The Problem with the Duck Dynasty Debacle and Why I Cringe

Do you remember when the seasonal rallying cry of evangelicals was “Put Christ back in Christmas”? If my Facebook feed is any indicator, it looks like this year everyone is preparing to celebrate Philmas. “Bring Back Phil Robertson”—really?

Yes, there’s a duck in the manger this year, that is, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. {If you’ve not been following the debacle you can read more about it here.}

I’ll be forthright—I am not a Duck Dynasty fan. I’ve only watched five minutes of the show. Out of curiosity, I tuned in because it seemed everyone was applauding the Duck Dynasty family for how open they were with their faith. I remember at the time thinking, “Oh no, who are we rallying around now?” I care about who we knight as our ambassadors.

I might have enjoyed the show more if this wasn’t a family of faith. My family, immediate and extended, loves Jesus. Yet even on our best day we express that love imperfectly. If someone were to look into the ins and outs of our family life to discover what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus, they would probably be confused and disappointed. So I offer grace to Phil for his cringe-worthy statements.

And yes, I think they are cringe-worthy. I don’t want to get into Free Speech violations (because I don’t think that’s what this is—A & E is a privately owned business and they can employ anybody that want. Be honest: Anybody making any of those statements in any place of employment is going to find themselves signing something from HR.) I don’t want to even get into the content of what he said (about gays and blacks…because when we speak, we speak as image-bearer to image-bearer and if that doesn’t guide the tone of how we speak about truth, we should be silent.)

I don’t even know if I want to talk about why when asked, “What is sin?” he had to go for the evangelical softball pitch—homosexuality. Why do we always start with this? Why not wrath? Greed? Sloth? Pride? Lust? Envy? Gluttony? You know the ones that the Scripture tells us are rattling inside of each of us. Why not talk about the ones that make us treat one another with contempt…or worse, idolatry?

Yes, let’s talk about idolatry. Before we criticize the culture at large for whatever flavor of the day we disdain, we should self-evaluate. Why are we a culture who worships one another? Why are we not outraged when we hear things like “The Gospel of Phil”?  I only know one Gospel—Jesus Christ’s.

Phil had to fall off that pedestal we put him on. I’m only sad that it had to take the culture at large to shed light on our practice of darkness—that insidious pull in us to be famous and fabulous…or to cozy up to anyone who is.

This really isn’t about Phil or Duck Dynasty or Free Speech. It’s about the Church and its cringe-worthy way of making Jesus small and quiet in the shadows of the celebrities we have created.

We need to stop. There is so much pain and yuck in the world. We are the ones with the good news. Why are we not sharing it? Why are we not offering the beauty of God’s grace and love found in Jesus? We have ignored the Spirit’s navigation and we must recalculate the way we engage the lost. If the found are obsessed with passing personalities how will the lost find Jesus to be beautiful and amazing? 

What would it look like if we got back to our evangelical roots? The first evangelists were shepherds who went and saw Jesus and “after seeing they reported the message they were told about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what they said” (Luke 2:17).  They talked about Jesus in a way that amazed their hearers. Nobody cringed. Not a single one. Nobody made the shepherds celebrities. Nobody asked them their opinion on the ills of humanity? Nobody cared–they were too busy being amazed by a Savior.

We can learn from them—We can make our lives and our speech be about Jesus; we can amaze people with His kindness, goodness, and love. Then we can watch God be glorified and see peace on earth to all people He favors. 

9 thoughts on “The Problem with the Duck Dynasty Debacle and Why I Cringe

  1. If the Apostles are a model for us, if you don’t make some people angry enough to try to kill you, you probably aren’t sharing the true Gospel.

  2. This is not about being famous, or putting Phil on a pedestal, it is about the final straw that broke the camels back. The church took on the “feeling” seeker sensitive approach about 30 years ago (compromise the word to the world to not make them feel bad for being who they are, sinners).
    You do not seem to understand why he brought homosexuality up. HE DIDN’T, GQ asked him about it. You may think he was crude in his word choices, but read the words of John the Baptist or Jesus in Matthew 23. No I am not equating Phil to Jesus, I am equating their words.

    Recently Christian business people have been targeted by homosexual activists to drive them out of business if they would not compromise, a baker is facing jail time, now this with A&E kowtowing to the homosexual lobby. People are fed up with the homosexual antics in this country.

    I was wondering when weak Christians would start whining, and, it seems, it did not take long. Gone, it seems, are Christians who do not stand up to be counted in war, this culture war, which we are losing because we are afraid do rejection, stop being a friend of the world, and start being militant.

  3. Luke 10:27 bears reading in a situation like this (and re-reading multiple times here for some posters), with full reflection on the words that the speaker.

  4. If you wish for someone who everyone can be amazed with then I have your answer. His name is Bhudda. All in all, you seem confused. The shepherds and everyone of the people were amazed at the birth of the Savior. Remember though the majority thought their king had finally risen to take back their homeland from the Romans. After the realization started to sink in that in fact he was not their Hoped for Savior, then we see amazement suddenly shifting. I am sure though that if you presented peace and equality to Herod, he would have been amazed.

  5. Christians by now ought to be certain about where they stand on key issues in morality, socials, business and politics. Gays and other wrong doers are sinners who are going to hell except they repent of their wickedness through faith in Jesus.

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