Tag Archives: love

Rambling of the Day: Why Phil Robertson deserves his suspension from A&E

20 Dec

Phil Robertson

I really was going to stay away from this topic, as I don’t even watch or care about “Duck Dynasty,” but as usual, I have an opinion burning a hole in my brain so here goes.

Here’s one of the statements that’s gotten Phil Robertson, the no-nonsense, self-proclaimed Bible-thumping star of “Duck Dynasty,” into trouble with A&E:

“‘Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,’ he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: ‘Don’t be deceived. Neither the 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.’” Phil Robertson, quoted by Drew Magary, GQ Magazine

Alright, alright, let’s all settle back down into our seats and take a deep breath. I’ve done the article about how Christians need to change their mindsets about gay people, and you can read that here if you’d like, so I’m not going to reiterate all that information here. I’m just going to look at this at first from A&E’s perspective as a for-profit business, and then from the viewpoint of a Christian looking at this situation from the outside (as I said, I’m not a fan of the show nor do I know anything about the stars beyond what I read in mainstream news).

The statement released by A&E Wednesday says, “His [Robertson’s] personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supports and champions of the LGBT community.”

Honestly… I don’t see why people are surprised or somehow offended by A&E’s decision. It’s their network, their image and their reputation that’s at stake if they continue to have an affiliation with someone who expresses “anti-gay” sentiments (whether Robertson’s statements are actually anti-gay or just the ranting of someone too ignorant or thoughtless to know better is left up to interpretation).

If A&E has a legitimate issue with the things said by Robertson, then they have every right to suspend him from the show on their network. Because of the show’s popularity, it’s not like this is some kind of profit-making move on their part. They’ll probably lose a good amount of viewers to outrage over the decision. However, it’s their choice to make as a network, and therefore there’s really no good reason to be incensed by their choice. (And really, if you think this guy’s career is over just because one network suspended him, get real. This show is hugely popular and someone else is bound to scoop him up.)

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about how this is all an infringement on freedom of expression, but I find that ridiculous. Robertson is free to make any kind of comments he wants, unless they directly affect national security or the welfare of society. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t real-world consequences for publicly expressing a controversial opinion when you are employed by a company that doesn’t want to be affiliated with that opinion.

So for example, I work for a magazine that is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious organization. They do their best to appeal to everyone regardless of their religious beliefs. So if for some reason I decided to go on a rant about how horrible Jewish people are, and for some reason I decided to do this very openly in a publication I knew my employers at the magazine were sure to read, it is very likely I would lose my job over it. Oh, and I would deserve it. Because it doesn’t matter if I hate Jewish people (I don’t, by the way. This is an example.). Just because I have that opinion doesn’t mean that expressing it publicly—especially in a purposely degrading and lewd manner—isn’t going to cost me my career. It would, and there’s nothing about that fact that infringes upon my freedom of speech. Just because you have the right to say something does not mean that you should. You have to have the discretion to know when you’re crossing a line that might interfere with your professional life.

Moving beyond the freedom of speech argument though—the comments Robertson made are not exactly the shining beacon of Christian love and principle that some people are insinuating they are. The problem is not necessarily that Robertson believes homosexuality is a sin (read that other blog post if you want to read my opinion on that), but it’s the way in which he addresses it that I take issue with.

First of all, Robertson is not a psychologist. He has no evidence whatsoever that homosexuality “morphs out” into things like beastiality and sleeping around with tons of people. And even if he were a psychologist, that evidence does not exist. Being gay doesn’t inherently make you a slut, just as being straight doesn’t inherently make you a devoted partner (I think the divorce rate in this country can attest to that flawed logic). It’s insulting, cruel and just purely ignorant to say this of people who Robertson claims, in later statements, to love and not judge.

Another statement Robertson makes in the GQ story is this:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Oh, okay, so homosexuality is not “logical.” I don’t suppose Robertson would see anything “illogical” about his heterosexual orientation. That’s right, he wouldn’t, because that’s something that’s ingrained within him, so strongly it may as well be DNA. He feels so strongly that heterosexual sex is the only way to go that it’s like second nature to him. Congratulations, Mr. Robertson, you’ve found the secret to human sexuality—it’s second nature, it’s a vital essence of who we are, it’s so much of our identity that we can’t be separated from it. So how do you think a gay person feels when you say that his instinct not to have heterosexual relationships is “illogical”? Probably like he’s somehow less than human than you are. This is why that old ridiculous “love the sinner, hate the sin” adage has just become an eye-roller to the gay community. They don’t want or need that pity-inducing sentiment. And the idea that Robertson can go from making that degrading and unfounded assumption and then go on to say “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me” is totally hypocritical.

Now, I’m going to let up on Robertson for a minute here to say that I don’t know what’s in his heart. Maybe he just had a moment and didn’t think about the implications of what he was actually saying and how hurtful his words would be to the gay community. And perhaps he really isn’t a judgmental person (although it’s hard to believe considering what he said). But even if he’s actually a great Christian guy, making statements like these that come off as purposely demeaning to gays and in no way show the love of Jesus only does a disservice to the Christian community.

Christians get enough of a hard time that we don’t need people claiming ridiculous things in the name of our Creator that, very simply, Jesus would never have said. Disagree with me? Come on now. Quite frankly, Jesus was never sarcastic, degrading or cruel when he spoke to the broken people he chose as his followers, nor was he condescending to the hurting people who came to him for healing. He would never have said, “Hey, why do you like ass? Vagina is better.” No—Jesus stared in the face of Pharisees who tried to call him out for eating with “tax collectors and sinners,” telling them, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Rambling of the Day: In pursuit of our legacy

2 Jul

Emma running in sandAs I often am, I was disturbed by some of the things I heard and saw the other day at work. A restaurant is a place where you can seriously interact with every type of person from any background, with any story and any personality. Honestly I think I’ve seen it all. But I was particularly bothered the other day to hear some of the younger people who work there talking about their bad relationships with their parents. Casually, in conversation during downtime, I heard a girl say, “I never see my dad. He’s always working” Another said, “I really don’t talk to my mom. We don’t get along so she pretty much just ignores me.” A young man in the room said, “My dad is always either at work or drunk.” They sort of laughed these things off and started talking about other things, but I was struck by their words. Three out of three kids in this conversation have a bad relationship with one of their parents. Why?

There could be a million reasons, I know. Maybe the mother doesn’t talk to her daughter because she is just too busy with working full time and taking care of three kids that she doesn’t have the time or patience to deal with the snotty attitude of her 17-year-old. Or perhaps the father that is always drunk when he’s home has a boss that berates him day in and day out, and he simply can’t deal. I don’t know. What I do know is that there is no excuse good enough for you to not take advantage of the opportunity to have a relationship with your children. I could give countless reasons for why this is true, but I’m going to just stick with one, and that is that no matter what you do, who you are, where you came from, what you built, earned, or saved during your lifetime, your children are your legacy. If you do not take time to learn about, understand, play with, talk to, grow with, and love your children, nothing else matters.

Your life may look like the definition of success from the outside, but if your home is crumbling from the inside it is all for naught. We all want to do great things with our lives, to make something of ourselves, but we can’t do it at the expense of our children.

I’m not saying it’s easy to maintain a good relationship with your kids all their lives. As parents, we are not the only influences in their lives and there will be times when they push us to the brink and make us question whether it is even worth it to keep fighting for that relationship.

But we have to remember that it always, always is.

I don’t know what I’m going to do if my daughter comes home someday stoned from a party. Or tells me she hates me when I don’t give her what she wants. Or shuts me out of her personal life because it isn’t cool to tell me things anymore now that she’s a teenager. I cringe at the thought that she will ever outgrow my hugs and kisses. I worry about the day when she becomes embarrassed of me in front of her friends and begs me to leave the room. I fear the crucial moment when she keeps something from me that I desperately need to know so I can help her.

But I realize, from having been in all these positions not so long ago, that these are the moments I must press on more persistently. It is in the struggle to continue to fight for her through the toughest of times that I will win her over with my love. I might go out of style for a time, but my consistent, relentless love for her will be what keeps her close. Even when she strays, I’ll love her the same. Even when she lashes out in anger, confusion, and pain, I’ll pursue her heart. I will never give up on her.

I’m still a very young mom and I know I have a long road ahead of me with my daughter, but there is one thing I know for certain – I couldn’t care less what the world thinks of me as long as my daughter knows that what I did, I did for her. As long as she thinks I’m a success, then I am one.

I was 17 years old when I found out I was going to have a baby. I had always thought my parents were strict, pretty hard on me when I did something wrong. I truly expected to be lashed out at, berated, condemned – it’s what I deserved. I had deceived, caused myself and others pain, and made a complete mess of my life and my future. I thought I would be left to handle my mess on my own.

Instead, a blindingly bright light shone in the darkness, and I was enveloped in the warmth of unconditional love. I felt the full weight of a parent’s passionate pursuit for his child, and I was overcome with a wave of compassion and care the likes of which I had never before experienced. At a time when it would have been much easier to give up on me, they pressed in closer, and made me realize that that is what it means to be a parent. That is what it means to relentlessly and unreservedly love someone. That is what it takes to build and sustain a deep, meaningful relationship with your children. Sure, it’s important to be there for the good times – the awards, the championship games, the class field trips. They make the best memories. But that’s easy; any parent can do that. Good parents stick around through the bad times – and great parents trudge through the muck of the worst of the worst times, following their children into the darkest places of their lives, and filling those places with the light of love, no matter how long it takes to make them see it.

A conservative Christian’s unconventional approach to gay rights

28 Mar
Photo by Doug Wheller via Flickr

Photo by Doug Wheller via Flickr

Yeah, right, you scoff as you read this headline. There’s nothing unconventional about that. I know exactly what she’s going to say.

My liberal friend, I hope to prove you wrong.

Oh, goody, you say, as your Google search of “Christian arguments against gay marriage” somehow brought you to this blog, and now you’re wondering if I intentionally tagged this blog post wrong to trick you into coming here.

My homophobic Christian friend, I hope to speak to your heart.

This week is tantamount in the history of gay rights. The Supreme Court is hearing cases that could potentially change the course of history and the lives of gay people around the country.

And tomorrow is Good Friday – a day when I am reminded of the most incredible act of grace and compassion that has ever, and will ever, be extended to me. Through a sacrifice incomprehensible to the human mind, a scandal of unmatched proportion, a man who knew no sin endured the harshest brutality his society could issue in order to pardon the sins of his beloved people. This was compassion. This was Jesus’ message.

It’s a message Christians are called to extend to others. An undeserved extension of grace and compassion is to be our signature characteristic, setting us apart from the culture of selfishness and greed around us. But is this the message we’re sending to the gay community during this tumultuous time in their cultural history? Most importantly, if Jesus had instead come at this time and place, what would He be doing right now?

I am increasingly more disturbed listening to my favorite talk radio programs and watching my conservative representatives on TV using phraseology like, “Forcing their lifestyle on the rest of us,” “It’s their choice,” “That perversion,” “Imagine putting kids in that kind of environment.” Such commentary has overridden HIS phraseology – “Beloved, let us love one another,” “Let all that you do be done in love,” “See to it that no one misses the grace of God” – and ultimately: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Where is our compassion? Where is our grace? Where is the unconditional love we are to extend, from the grace and love we have been so undeservedly given?

We will never be anything more to the gay community than Bible-bashing rednecks if we can’t get around our severe case of homophobia that we try to play off as simply following our Biblical principles. We will never shed the stereotype of hypocrisy that shrouds the church, the “religious right” and Christian conservatives.

The saddest part about this for me is that between all the bickering, the noisemaking, the slander and the name calling, the most important element of the argument is lost in the melee – the person. The person who we are called to love, to show compassion to and extend grace to. Not the gay person. Not the person with the perversion so much more severe than the log in your own eye. Not the person unredeemable by God because of a somehow special sin that inherently renders him too far from grace to be saved. Get that person out of your head. I’m talking about the person whom God loves with a love so passionate that He sent the same Son to redeem him as He sent to redeem your perfect, sinless ass.

Let me be straight (pun… intended. Get over it.) I believe in the Bible as God’s truth and the ultimate authority in my life. I’m not saying the Bible says homosexual behaviors and the gay lifestyle are right. However, I’m removing myself from that argument right now to focus on something I wholeheartedly believe is more important than explaining to gay people why their lifestyle is or is not right. Why? Because in my Bible, Jesus explains to us what is most important. I don’t know if you caught that or not, but let me refresh your memory if you’ve forgotten. The Pharisees (these guys basically represent everything that was wrong with followers of God back in the day… aka we’re supposed to try not to resemble them. Just a thought.) try to trick Jesus into saying one of God’s laws is more important than the others by asking Him which of the Ten Commandments is the greatest. These guys can’t fathom how Jesus will get around this question, because all they know is law. They really think this is their “gotcha” moment… sound familiar? But Jesus blows them away, saying,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Get the point? The point is love. Love God and love others. Show compassion, show mercy, extend grace. Don’t stand outside the Supreme Court with a sign that says, “I SUPPORT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE.” Even if you do. That’s not demonstrating love. Let the court do what it will. Give to Caesar what’s Caesar’s. Your job is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Do you think Jesus would be protesting outside the Supreme Court? I have a feeling he’d be elsewhere – breaking bread, washing feet and speaking healing into people’s lives.

Thanks to my incredible life group at Greenbrier Church, my best friend, and Andrew Marin’s book Love is an Orientation for inspiring this post.

The Ugly Volvo

Attempts at Adulthood

Nathan Hancock

Probably not a waste of your time.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

All We Are

Updates and a look behind the scenes of the non-profit organization

I A N W A T T

Creative Director

Lean Fit and Healthy Forever

One Guys Journey to Fitness

JOY IN THE DAY

Home of Glitter and Leg Warmers

twitchy.com

Who Said What

Elisabeth Akinwale

Athletics, Motherhood and Other SuperFantastic Subjects

Dyslexia Parents Guide

A parents journey into dyslexia

Honest Food with Amy

Changing my lifestyle, one recipe at a time!

Egg Whites Only Please

With Cheese. And Bacon. On a Bagel. Oh gosh, I love bagels (as long as they're Gluten Free).

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog

64 EATS

Good eats along I-64 in Virginia and a few beyond!

365 Days of Bacon

Every day. Bacon-fied.