to help them stay in business during this tough time; or b) I have been their customer in the past and their honesty and values have kept me coming back (thinking specifically about a mechanic that has saved us hundreds of dollars via honest suggestions and estimates, and an appliance repairman with a similar reputation).  This is in line with both good stewardship (loving God) and loving my neighbor.

Where I think the line is crossed is when I either a) judge others for not using Christian-owned businesses; or b) I see myself as somehow ’superior’ for my “lining Christian pockets instead”.

A matter of the heart.

What do you think?


A slight programming note:  I am taking my wife (and no children) on our first overseas vacation together ever, so I will not be on much – if at all – in the coming week and a half.  You can follow our pics and goings on at my personal blog (if we find a good wireless connection).  In my absence, you can expect that the other .Info guys will “watch the store” and maintain what order we have out here on the frontier.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 11:52 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Linked Articles, Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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6 Comments(+Add)

1   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
May 13th, 2009 at 12:42 am

It’s a matter of the heart either way — whether you consider yourself superior because you’re part of the Christian cow crowd (say that three times fast) or you consider yourself superior because you aren’t.

The former is probably the more common problem, but the latter is not unheard-of.

2   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
May 13th, 2009 at 6:51 am

Aetter of personal conscience. I buy only things Irish. :cool:

3   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
May 13th, 2009 at 8:21 am

If I buy from only Christians, who will I witness to?

4   John B    
May 14th, 2009 at 12:10 am

Good piece. I am most always turned off by small business that advertise that they are Christian with the fish in the yellow page ad. I’m not choosing a plumber to come to my house and share his testimony. My expectation is that my toilet is fixed properly and pay a fair price. My cynicism says this guy is trying to get an advantage by saying he is a Christian and it does not necessarily translate to my expectations.

Interestingly my feelings are different for the few big companies that make their Christianity known such as Interstate Batteries and Chick-fil-a. Maybe because I think they have a potential to be treated less than positively for their stand because of their large presence.

I especially appreciate Chick-fil-a because they put themselves at a financial disadvantage by following their conviction and closing on Sunday. They also play Christian music in the stores which some people could really be offended by. However I eat there because they have good sandwiches and amazing shakes not because of their Christian testimony.

I will never forget buying Steve Taylor’s “I Want To Be A Clone” EP when it came out in the early 80’s. Wow, that music was different……and right on target.

5   merry    
May 14th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

First, I just want to say that I would REALLY love to have a “Christian” DMV…. haha. :)

Somehow though, I really haven’t been impressed by the “big companies that make their Christianity known” . . . it makes me think of Forever 21, who prints John 3:16 on the bottom of their shopping bags while they sell (for the lack of a better word) “slutty” clothing to teenagers and blast obnoxious and not completely appropiate music in their stores. Quite the testimony? In-and-Out also prints John 3:16 on the bottoms of things, but I’ve never noticed anyone who actually ever notices! ;)

I’m also not overly impressed with Christian bookstores and clothing stores, pretty much for the reason that they just come across as promoting “Christian materialism” (especially for the people who believe in only supporting Christian establishments . . .) You know, the whole message I hear occasionally: Materialism is bad. Oh, except when you buy a whole bunch of stuff to support the Christian stores . . . I haven’t quite understood that one yet.

I guess my question is what makes a company “Christian”? Closing on Sundays shows the religious side of a company, but that doesn’t really show the character of Jesus Christ. Besides, wouldn’t that make the US Mail system “Christian”? :p And I hear Christian music all the time in “secular” establishments anyway, so I’m not sure how that would make a company any more “Christian.” Not that any of this matters, but really, the only way I can tell a company is “Christian” is when I can distinctly tell by the attitudes of the employees that they serve Jesus.

6   John B    
May 15th, 2009 at 11:07 am

Please note Merry my appreciation of those companies that aren’t afraid to state their positive attitude towards Christianity is that they do so at potential push back from those that might disagree. I agree that there is not a “Christian company” as only people can be Christian.