Patronizing Vendors with Alternate Lifestyles

Would you buy from people who are known to live in particularly heinous sin?

We have a farmers' market as do many towns. Of many agricultural vendors, two local establishments sell there (and their products look wonderful) which are run by women who are known lesbians.

I realize that I may patronize people living in grievous sin without knowing it. However, in this case I do know it. I don't think that such people should be denied the right to make a living. It's just difficult for me to contribute to it.

What do you think--should this be a non-issue or is it a valid concern?

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Becky Petersen's picture

Maybe it is a concern if you consider your purchase somehow a "show of support". In some small way, I suppose it is, but if you are getting value for the money, then it is more or less (IMO) a product you purchased and worth the money, no matter who you buy it from and less a "show of support". I don't consider myself "not showing support" when I choose to walk past a store without going in. I just think "I don't need anything today". If I buy something at an inflated price in order to give them extra money (like Christian school candy bars), then that, to me, is a "show of support."

If there were two equal items and I wanted one of them, I'd probably choose to purchase from the one who is a Christian (if I knew it). However, apart from that, I'm not about to go about deciding who is the worst sinner and needs to be avoided. I am not sure how you can begin to be consistent in your application.

But of course, if you want to show care and concern even though you don't buy from them, then go ahead. Think how nice it might be to get a chance to befriend them and possibly leave a testimony, however, due to your presence as a customer. If someone is openly antagonistic to God, I'm not sure what I'd do. I'd probably avoid their booth altogether unless I was feeling a bit feisty myself.

Rob Fall's picture

My question is would you patronize the stall if it was run by a man who was a known drunkard who abused his ife?

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I would not support someone who abused their ife. Ever. Bleah

Seriously, I don't consider being a customer to be 'contributing' to someone's sinful lifestyle. I find that patronizing the local farmer's market, craft store, and hair salons gives me an opportunity to connect with and witness to the lost. I would probably never otherwise have the opportunity to witness to my hairdresser Karen- we live very different lifestyles, and where else am I going to talk to her- unless of course I do it the old-fashioned way, which is to knock on her door and ask her if she knows where she'd go if she died.

Ben Howard's picture

There is one particular dog groomer that my wife and I intentionally patronize who is a lesbian (but also has great prices and service!). She is very outspoken, especially after Prop 8 here in CA, so a lot of Christians actually intentionally avoid her, but I believe that if she is ever going to clearly hear the gospel, it will only be because a Christian has a relationship with her, because she for sure isn't walking into any church. Unfortunately, I have seen too many businesses that claim to be under "Christian" ownership that have high prices, poor service, and generally are not quality, so that I would rather go to a non-Christian that does quality cheap work. I agree with Susan that I am not contributing to a lifestyle to be someone's customer.

I have seen this taken too far. We were in Paso Del Macho, Mexico on a mission trip and the Mexican pastor was trying to evangelize one particular restaurant owner, so we ate in his restaurant 7 straight days for 2 meals a day. TOO MUCH!

Alex Guggenheim's picture

If I have a choice between two similar vendors, I don't pick one if he or she is a "Christian" rather, if they hold to views closest to mine with regard to establishment principles which means there are plenty of non-Christians that hold to appropriate principles of establishment. But usually our family reserves this for substantial purchases such as a house, car, major appliances (and then we select a sales person we desire to benefit), and home repair/remodeling, so that the profit is directed toward supporting those like us, hence helping sustain and expand, through indirect financing, a society more reflective of establishment principles, thus benefiting our family and our community. So I cannot say on every dollar spent such a detailed audit is made but sometimes it is and sometimes to a much lesser degree. For example we eat at a certain restaurant that has superior service and good food, which is exactly what they should have, thus we eat there often because I want that restaurant rewarded. As well we get sandwiches from 1 of 3 local Quiznos because the owner insist the service is excellent with well mannered employees. It is an extra 3 miles but worth the drive to reward that business.

Becky Petersen's picture

Rob Fall wrote:
My question is would you patronize the stall if it was run by a man who was a known drunkard who abused his ife?

If everyone knows he abuses his wife, shame on them. He should be in jail and not working in a farmer's market.

But if he is...my answer, like Susan's,"absolutely not." I'll let a man try to win him to the Lord.

Rob Fall's picture

Becky Petersen wrote:
Rob Fall wrote:
My question is would you patronize the stall if it was run by a man who was a known drunkard who abused his wife?

If everyone knows he abuses his wife, shame on them. He should be in jail and not working in a farmer's market.

But if he is...my answer, like Susan's,"absolutely not." I'll let a man try to win him to the Lord.

My point is many (though not on this thread) seem differentiate between drunkards and homosexuals (male and female).

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Some sins are just more distasteful to us. I know folks who would tolerate spousal abuse but be horrified by child abuse. Or they tolerate fornication but abhor homosexuality. We pick and choose instead of being consistent.

When I lived in WV my hairdresser was very, very gay. But after awhile, our 'relationship' had developed to the point that he listened very attentively to me when the Lord opened the door for me to witness. He asked good questions and was not the least put off by my Bible-based answers. I gave him some material (that just happened to be in my purse) and we continued a dialog (about every 6-8 weeks) until I moved. He was under deep conviction, and I passed him on to a Christian friend that I knew would continue to try to help him. When I tell that story to some women I know, they are horrified that I would let a gay man touch my hair. What was going to happen? Homosexuality isn't contagious, and AIDS isn't transmitted through the air. I figure with all that chemical processing and shampooing his hands were cleaner than mine. He'll get victory over his sin when he has a genuine encounter with God- and just how is that going to happen if he is shunned by Christians? Are we not going to talk to sinners until after they quit their wickedness?

My current hairdresser is absolutely the cutest girl, but hides her beautiful face and dimples-to-die-for with multiple piercings, and her body is covered with tattoos. The coolest thing is that she lights up when I walk into the salon. We've had our chit-chatty times, and I've begun to open up the dialog to include spiritual things. I can't wait to see how God is going to work things out. She also does my dd's hair, and Emma knows that we are not just getting our hair done, but we are trying to connect with people so that we can show them the Gospel in our loving ways so that when we confront them with Calvary they will be more likely to listen. All the hairdressers there compliment my daughter profusely- how sweet and well-behaved she is, that she can converse intelligently and politely with adults... and they've begun to ask me what I do differently than some of the other moms that come in with their unruly children. It's been my opportunity to give glory to God and share Biblical principles with them.

I don't see any difference in patronizing a business run by a lost person than when we do things for our neighbors- is it supporting sin to mow someone's yard, rake their leaves, babysit their dog and house when they're out of town?

Rob Fall's picture

I agree. Seemingly, many forget the lost are just behaving like the lost persons they are.

Susan R wrote:
Some sins are just more distasteful to us. I know folks who would tolerate spousal abuse but be horrified by child abuse. Or they tolerate fornication but abhor homosexuality. We pick and choose instead of being consistent.
SNIP
I don't see any difference in patronizing a business run by a lost person than when we do things for our neighbors- is it supporting sin to mow someone's yard, rake their leaves, babysit their dog and house when they're out of town?

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Daniel's picture

Is it just me, or does anyone else not really know the people you buy products from? The only person I know is my barber, and that is only b/c I go to my wife's salon and see the same one every time. But when I went to Great Clips, I had a different person every time.

Ann B.'s picture

Susan - I hear what you're saying too. Thanks for the good perspective.

And to the others - No, I wouldn't want to patronize the drunkard wife-beater either.

Keri L.'s picture

I agree with Susan on this one.

I would also suggest we look to Christ's example while he was on Earth. He did not discriminate against those who lived in sin. In fact He seems to seek them out intentionally. So my feeling would be that we live our lives with love toward others and use any opportunity to show them the love and grace of Christ in our own lives through our words and deeds.

Jay's picture

How do we demonstate love for others [John 13:34-35; I John 4 ], and so let our light shine [Matthew 5:16 ], if we don't interact with the unsaved vendors?

Also, I'm sure that there are adulterers [just to pick a category ] working for Coke, Pepsi, Nike, Microsoft and Boeing. Should we not buy their tennis shoes, fly on their planes, use their software, and drink their beverages because of it? It seems to me that the consequences of that belief must of necessity lead to insulation and isolation from the rest of the world.

@Ann-

Josh Harris had a great story in a video he did one time that really helped me. He was walking down the street and was accosted by a group of gay men. After they left, he raged to God about their wicked lusts, and then God smote him about his own wicked heterosexual lusts and what they looked like in God's own sight, rhetorically asking if Harris was really any different from the gays in God's eyes. So it's been a lot easier to move past that mental hurdle of 'ew, gross' feeling for me now that I can identify with both "victim" and "sinner" in that way.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Paul Matzko's picture

Anne B. wrote:
people who are known to live in particularly heinous sin

We should avoid confusing cultural and Biblical criterions for sinfulness. Sin is sin because it "misses the mark" of Christ's righteousness, not because we may find it distasteful. In this respect, homosexuality is no more or less sinful than adultery, lying, or blasphemy. In much of fundamentalism and broader evangelicalism we err by denying compassion to homosexuals because our culture finds it worse than other sins. This reflects poorly on who we say our Christ is.

Let me give you a personal example. My Christian high school had an annual retreat to a Christian camp for the senior class. One night during that trip the boys and the girls split up to have separate testimony/confession times. In the guys meeting we had a wonderful time of confessing sin toward each other, laying our sin burdens at the Cross, and exulting in Christ. A guy would get up and say, "I need to ask Tim's forgiveness for always picking on him." Another kid would say, "I need to confess my struggle with pornography so I can get your help with accountability." But then one of the guys stood up at the microphone and said, "I struggle with feelings for other guys." The room became dead silent. The mood changed. We all became really uncomfortable.

That night we did a disservice to a brother in Christ. Looking for help and friendship, he had confessed a sin that was no worse than ours. Yet we gave him the cold shoulder, whispered about him behind his back from then on, and rebuffed his plea for support. We need to live conscious that we each are the "chief among sinners." We are to be conduits of God's grace to one another and yet we who deserve justice instead withold mercy.

rogercarlson's picture

I agree with Susan's perspective too. I have done that as a pastor. I befriend sinners and give them the Gospel. If someone moved in across the street who was gay would be no different than the couple living next door to me who are living together without being married.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Marty H's picture

I agree that one "White" lie is all that it takes to doom a person, I'm not so sure I agree that all sin is the same.

Jhn 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power [at all ] against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Notice the Lord did not say that Pilate did not sin. He did say that "he that delivered" hath the "Greater sin"

Again, I know and understand that as far as salvation goes, All have sinned. And so are under the same condemnation. But the Bible says

Exd 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is ] abomination.

Lev 18:23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is ] confusion.

Lev 20:12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be ] upon them.

Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be ] upon them.

And then there are other sins

Lev 19:11 ¶ Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Notice these are not called abomination or confusion and as far as I can tell, people were not put to death for them.

So there are big and little sins. And while I understand the point being made I don't agree with whats was offered in Jay's post

"After they left, he raged to God about their wicked lusts, and then God smote him about his own wicked heterosexual lusts and what they looked like in God's own sight, rhetorically asking if Harris was really any different from the gays in God's eyes."

Some or most of you will likely not agree but I say it is quite clear that there is difference in the two types of lust. I find it hard to believe that any one of you would think it a sin to lust for your wife or husband ( as long as it is not a same sex marriage ) But to lust for someone of the same sex ? Is it EVER not a sin ?

And while there are examples of heterosexual lust that may be just as wicked, The point remains. And I think we as Christians should draw lines. Notice I did not say point fingers. But where does this "PC" way of thinking end ? Do we end up with husband and husband teams standing in the pullpit ? Or a man who has his son's wife ? And if we end up allowing that how can we say no to a letter carrying member of "Nambla" ?

This isn't to say we aren't to witness to them. But should there not be lines drawn ?

And what about big companys that openly support gays etc ? Is it ok to do business with them ? ( I am thinking of a big Communications company that did just that a while back )

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
1Cor 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Cor 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
1Cor 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1Cor 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Cor 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

While some sins are worse because they have more dire consequences, the admonition in the NT was to separate from unrepentant believers. If we were to separate from the lost, 1)we'd not be able to befriend them at all 2) we'd have to leave the planet.

All in favor of option 2 say "Aye!" http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-fc/hiya.gif[/img ]

As for companies that support gays- I don't boycott, because I can't do so consistently. All secular companies probably support causes I believe are wicked- homosexuality, abortion, fornication... do you watch tv or movies directed or produced by homosexuals/bisexuals, or have actors/actresses in the cast that promote promiscuity, abortion, and same-sex marriage? It never ends, and I don't believe it would be a prudent use of my time to figure who is doing what and then how to separate from them or not purchase their products.

Ann B.'s picture

Paul Matzko wrote:
Anne B. wrote:
people who are known to live in particularly heinous sin

We should avoid confusing cultural and Biblical criterions for sinfulness. Sin is sin because it "misses the mark" of Christ's righteousness, not because we may find it distasteful. In this respect, homosexuality is no more or less sinful than adultery, lying, or blasphemy. In much of fundamentalism and broader evangelicalism we err by denying compassion to homosexuals because our culture finds it worse than other sins. This reflects poorly on who we say our Christ is.

It's not only our culture that finds it worse than other sins. Yes, all sin is sin, and any sin separates us from God, but the Bible doesn't give "white lies" as an example of God giving someone over to a reprobate mind.

And no, I'm not going to spend time researching who is sinning in what way to decide whether to patronize certain businesses, but when it's thrust in front of me - that's a different story. A known lesbian is now hawking CoverGirl cosmetics in their advertising. I find it difficult to support that.

Jay's picture

Marty H wrote:
So there are big and little sins. And while I understand the point being made I don't agree with what was offered in Jay's post
me wrote:
After they left, he raged to God about their wicked lusts, and then God smote him about his own wicked heterosexual lusts and what they looked like in God's own sight, rhetorically asking if Harris was really any different from the gays in God's eyes.

Some or most of you will likely not agree but I say it is quite clear that there is difference in the two types of lust. I find it hard to believe that any one of you would think it a sin to lust for your wife or husband ( as long as it is not a same sex marriage ) But to lust for someone of the same sex ? Is it EVER not a sin ?

And while there are examples of heterosexual lust that may be just as wicked, The point remains. And I think we as Christians should draw lines. Notice I did not say point fingers. But where does this "PC" way of thinking end ? Do we end up with husband and husband teams standing in the pullpit ? Or a man who has his son's wife? And if we end up allowing that how can we say no to a letter carrying member of "Nambla"?

This isn't to say we aren't to witness to them. But should there not be lines drawn ?


Marty, my point was twofold:

1. There is no distinction in God's eyes about 'types of sin'. Yes, the consequences differ. But sin does not. That's a fairly easy concept to grasp. Please point out to us where God differentiates between 'two types of lust' in the Scripture. Sin condemns a person to the lake of fire whether or not it's heterosexual lust or homosexual lust, lying, stealing, murder, whatever.

In response to drawing the line, that's easy. You say to them - "You're a sinner, I'm a sinner. God forgave me of my sin, would you like to know how He can do that for you as well?" I've used that line a couple times myself, and it always gets their attention.

2. You made my secondary point - it is well nigh impossible to boycott large companies on a consistent basis. Take Microsoft and Apple for example. I'm sure that there are homosexuals on their staff. So let's argue that we're going to withdraw from their business and go to Linux. How do you know that someone who is gay didn't work on your hypothetical Linux distro?

It gets worse, because even if you can find a version of an OS that hasn't been worked on in any way by a homosexual, you have to find a computer who wasn't assembled by a company that employs them, and you have to make sure that the PARTS haven't been manufactured by companies that employ homosexuals. Pretty soon, you're either down to building everything yourself, buying from only 'pre-approved' friends who can make the stuff, or giving up and going to live in a cave somewhere.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Audrey's picture

I agree with much of what Susan has been saying - it is important to realize that we live in a fallen world and that we can't expect unsaved people to act in the same ways that we do. They have no reason to. That being said, it does not, for this discussion, matter whether or not homosexuality is worse than other sins. They're not Christians; they are already damned. It is our responsibility to them to show them that we love them, and we want what's best for them, which means belief in Christ for the remission of sins and also helping them in the here and now. People don't usually feel that you care about them as an entire person (body and soul) too much, if you're not willing to pay attention to their physical needs. To be clear: I am not saying to help support someone's business who does a bad job - that's not really helping them as a whole person - but we should support good businesses and get to know the people who serve us. I think it's pity that most Christians don't bother to be friendly with the people who serve them in grocery stores or restaurants or hair salons. If you actually take the time to notice someone, it will surprise you how often you see them, and it gives you a context within which to strike up a conversation again when you happen upon them in some other place.

Paul Matzko's picture

Marty H wrote:

Exd 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is ] abomination.

Lev 18:23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is ] confusion.

Lev 20:12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be ] upon them.

Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be ] upon them.

These injunctions are judicial penalties under a functional theocracy. Unless you're a big fan of dominionism, then they no longer apply today.

Marty H wrote:
Jhn 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power [at all ] against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

In the broader context of the passage we see that Jesus is responding to Pilate who is claiming judicial authority over Christ. Jesus recognizes Pilate's divinely-ordained position of authority and his right to exercise civil power. I don't believe that this passage describes Christ weighing the comparative "badness" of Pilate next to that of the mob.