Russell and Duenes

Duck Dynasty Sermon

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My good friend Tony Gervase posted a helpful piece over at Going the Distance. I thought I’d provide some brief thoughts in response.

Like Tony, I’ve never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty, and I don’t plan to watch any. It’s not my cup o’ tea. But it’s clearly got a stranglehold on the pop culture vibe right now, and that by itself explains GQ’s interest in the interview. They’ve got a bottom line to consider, and Duck Dynasty sells.

Tony writes: “What I’m tired of the most is how this has become such a rivalry. I’m tired of all the animosity: Christians vs. Homosexuals. Liberal media vs. Conservatives. Republicans vs. Democrats.” I suppose everyone has a different feeling about these things, but much of the chatter about it can be avoided by choice. If one doesn’t want to read or hear about the “liberal media v. conservatives” or “Republicans v. Democrats,” one can choose to stay off Facebook, off TV, off the political blogosphere, and so forth. Frankly, if I wasn’t reading National Review or Blog and Mablog, I wouldn’t be hearing boo about this whole thing. I suspect that deep-down, we want the animosity. It’s kind of like the old guy in the Seinfeld episode who says, while staring at a painting of Kramer: “He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can’t look away.” We can look away, but we choose not to. I could venture various guesses as to why this is so, but in my view, at least part of it would be based on the way that the secular idolatry that so characterizes our age tends to totalize its statist aspirations. In other words, the secular worldview is a religion, just as Christianity is a religion, and therefore, it must make everything political. Hence, everything is turned into political speech, from which we have a hard time escaping. My gosh, I can’t even settle in for an easy night of Sunday Night Football without being served up a bunch of bromides on gun control by one Bob Costas. Sheesh!

I most certainly agree that we could use a lot more civility and cordiality among our political leaders, but unfortunately, they are not really leading. Most of them are, at best, engaging in political theatre while enriching themselves. They are the blind leading the blind. When it’s all pretension, rather than blood earnestness, we get grandstanding rather than honor, loyalty, faithfulness, constancy, magnanimity and gratitude. The lack of these things amongst our ostensible “leaders” tells us a good bit about the trouble we’re in.

I do find it curious how interested the media is in Christian views about homosexuality. They don’t seem equally curious about, say, Muslim views about homosexuality. I wonder why? Maybe if some Muslim fundamentalists had the number one show in TV history, GLAAD would try to put them out of business too. That would be interesting to see.

Tony, you’ll have to help me out on which words of Mr. Robertson were “mean and insensitive” to homosexuals. Crude, perhaps so. References to male and female anatomy really should be reserved for other venues. But unless I missed something in the interview, Mr. Robertson was never mean to homosexuals. He never called them anything derogatory. He never said they were disgusting or the like. He never called for any kind of action against them. In fact, he took pains to say that it wasn’t his job to figure out their eternal destinies. He said it was God’s job to sort it all out. Rather, I think we out here in America are the ones who have become far too sensitive. We live under a suffocating political correctness and thought-police. We have suffered ourselves to allow agitators and malcontents to determine which words will and will not be tolerated in public, and this does not bode well, particularly for Christians. We know we ought to be loving, wise, humble and sensitive; and the sons of the devil know we know this, and they use it to great effect to render us mute, whether we would speak wisely and humbly or not. It’s twaddle, and may God give us the fortitude to stand against it.

I totally agree that Christians can, and indeed have a duty, to care about the hungry and poor in this world, while caring about sexual fidelity and faithfulness in their lives and in the public square. It’s a false dichotomy to say that it’s “either-or,” and kudos to you for pointing this out.

I don’t know who is doing “a better job of loving the LGBT community,” but I do know that anyone going under the name “Christian” needs to define what “love” means, according to the Scriptures. It certainly cannot mean simply that which provides emotional warm-fuzzies for people here and now. It has to account for eternity. It’s the “eternity” part from which too many of us have averted our gaze, for we’d rather not think about it. That bit about “the sheep and the goats” and the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” at the end of the age can be very unpleasant stuff. I, too, would rather not think about it, nor have my understanding of love encompass it.

I also agree that we can stand to re-read Jesus’ story about not judging, lest we be judged, and about removing the log in our own eye before we try to remove the speck in another’s eye. However, I am leery of the way this gets applied today. Too often it is simply used as a cudgel against Christians who aren’t perfect and is paraphrased as, “Hey, you Christian, shut up.” But Jesus never said nor implied that Christians were to keep their mouths shut about sin unless and until their own lives were perfectly free of sin. If that’s what it means, then every pastor had best never talk about sin. To be sure, Christians must examine their own lives and see to it that they are careful to obey Christ. And there must not be a smug, sneering, holier-than-thou moralizing over others, particularly one’s own Christian brothers and sisters. But too often well-meaning Christians have taken Jesus’ words to mean “live and let live” and “it’s none of my business what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”

I agree with Tony about the canard that “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality,” and indeed, I would strengthen his point. When Jesus talks about “sexual immorality” in the New Testament, he is mentioning homosexuality. Jesus’ theology builds upon the Old Testament. Heck, Jesus inspired the Old Testament. Every word of it came from His mouth. Thus, Jesus meant, and His readers understood, that sexual immorality included all of the various forms of it mentioned in Leviticus. Hence, sexual immorality on Jesus’ lips means “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” (Lev. 18:22).

I give a hearty AMEN to Tony’s closing missive. At the end of the day, we all have sinned and fall short of what God requires of us. We have all failed to love, honor and obey Him. That’s why Jesus came. That’s what Christmas is about. God’s law is righteous, holy and good, and we have transgressed it with our idolatry, indifference, apathy, pride, arrogance, competitiveness, love for the world and lust. And Christ, by his death and resurrection, offers us a new heart and a new life, with joy, peace, love and gratitude. It is this life we are to receive, live out and commend to others. Whether Phil Robertson has done so, truly, only God knows. I pray that Tony and I and our readers will do so. In reality, I rarely talk about homosexuality because, as Tony says, there are larger issues of which it is only a subset. Mostly, I need to speak about Jesus more, for He is the sum and substance of everything good, beautiful and true.



Written by Michael Duenes

December 26, 2013 at 5:03 am

Posted in Apologetics, Duenes

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