Users on all the social networks have been outraged by good old M&S banning the words Jesus and Christ from their online flower delivery service. The suggestion is that yet again Christianity is been persecuted and marginalized.
Some of the comments I read on Facebook included “outrageous”, “very sad” and “lost a customer”.
If the full report were read one would discover that the person who was struggling with their order, called the help line where the order was processed immediately.
Might I suggest an alternative version of this story? Marks and Spencer set up an online florist that offers people the opportunity not only to order bouquets, but also to include their own message. Recognizing that there was a possibility that someone might use the service to write a message offensive to Christians they ensured that anyone who wanted to use words that we in the church hold dear, such as Jesus and Christ, they established protocols to ensure people would not be able to be include words that could be used in an offensive way without authorization from their call centre.
My concern is that many of my fellow Christians were so quick to take offence. Indeed they even took the report from the Daily Mail that this tabloid was some reliable form of reporting. There are many things we should be concerned about (many of which are ignored or under reported by the Daily Mail). Might I suggest Kelly Gissendaner who as I write this is within hours of being executed in the USA? How about world poverty? How about a food bank in one town in the Welsh valleys where 12% of the population have been customers within a 9-month period? In fact I’ve go a better idea. How about we choose not to be offended, ignore petty criticism and intentionally become known as people who go out of our way to reward good service, encourage people and show gratitude?
I have determined that I want to spend more time extending the Kingdom. I want to be counter -cultural rather than falling into the trap of being distracted by being defensive. Anyone with me?