This blog post is NOT about Phil Robertson, A&E, Duck Dynasty, or the controversy surrounding them. However, it was prompted by comments made by Phil from Duck Dynasty that is featured on A&E.
If you follow facebook, any news channel, or read the paper, you might have heard the huge debate going on about an interview Phil gave to GQ. He has been banned from A&E for his comments. I am not here to argue if he was right or wrong, talk about free speech, issues of race, homosexuality, or anything else. I am writing today because of what he didn’t say.
You see, I was raised by a grandmother who lived most of her adult life as a drunk, along with a variety of other sinful ways of living. When I was about 7 or so, she decided to start taking me to church. She found “religion”, and her life did change in some ways, but she was still the same person inside. She was mean-spirited and did hurtful things to those around her. She wore her religion like a street person putting on a new suit without ever showering or cleaning up. It was all for show.
She used the Bible as a weapon and as a crutch for her way of living and thinking. She would quote Scripture to prove her point, to allow her to judge others, and to control my behavior. One that she loved to throw around was, “Vengence is mine, I will repay says the Lord.” I am sure we could take time and have a long theological discussion about this verse, but I am going to bet that most of you would not interpret it the way my grandmother did. Her use of the verse was to say that God was going to get me if I did bad stuff. I was a kid who had been neglected, abandoned, and abused the first few years of my life, so I was going to have a few issues, and I (like all kids) was going to do things considered bad. I was always waiting for the Lord to punish me and I assumed anything bad that happened to me from being sick to not getting all A’s in school was vengeance being imparted to me.
You see, the thing that troubles me is when we don’t get the rest of the story. My grandmother stopped short of telling the whole story when she used scripture the way she did. I remember when Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” was released; people asked why I didn’t go see it. I had a number of reasons, but one of them was that it didn’t tell the rest of the story. The film only showed the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus. It only showed the horror of the crucifixion, but didn’t show the resurrection or talk about the things Jesus came to teach us. This is what happened with Phil’s interview. He didn’t tell the rest of the story. He only quoted verse 9 and 10 from the Corinthians passage. Verse 11 is so powerful in this passage. Can you see the difference it makes?
1 Corinthians 6:9 “9 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.”
Look at that list of sins! Can you see any there that you might have committed or even held in your heart? I can tell you that in my life, I have committed most of them. You see, I am a recovering alcoholic and addict. I hit bottom hard, and I don’t need to tell you the kind of life I lead for a while; you can figure it out. So, according to those first two verses, I cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That is devastating news, almost hopeless.
Yet, just look at verse 11. That is the one that wasn’t quoted by Phil or the GQ article. “And that is what some of you were.” Yes, that is what I was. “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. ” That was all done for me!
Phil also said, “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” I disagree. Sin is the most logical thing I understand from the Bible. There are many verses telling us that we are sinners by nature and that no one is without sin. It is from the beginning to the end. What isn’t logical is that this all powerful, omnipotent God would bother with any of us. Why not just get rid of us all and start from scratch? Instead, He did something absolutely illogical. He sent His only son to be born as a human and live this earthly life, and die for our sins.
As we celebrate Christmas next week, we remember the birth of Jesus. But, we need to remember the rest of the story. Jesus showed those he encountered the purest love and gave hope to everyone, even the worst of the sinners. He opened his heart and his arms to tax collectors, adulterers, drunkards, thieves, and more. And, that is what He asks us to do.
“I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We’re here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don’t have time to carry grudges; you don’t have time to cling to the need to be right.”
― Anne Lamott
I have several friends on my facebook list and blog followers who may wish to debate or help me with my theological understanding of scripture. Instead, I hope they will simply read this and say a prayer for this justified, sanctified, and forgiven sinner.
If you don’t have cable TV, visit retail stores from Walgreens to Ace Hardware, or talk to other human beings, then you may have missed a phenomenon called Duck Dynasty. You have missed getting to know the Roberston family including three brothers named Jase, Willie, and Jep who run the family company “Duck Commander” in Louisiana. The company makes hunting products and are most known for making duck calls with the same name as the company. The fourth brother Alan is a preacher. The family leader is the father, Phil along with mom, Kay. Si (Silas) is Phil’s brother. All the men, except for Alan, are known for their long beards and country living and values. The show also includes all the wives and children of the brothers. A&E reports the show has broken many rating records and in the fourth season has over 11 million viewers.
Si is one of the most interesting characters on the show. He is never without his pitcher of tea and Tupperware tea cup. He starts every sentence with “Hey” and ends most with “Jack.” He is also known for off the wall comments and an odd sense of humor.
I recently passed a mobile home sales lot and saw the newest Si-Pad advertized with large banners. The Clayton Homes description of this home says, “Camouflage wall panels. Check. Si Security Locker for your hunting gear. Done. “Si’s Stash” safe for valuables. You bet. It’s an affordable, quality home designed with the needs of “the outdoorsman” in mind, inspired by Duck Dynasty® star, Si Robertson. Robertson has endorsed Clayton Homes as a “good call.”
You can find almost anything that uses the cast of Duck Dynasty including T-shirts, jackets, hoodies, bandanas, tea cups, calendars, fake beards, posters, watches, coffee mugs, hats, booble head dolls, DVDs of all seasons, and last, but not least, and most surprising…books. It seems almost all of the cast have written books. As someone who strives and longs to have a book published someday, it makes me take a deep breath and wonder if there is hope when I see the Duck Dynasty books on sale at every book store and Amazon.
You will find a book by Si called “Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle.” Does that mean there will be a Si-cology 2? Other titles include, “Happy, Happy, Happy”, “The Duck Commander Family-How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty”, “Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food–Bringing Our Home to Your Table”, “The Duck Commander Devotional”, “Duck Dynasty: Family, God and Guns”, “Faith in the Duck Blind”, “The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work”, and we are assured that there will be more.
A friend recently pointed out that Mama June from the show Honey Boo Boo (another interesting reality TV show) got married, and Si Roberson and the rest of the family have published books. She also pointed that neither of us were married nor had we published anything. I shook my head, shrugged my shoulders, and really couldn’t think of anything to say.
I won’t give up, however. I look at it from a different perspective. If Si Robertson and the Robertson family can write and publish books, then certainly a smart, talented, amazing person like me can make it happen. Right? Maybe, I just need a new Si-Pad as to “relax” and write. So, in the words of Si Roberson, “This thing is gonna be a humdinger. I’m talking ’bout this thing is gonna be a pants-off dance-off, Jack. We fixing to have a hootenanny like you ain’t had in your lifetime. Hey, this is going to be like the wedding from Deer Hunter. Hey, this thing is gonna be good.”