For so long, I resisted the temptation to weigh in on all the discussion (an intriguing blend of vitriol and support) about Phil Robertson and the A & E dust up over Duck Dynasty. However, resisting temptation isn’t always one of my strong suits. So, here goes.
I’m troubled. Partly from the crude but effective language Robertson used to support biblical morality. Partly from the attitudes and language of those who attacked him. Partly from how some followers of Christ have been pretty volatile toward those who took issue with Robertson.
But let’s transcend what the Bible teaches about homosexual behavior with our changing cultural values, because another issue troubles me (yeah, I’m pretty troubled these days). In 1 Corinthians 12:18 Paul encourages us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” A few thoughts.
First, we can’t live at peace with all. Some can be so toxic we must withdraw. I get that.
Second, for followers of Jesus, we MUST do all we can to get along with those both in the Christian family and the greater society. Like Paul, we never shrink from proclaiming what God has proclaimed, and Phil Robertson did that. Disagree with the Bible if you wish, but it represents thousands of years of cultural values. Like Paul, though, we can “not quarrel, instead…be kind to everyone...not resentful…in the hope (of) …leading them to the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
I’m talking to the family here, not those outside. Let’s merge speaking biblical truth with grace, OK? They aren’t contradictory. If we want the “other side” to listen to our claims, let’s treat them with grace and respect and dignity.
For us in the family, I hope we could model toleration of different viewpoints. Not that we accept them as true, but that we could lovingly disagree. I hope that could spread in the culture.
Third, if you’re not now in the Christian family, I apologize if you’ve encountered hatefulness from fellow followers. But I ask you also, let’s discuss our differences with grace and toleration, OK? Our culture is changing, let’s talk about it reasonably.
We may not persuade one another, but let’s dialogue rather than attack. Please.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Do you have some relationships right now that are “on edge” without peace? What attitudes and actions and words and grace could you do on your part to give it a shot at success?
How would you grade the grace of your responses on issues like the Duck Dynasty disagreement? How could you improve? Do you have a good story you could share about how this worked for you?