29 Apr I don’t shop at target: Thoughts from an ex-secularist apologist (Response to “I Shop at Target: thoughts from a Preacher’s Wife”)
Recently an article was passed around my Christian friends with some excitement. I believe this article was dangerously misguiding (beyond this particular Target issue) and therefore in need of address. Generally, I agree with Cheree that we need a new strategy. I hope that is why this article became popular. However, the particular solutions within the article need to be addressed, lest the seeds grow into something more substantial. As usual here are a few preface points before I begin my response:
- I am not taking a stance on the actual bathroom issue here – just addressing the fallacies in the article. As for the title, I have never really shopped at Target because I find it overpriced, so this new issue isn’t something I really have to lose sleep over. Personally, I have always thought of Target as a place for people who are willing to pay an extra 40% to stay away from the “people of Walmart.” (I’m half joking here)
- This really is about the bigger picture and the various ideological responses from Christians. (I have attached several other articles below. They do a much better job of explaining my perspectives on boycotting in general).
- I have love for Cheree as a sister in Christ, but I really don’t agree with what she has said. In fact I think the ideas are harmful, but if this should make its way back to Cheree or her friends, please don’t take this as a personal attack.
- I have presented this in a conversation format to make things easier to follow and keep word count down. (Here is the original article: http://sisterpastorcheree.blogspot.com/2016/04/i-shop-at-target-thoughts-from.html)
Statement: I shop at Target. I like Target. My family looks like a walking Target ad.
Response: Then that is precisely what you are… a Target ad. (See: SOCIAL FOOTPRINT: 5 WAYS YOU ARE SECRETLY SUPPORTING BUSINESS MISSIONS). Just make sure that you are comfortable advertising for them. That’s up to you.
Statement: “Wow. This didn’t come from a pulpit or “preacher post.” Nope. It came from secular media.”
Response: Eric Metaxas is, for lack of an easily definable term, a conservative Christian apologist. He is not a secular media writer. I agree that we should be thankful that such voices get a spotlight in a major secular publication. However, you are mistaken to think that this is not a “preacher post.” It just happens to be a last bastion of conservative Christianity – one that was likely relegated to some darkened corner of a generally liberalized secular newspaper. Woo-hoo? Also, it would be nice if more Christians were aware of men like Metaxas, but the sad truth is that most of us are more interested in self-help devotionals than deep studies of Scripture and apologetics.
Statement: “Why do we insist on cramming it down everyone’s throat – including one another’s – when we feel threatened?”
Response: Good point. We do have a problem with this. As to the why: Aside from our general sin, fear, and selfishness, one of the main reasons is laziness. It’s far easier to just tell people “thus saith my Bible” than to study why God may have said something and learn how to contextualize that message to those who do not take the Bible as authoritative. Ironically, this is the type of information that comes from apologists like Metaxas.
Statement: “I just think it’s time we change our perspective.”
Response: I agree. I’m just not so sure that Cheree’s article has arrived at the best replacement.
Statement: “God’s ways are perfect. He causes ALL things to work for our good. His plans are flawless.”
Response: Translation: “Because of God’s sovereignty, we can just trust that He has a plan.” While I ultimately agree about resting in God’s sovereignty, this statement is dangerous. It approaches some form of selective Hyper Calvinism, as if somehow trusting God relieves us of responsibility. To help my students grasp this concept, I tell them to look at an extreme. For example, if someone is about to run over your child, do you just sit back and say “Trust God’s plan?” I doubt it. This argument also fails philosophically in that the decision to write this paper takes action against a movement thus undermining the idea that we should just trust God’s plan.
Statement: “Half the people I see posting that they will NEVER shop at Target again either don’t have a Target in their town (so it doesn’t count) or are lying – not intentionally lying, but they’ll go back…you can’t stay away from that Target home section, those candles…admit it.”
Response: This is a particularly disturbing admission. Translation: “I care more about Target’s home section and candles than my values… and I know you do too.” That is indeed frightening. While I am sure this is true of many, it is scary to see people suggesting that this is acceptable and even presenting it as cute and playful like this is some kind of joke.
Statement: “Like, maybe instead of railing against our government for taking prayer and Bibles out of schools, we understand that there is NO PLACE ON EARTH that the Word of God cannot go.”
Response: Except those schools that just removed it (and the other places around the globe that it is increasingly becoming illegal or at least against policy to share Christianity.)
Statement: Teach your children the Word and it will go into their schools every day. It can’t be stopped.
Response: Except it is stopped- through policy, peer pressure, and indoctrination. More importantly, those children being sent into the public schools are being indoctrinated away from God’s word, resulting in a 70-90% dropout rate (depending on the study). With the rare exception, Christian students are not superheroes going into schools to save their peers. They are helpless lambs being led to the slaughter.
Statement: “The Holy Spirit walks into every Starbucks and Target I walk into…because He is alive in me. You want to make a difference? Go to your local Target today and while you’re shopping begin to meditate on the words of the Lord to Joshua – every place your feet step you will have authority.”
Response: So many problems here. 1) Hermeneutics 2) How many people are you really having encounters with at Target? I’m sure it happens once in a while for a handful of people, but while we’re on the topic of being real, let’s be honest… You are there for yourself. You are not there for them. Remember, it’s about the home section and candles… 3) You don’t have to spend money at Target to make a difference. Go window shop, pray over the place, tell people about Jesus, etc. But you don’t have to fund their agenda. You don’t have to spend money there to make a difference. 4) Even if you actually did lead someone to the Lord at a Target or wherever, how much funding have you just given to the mission, vision, and values of those companies in the process?
Statement: I won’t be using the restrooms (neither will my daughters) at ANY establishment that allows men in a ladies’ room. It’s not wise.
Response: Translation: This policy makes me so uncomfortable that my family will not use the restroom, but I sure love those candles… so we’ll just hold it.
I am not just being a Negative Nancy. I agree that new solutions are needed. While I think the ideas of the original article were terribly misguided, I am working on a series of articles designed to help people (whatever their political persuasion) to rightly represent their values through their purchasing decisions. See Below:
- CONSUMER CHRISTIANITY: WHY YOU SHOULD BUY IN IMMEDIATELY
- SOCIAL FOOTPRINT: 5 WAYS YOU ARE SECRETLY SUPPORTING BUSINESS MISSIONS
- ON BOYCOTTING: 12 WAYS THE COMPANIES YOU SUPPORT SHAPE AND DISCIPLE NATIONS
- ON BOYCOTTING: 4 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY
- ON BOYCOTTING: 8 QUICK THOUGHTS