Not DUCK-ing this One

You thought they had a lot of watchers before? Funny that A&E is ‘cutting’ Phil from their Duck Dynasty show but most nights all you see on A&E is Duck Dynasty playing back to back. Hmmm? Let’s see, A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 1 I smell either a well-crafted public relations ploy or a happy two faced group of executives at A&E. While everyone stays focused on the controversy of what Phil had to say to a reporter at GQ, (a reporter that adds in his article the occasional well placed cuss word after citing the “the show’s no-cussing, no-blaspheming tone” for effect on his own position) A&E is hauling in the cash.  The majority of the Duck Dynasty inventory that some people assumed was being lifted from stores everywhere due to Phil’s words was really being bought off the shelves at rapid speeds (with little doubt the profits go to A&E). They couldn’t get the stuff in fast enough for the well timed, post controversy, pre-Christmas rush. For places like Cracker Barrel who did remove some select items “has now changed its mind 24 hours after this decision. They’ll put Duck Dynasty products back on shelves.” says Clare O’Connor a Forbes staff member in a recent article. (And just an FYI, for all of us ‘newbies’: to purchase directly from the Robertson Family Products you would purchase Duck Commander brand.)

I don’t typically include myself in controversial issues that tend to split friends and family. However, I’m feeling a bit empowered following a host of articles talking about A&E’s right to (and intelligence in) their ‘suspension’ of Phil along with the Phil and Christian bashers. Seriously, A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 2 I can just picture the A&E execs are laughing it up over champagne in diamond encrusted flutes the more each person post another thing (including me) about this controversy. Funny thing is, so are the Robertson’s and their supporters. (Well, I rescind the champagne and diamond encrusted flutes part of my comment for the Robertson’s.)  In any case, many of my friends that are Robertson supporters are thrilled that his words are being re-stated over and over as well; “furthers the Gospel” says one dear friend. The only part I hear distaste for from those friends is that his words aren’t repeated in their entirety or they are used in a way outside what Phil was saying.  Some of my other friends that are supporters of A&E’s ‘position’ are thrilled that A&E is standing up for what they believe are their rights. Most of the friends that are against what Phil Robertson had to say in the article have never watched the show and are only going by what the author of the GQ article or subsequent articles and news coverage has to say about it. As I pointed out, the author of that article made his position quite clear in his writing. So, if you are one of the Phil bashers and are going on that GQ article alone, then his writing was effective in swaying you to his side.

Because let’s face it, in a controversy like this you can’t stay on the fence. It’s one side or the other; you can’t be luke warm. One element or another pushes you off the fence onto one side or the other. A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 3 In our world today you may not want to admit that, because it is popular to sit on the fence and be non-committal, but in your heart you do lean.

Before going any further, I must admit that I have never seen A&E’s Duck Dynasty.  I know, right? I live in Louisiana and I have never seen it. I have to admit I am not a famous person devoted type, unless it’s one of our friend’s shows, webcasts, or music. so, I don’t know theRobertson family’s history or habits. I only knew what I have heard about them from trusted friends and now from the barrage of articles and blogs from both sides that I have consumed at large the last few days.  I haven’t once come across one from the fence though. Isn’t that funny? In our world of staying on the fence, I haven’t seen one opinion from that perspective. Why? Because in this it’s not a fence; it’s a line and it’s been drawn.  And it is not about the Robertson family. It’s not about gay or lesbian rights. It’s not about television networks.A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 4

According to the many articles on the topic if you are for A&E; you are supporting their “rights” yet also their hypocrisy. If you are for Phil Robertson you are for his Christian no nonsense beliefs and more than likely also his family and the show. If you are for the ‘non-Christian’ view then you are against Jesus and the “alienation” of anyone who lives opposed to that standard. If you are for the Christian view, then you are for Jesus and all that follow Him. You can also be for the equality of all yet therefore, as I have gathered, non-Christian or Christian as well. Ok, let’s briefly stand on the fence a moment. Which side are you leaning toward? It’s funny because, when you break it down it seems to place A&E and the non-alienation of all others except for Christians on the one side, while Phil Robertson, the Christian view and the people who truly believe everybody has the right to his or her own beliefs hang together on the other. Why?A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 5

I read one blog that seemed to be from the fence initially, it was titled “Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty does NOT speak for all Christians” (The title of this post changed soon after my blog to “The Gospel Always Pointing to Justice And Peace Get Over It” as well as the content has been re-worded). So I read it, as I have with all the other articles and blogs I’ve gotten my hungry little paws on. While the title initially fooled one into believing it might be from the fence it actually was a guy who claims to be for justice and against racism and not so subtly asserted that anyone else who believes as he (for justice and against racism) wouldn’t possibly be on Phil’s side of the line. In this particular blog he goes on to demonstrate this “justice” by basically calling Phil a “narrow-minded” liar whose statements weren’t “objectively verifiable”. He specifically states “when a Christian speaks to public issues, they must not claim that his or her point of view or version of scripture represents that of the Christian Church unless it is an objectively verifiable claim.” because “We have to be careful about our claims, without being self-righteous and incorrect.”

Well, I don’t want to be against justice and for racism, right? But wait, again… the biggest thing Phil Robertson IS being condemned for is “paraphrasing Corinthians” by saying “Don’t be deceived. Neither adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 6Well, let’s see… that scriptures says “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). So Phil did have, in that blogger’s own words, “an objectively verifiable claim” because thatIS what the scripture states. And since Joe claims to be a Christian, then he too also follows the same word of God that Phil spoke of, right? So, basically that blogger and several others want to be a Christian without believing the Scriptures?  Therefore, when Joe stated “A person, as well as a society, is most distant from being Christian when taking the name of God in vain on issues that come out of cultural presuppositions and conventional wisdom rather than from the authority of the Gospel. “ he was actually talking to himself. Because what Phil is being specifically condemned for (paraphrasing Corinthians) IS scriptural.

Next that same blogger addresses Phil’s “unacceptable comments… about African Americans” and that “it is disgraceful that” the GQ author “left the farm (of Phil Robertson) with the impression that to be a ‘Bible person’ means…believing that Blacks were better off under segregation.”  What is incredible to me and several of my author friends is how he could take what Phil said to mean that? How can Phil, who clearly stated he worked with the black people, be talking about African American segregation? What Phil did say is not that being a black person working for the farmers (which Phil included himself working with them) was better, but that the black workers as well as Phil himself were happy regardless. He states they were “singing and happy…they were godly” and that they didn’t feel entitled to anything they didn’t work for.A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 7That’s integrity. He was actually complimenting them as well as all the white workers alongside them. I can understand this viewpoint because my own mother worked in the cotton fields as a child; my husband’s grandmother also. It’s hard work. Can everyone relate to that like I can and see it the way I do? Possibly not.

Also that a man, Phil Robertson, who is being portrayed as a country back woods uneducated hick appears to have a great deal more clarity and less loop-holes than many who profess to be well enlightened. Joe, just one example, may very well have done all of those great things he proclaims to have done, however that doesn’t make him more of an authority than the scriptures from which his own self claimed Christianity is based.

I think one of the best articles I have read about on the issue of sides comes from entertainment.time.com. in an article dated December 18th by James Poniewozik in which he states “Now, you’ve got an issue with those of us who maybe just want to watch a family comedy about people outside a major city…without supporting somebody thumping gay people with their Bible. Or a problem with people with gay friends, or family, or, you know, actual gay A&E viewers.

And, once you take any kind of action on that, you’ve got the opposite problem — with deeply religious viewers who like the Robertsons for their faith. They’re going to see it as you punishing him for saying out loud what he believes, and maybe for what they themselves believe, and what they believe is the word of God. You’re punishing him, in their eyes, for being one of them.”A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 8a

I couldn’t agree more. While I’m not the guy standing in the middle of the street holding the sign “repent or perish”, every one of my friends knows without a doubt that I am a Christian. I have gay and lesbian friends that I love! I have liberal friends that I love! I have conservative friends that I love! I have agnostic friends and atheist friends that I love! I wouldn’t ever set out to offend or hurt any of them! However, if a line is drawn and I have to denounce Christ and Scripture in fear of offending one of those friends, you can forget it. I will always take the side of Christianity. To me and many other Christians it’s not asking us to stand in support or stand against Phil Robertson, it’s literally asking us to stand for or against Jesus Christ, in which we believe.A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy 9

It isn’t about Phil Robertson, I don’t know him and again I’ve never watched his show (although, now I may.). Phil seems to be a ‘no bones about it’ kind of guy. I respect that. He hasn’t once apologized for loving God and following Christ. A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy10I respect that too. I am sure I don’t support everything he says or the way he says it, but that goes for everybody. I am far from perfect and don’t claim to be, just as Phil and many other Christians don’t claim to be. Most of us realize we are sinners. Sure, you have the Christians that claim to be perfect. You also have non-Christians who claim to be perfect. I can’t help that. That’s between them and God.

Also, I don’t see all of the adulterers of the world standing up and getting offended that Phil’s comment include them. What about theA&E Duck Dynasty Controversy11sexually immoral, idolaters, thieves or the greedy, drunkards or slanderers or swindlers standing up in offense? Where are they? I know many people who feel it’s healthy to explore your sexuality freely without marriage or staying with one partner. Yet I don’t see any of them standing up against Phil. He included them too, right? He included me also.

I can bet we all make the list in 1 Corinthians as those who A&E Duck Dynasty Controversy12awill not inherit the Kingdom of God. Let’s take a look at a few: Have you ever put something above God? You are an idolater. Have you ever stolen anything? You are thief. Have you ever had a little too much to drink and gotten slammed? You are a drunkard. Ever had sex outside the marriage covenant? You are sexually immoral. Like I said, let’s get REAL! I am as guilty as guilty gets, but there is GREAT news: JESUS came and died for all of these things! THAT IS WHAT TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS ABOUT!!! JESUS!!! Nothing else. If you try and take Christ out of Christianity and instead, insert your moral code you are fooling yourself. Take a look at what Romans 5:8 –“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ dies for us.”  says Chase Gentes in his blog.

So, I get to my bottom line: God includes us all. The difference is that as Christians we believe that when we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal savior, all of our sin is washed through repentance. I agree with Phil THAT gift is free to us all. You can take it or leave it. You don’t have to believe it.

I’m not a hunter, or even a woodsman. I don’t wear camouflage anything. I live in Louisiana and only tried alligator for the firstA&E Duck Dynasty Controversy14 time this year. (Surprisingly, I liked it a great deal.) I didn’t even try crawfish until I was an adult. I’ve lived outside of Louisiana and am known for NOT having a “country accent”. I am often asked “Where are you from?” in my own state. I don’t talk like everyone I know and vice versa. I am not one to use slang or go mud-riding; although I’m tempted to do both. I can shoot a gun, expertly. I have found myself and my companies the target of criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike because everyone’s “moral code” is different. I’ve been called a “liberal Christian” from both sides for my open-mindedness on certain topics. And while I don’t agree with anyone who condemn others; I find I do it myself sometimes because I’m not perfect. None of us are.

One way or the other, you can’t stay neutral in this one because no matter what side of the line you hale from, a controversy like this one spreads a truth no public relations team in the world can cover: the Good News.

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he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” Ephesians 2:8 

know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[a] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16 

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 

(All scripture is from the New International Version (NIV)

Courtesy of biblegateway.com)

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