stream of consciousness

Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • Well, I’m not going to lie: Phil Robertson is on my mind. I don’t know what I can add to the conversation here that hasn’t/isn’t already being said. But here are couple of thoughts that aren’t necessarily at the center of the debate that are worth consideration:
  • Personally, I find the most nauseating response to the Phil Robertson controversy that of self-righteous Christians passive-aggressively attacking Christians who are upset through straw-man arguments and empty sanctimony. Was that straightforward enough?
  • These were the same people who flooded Twitter and the blogosphere during Chickengate, saying, “why can’t we just love people instead of worrying about a chicken sandwich?” Today its, “I wish we weren’t more upset about a reality show than we are starving children around the world.” Swoon here. Give me a break!
  • Maybe there are a few people out there for whom that’s true (though I don’t know any)—but most Christians are quite convicted about world poverty—which is why we do more about it than anyone else in the world–and are always trying to do more. It’s not the issue on the table, friends, and you know it. So, stop already.
  • What’s often going on when people say things like this is misdirection and deflection. The issue here obviously isn’t Phil Robertson or Duck Dynasty in substance. In my opinion, many Christians (and some secular people as well) have reached a boiling point in their relationship to the American media outlets and certainly the most radical wing of the homosexual community (not all homosexuals).
  • No one likes being bullied or silenced at gunpoint. That’s what speech has become for some–a way to get people to say only things you want them to say. Heck, I didn’t like what Phil Robertson had to say because it was rude. It wasn’t bigoted. It was rude. But the response from GLAAD and A&E was a master class in anxious overreaction.
  • Here’s how this could have gone down: A&E issues their statement exactly as it appears but instead of firing Phil Robertson asks him to apologize genuinely and publicly (which he did without provocation). Then, everyone moves on…A&E, Phil Robertson, GLAAD, and everyone is clear on what’s appropriate and what’s not going forward. Phil isn’t asked to change the beliefs of his faith, and A&E can still sleep at night. Instead…
  • A&E overreacted and did so rather foolishly, making a Crispus Attucks figure out of Phil Robertson in a culture war that was actually improving.
  • In many cases, I think Christians overreact and lose sight of the fact Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world and He promised us that we will have trouble in this world. Perhaps this is one of those times.
  • I don’t think so. I think Christians are rightfully calling out media for its hypocrisy and ongoing abuse of Christians. Their doing so in such a strong, public way is something I support fully–in this case–not all. Because…
  • I also support enduring suffering patiently for the sake of the Gospel. However, there are too many examples in the Scriptures of people speaking truth to power (whether government or religious establishment), even harshly, to say as a blanket statement the answer is always to shut up and suck it up.
  • I have no problem with those who feel Christians should endure suffering patiently (and quietly) on this one. However, the biblical mandate to endure suffering patiently shouldn’t be inappropriately applied to disguise cowardliness or hide one’s own views on a subject.
  • I don’t think Christians need to be ugly about this–but they can and should be comfortable saying, “not happening,” to an establishment that has been far from a friend to them for a long time–despite massive concessions from the Christian community. If the request is to accept sin or be labeled, unemployed, sued, mocked, etc., then so be it.
  • Christians should make clear they won’t accept sin and are willing to endure whatever they must to do so.
  • Having said all of that–the Church need not let Phil Robertson become its focus–especially at this time of year. Besides, I doubt Phil Robertson would want that anyway.
  • I think Phil Robertson should apologize genuinely–which He did. His comments were rude. Not bigoted–rude. He’s apologized–as he should have–and should be forgiven by those who preach tolerance and love from the mountaintops. Show the world you are more than just hypocrites citing poetry and forgive the man.
  • The same goes for Mark Driscoll by the way. He botched that plagiarism thing, big time. However, the vitriol and overreaction of his “Christian” enemies was appalling to me. Clearly it wasn’t about plagiarism, it was about Driscoll.
  • In the same way, this whole Phil Robertson issue isn’t really about Duck Dynasty–it’s about the way Christians feel increasingly violated by both media and government–neither of which they trust much these days. One can argue with whether they ought to feel that way. But, that’s how many feel.
  • I also have no problem with Christians who disagree with everything I’ve just said. Don’t worry: I won’t try to ruin your life for what you say or think.
  • That’s it for the controversial stuff.
  • What else am I thinking about? Advent, church, vision for 2014, my daughter’s birthday party, USC’s bowl game tomorrow, where I can find some coffee…
  • And this verse: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” What a timely verse for a world in which “sin” is a four-letter word.
  • Jesus didn’t come to approve of everything we do. He came because God’s love for us despite our sin demanded a Savior. Make no mistake–we are sinners. Yet, make no mistake, we have a Savior. His name is Jesus.
  • When all the quacking over the Phil Robertson issue has subsided, we’ll still be sinners in need of a Savior.
  • All of us.

What’s on your mind this Friday? If you weigh in on Phil Robertson–passionate is fine. Ugly gets deleted.