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Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29
 
 

Yesterday, Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Robertson clan and star of the A&E television show Duck Dynasty, was suspended from production by A&E and criticized heavily for his comments during an interview with GQ. See the news article here.

Below are my thoughts on the matter. Click "Read More" to view entire post.


First, I should say that I really love the television show Duck Dynasty. I think it has done a great job of showing a different (and, quite frankly, a much more appealing) side of modern Christianity than what is often portrayed in the media. (Which is usually overly zealous or controversial/fundamental in nature.) 

I understand Phil's desire to demonstrate his beliefs, but I disagree with his approach and avenue. To be quite honest, I thought his comments were surprising and slightly vulgar. Not something I expected from someone who so strongly aligns themselves with the love of Jesus. If we look in the Bible we see examples where Jesus spoke the truth but did it in love. I don't know whether he spoke out of emotion or anger or perhaps just frustration but it wasn't lovingly and probably did more to turn the world away from Christ than towards. People already have a perception that Christians judge...and that's exactly what Phil Robertson seemingly did with his comments. In a very secular venue, he chose to speak on judgement instead of out of love. Whatever good his show was doing to represent true Christianity is now possibly compromised by a few poorly uttered phrases. 

The Bible does acknowledge that homosexuality, like greed or adultery or lying, is a sin. Everyone will be accountable for their sin...whatever it may be. And the Bible is clear on that. But the
Bible also says to speak wholesomely and to do everything in love. Robertson's supporters in this controversy seem to be forgetting that part. I also see this whole episode as a tremendous waste of opportunity on his behalf. Why not use the time you have with the impressionable media to make an impact for GOOD instead of polarizing the audience. There is a time and a place for judgement and no one on this earth is responsible for doing it except God. And no, not even Phil Robertson.

So where does this leave me? 

I love the show...more for the antics and family dynamics than for the representation of faith. However, I do think that Phil Robertson's comments were hurtful and divisive. But I cannot judge this man any more than anyone else can. I have said many things that were hurtful and divisive to others in my 28 years of life. How can I cast the first stone?

I can't.

I hope that Phil Robertson takes this as a learning opportunity that divisive talk does no good for the Kingdom of God. Love is the most powerful weapon of truth...if that even makes any sense. Love teaches, instructs and rebukes. Love is what I, as a practicing "evangelical Christian", have been taught is the greatest of all things. Love is what propelled God to allow himself to be born into human flesh, to walk amongst men and to eventually die on the cross for my sin. Love conquers all. Not judgement or hate speak.

I know this is very eloquently written or composed, but it's just my own thoughts on my own little blog. :)

___________________________ ADDENDUM_________________________

Read the GQ article here.

I don't mean to come across as someone who is anti-Truth or anti-Judgement, and, if you read the entire GQ article there are lots and LOTS of great quotes about faith straight from Phil's mouth. I just wish he'd left out the other "controversial" stuff. There is a time and a place to discuss sin, morality and the ultimate consequences for sin without forgiveness and I don't think it's Phil's job to do it in that situation. Such a powerful article on how this man and his wild family have changed society's thinking on faith...has now been turned into a point of division. Sad, indeed.

I don't think that Phil Robertson intended to hurt anyone, but I just wish he'd said things a little differently. That's all.
 

13 comments:

  1. So incredibly well put, April. I love this.

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    1. Thanks Meghan! Just my thoughts...but I'm glad they all make sense. :)

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  2. I read the article this morning and frankly I don't see the big issue here. What I read was an old man talking about his beliefs and his views. I didn't catch the part where he himself is judging anyone. Like you said, sin is sin.

    I do believe that he could have phrased a few things differently, but he comes from a different culture than many of the younger people that watch the show. My grandfather grew up in a time when segregation was completely normal and acceptable. In his later years he still had a hard time changing some of the adjectives he used towards the other party and while it wasn't OK, we all knew where he was coming from.

    Could the same apply to Phil? I'm not judging him either. Heck, I don't even watch the show. I just don't see what all the hoop-la is all about. Quite frankly I was more offended by the journalist's choice in language and words used than I was by any of Phil's quotes.

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    1. I totally agree that he could have phrased his words differently and there probably wouldn't have been nearly the amount of backlash that there was. But, I was honestly more put-off by the explicit mention of male and female genitalia and a vulgar term for an act of sexual behavior than the actual comments about sin/Christianity. I was just really, REALLY surprised at how explicit he decided to be.

      I also agree that for someone raised in a different time, it can sometimes be quite an adjustment to today's culture and world that we live in...especially if you live in somewhat of a rural area like he does. But no matter where you're from, or how you were raised, it just doesn't seem right to be so mean-spirited in your words...especially when directing them towards a group of people who are already sensitive to how they are perceived in society. Did you read some of his comments? Where he talks about comparing homosexual behavior with bestality? My point, I guess, is that there's a way to voice your opinion...especially in public...and to do it without inciting much anger. I don't think he did a good job of that. But maybe I just think that because I'm very anti-confrontation and wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. :) HA!

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  3. He's not comparing homosexuality w/ beastality...he's just saying that is a sin as well. I've read the article three times this morning to make sure I wasn't missing something.

    The bottom line here that has everyone so outraged is their views don't like up w/ his - thus he is spewing hate and is wrong. I posted something on Facebook Sunday (before this happened) about how hard it is these days to share my faith. I feel like their is an attack on Christianity these days and I'm tired of it. I get it that I'm in the minority now and I know the path following Jesus was never an easy path, but man do I ever feel like a guppy swimming in a sea full of sharks.

    I agree there are ways to speak your mind without tearing others down, but if they are offended by the Truth...well then so be it. I don't think he was purposely trying to "attack" anyone, but of course that's not the way the article painted it.

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    1. I totally agree Colbey! We are living in a society now that says if someone doesn't agree or condone something...then they are hate mongers and we know that is not the case.

      This is first time in my lifetime that I'm actually seeing Christians in America being persecuted for their beliefs and for the sake of the gospel.

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  4. I just wonder how the rest of the family will deal with the situation. Will they stand behind their patriarch or stay in it for the money? It will be interesting to see how they decide to handle it.

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    1. Yes, I also wonder how they will react. I mean, they can't really be in it for the money, right? Hopefully not. :)

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  5. I don't care what he said, it's his right to say whatever he pleases. It did knock him down a few pegs in my eyes though because while I am not a Christian I do like the way the family has portrayed their faith on the show. They don't seem to be judgmental or to really bother with any way of life but their own, which I think is smart.

    What I take issue with is the reaction of others: they are saying his freedom of speech has been violated. He has not been beaten, arrested, or imprisoned because he spoke his mind. It's his prerogative to say whatever he pleases and it's his employer's prerogative to can him if what he says in a public forum does not align with their views. Similar to how my employer could do the same to me, or yours to you. This is not a freedom of speech issue.

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  6. I have been reading (lurking ) your blog for well over a year, mostly for fashion and think you are adorable.Congrats on the engagement. I have a few friends that live in other parts of the country and have come to learn that this controversy is a much bigger issue where you live (south...mid west). I live in New England and almost no one is talking about it. No one is putting it on Facebook. No one cares. It may have to do with the fact religion inst a part of everyday conversation here. I have no idea what religion if any most of my co-workers are. I assume many are catholic...as we live in a heavily Italian/Portuguese community and most people are, though many may not be practicing. I also work with and live in the community with many openly gay families...i just don't think that an old man in a beard spouting off his beliefs are any more relevant to my life than Kim and Kourtney doing it. They are both reality TV stars. I'm not going to take life advice from someone who got rich from making a sex tape or growing a beard and being a redneck. Neither have an effect on my life other than there nonsense is funny to watch on television. I can honestly say I never watched either show and thought to myself....well I got something from that. Sure, they can both have heartwarming elements of family love and bonding. But when it comes down to it. Its trashy reality tv, not The Waltons. Ok. thats my two cents. I wish you the best of luck on planning your wedding!

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    1. Thanks Ally! That's a great perspective and interesting to note that the controversy almost seems to be more regionally intense. Of course, things have calmed down in the last couple of days but I see things about it over social media...so...people are still thinking about it.

      I totally agree that when we start to pattern our lives (or things like beliefs and values) after reality tv stars...that's when we get in trouble! Thanks for sharing!

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