Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Duck Season

Stephen Yuille at Deus Pro Nobis tosses around the Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) political football with some success here, and says a lot of good things. I’ve been thinking a fair bit about his third concern:
Thirdly (and finally), I’m concerned for those who want to make grandpa the poster-child for the Christian faith.
I’ve read the transcript of grandpa’s recent interview. (It made me blush.) He attempted to quote Scripture (botched it, but at least he tried). But he had no difficulty or hesitancy engaging in a discourse which was (to put it mildly) downright crude (“lacking tact or taste; blunt or offensive”), crass (“unrefined as to be lacking in discrimination and sensibility”), and vulgar (“deficient in taste, delicacy, or refinement”). Wait, I’m not finished. It was rude, tawdry, and tasteless.”
First, I haven’t run into anyone so far who’s bent on trying to make Phil Robertson a poster child for the Christian faith, but then again, I’ve never watched his show either, so that may be more of a function of my lack of attention to the media generally than an intimation that Mr. Yuille has missed the boat in his assessment.

Let’s say I’d be uncomfortable making anyone a poster child for the Christian faith — anyone at all.

Other than its author and finisher, of course.

Stick a microphone in my face for ten minutes and grill me on a subject of your choosing and I’d almost surely step in it more than once. Even the apostle Paul had to retract a hastily-spoken insult to the high priest (Acts 23:4,5) and apply the Scripture to himself. James says, “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man”. The subject Robertson was asked about was homosexuality. Try wandering in that minefield without a few explosions.

Second — and maybe this is just me — the older I get, the more I find I have in common with any Christian, however immature or ill-spoken. Some of Phil Robertson’s remarks were, yeah, rude, tawdry and tasteless. They were also pretty brave and they cost him something. He seems so far to be a principled man, and those are pretty thin on the ground these days, at least in public life it seems. Maybe he’ll make a few bucks on the Christian talk show circuit, write a book or have a talk show on Fox. We’ll probably be really tired of his face by this time next week.

A caveat: Phil Robertson had lots to say on a number of subjects, not just homosexuality. I don’t think the media’s done with his interview yet. And he’s bound to be asked to expound even further on the subject. I’m not endorsing everything he said by a long shot.

But he’s entitled to his opinion and at least he calls a spade a spade.

Nobody’s casting out demons here, so I’m more than happy to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who thinks it’s a tad dubious to apply the following words of the Lord to the media flap of the week:
 “John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us’. But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you’ ” (Luke 9:49,50).
“Pass the eggnog” indeed.

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