Growing up I treasured our dinner table when we had guests. And we had company quite frequently. I grew up in a parsonage. Yes, I am a Pastors daughter. And being such we had a variety of people around our table throughout my upbringing. Being at that table was fantastic. I got to learn about different parts of the world, varied perspectives, and diverse personalities. There were times that those at the table held the same opinion and there were times when we were for lack of a better term – at opposite ends of the table. But, no one ever felt that weren’t welcome at the table.
Lately, there has been a firestorm of debate over Chic-Fil-A. And I have no desire to delve into that discussion. The conversation has been divisive. As debates unfolded online I heard people called terrible names, their morality, heck their spirituality called into question - until finally friends were de-friending each other on Facebook. This is not what is to be happening around our tables. Food is not meant to divide, it is meant to bring people together.
For the record, I have never eaten at a Chic-Fil-A. Their billboards and commercials always made me laugh. But, now it all has just left a sour taste in my mouth. And I don’t know that I ever could eat at one. Not simply because of what was said – but because of how it caused many to hate and the alienation that followed. Through this entire exercise I am not certain that we learned anything. The only one that seemed to profit was Chic-Fil-A’ s bottom line.
As gracious hosts my parents despite how much they might have disagreed with a dinner guest, they never made them feel uncomfortable. At times we would have a visitor for a week and mostly they were gracious. But, there were times when a guest was difficult. Like a guest who wanted fried eggs with dippy yolks (Over medium) and no brown on the egg at all (top or bottom). My mother never complained, she did her best to accommodate the guest. Lord, only knows how many eggs it took to get it just so. At the end of the day our visitors felt like our home was their home - regardless of the cost. It is safe to say that there are employees and customers that no longer feel welcome at the Chic Fil-A- table.
Instead of arguing over who is wrong and who is right, we should be gathering at tables appreciating each other. We should be trying to learn from each other and enjoying the food that the good Lord provided for all of us. The minute we can no longer do that we are no longer a civilized society. How can we possibly persuade one another to our philosophies/doctrines if we can’t break bread together and learn from each other? Henry David Thoreau said “True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.” May our tables (restaurants) not grow dark and may we find knowledge and light when in true friendship we gather to eat, take a break, learn and love.