I’ve deliberately waited a couple of days to gather my thoughts and respond to all the craziness surrounding the suspension of Phil Robertson by A&E from his massively popular reality show, Duck Dynasty. To be honest, I’ve only read a few of the posts that are popping up all over the place in response to the news. And as much as I’d like to post a clear, concise, and direct response that sums it all up and puts it to bed, I can’t.
But I do have some random thoughts that are all over the place and horribly incomplete. . . . and most-likely not very well stated. . . here goes. . .
- Reality TV is anything but reality. It is scripted and mediated. In that sense, it is just like the article in GQ magazine. . . edited, scripted, mediated. . . who knows what Phil Robertson really said, how he said it, and in what context it was said. Anyone who’s ever been interviewed by a newspaper knows exactly what I’m talking about!
- Participation in a reality TV show never ends well. The genre has only been around for a short period of time, but in that short period of time we’ve learned that participation in a reality show changes things for people. There was that reality show that was filmed in my neighborhood. . . and we all know how that’s continued to leave brokenness and scars on the family that was featured. Sadly, that story is not anywhere near over for those who participated. Keep watching the history of reality TV as it unfolds. It’s not going to be pretty.
- There was a day when I wanted people to think and talk just like I think and talk. I also thought that if they didn’t think and talk like I think and talk, then they shouldn’t be allowed to think and talk. Yes, that’s censorship. And yes, that’s a violation of the beautiful First Amendment right that we all have here in the USA. If we want to take that right away from anybody. . . be it Phil Robertson, GLADD, or GQ. . . then we’d better be willing to have that same right taken from us.
- A&E can choose to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t break the law. . . and as long as the laws it doesn’t break don’t force Phil Robertson to break God’s higher will and way. Seriously. I run a non-profit ministry. I never want to live in a world that forces me or our ministry to employ those who openly disagree with or undermine what we stand for. For example, in today’s local newspaper I read that a local Methodist minister has been de-frocked for performing the Gay wedding of his son. The Methodist Church should be able to take a stand like that and hold to their historical and dearly held convictions.
- The issue that’s caused all the commotion is one that is incredibly complex and one that we have to address with great care, compassion, and faithfulness. This story is not only evidence of that, but it should force us all to hit the books and hit our knees in preparation for grace-filled conversations and ministry. Read Acts 17 again. . . .
- We live in a horribly complex and broken world. Why else would Jesus have to come? Isn’t that the reason that we will celebrate what we celebrate next Wednesday? My friend Steve Garber posted this on his Facebook page last night, along with a picture of the U.S. Capitol building and a beautiful Christmas tree: “Wonderful and wounded, at the very same time. I suppose I have lived, and lived in Washington, long enough to have made an uneasy peace with the double-edged character of life. All day long it is both beautiful and broken. Some moments we… laugh, and other moments we groan. The U.S. Capitol is like that. On the one hand a glorious place, and on the other an awful place. Trying to hold onto both realities is very hard, especially if we require honesty. One temptation is for romanticism, imagining that things are always just rosy– and they definitely are not. The other temptation is for cynicism, concluding that everyone and everything is as bad as bad can be– and that is just not true. Walking underneath the wonder and beauty and glory of the Capitol tonight, I kept thinking about the fact that it is wounded and broken and awful too. Like life.”
- Finally, God’s bigger than all of this craziness and He’s got it all under control. Yes, we need to stand up for what God calls us to stand up for. But we also need to stand up in a way that brings honor and glory to Him. And by the way, while we are standing, we need to realize that there’s nothing we can do to forcefully or legislatively change a person’s heart, opinion, or understanding. Lest we forget, God has gifted us not only with His Son, but with His Holy Spirit. Holding to our convictions in a way that honors God and playing God are two different things. Sometimes we assume the latter position when we need to know our place and stay out of God’s business.
- The whole world’s watching.
So, let’s get our focus this weekend back on celebrating the coming of Christ into the world.