John Piper, Two Mommies and LGBT Hamburgers

Last week Burger King introduced hamburgers wrapped in rainbow paper in one of their San Francisco locations. The company also produced a short video of people commenting on the marketing scheme, some in favor and some not, but everyone who ate a burger found out the real secret to what was being sold as The Pride Whopper. It was exactly the same as the regular Whopper, hence the phrase printed on the inside of the rainbow wrapper: “We Are All The Same Inside”.

Toward the end of the video are a number of people overwhelmed with emotion by the idea that Burger King would recognize them as human beings just like everyone else: we are all the same inside, the wrapper reminds us. Remember, these are people who live in San Francisco, supposedly one of the most tolerant and accepting places to live for people in the LGBT community. Yet as the opening scenes showed there are many there who “don’t agree with the gay lifestyle,” as one man put it.

Another man who is not a fan is John Piper. He decided it was time to cut all ties with Burger King:

Piper, BK

Mr. Piper’s tweet reveals a rather sad outlook on the matter. Not because he’s going to miss out on eating Whoppers (although I do tend to like them myself), but because of what he means when he says “watch the last five seconds … and weep”.

What Makes Me Weep

A couple decades ago when my kids were young, it was unusual that one of their friends or classmates would come from a home with two parents of the same sex. Now the idea that a child has two mommies or two daddies is something people rarely find worthy of comment, and those who do will probably stop commenting on it after they meet a second family structured that way.

These family structures aren’t what make me weep, though, contrary to Mr. Piper’s reaction to it all. No, what makes me weep is the fact that Mr. Piper has that reaction at all.

You see, Mr. Piper’s tweet isn’t really saying goodbye to Burger King but to the people in the video: Goodbye all you people who like the rainbow wrappers, goodbye.

This is not at all of Jesus. He did not tell people on the margins of society, “I don’t like your lifestyle choices. As far as I’m concerned, you are a bunch of people unworthy of my attention.”

No, Jesus preached a different message than the sermon contained in Mr. Piper’s tweet. In his very first synagogue sermon recorded for us, Jesus read from the Prophet Isaiah and then explained its meaning:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-21.)

Jesus spent a lot of time with people others rejected. He loved them, knowing that there was no way these people could ever act in a way that would please God but that he, God incarnate, could do that for them. He’s done that for me too.

It looks like Mr. Piper has forgotten that this is the gospel we are called to preach.

That makes me weep.

***

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51 Responses to John Piper, Two Mommies and LGBT Hamburgers

  1. Beth Caplin says:

    Good post, but honestly? Why can’t BK and other fast food places just stop being political and go back to making me sandwiches?

    • Tim says:

      I know what you mean, Beth. The way I see that is that businesses cater to their markets. This particular spot’s market is San Francisco, so it figures. Piper’s tweet rejecting BK can’t be seen as anything but a rejection of the people in the video too when you take into account his comment about the last five seconds. That is the real tragedy, and Piper should be ashamed of himself.

      • Beth Caplin says:

        Oh I agree with you completely there. I just don’t understand the trend of political businesses overall (which is a side topic from your original post, I get it, but Piper wouldn’t have tweeted such a thing otherwise. Well, maybe he would have). I don’t want to be judged for my politics based on the fact that I like chicken or enjoy Whoppers. It’s stupid.

      • Nelson says:

        Oh, now I know where you guys are coming from. You’re just windup liberal dolls. I don’t like the opposite either, fox news.

        • Tim says:

          Nelson, calling people “windup liberal dolls” or any other name calling violates the comment policy linked at the top of this page.

      • Mike B says:

        Really? That’s the only way to view a rejection of BK? are you certain it can’t be viewed as a rejection of celebrating and promoting sin? It seems to me that us how it is meant. Which sins should we celebrate and which should we condemn? Are there onky some sins that require repentance?

  2. kathibonham says:

    The last 5 seconds show children, therefore, I am lead to believe that he “weeps” because children are able to see gay people as human beings. Honestly, I weep for Piper for not being able to celebrate the fact that the little girl in the end has adults in her life who love her.

    I weep for Christians who are not able to see that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, race, religion, age, or gender are all the same on the inside. When someone like Piper “weeps” over this, he is basically saying that gay people are less than human.

    • Tim says:

      Precisely, Kathi, from the top to the bottom of your comment. That little girl is loved. Piper misses a great opportunity to preach the gospel and instead preaches pharasaism.

      • Kathi says:

        I love the “We are All the Same Inside” message. I honestly do not have a problem with someone saying that they do not agree with homosexuality. But, to make it seem as though a gay person is less than human is wrong. Piper could learn a thing or two from children about love and acceptance. It really is very simple.

  3. Jeannie says:

    I wonder, what would Jesus do? I know that can be a loaded question — but I think in this case, he’d buy one of those Pride Whoppers and sit down at a table with a bunch of the Pride festival-goers. He wouldn’t boycott Burger King and he wouldn’t weep over the suggestion that LGBT people are as worthy of love and respect as anyone else in society. I don’t think Piper is doing what Jesus would do, period.

    • Tim says:

      Such a good way to frame it, Jeannie. I think a bunch of those little kids would have been crowding around Jesus and he’d have been blessing them right and left just as he did the little ones in Matthew 19:13-15.

    • joepote01 says:

      Well put, Jeannie!

      And while we can theorize about “What would Jesus do?” we know for certain what Jesus did.

      What Jesus did was sit down and enjoy fellowship with publicans, tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners marginalized by their society. There was little doubt they were guilty of breaking God’s law…yet Jesus sat down and enjoyed their fellowship.

      And what Jesus did was denounce the self-righteous works-oriented legalistic religion of the Pharisees. There was little doubt the Pharisees were biblical experts…that they knew what God’s law said about a given sin…yet Jesus condemned them for their legalistic religion…and had no ministry among them.

      That’s what Jesus did! That’s what Jesus would do, today.

      • Mike B says:

        Didn’t he also say sin no more? Sinners are still humans and should be treated as such, but that doesn’t mean that we should celebrate and promote the sin. Jesus didn’t do that either. I think it is possible to love the sinner without promoting and loving the sinful lifestyle.

        • joepote01 says:

          Why does enjoying fellowship with someone have to be equated to “celebrating and promoting their sin”?

          Let me give you a specific personal example. There has been a time when one of my single grown children was in a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex, whom they were not married to. Having been raised in church, they knew what the Bible says about fornication. Having been raised in my home, they knew my beliefs on the subject and the basis of my beliefs.

          However, as adults, they make their own decisions. So, I never made it an issue in terms of my fellowship with them. And over time they married and the whole thing simply ceased to be an issue at all.

          Now, I could have handled it differently. I could have made their fornication a huge issue and given them a big lecture on “living a sinful lifestyle.” I could have refused to have any fellowship with them until they started living a life fully conforming to my understanding of holy living. And if I had, I would likely have driven them away and never had a good relationship with them or their spouse…or with my grandchildren. It would have been a needless conflict with my trying to control something outside my control…of my acting like I am responsible for another adult’s decisions…which I am not responsible for.

          Instead, I chose to do my job of loving them as Christ loves me and of maintaining a friendly fellowship. And I chose to let The Holy Spirit do His job without my interference.

          I think I made the right choice.

        • Tim says:

          You made a great choice, Joe.

  4. janehinrichs says:

    Thanks for sharing this Tim. I was touched to see people feel loved by a simple burger. That is the kind of love they are supposed to get from us Christians — the burger didn’t say one thing or another about their lifestyle (meaning for or against it). It just said we are all the same inside meaning (my interpretation) we are all human and we all want to be loved.

    • Tim says:

      That’s the message I got too, Jane. And we are all God’s creation and he desires us even more than we could ever desire him.

  5. lauradroege says:

    Another thoughtful post, Tim. Didn’t John Piper say good-bye to Rob Bell, too? Does Piper only talk to people he agrees with? Surely not. So why even comment on the commercial (or even draw that particular interpretation of its message)?

    • Tim says:

      I had included a parenthetical line about his “Farewell, Rob Bell” message, but edited it out for space and flow. The point you raise is the same I thought, though, Laura. Piper is setting himself up as the arbiter of who or what Christians can associate with, and anything he disagrees with is told “So long, farewell, goodbye, and don’t bother contacting me.”

      • Hester says:

        Yes, he does really seem to like tweeting “Goodbye _______.” Does he ever tweet “Hello ______”? 😉

        • Exactly. And the dismissive, haughty tone of “Goodbye, whomever!” feels to be exactly opposite of how Jesus would behave. Disagree with someone’s theology or politics or whatever, that’s fine. But to dismiss them in that way is simply being a jerk. It’s like he’s saying–you tick me off, therefore you don’t exist. I banish you because I am the king of everything. Sigh.

        • Tim says:

          Exactly, Keri. Mr. Piper, intentionally or not, comes across as king, judge and priest. Doorman too, as in, “There’s the door. Goodbye.”

  6. Hester says:

    So is Piper one of the ones who claims that homosexuality (the orientation) is a choice, i.e. gay people are really just heterosexuals who are deluding themselves and/or making up their orientation? Because if he does claim that, then he actually agrees that we’re “all the same inside” (per orientation). So I assume this is only about the promotion of gay adoption / same-sex couples w/children…?

    Of course, from a Christian perspective, we actually are all the same inside because we’re all in the image of God and created “from one blood” (Acts 17:26). So even as a Side B person, I can’t find any theological problem in the slogan and I’m not sure how Piper can disagree with it. Unless he’s going to argue that election and/or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes Christians different from the unsaved, but that’s verging a little too close to “superior race” thinking for my taste and I’m having trouble not picturing the “Magic is Might” statue from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when I hear it. It’s also dependent on the audience accepting his particular version of Calvinism, which obviously not everyone will.

    (Though frankly I don’t see that kind of logic resulting from a sensible reading of Calvinism. Normal traditional Calvinism is huge on everyone being equally sinful before God and the elect being saved only by grace, so how can you get a Christian super-race out of that? All the Calvinists I know would be repulsed by that line of reasoning.)

    Am I overthinking this?

    • Tim says:

      Not overthinking at all, Hester. Piper’s doctrine and practice lead to dark places, and I think it’s because he focuses on the wrong things rather than focusing on Jesus. His tweet said the last five seconds made him weep? That’s the little girl who loves her parents. Is that what got his dander up? Sheesh.

      My message to Mr. Piper: Tell that family about Jesus, John, don’t criticize them publically on your twitter feed for all the world to see. Let God deal with whatever he wants to deal with in their lives. I bet like me there’s a lot to deal with, and I bet it’s just like you too. And that’s because we’re all in need of a Savior, John.

  7. All this “farewelling” misses the point that God chooses to reason with us as seen in Isaiah 1:18. Also, in Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus teaches us to reason together to resolve conflict. On the other hand, the Pharisees were really good at trying to “farewell” Jesus.

    We are all the same inside. We all want to be loved. We are all sinners who need salvation. God loves us and extends his grace to us for all salvation. Praise God!

    (And, hey! What’s with using a scripture that I have in a post I’m currently working on? 😉 )

  8. Maureen says:

    Personally I don’t eat at BK, Mickie D’s, or a long list of other places. But that’s because its not food (don’t even get me started, I run my own bakery). So my boycott is based on their choice of, um, food. Pretty sure Jesus would be with me on this one.

    If the trumpet blast of Twitter was not available, would JP still boycott BK? Would it matter?

    In reading some of the exit stories from MHC attenders, I find there is a common thread of shunning and/or treating someone differently while their sin is being ‘disciplined’. I’m sadly realizing that some folks are comfortable in (and proud of?) their Christian world view to treat another differently when they want to call a behavior ‘sin’. I just don’t find it anywhere in Scripture.

  9. ryanwirsing1 says:

    Hi! So this is my first ever comment on a blog, as I am currently in the process f creating my own and when I saw that your blog was negative towards Piper, I was about to get all defensive and up in arms, but after reading, I can see your point.

    I believe the only message Piper intended to send was that he disagreed with the homosexual lifestyle. OK, that’s fine. The Bible clearly states that it is a sinful lifestyle. No problem. But as you stated, it seems to come across as a message of hatred and rejection towards the LGBT crowd.

    Was this what Piper intended? I sincerely doubt it. Did it come across that way? Absolutely. I love Piper and agree with him on most issues, but the way he handled this post is rather sloppy, and does nothing to show or spread love.

    Let me make it clear, I’m not one of those wishywashy people who tries to reconcile homosexuality and Christianity. They are not compatible lifestyles. I will stand by the Bible until I can’t stand any longer. BUT, I will do so in love. Christians today seem to either bring the truth and forget the love, or bring the love and forget the truth. We are called to bring light and truth to unbelievers, IN LOVE. How Piper thought a tweet like this would help reach those who don’t know Jesus is beyond me.

    I used to have a gay friend, who actually came to my youth group back when I was in high school. He came for almost 2 years and we were buddies. He knew my beliefs and respected them, and told me had literally no problem with my beliefs about homosexuality. He said he knew I was a friend who cared about him and treated him well and that was all that mattered. Unfortunately, after a while he just became very angry and bitter and left the church and apparently hates me for some reason now. It’s sad, but i do hope he comes to Christ at some point.

    I’m not trying to act all “holier than thou” here towards Piper, cause I am certainly not perfect, but I really feel he and the majority of the church needs to change their attitudes on homosexuality. Be firm, but loving. We all struggle with sin. Targeting and highlighting one specific sin and demonizing that community only drives them further away from Christ and redemption. It is honestly sad.

    I really wish politics wasn’t so involved in every aspect of life today.

    • Tim says:

      I like the way you made these points, Ryan.

      “We are called to bring light and truth to unbelievers, IN LOVE. “

      and

      “We all struggle with sin. Targeting and highlighting one specific sin and demonizing that community only drives them further away from Christ and redemption. It is honestly sad.”

      Well said. I hope your new blogging endeavor goes well and is blessed by God to build his kingdom.

      Tim

  10. Pingback: Eclectica: Late Edition (Week of July 7, 2014) – duncalfe.com

  11. caramac54 says:

    I’ve been hibernating the last couple of weeks, and am just catching up on All Things Tim …and friend, I (as always, as usual) appreciate your words here. Thank you for continuing to recognize truth in the midst of Burger King wrappers and John Piper musings.

  12. injeshua says:

    Great to see that their are Christians who are not gay-haters. I am a lonely voice amongst nearly all I know. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry just last night, when a lady in the Bible study I attend, proudly declared that she actually does speak to the lesbian moms at her child’s school. As if she was somehow doing them a favour. Are we allowed to call that bigotry???

    • Tim says:

      Whether it’s bigotry or ignorance or whatever, I’d call it an opportunity to help her grow in her relationship with Christ and with the people (LGBT and straight) that God has put in her life!

    • joepote01 says:

      Your comment reminded me of an old joke and brought a chuckle:

      “How can you tell when the Baptist minister has preached a sermon against hypocrisy? When the Baptist church members acknowledge and greet others they meet at the liquor store.”

      Oh….the crazy things we do in the name of religion…

  13. I found your blog quite interesting and the concern in the blog is really impressive

  14. Dnaiel says:

    Check Piper’s update on this in his #AskPastorJohn Series

  15. Actually, the thing I see in all this is that Burger King reflects better the teachings of Jesus than a “professional christian” seems to 😦

    • Tim says:

      They certainly invited everyone to the table, LL.

      • I shared this post with a friend of mine who ‘came out’ a few years back. He has been a christian most of his life and was even “cured” by the church in his 20s. The absolute vitriol he has faced since then by fine, upstanding christians is enough to break anyone’s heart. He is the same on the inside as he’s always been!

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