The situation is terrible, deal with it. That’s the gist of the military slang: embrace the suck. Phil Robertson is embracing the suck right now.
If you are reading this post right now, I’m sure you are aware of what happened this week with the founder of the Duck Dynasty. We can refer to the controversy as the “Anus Explosion,” or A&E for short. Drew Magary of GQ magazine hiked through the woods of Louisiana to interview Robertson for what turned out to be an enjoyable article appearing in the January 2014 issue. By the way, have you read the article? I wonder how many people who are commenting on the controversy have actually read the article.
Once you get past lines such as, “He [Phil] is welcoming and gracious. He is a man who preaches the gospel of the outdoors and, to my great envy, practices what he preaches,” we get to the spark of the firestorm,
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.
GLAAD complained, A&E panicked, and now Phil Robertson is “under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
If you continue reading past the anus comment you’d find: “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.” But, whatever. Hey, Phil Robertson said something against homosexual behavior! Burn the witch!
This entire ordeal underscores the present reality in America that if you say anything about the sinfulness of homosexuality you will be driven to the fringes of society. Responding to the controversy in an article that received much attention among evangelicals, Albert Mohler writes: “Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.” Yes, we have been warned but we have been warned for a long time now.
GLAAD expressed the “new morality” very well when they announced, “What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike. By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.” If you communicate in any way that homosexual behavior is a sin you are not only un-American, you are un-Christian, and you will be punished.
Here’s how Phil Robertson is embracing the suck right now: he’s prepared to live with the consequences of speaking his mind and expressing his deeply held convictions. In fact, he’s always been prepared to walk away from the show. He’s not walking away on his own terms right now but he’s prepared to walk away.
But what about people like us who don’t have a million dollars to fall back on? Are you prepared to embrace the consequences of staying true to your convictions? We live in a day when Christian bakers are being compelled by the State to facilitate the celebration of a gay marriage ceremony they find morally objectionable. These bakers are faced with the choice of complying or closing their business. Are you prepared to lose your job over your religious beliefs? The question is becoming less and less theoretical.
One meme making the rounds through social media is a picture of Phil Robertson with the caption: “If I can’t speak my mind this isn’t America anymore.” This is besides the point. I would say you can speak your mind but the consequences are changing. It’s better to take the time now to think through what this means for how we interact with others rather than waiting until we find ourselves in an unexpected situation.
Considering how best to interact with others is something we ought to be carefully thinking through anyway. In previous posts I’ve talked about Christians being salt in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). If Christians are not distinct from the world then we have lost our saltiness. If Christians segregate themselves and fail to do life with non-believers then the salt is not being applied. It’s good for nothing. Total conformity and total separation are not options for us.
Jesus was salty in a way that attracted sinners rather than repelling them. This should be our starting point. I’m going to stay faithful to what I know to be true but how can I do it in such a way that is winsome and loving? This is not easy, which is why I say we ought to take the time to think this through. I am prone to angry sarcasm but all this does is get a few laughs from people who already think like I do. Others gravitate toward things like boycotts but this is merely a show of force. There’s nothing salty about a boycott and oftentimes it reveals that your force is weaker than you thought.
Are you prepared to embrace the suck? The consequences of calling homosexual behavior sinful are getting more painful. Deal with it. We have a choice in how we respond to those consequences, however. Will we respond in a way attracts or repels?