(You know, like six seconds ago?)
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.”
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.
“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:
- A 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.
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.