The Tennessean's list of companies that are "rooted in Christianity"

The Tennessean presents a list of companies that are “rooted in Christianity.” The post features the usual companies: Chick-Fil-A, In-N-Out, Hobby Lobby, and a few that hardly seem to count since they primarily sell Christian products: Thomas Nelson and and Lifeway. Lists like this raise all kinds of questions:

  1. What is the purpose of listing companies who are “rooted in Christianity”? Should I be compelled to buy a greasy Chick-Fil-A “sandwich” just because they are closed on Sundays?
  2. What does it mean for a company to be “rooted in Christianity”? In-N-Out has Bible verses on their cups, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, and Precious Moments features angelic children with freakishly large eyes in “christian inspired” scenes. What Christianity is this? Does this rootedness lead to business practices that honor God? Products that honor God?

This list reminds me of a trip my wife and I took to the mall yesterday to buy her some clothes. She bought a few shirts from Forever XXI, and when we left I was surprised to notice John 3:16 printed on the bottom of the bag. I was shocked to find out that this was a Christian company since the atmosphere of the store seemed to promote an utterly vain, club lifestyle. Obviously, I don’t think there is anything wrong wear wearing attractive clothing, or buying clothes from stores that promote non-Christian worldviews (if I did I would probably be naked), but I was surprised that a company which seemed to be so explicitly appealing to vanity would also explicitly market themselves as a Christian store.

I have no strong conclusions to draw from these observations, except that we should be discerning when companies claim to be Christian and those companies or others in the Church imply that we should support them because they are “rooted in Christianity.”

About Alan Noble

(Co-Founder/Editor/Columnist) is a part-time lecturer at Baylor University. He received his PhD in Contemporary American Literature from Baylor, writing on manifestations of transcendence in 20th Century American Lit. He and his family attend Redeemer Waco, a PCA church. Alan's passion is studying how believers can be a faithful presence in culture to the glory of God and the edification of others. In addition to editing, Alan writes his column, Citizenship Confusion for CaPC.

---Follow Alan on Twitter @TheAlanNoble and on Facebook.

---For questions, comments, or interest in speaking engagements please email me at noble.noneuclidean [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • The Dane

    But Alan, it’s an utterly vain, club lifestyle that Jesus would approve of!

  • Alan Noble

    Right. What’s interesting is to contemplate the words of John 3:16 and their connection to Forever XXI.

  • The Dane

    Woah! So you think Forever Twenty-One is a subtle call-out to eternal life and vigour? Fascinating.

  • Adam Carrington

    This article from Forbes seems to give a decent overview about Chick-Fil-A and what you could consider to be Christian about it as a company:

  • Mr. Poet

    People railed against blue laws that shut down almost everything on Sundays. Now you can barely get a day off.

  • Drew Dixon

    I think it is wonderful that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday and that they seem to be generous in a number of ways. However, the idea of a “Christian” business irks me. Firstly because businesses do not have souls and therefore are incapable of being Christian. And secondly because of Chick-Fil-A and Forever 21 and whatever else other companies that claim to be “Christian” have a tremendous opportunity to be a poor witness for Christ.

    So should a company claim to be “Christian”? I don’t know, but I lean toward saying no. My reason is because no matter how hard Chick-Fil-A tries to hire good “Christian” employees, they will not be able to do so. Further because Chick-Fil-A is a business an not a church, they have no ability to discipline those under their employ if they begin to exhibit a poor witness. A church can do that, a business cannot.

    Very interesting questions. To address your specific questions:

    1. No I don’t think, we should feel compelled to go to businesses that claim Christianity. In fact, I think it wise to purposefully go to the same businesses that are not “Christian” for the sake of witness. For the record, I have read that Chick-Fil-A actually is less fattening that most fast food restaurants and actually provides more healthy options than most, but their is nothing particularly godly about fried chicken sandwiches.

    2. The problem with a company claiming to be rooted in Christianity is that these companies are not churches–who is holding them accountable for this claim? Who is asking Forever 21 tough questions about their business model? Does their pastor care that they are being accused of ripping off other companies? Is anyone talking to them about modesty or vanity (at least on some level)?