Rocking Ordinary, Worldview
Comments 17

Would Jesus Shop at Target?

Would Jesus shop at Target?

There is nothing new under the sun, our moral outrage notwithstanding. The same sins, the same moral dilemmas we face in 21st century America were present in the 1st-century Roman Empire. That’s what makes biblical Christianity so difficult.

I never intended to talk about this particular controversy publicly because political outrage is not my M.O. I hate it, I avoid contact with it, I am sickened by it.

But this past week, I’ve come to realize that we, my friends, have a glorious chance to be Rocking Ordinary by how we respond publicly and privately to current events. Changing the world — highlighting audacious, extraordinary grace — is what we are all about, and there’s no time like the present to walk out Christ-like attitudes before our family, our friends, and our community.

Because the entire world is watching. We have neighbors, unsaved friends, gay family members, business associates in the LGBT lifestyle that read what we write online and hear what we say in public and can read those signs in front of the stores. What kind of Christianity are we displaying?

The sad part is that most of the outrage is completely misguided. Instead of actually reading what Target actually said, many are sharing fear-mongering emails and shocking headlines to stir up comments and social-media likes.

But the facts are clear: nothing has changed. Target simply said out loud what is already true in most public restrooms in the nation: everyone voluntarily chooses which door to walk through. 

(Seriously, did everyone think there was a pants inspection in the stalls?)

Would Jesus shop at Target?I simply said, several times this past week in several different ways, that we must remain calm and love on. Love, not hateful speech, is the defining mark of our faith (John 13:35). And you know what? I’ve lost friends over it. You may have too. The most divisive, radical, revolutionary action we can take in times like this is love. Loving words, loving actions, loving prayers while the Pharisees and Sadducees and chief priests and scribes condemn and throw stones.

Now, lest ye think I’m an all easy-believin’, let go and let God, soft on crime, head-in-the-sand Pollyanna, I can let your mind at ease: I know God’s standards are clear. Yes, we have the clear teachings of Scripture regarding marriage, adultery, fornication, and how to use the restroom (the latter is Deuteronomy 23:12-14, and notice it says nothing about who is or is not present during the act).

And furthermore, I’ve been practicing “safe bathroom habits” my entire life, thanks to a very conscientious mother: use the buddy system, supervise children, be aware of surroundings, favor one-seaters with a good lock, and most of all, “go at home.” I think I’ve passed on some great standards of safety and cleanliness with my children. This statement from Target won’t change my lifestyle one iota.

Finally, I can’t address this without pointing out, as a childhood abuse survivor, that the Target bathroom is not where the greatest threats hide. Our children are more at risk of harm from a friend or family member than from a trip to the grocery store. If we only teach them to lock the stall we are missing the entire point of abuse prevention. But I’m going to be honest with you, I do not for a minute believe that is what this controversy is about.

I also am aware that in Christ’s days on earth, homosexuality was rampant (I am deliberately choosing not to hyperlink to research to prove this point, but if you must know, Google will tell you). And the Son of Man did not mention it once. Not one condemnation, not one public stoning, not one call for a boycott.

Actually, He never called for a boycott over anything, which gives one food for thought.

[My husband wants to insert the question that if we boycott Target and Starbucks and every other secular company that is run by unregenerate, worldly people, then what do we use instead of …

  • grocery stores (liquor, pornography, tobacco, abortifacients)
  • gas (Muslims)
  • internet and phone services (porn, gambling, human trafficing)
  • sporting events (porn, liquor, human trafficking)
  • denim (immorality, child labor)
  • coffee (human trafficking and exploitation)
  • banking (financial support of both human rights and exploitation)
  • virtually every industry in this fallen world.

The problem with #boycotttarget is the blatant inconsistency it celebrates.]

Jesus did address immorality several times, however. In Matthew 19, He lovingly answers the Pharisee’s trick question on divorce, then explains marital love and commitment to His disciples in their follow-up question. In Matthew 15:19, immorality is listed with other sins that proceed from the heart — including evil thoughts and blasphemes — and that defile us all worse than our sinful actions. In Matthew 10:15, Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin, He says, is more tolerable than the rejection of the gospel.

Get that last point: it isn’t sexual deviance that damns us, but rejecting Christ.

I cannot find one time in all of the New Testament that sexual morality is preached before the world.  If I’m wrong, please tell me. It appears that every time, Christ is speaking to his disciples or to the Pharisees (who of course considered themselves children of God) about issues of the heart as revealed in how they treated one another sexually. So much so that in Matthew 22:31, He declared that “the tax collectors and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”

Indeed, even Romans 1, that oft-quoted passage this week, was not written to the Roman Empire at large. It was, rather, written to the Church of Rome to demonstrate that we are all sinners without excuse (Romans 2:1).

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That means me.

So back to the question: What Would Jesus Do about Target?

Unfortunately, His bathroom habits aren’t recorded in the gospels. Nor where He bought his robe and sandals. His eating practices, however, are documented, because they did cause quite a stir.

  • Mark 2:15-17 “He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners.”
  • Matthew 9:10-13 “Many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.”
  • Luke 5:29 “Levi made Him a great feast in his own house and there was a great company of tax collectors and of others that sad down with them.”
  • Luke 7:36-39 “This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, for she is a sinner.”

The Pharisees wanted nothing more than to see all God’s children and even Christ to completely remove themselves from the “sinners” of their day and to join them in declaring their moral superiority. But Christ’s message was different: “I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.”

Which side of this issue do we want to be on? The side of lovingly reaching out and declaring God’s love by not only what we say but also how we say it, or the side of self-righteousness?

My daughter and I were discussing this all the way to Tulsa this past weekend. Then when we arrived, we heard this preached:

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

Titus 3:1-11

I did nothing to deserve God’s love. But yet, He did redeem me by His grace. May God give us the bold conviction to walk out our love, our hope, our faith with meekness, kindness, and strength before the world online and IRL.

That, my friends, is Rocking Ordinary.

On a personal note: I have close friends and family members that disagree with me passionately. I love each of you and support your liberty to both disagree and to share your ideas. Please, whatever happens, don’t construe my writing here or anything I say as an attack on you. Even the ones who are angry at me, who have “unfriended” me, and who have publicly ridiculed me, I just love you and know we will one day hug again, whether on earth or in heaven. Let’s love one another as Christ loves us. Amen. 

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17 Comments

  1. Cassie says

    I like it. I agree that if we boycotted everything that wasn’t “godly” than we would have no where to shop. I am not sure how the future is going to be, but I believe that we are to act in love. Thank you for your views.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Friends Agaianst Sexual Predator Alabama says

    I agree. We must show love to everyone. But that doesn’t mean give my money to people who don’t care. It isn’t people with gender dysphoria I am concerned about. It is the one’s already using this loophole to get inside and record, listen, etc. … to women and children, in men’s or women’s restroom.

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  3. Eileen says

    MAYBE it is a case of not wanting to deny ourselves. The expensive yummy latte, the sale,the really cute sandals that aren’t in another store. No we cannot boycott every store. Yet we can be careful where we spend the Lord’s money. Everyone has to examine their own heart. Every time something like this comes up it is usually said how unloving it is. I cannot imagine myself NOT telling ANYONE the gospel. It’s not about just children. I don’t want to be in a bathroom or dressing room and be approached by a homosexual or lesbian. I taught my children the same safety issues as you. Today’s society we don’t want to say Adultery, that’s too harsh, but let’s call things what God’s word calls them. It is adultery, not an affair. It is a woman lying with another woman or homosexual; not gay. As christians we are to be salt and light. Loving salt and life. I am to please God, not man. I know this won’t make me any “friends”. Eph.5:1-16

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    • I”m glad I and my husband are often approached by those of various lifestyles and asked the reason for the hope that is within us. Being mindful of how we conduct ourselves in public, in word and in deed, goes a long way toward spreading the truth of the gospel: that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

      I love that Ephesians 5 chapter. Our chaste private lives must give evidence in the loving speech and grateful songs in public. Amen!

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  4. Elizabeth Kobelia says

    While I certainly agree with much of what you said, I think there is an important point in this issue that we should not overlook. Target’s statement is a very open stand in support of a cultural change that is being pushed across the country. I do not think this is at all a matter of love vs. hate or of removing ourselves from sinners. The boycott is simply a response to this push for cultural change. We as Christians need to take a stand for morality. I think a boycott is a great way for us to do so collectively and graciously.

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    • I completely understand many of my friends wish to make a stand like that. I would then urge two things:

      1) Be consistent. Don’t shop at grocery stores, buy gas, or give money to any of the other secular companies who are supporting financially to these same ideologies or to worse, the slavery and murder of women and children.

      2) Avoid hateful speech unbecoming a follower of Christ. Remember that whether we know it or no, we all have friends and family members in sin, people we need to reach with the love of Christ, people who will never listen if our conversation is hateful.

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  5. Vanessa Lee says

    The Target bathroom debate, for me, has nothing to do with morality, but everything to do with my right to say, “No. Please do not allow any men in the bathroom while I am in there.” Former men, current men, or women who had surgery to become men should not be in the women’s bathroom, in my opinion. That’s where I differ from the North Carolina law.
    The reason transgender women do not want to use the men’s bathroom is because they are uncomfortable and feel unsafe in a room where a man is in the stall next to them.
    When I say I feel uncomfortable with a man in the stall next to me, I’m a bigot. My fears are unfounded. My feelings are overly emotional and irrational. How is that fair?
    It’s easy for Target to issue a policy. It’s free. Why don’t they put their money where their mouth is and build more single stall bathrooms to truly make everyone feel comfortable and safe. Btw my local Target does not have a family bathroom. Only a women’s multi-stall and a men’s multi-stall.

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  6. Jude dickson says

    If I’m standing in line at the Target checkout and use the buddy system, sending my two daughters 6 and 9 to use the restrooms in the front of the store, and see a man following them in just seconds later, the first thing that comes to mind is NOT diversity. This pronouncement for the transgendered would apply to restrooms, dressing and showering areas. When offers for the transgendered to use a unisex restroom for their privacy and safety were suggested, adamant NO’s were voiced. We should be mindful as Christians when we see an Anti Christian agenda. Morals and Christian values do not mean discrimination, and speaking out a compromise of a unisex bathroom should not label me a bigot. I don’t think Jesus would ever have suggested he and disciples shower naked with all the village young women and girls.
    The YMCA already has laws in several cities. If women don’t feel comfortable in the showers and dressing with men, then the YMCA suggests THEY can go stand in line to use the individual unisex bathroom. Please don’t tell me this is not an agenda. I have swimmers in the pool 6 days a week all year long. This issue is of great concern to me and my family’s safety. Target, in the rush to be politically correct missed the mark. I think we should always be good stewards of the family’s finances. I think we should be mindful of how we spend our money and to what evil it may contribute. People have a right not to spend money at Target. The same people may chose to buy local, buy American made, buy free trade, etc.

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    • Most Targets have a family restroom for that reason. And they don’t have a unisex bathroom. The actual statement is what is true in every public restroom: we all choose which door to walk through.

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  7. Jeff Putman says

    If we as Christians and/or conservatives are upset about, or think it’s absurd certain cities, states, and countries are banning travel to North Carolina because they disagree with their laws and policies, aren’t we doing the same by boycotting or “banning travel to” target? We can’t hold non-believers to Christian standards. They’re lost, just like the tax collectors, prostitutes and all other sinful beings Jesus spent time with.
    Yes every has the right to choose when and where to spend money but like the article and comments basically say, don’t choose just one place or agenda to boycott for being sinfu and be consistent with your beliefs. Or get over your self-righteousness and take the scriptures for what they actually say “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and be a witness to them.
    Do we not think God’s got this??? He’s in control.
    And yes I’m a father of two young girls and no I absolutely don’t want anything to happen to them so you can check that one off any negative replies

    Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Putman says

        How many people disagreeing with your article are reading it on an apple product? Pretty sure Tim Cook didn’t make headlines for”coming out” as being Christian

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      • You mean when Cook came out as gay? That’s another example. How many times have Christians boycotted Target, too? We keep forgetting that we aren’t shopping there, anyway. 😛

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