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Phil Robertson: Duck Calls and Sound-Bytes

Tony Myles —  December 19, 2013 — 44 Comments

Image2Remember when everyone loved the Robertson family and Duck Dynasty?

(You know, like six seconds ago?)

The news is out, and apparently (hang on to your duck call) there is the possibility that the Bible has something to say about heterosexuality, homosexuality, and God’s perspective on it all.

I’m not sure if you knew that.

Likewise, there is the possibility that a Christian might actually care about this and attempt to be consistent with what he/she sees in what’s said/presented on it all throughout the Bible, regardless of what’s common culturally.

I mentioned earlier this week how Pope Francis was named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine. I like that Pope, just like most people do. I followed up by asking if  you think Pope Francis is the person of the year:

  • Because of how He embodies Jesus Christ?
  • Because of how He embodies Jesus Christ in ways that are “nice” and universally accepted?

It seems like we may know a little more about how people tend to think.

Phil Robertson has been given an indefinite hiatus from his show. “Indefinite,” as in, “This is an eternal belief we don’t see ourselves changing on.”

Ironic?

Based on a GQ interview, Robertson shared how he has searched the Scriptures and attempted to form his beliefs based on what he sees in what God’s said. He’s even struggled with how the filter of show-business has already attempted to edit that. According to the interviewer, Robertson “…didn’t approve of A&E editing out ‘in Jesus’ from a family prayer scene, even though A&E says that the phrase has been uttered in at least seventeen episodes.”

Robertson walked around with the interview in the wilderness, looking at creation and saying things like, “The Almighty gave us this.” He shared how he put his son Jep under house-arrest to help him become clean and sober.

Here’s the real clincher, though – the piece of the interview that ignited the controversy:

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one: 

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. 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.”

Apparently, we need to stop the interview there. ”What interview?” you might ask. “Who needs an interview when we have a sound-byte?”

Yes, there is a full interview. Much of it seems edited already, so based on that presentation alone we’re not entirely sure what else Phil said in his interview that would seem positive or negative based on your pre-existing convictions. In fact, if you stop reading you miss out on this great gem of a conversation between Phil and the interviewer:

“So you and your woman: Are y’all Bible people?”

Not really, I’m sorry to say.

Grabbed Frame 7“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then. See what I’m saying?”

I think so?

We hop back in the ATV and plow toward the sunset, back to the Robertson home. There will be no family dinner tonight. No cameras in the house. No rowdy squirrel-hunting stories from back in the day. There will be only the realest version of Phil Robertson, hosting a private Bible study with a woman who, according to him, “has been on cocaine for years and is making her decision to repent. I’m going to point her in the right direction.”

It’s the direction he would like to point everyone: back to the woods. Back to the pioneer spirit. Back to God. “Why don’t we go back to the old days?” he asked me at one point. But now, I’m afraid, I must get out of the ATV and go back to where I belong, back to the godless part of America that Phil is determined to save.

Again, let’s skip over all of that.

Here’s what we see emerging in this conversation:

  • duck-commander-callsA culture of Duck Calls: The purpose of a duck call is to woo a duck. You can then either capture it, shoot it or heal it… based on if you’re a curious kid, a crafty hunter, or an empathetic zoologist. Use that as a metaphor, and step back to look at the larger picture of the Duck Dynasty family – they’re on their fifth season for a reason, and you always get a taste of it at the end of the show during the final prayer and in most episodes that are anchored to some element of faith. Yes, they’re crass and say things without the filter we’ve all learned you need in ministry. Perhaps that’s why we like them… perhaps that’s why Jesus was crucified… He also wooed people out with the “Duck Call” of his life (a la the Pope Francis article I mentioned earlier), then essentially said, “Now, let’s kill off your old self. Put it in the cross-hairs and let me help you pull the trigger. Real Life is an option.” Or, as we are more familiar with Him saying it this way, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-4) 
  • A culture of Sound-Bytes: Can you recall the last time you said “vagina” in a message, a la Phil’s sound-byte? Of course not – because you know that would be the “wrong” thing to say, so you say something tamer… something that won’t put the spotlight on that phrase, but the more important phrase. We’ve all learned to do this, especially since our culture takes one thing a person says, cranks it up to “11″ and drowns out everything else. I’m still in awe that someone hasn’t gone after the Dugger family yet – maybe that will be “tomorrow’s news.”

Apparently Phil’s answers to the interviewer involved him attempting to put into his own words what the Bible says on that topic and any other topic. It would seem there are still people out there who do this – they read the Bible and form a belief about it accordingly, versus forming a belief and hoping God’s okay with it. This includes taking into context not just one of the Bible’s books, but all of its books… as “one Book” with specific moments of context and other themes that remain consistent all throughout its pages (and into any culture, any time and any context).

There are others who would prefer to form a belief that will be culturally acceptable, then assume everyone else needs to agree with them. Perhaps this is why we’re quickly seeing two camps form around today’s news. This may be a common approach, but according to God, it isn’t His Normal.

That’s worth noting, by the way… what’s common isn’t Normal, and what’s Normal isn’t common.

The question is… which approach will you take?

  • Which approach will you nurture into the next generation?
  • What conversations are partially-informed youth and adults having on this today?

Yes, lots of Christians may disagree over the topics of heterosexuality and homosexuality. Some will slice and dice a word or two to get it to sound like it supports their position, while others will ask, “Good point, and I see what you did there. Now, how about we also look at the consistent thread we see on this all throughout the whole Bible? When has God ever endorsed ________ over _________? And doesn’t that give context to your word study?”

Have fun with that.

13245Meanwhile…

how about we consider some of these foundational questions as we pray for someone we were calling “brother” yesterday…

not to mention his family?

As they navigate what’s ahead, let’s do the very thing culture and the Bible agree on – let’s run toward the person versus whatever we may agree or disagree with.

(Read the FOLLOW UP here)

Tony Myles

Tony Myles

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Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

44 responses to Phil Robertson: Duck Calls and Sound-Bytes

  1. Hope I’m on the correct blog. This shouldn’t even be an issue. Phil is entitled to his opinion and freedom of speech. A & E should be ashamed !!!

    • He has his freedom of speech. He was not arrested for what he said, he was not executed for what he said. He is protected as far as the law can protect him from those that disagree with him retaliating with violence. Americans are not protected from other consequences of exercising our freedom of speech. It is just another drop in the giant bucket of entitlement we are drowning in these days to claim this is a freedom of speech issue.

      • Tony Myles

        Accurate… there is a legal limit in our culture on who/what we can get behind. What’s also worth noting is what the law doesn’t require – for example, the global-aspect of 24-hours news stations looking for a story and internet chatter has created another type of enforcement that is more opinion-based.

        For example, the creator of “Ender’s Game” came under fire from a boycott of his movie just before its release. A website was formed (http://skipendersgame.com) that urged “Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda.” Without that becoming a rabbit trail we could talk endlessly about, I simply introduce that here to offer that public opinion has no limits to destroying a person, their career and more. As the author put it, “I’ve had no criticism. I’ve had savage…personal attacks” (http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/10/31/orson-scott-card-gay-marriage-enders-game/)

        I appreciate your civil dialogue on this. It’s worth noting how those who demand the destruction of someone in the name of tolerance isn’t all that “neighbor-loving” either.

  2. Well Said, Tony.
    Reminds me of the phrase I hear often out in the corn fields and cow pastures of the Midwest…. “Sometimes, its not what you say, but how you say it.”

    • Tony Myles

      What do you mean by that? :)

      Good words. The medium can overpower the message. I’ve learned that time and time again the hard way. Still, the message is there. Sometimes it’s worth diving in for despite what you have to wade through.

      There is a portion of people in my church who speak to me while loosely throwing in profanity. I wouldn’t fault them for it, and have learned to “delete” that word as I hear it and concentrate on the meaning of what they’re saying. Imagine if everyone had that aim… how different the world would be.

  3. BOYCOTT A & E UNTIL PHIL IS BACK !!!!!

  4. @Ernie You are right. Phil is free to speak his mind, but he also must accept the consequences of doing so. He is under contract to A&E and, therefore, bound by a contract that, I assume, contains a morality clause. One that says he can’t say or do anything that would shed negative light on A&E. And that is what he has done. Agree or disagree, he has brought negative attention to his employer. I think they would have done nothing had he not expressed his thoughts the way he did…but (un)fortunately that is who he is. As Brent said, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

    • Tony Myles

      Thanks, Brian. I’d love to see some equal responsibility here, though. Wouldn’t it be great if A&E said, “We extended the contract to the Robertsons. We stand behind that. They’ve been good to us, and we’ve been good to them. We knew going into this that they were Christians and this might come up. That said, while we may not support everything they say we did put them on the air for a reason.”

    • Majority of Reality Shows have a warning before the show stating “the views and actions contained within do not directly reflect the views of A & E etc”… am I wrong? I see nothing wrong with what is said during the DD episodes. I am however disgusted by a commercial showing men in boxers shaking their boxer areas to the song Jingle Bells! I think that Phil has brought out more knowledge out of the Bible in great contexts and helps viewers see how it relates to the subject at the time. If A&E is so concerned then they should put the disclaimer on before the show but don’t remove Phil from the show. If someone was offended they have the choice not to watch the show.

      • Tony Myles

        Ah, good point, Tina – I wonder why they didn’t put it on there… maybe they feared someone would think they weren’t for “good, old-fashioned American values.” I wonder if we’ll see that now. (By the way, I saw that commercial recently as well and just about fell out of my chair in awe of how far we’ve sunk. Yikes!)

  5. As much as I hate to say it, I think I’ll have to side with A&E on this one. I don’t think this is an issue of Robertson being entitled to an opinion – no one is taking that away from him. It’s an issue of sharing an value on a platform that you know (or should know) disagrees with that value.

    Let’s put it in perspective…

    If you owned a Christian television station that, as an organization, was pro life, would you let your television stars share about being pro choice? Maybe…but probably not.

    Let’s take it a step further…

    Let’s say you’re the pastor of a church that practices infant baptism. Would you let someone share openly in your church on an elevated platform (sermon, mission moment, etc) and share their views on how infant baptism is the wrong way to go? Maybe…but probably not.

    If an organization has values it should, by all means, stick to its values. I know I would not approve of someone in my youth program speaking against the values that my program holds dear. Sure, they’re entitled to their opinions, but my group isn’t the place to share those opinions.

    Robertson openly spoke against the values of the organization that employed him. Bad move on his part.

    • Tony Myles

      Fair thoughts, Tom. To flip that around, you would assume A&E did their homework on whomever they would put on TV. I would assume the contracts came from them to the Robertsons, and not the other way around… from the first one they offered, to the fifth season renewal. So… what do you think that says?

      • It may not have been the best move on the part of A&E, sure…but it doesn’t matter. It’s their station. They saw DD as a chance to increase ratings and get viewers so they hired them. If DD folks are against the values of the organization they work for I think the fault lies on them. I would never join a Church that had values that I did not agree with – even if the church didn’t care and would hire me anyway.

  6. Tony -
    Great thoughts man thanks!
    “People out there….do this – they read the Bible and form a belief about it accordingly, versus forming a belief and hoping God’s okay with it.” = Spot On.
    Homosexuality is a huge issue, but for me it is just a symptom, not the root issue, which I believe are the issues of the heart! Loving, Listening, Learning and going to God & His Word for truth, guidance & help.

    • Tony Myles

      Good call, Bill – all of this seems to have become a debate/ideal/opinion issue… but it really is a heart issue. Will we love each other through these moments, or draw a circle and grab a rock? Will we let God change our hearts, or say “My mind is made up” when what we really mean is “My heart is closed off.”

  7. @ Brian since you and I have no idea what’s in the contract between Phil and A & E I cannot comment about that. He didn’t say anything bad or negative about A & E so it shouldn’t even be an issue. If was Phil ; the next cameraman that showed up on my property would get a butt load of buckshot.

  8. This person also made another set of inflammatory comments of a racist nature.

    ‘He also recalled to GQ growing up near black farmers in the Jim Crow South, saying, “I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”‘

    Apparently, he feels having a high level of melanin is also a sin. Oppressed persons are unlikely to complain to their oppressors when vigilante justice by said oppressors is overlooked.

    I’ve never watched this show, I can’t recall watching anything on this network in years. There are a couple things I do know. There is no sin greater than any other sin, but these days there is one sin* that is socially acceptable to throw stones at. Why is this? A point my wise husband makes often is that the teachings of the Bible are for Christians, those who follow Christ out of their own will. While we are supposed to spread the Good News, there is nothing at all about beating non-believers over the head with it and forcing them to follow. When Christ said to love your neighbor, he was talking about both your neighbor that shares your beliefs and also your neighbor that does not.

    *debatable, but I’m not going to argue that here.

    • Tony Myles

      Thanks, Julie. I also read this portion of the interview… admittedly, I can see him saying this (having watched the show), and from that alone I don’t know what to do with this quote. It feels ambiguous to me more than clear – is he putting the African-American community down, or is he saying, “In my experience, I didn’t hear in my circle of the world what I’ve heard claimed in the world at large.” Only knowing his character from what I’ve seen in the spotlight and heard about him in private, I’d err on giving him the benefit of the doubt – but I can see why this particular quote squeezed it’s way into the final presentation of the interview.

      That in itself is worth noting – there’s a lot that we don’t have here, and I sense GQ and the writer picked out what it wanted to pick out. That’s their job, too – to sell some papers.

      I think that’s why I tried to address this in the fuller body of what I wrote. To me, this is less about Phil Robertson as a sound-byte and more about what you’re hitting on in your comment… what do we do with all of what the Bible challenges us with, from loving our neighbor to holding all the things God says with equal validity and support. What happens when one of those things He’s says runs against the grain of culture’s larger opinion – do we not talk about it, or speak it and risk it appearing to be a platform when it’s merely trying to regain it’s footing after being pushed.

      One of the things I look forward in heaven is the debates are over… truth is visible and there are no shadows of it. We can enjoy one another and God without angst. Oh, what a day that will be…

      but in the meantime… :)

  9. Apparently this is no laughing matter. But, admittedly, I find myself chuckling at the whole debacle. It seems like this whole thing is being blown way out of proportion by the media. Based solely on Phil’s published statement, it doesn’t even indicate one way or another if he is for or against homosexuality. Reading it for what it is, he is simply stating the fact that it is an absurdity that he doesn’t understand. Equivalent to me saying that I don’t understand how someone could like Fiji apples when Granny Smith are obviously so much better. People have extrapolated from that simple statement by adding in the fact that he is openly a conservative Christian that he must be against homosexuality and that his comment is one based in hatred. I think that is why it is amusing to me. The media and public tend to take a simple statement and make it way more than it was intended to be because they’re looking for a battle. Is what he said somewhat shocking? Yes. Politically incorrect? Probably. But isn’t that why everyone seems to enjoy the show in the first place? Was it hateful? I’m going to say, I can’t see how it is.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Tony Myles

      Appreciate your thoughts, Erin. I know on the second page of the interview he went a bit further with this, sharing “We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television… You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.” When the author prodded further about what is “sinful,” he expounded and paraphrased 2 Corinthians. Again, is the issue that what he quoted and expressed was right or wrong… or that he (as a Christian) is attempted to let God have the final word on all matters, including the controversial ones? I still think that’s the real issue here.

  10. I feel the Christian point of view gets pushed aside most often. However, He was very descriptive in his personal view of Biblical material. And that was too much!
    Simply Said ” As For Me And My House We Will Serve The Lord!

  11. It’s a big ado about nothing. As long as we have focus on what some millionaire celebrity says, things that truly matter will continue to get lost in the noise.

  12. Tony-

    I think that you skillfully walked the line here between battling via Spirit versus flesh.

    http://xjm716.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/battles-of-flesh-and-spirit/

  13. Ana Elizabeth Christians always want to use the bible to express their take on homosexuality, but judging others is a sin, drinking is a sin, premarital sex is a sin, masturbation is a sin, lying is a sin, all in all humans were born of sin. I don’t believe anyone should be speaking for god and casting a stone on others….. This man needs to look within himself and re read the bible. The bible is so confusing sometimes. In the Old Testament God was such an angry God. he floods the earth, punishes Adam and Eve for being human, turns people into stone, ask others to see how far they will go to prove their love and commitment to God….. But in the New Testament God brings his son into the earth…… And Jesus seems so different then his father……. Simple man, hangs out with the outcasts of society, could have used is power to be rich and powerful….. To kill ….. But he never does that…… He is all love…… He seemed sensitive, scared when God told him what how he would have to leave this earth….. Even begged God and asked if there was another way….. But he did it, even through out all of that he showed pure love and compassion…… It’s interesting inst it? I always think of God and Jesus as the representation of love……. Bt why o Christians judge so angrily…. And push non believers away from religion by being so….. ? I think god is less worried about the homosexuals and more worried about men like this guy who judges and throws stones and speaks for God….. This antity of love!

    • Tony Myles

      Ana – thanks for your comment. If you don’t mind, it may be worth noting that you’re making a blanket statement Christians making blanket statements about others (in this case, homosexuals). We’ve never met in person, but even though we can have this dialogue online I’d offer we still don’t know each other well enough to know intentions. I’d like to believe you’re coming at this with the best of intentions, for example, and would hope for the same trust in me or others who might see the issue differently than you do.

      That said, what if there was another way to understanding the Bible than how you present it here with the Old Testament and New Testament contrasts. What if He is the same God and cares about the same things all the way through, but expresses Himself differently? For example, when my boys (who are 10 and 12) were younger I needed to give them sharp rules that they may have felt were too hard, like “Stay in the driveway” or “Don’t go into the street.” As they’ve gotten older, those same principles (their safety) have remained but how I say what I say has enlarged – i.e. “You’re going outside? Have fun. Be mature. Be safe.” Again, same values, and I’m the same Father – just a different presentation.

      I’d offer that we can understand this issue in the same way. God has always endorsed the concept of marriage as a man and a woman, no matter what was going on in society at the time. In the Old Testament, He gave humanity (who was a toddler in its maturity) a set of hard rules. In the New Testament (as humanity had gotten older) He offered more of a focus on the relationship and transformation into maturity. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t still care about one thing or the other, but has found a new way to share it.

      Again, I’m wondering if that’s what we’re really talking about, though. If the real issue is how we love each other through differences and dialogue, then maybe this is less about one sin that we see in others and more about the many issues we all struggle with. I’ve taken the approach that I’d like to work on my stuff and help others work on theirs, but we can’t do it until we’re all willing to be candid and honest about what we see happening in us and the world. The irony is that’s exactly what Phil has come under fire for.

      • If you come at a non believer with threats and judgement I don’t think you will get very far. I didn’t choose to be straight I just am, I’m almost certain it’s the same with homosexuality. I just personally think God loves them just the same and he made them the way they are. My brother, or cousin won’t be going to hell because they are gay. God sees deeper then that. He sees their heart, the way they treat others….. I know straight people who have anal sex, will they be going to hell as well? The bible ha been written and rewritten, and revised …… All written by men…… And the rules and life was so different then…… As for this guy. I don’t watch the show, but freedom of speech fine…… As for being an employee of this television station, he has to follow their standard and suffer the consequences when not following it.

        • Tony Myles

          Thanks again, Ana. I sense we could have some great conversations about the preservation of the Bible throughout the centuries and whether or not a certain move in the bedroom makes God happy or sad. I sense the greater issue is if we let God be God and have the final word on all matters, or if we say what we think God would say (big difference) and should say (also a big difference) and drop the microphone afterward. :) Maybe we could connect on that sometime. A lot of folks claim spirituality these days because they’ve had a bad experience with a certain religion. The catch is some end up forming their beliefs first, then looking for God to agree with them versus asking, “What has God said?” and then forming their life to follow Him.

          Per the network, I wonder if A&E realizes they were the ones who gave the Robertson family the original contract… and then renewed it year after year. There has to be some equal responsibility here (at least, I would hope so).

          Appreciate your follow up!

  14. I was sickened and disheartened by this whole situation. I spoke with an old high school friend on this topic and here’s what I wrote.
    “I think the issue is incredibly complex. I too have a life long friend, a believer, who struggled with the act of homosexuality. However, he chose to act upon his inclination. I love him, speak with him and have always enjoyed knowing him. I am not ashamed to call him friend. However, what is under discussion is ethical behavior and our response to it. Is it ethical to execute a murder? Is it ethical to put them in prison? Is it ethical to condemn their behavior? Is it ethical to call it wrong? Is murder a wrong action? The issue gets complicated incredibly by questions just like these. While we may think murder is wrong we may also think it should not be cause for capital punishment. Or we may. The issue of Homosexuality isn’t SIMPLY just a question of: is X right or wrong or allowable; but also a question of what our responsible reaction to the action in question ought to be. A person could believe homosexuality is wrong AND still disagree with the notion that they should be in prisoned or murdered or even condemned. What happens is that disagreement with an issue is equated with desiring homosexuals to be beaten and drug through the streets hung and quartered. The issue is entirely way too complex for this black and white reading. People are allowed to have disagreements over the ethical implications of human practices. Talking about whether or not homosexuality is “sinful” and equating it to wanting them drug through the streets beaten and bludgeoned is power politics. Power politics and nuanced belief with careful deliberation often do not go hand in hand. The “right” did this recently with Pope Francis. Rush Limbaugh called him a “communist.” Christianity has been critical of capitalism for a very long time; long before communism. Limbaugh ect al simply employ power politics with this very issue: not all criticism of capitalism is a result of communist belief. Reality is more complex than: you disagree with me so your evil, stupid, dumb, ignorant, or a communist. Likewise, not all disagreement of homosexuality is a result of homophobia.”

    • I stepped away from organized religion when I grew up and experienced life! I didn’t want my mind to be closed to other point of views and religions. There are so many questions I have that the bible just can’t answer. I grew up Christian. I used to be a bible freak, even read the whole book…. Highlighted, researched……. But yet I’m still searching. I have family and friends who are gay, great human beings, better than some Christians I know….. I thought if your religion can’t accept these people that I love than its not a church I want to be part of. I love God and I still have a wonderful personal relationship with him…… I just know he isn’t a hateful , judgemental God like so many Christians portray.

      • Tony Myles

        It certainly sounds like you’ve been on a journey with this, Ana. I appreciate you being open to God… again, the real challenge is making sure when it comes to Him that He actually gets to be “God.” Meaning, if He exists, then He reveals who He is (no matter what we think of it/Him), He gets the final word on anything (no matter our opinion) and so on. That’s the real challenge most of us face with any belief system – we tend to form a belief based on our experiences and then look for a sense of God or spirituality that affirms that. Maybe organized religion has its hiccups (and it does), but the opposite of organization is disorganization… so in some sense, even if someone doesn’t have a church that they attend then their beliefs become a human-sized version of organized or disorganized religion, if you catch my drift. So are your thoughts organized or disorganized on what you believe? :) See what I mean? Maybe the difference is we’re talking about community versus individualism.

        On that note, I heard a great illustration – an optometrist may be an eye expert, and yet he should never write his own eye prescription. If his eyes are blurry, how can he be objective enough to challenge what he sees with any accuracy. It’s one of the benefits he would have if he were a part of a medical community – he could rely on someone else to check his blind spots.

        That’s the beauty of a church community. Christianity can be deeper and healthier than what I think you’re sensing. I can’t speak for every church, but I know in the one I serve we have people who are still wrestling with what they believe and yet they feel welcomed in. I know of at least one gay couple who often attend, too – they feel loved on and cared in our congregation, and as their pastor I love them as much I love the couple on the verge of divorce, the addict in the third row, and the “everything actually is great” family right behind them. As a church, we’re trying to do the best job we can at following Jesus… so far, I think we’re overcoming some stereotypes – but never at the expense of discerning God’s heart on all things…. all topics… and then trying to let Him have that final word as we live it out. Hope that makes sense.

        • Yes it does! I am wanting to go and check out your church ….. But it has been so long since i have stepped inside one of those buildings that I am scared….. I don’t want to be closed…… I want to always be eager and searching and open……

          • Tony Myles

            So cool, Ana! Tell you what – I’ll follow up with you on Facebook about it. Thanks again for your conversation/comments here. **This** is as much “church” as what we do on the weekends… fearless conversation, divine anticipation, radical hospitality and genuine humility… four acts of love in the Name of Jesus. Talk soon!

  15. All I can say is that years ago I learned that the ones who complain the loudest, make the most noise, squeaky wheels kind of people, are the ones who are usually in the wrong and won’t admit it…just sayin”.

  16. Just a couple of things here:
    1. Phil is what you would call a “manly man” and is therefore not only passionate but outspoken about what he believes in. Men talk about female body parts quite often in normal conversations. We men are sexual beings, that’s the way God wired us (not to say that is all he made us to be however).
    2. I see this interviewer as a rather immature person. Phil was sharing in a conversation with him, and for some reason the interviewer saw it fit to tell the whole nation about the “terrible” “dirty” things he claims Phil instead of having an open mind to ponder for a while.

    • Tony Myles

      Interesting point, Adam. It does seem like he was more concerned with sharing Jesus with the interviewer, but the interviewer was prodding for a sound byte. I wonder if maybe down the road the writer wouldn’t seek Phil out again – and maybe by that time those seeds that were planted are more ready to grow.

  17. As a factual point – homosexuality is a very “modern” concept and the word won’t appear in any original text because it hadn’t been invented yet – there was no word for homosexuality as we understand it today. All that existed was sexual intercourse with the same gender. This is not the definition of homosexuality.

    It would be comparable to saying that this verse “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”2 (Thessalonians 3:10- KJV) is a clear attack on welfare and foodstamps. The point is there is much much more to understand about welfare and food stamps before having an intelligent faith based conversation. Furthermore it’s challenging to relate this verse to contemporary aspects of culture – like foodstamps and welfare. Interestingly the verse is now, modernly translated to: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (ESV) Isn’t it fascinating how it’s the same verse and can be read VERY differently all by that word “unwilling”. Human minds will never fully comprehend God’s word. The pharisees always thought they knew it quite perfectly – Christ demonstrated they were actually blind and if they lived by the law, they would die by the law. Hence the desperate need for grace.

    Finally this thread has really distracted me from the Kingdom work I know God has laid out for me. The thread, my(this) post, the article and even the original events, have not 1. Helped me love God with all my heart, soul, strength or mind, 2. helped me love my neighbor as I love myself, or 3. Share the good news thus encouraging them to love God and love their neighbors.

    Enough minutia distraction for me, back to the Work.

    • Tony Myles

      Hi, Josh. I wouldn’t disagree with you that some words haven’t existed in history prior to certain eras where they really took off. However, I think you wouldn’t disagree with the fact that the concepts those words summarized certainly did exist. For example, gravity existed before the word “gravity” was invented; molecules existed before the word “molecules” existed, and so on.

      I agree – we can get sidetracked by such matters. However, we can also ignore them and deify one part of our faith over another. When Jesus summarized the Law (in what some call the “Great Commandment”), it wasn’t to abolish the rest of it. Rather, it was to lay it in context. Maybe that’s your point, and if so – I again wouldn’t disagree with you.

      Perhaps that is the real opportunity we have to face in these conversations… to actually have a conversation. I wouldn’t imagine you just dropped in to lay down some quick thoughts on language, only to disengage and not want to dialogue about them. That would be as distracting to Kingdom work as you suggest this post could be.

      But… what if we were here to hear differing perspectives and try to figure out how to love Jesus and one another? What if we became the forerunners in conversations like this at not furthering a platform but gathering at the foot of the cross together and trading insights? I’m reminded of when the Rabbis encountered a young Jesus and marveled at His questions and answers about whatever the conversation of the day was.

      I imagine following in Jesus’ footsteps includes that component, too.

      Blessings to you as you continue in His Work.

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