Are you really making a difference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Many times, Christians get offended over something that happens in the media. I’m not complaining about this per se. It can happen. Sometimes, the offense is justifiable. What’s the response often? “I won’t buy this product,” or “I’m going to cancel my service,” or “I won’t shop there,” or “I won’t watch their TV shows, their movies, or listen to their music.” In doing so, many Christians think that they are taking a stand.
Let’s use Amazon as an example. Some Christians don’t shop there because Amazon supports practices they don’t believe in. What does the Christian often do then? “I will just shop somewhere else. That will show them!”
Really? Let’s think about that a little bit.
It would be hard to guess how many customers Amazon has but they are one of the largest companies in the world no doubt. Numerous people shop there, including me. My in-laws usually get me Amazon gift cards for my birthday and Christmas and anyone who doesn’t know what to get me and wants to get me a gift knows that they can just go and get a gift card and that will be enough for me.
So all of those customers all over the world, which probably number in the billions….
And you are going to stop shopping there to take a stand.
I am just sure Amazon is really feeling the heat.
The sad part also is that a Christian can really feel like they’re doing something when in fact, they’re not really doing anything. Now keep in mind this is different from someone who acts out of a personal moral stance. If you think it would be immoral for you to buy from Amazon, then don’t buy from Amazon. That is not the problem. I am not telling you to buy or not to buy. I am just saying that the idea of refusing to shop there on your own is not going to make a difference. Amazon will not notice you.
Wal-Mart is another example of a company like this. When I used to work there, we often had a joke up front when we met customers who decided to get angry and say “I am never going to shop here again!” We wanted to have them go and stand in front of a wall and hold a sign saying something like “Never coming back again.” Then we’d use a Polaroid instant camera and take a picture and post it on the wall and just watch and see. Of course, no one ever did that, but the joke was funny because it really wasn’t a threat. Considering the attitude of some customers, many people in retail would be glad to see some people never come back again.
Now if you think you’re doing a service for God by refusing to shop somewhere, then you can think you’ve taken a Christian stand when in reality, your stand is not affecting anyone whatsoever. Pick whatever major company you want. You are not making a difference.
Are there some exceptions to this? Yes. What makes them exceptions shows what we’re lacking in the Christian world today.
First off, how about the reverse instead? Shop at companies that support what you support and are Christian businesses and let them know Take the time to thank them for good service and for holding to the position that they hold. They need to be told this. This also puts more money in the hands of someone who is going to hopefully do some actual good for the Kingdom.
Second, organization. This is the problem majorly with boycotts. We do not have organization. Let’s start with one reverse example that worked great. Chick-Fil-A Day.
Let’s suppose that Chick-Fil-A Day had not been planned but that one morning, some Christians got up and decided to post on Facebook and say “Let’s all go to Chick-Fil-A today and stand up for traditional marriage.” Think that would have made the evening news?
It would be amazing if it even made local news.
What made Chick-Fil-A day a success was it was planned out. Christians knew in advance. We had a time. We had numerous places. We had the reason. We all agreed and discussed this as well using social media. Christians came together and did something. Whether someone thinks it was right or wrong, they did something. What we did that day was show that we can take action and we sent Chick-Fil-A’s sales soaring through the roof.
Let’s use another example that was a boycott. Duck Dynasty. When the events with Phil Robertson took place, Christians started immediately organizing on Facebook and calling A&E and cancelling their cable subscriptions. When Cracker Barrel started joining in with A&E, Christians immediately made a concentrated effort. In both cases, the companies relented. Christians won the battle.
Notice in both cases what was needed. Organization. It was not one person doing something. It was Christians gathered together who had a unified cause, a reason to fight, and a clear goal in mind.
You know what the real great tragedy of this is? That in all these cases when Christians came together and did something, as soon as they were done with their mission, they went right back to their ordinary lives. “Yes. I do realize that the homosexual agenda is often going after our freedoms and I do think that marriage is something sacred and should be honored, but frankly, we got Duck Dynasty restored to where it was. Isn’t that enough?”
Looks like a TV show was more important to most Americans than marriage itself.
Christians seem to be a group that wins a major battle and then retreats back to their safety bubbles instead of going forward. Those who are our intellectual enemies are not doing such a thing and if we ever plan to win the culture war, we have got to learn to move forward. No one ever wins a war just by fighting on the defensive. At some point in time, you have to take the battle straight to the enemy and challenge them directly.
Another case where a boycott could also work would be in a small community. Suppose a new business shows up like say a new Mom and Pop grocery store. Then it becomes apparent to the community that this store is anti-Christian. Since this is a local community and the store doesn’t have a global market, the community can band together and say “We will not shop there” and the store is going to have to make some drastic changes then.
The trouble as has been said is that Christians need to do something in the culture war, but what they are doing is something that will not make a difference but sadly convince them that they are making a difference. If you want to do something like this, then get organized, and it will take more than you and your immediate family and friends. It will take a concentrated global effort. Honestly, if more Christians were willing to come and work together and get over some of our petty secondary issues (Age of the Earth, style of worship, end times beliefs, etc.) we could do something. When we came together on Chick-Fil-A day and to restore Duck Dynasty, no one was worrying about that. That should prove we can all work together. We can discuss those issues, but let us not spend so much time fighting each other with friendly fire that we miss the real enemies coming into our camps.
Please do take action Christians. We must. We will all pay the price if we do not. When you do something that you think is taking a stand, check and see if it really is. If it’s not really making a change for the Kingdom of God, then find something else that is.