Christians need to chill
I don’t watch Duck Dynasty … mainly because I don’t have cable. I’ve seen the show maybe four times. From what I’ve seen, I like the show, but not enough to watch back episodes online. Still, I appreciate the clean humor, the focus on family, and the faith each family member boldly professes.
The Robertson family is not shy about their love for Jesus. And that’s awesome. They have a right to be heard, just as any other show on TV has a right to be heard. Some times controversial things are said and done, which creates a “war zone.” Christians rally against non-Christians, who in turn rally against Christians whenever one side says something or does something the other side finds offensive. But we’re going to have times of offense, especially when two opposite sides are given the freedom to speak their minds.
This is one of the great things about America. Though I don’t always agree with everything that’s said within our culture, I do value the fact that our country gives the freedom of speech to its citizens. Everyone has a right to be heard, because each voice represents a person that needs to be acknowledged.
Therefore, it matters greatly how Christians respond when being offended, and when we offend others. In both situations, I believe Jesus calls us to be the one who seeks to make amends with the opposing side – either by seeking forgiveness or choosing not to be offended.
When situations arise (like the one involving Phil Robertson and his remarks), I think Christians need to take a deep breath, chill out, and remember that God still sits on His throne and remains sovereign. It’s not our job to defend Him; nor are we to make appeals through protesting and boycotting the things/people who have offended us. Our job is to represent Christ by imitating His character. Our job is to respond differently than the world around us.
This is Phil’s controversial comment about homosexuality: “It seems like, to me, a v****a—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s a****. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
As one who deals with same-sex attractions, and is a happily married man, I found Phil’s comments to be offensive. Wesley Hill stated my reaction well, “The conclusion to draw from [Phil's] comment, as Katelyn Beaty noted earlier today on Twitter, is ‘that gay men should just wake up to how awesome women’s body parts are.’ But, of course, that’s just not how sexuality works.” If only it were that simple. If only we could deduce a very real and trying struggle for hundreds of Christian men and women to such simple logic. But we can’t, and we should not!
Though I believe with Phil that gay sex is a sin, the truth is, his comment is spoken out of ignorance. And when Christians say they support everything Phil has said, without exception, they too speak out of ignorance. It is this blind ignorance that the gay community and so many other people are upset with. Sexuality at times is deep and complex. Some issues in life cannot be solved with a simple cut and paste answer.
In saying that I believe Phil spoke out of ignorance, I do not believe he hates gay people. Here’s another quote from the same article: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?” And in his response to the outcry over the article, Phil says: ” … I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
The only other words I would add to Phil’s response would be, “I’m sorry for any offense.”
Saying “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean that you are selling out. It doesn’t mean you are apologizing for God’s word. It doesn’t mean you are being forced to put away your Christian values; nor does it mean that your Christian faith and “rights” are being attacked.
Saying “I’m sorry,” eases the tension. It opens communication. It lets the offended person know you did not mean to offend them in the way that you did.
The gay community is made up of real people, with real emotions. When interacting with or confronted by someone who has same-sex attractions, we should be quick to listen and slow to speak (react): What is really being said? Why are they saying this? How does God want me to respond? In fact, maybe we should take this approach anytime we talk with people when the conversation is tense … even more, when we truly don’t understand the fullness of the topic being discussed.
The non-Christian world won’t magically submit to Christian ideals and values. In fact, Jesus tells us things will get worse, that we will face unfair treatment*, and even be put to death for our faith (see John 16:33, 15:20). In response to this trouble, Jesus does not say, “Start a Facebook group in protest,” or “Boycott this company,” or anything like these ideas. Rather, Christ calls us to live for Him despite what others say; He says to pray for those who don’t understand and ridicule us; He says to love those who we find to be unlovable (see Matthew 5:11-12, 44, Romans 12:14). He calls us to be a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14).
May we ever be reminded the words of Christ: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35, emphasis added). I love this quote from Tozer, “There is a glorified Man on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven faithfully representing us there … let us faithfully represent Him here.”
In this with you,
*By the way, real persecution is being beheaded, killed, tortured, arrested, etc. for your faith. Phil Robertson being benched from TV, or people not agreeing with our Christian values, is not persecution. Unless we are being killed because of our evident love for Jesus, then we have nothing to complain about.