It’s no secret the chain was founded by an unapologetic Christian from the Atlanta-area. Now in his nineties, Truett Cathy has operated his restaurants on overtly Christian principles since the 1940s. His son, Dan, the franchise president, is known for his support of Christian causes and his opposition to so-called same-sex marriage, which drew national attention last year.
For the Cathy family, it goes deeper than closing on Sundays, playing Christian music, and putting “glorify God” in the corporate purpose statement. For decades, they have tried to apply the biblical worldview and ethic not just to the surface, but to press it into the culture of the chain, not only in the dining room but behind closed doors.
Our neglect of the story has, I think, largely to do with a myth which many of us accept, often without knowing we accept it: that reading fiction is somehow a waste of time. That time spent in a fairy tale or in a novel is intrinsically of lesser value than, say, time spent in a book of science or history.
This is wrong. It is wrong because it is thievery, and it is thievery of the worst sort: not only are our purses snatched, we’re told to smile and feel sophisticated while it’s happening. “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Reader of Novels…”
Kindle deals for Christian readers
Crossway’s put three books on worship on sale for $3.99:
- The Psalter Reclaimed by Gordon Wenham
- Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God by Bob Kauflin
- Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper
Also on sale are A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly M. Kapic (99¢), The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23 by John Piper ($2.99), and The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($3.49).
I have a lot of experience in and with small churches through my own pastoral ministry as well as denominational cooperation. I have seen small churches that are healthy and some that are toxic. I have seen some die, and some grow dramatically in number. There are all kinds, and I would never assume all churches considered “small” by their own leadership or by outsiders are the same. But I do want to encourage some of Christ’s smaller churches who are struggling.
Before I begin with the first post in this series, allow me to clarify what I mean by “small.”
In response to my Washington Post op-ed last Thursday, one commenter wrote: “Moralism in the church was a huge problem 7-10 years ago, but I honestly feel that the pendulum has swung in the other extreme full force, to a fault on the other side.” This is a pretty common objection that those of us who are committed to decrying moralism and legalism hear. The thinking goes precisely the way the commenter suggests: “Legalism and moralism is NOT the problem today; licentiousness is.”
On the surface, this seems to make a lot of sense. Just look around. One could argue that our country has never been more licentious and morally lax than it is at our present cultural moment. Is preaching the gospel of grace what we really need? Or, to put it another way, is preaching the gospel of grace really the means by which God rescues the lawless, the unethical, and the disobedient? There are at least three huge assumptions in this common line of thinking that need to be addressed.