Repentance, reconciliation and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson

Jerod Clark

I’ve felt for some time that Duck Dynasty was a ticking time bomb. I think the Robertson family has too, considering this Christmas season you could buy almost anything with the bearded faces of the reality-television stars on it. Cash in before someone says something stupid.

Enter Phil Robertson. The never-sugarcoated family patriarch recently gave an interview to GQ in which he shared his view on homosexuality. To keep things clean, let’s just say he takes a clear stance that in the bedroom, women’s parts should be preferred by men. And he went on to compare homosexual relationships to sexual sins like bestiality, adultery and prostitution. His conclusion is the lines are blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong in our world and he’s trying to call those who are in the wrong to repentance.

Here’s my conclusion: as Christians, we have to quit using hateful language in the name of God. Saying things that are intentionally and bluntly divisive are not consistent with being called to show God’s love.

It’s the same problem I have with people who think the phrase “love the sinner and hate the sin” is an OK way to talk about homosexuality. It’s divisive. It builds a wall. It doesn’t lead to compassionate conversations. You can’t say something that is clearly hurtful to someone else and then say that you don’t treat them in any different way. There’s a disconnect.

Saying things that are intentionally and bluntly divisive are not consistent with being called to show God’s love.

The best example I’ve seen of a church reaching out to the gay community was a group of Christians in Chicago who held up signs at a gay pride parade saying they were sorry for the way the church in general has treated the homosexual community. The “I’m Sorry” campaign, which we’ve written about here at TC, led to genuine conversations. It’s far more productive and Christ-like. It was reconciliation at its finest.

I like Duck Dynasty. Uncle Si is the best character on television. I just wish Phil had shown more compassion instead of simply saying this is how “Bible-thumpers” like him act. The show’s success has allowed the Robertsons to share the Gospel in many public ways. There was a great opportunity for this down-to-earth, backwoods family to speak compassionately about homosexuality. What an example that would have been.

My challenge to you as a Christian is to not just side with Phil Robertson because you think he’s under attack. Use it as an opportunity to think about how you could be an agent of reconciliation. Yes, we have to show how we’re different than the culture around us, but that doesn’t mean our message has to be reckless.

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