My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Taking A Stand Ain't That Easy

Y'all. I'm seriously not over the Paula Deen bashing yet and now I'm having to deal with the Phil Robertson debacle. I've been blog writing in my head all day trying to sort out my thoughts on his comments in GQ. Let me see if I can remember a few points because it all sounded really good in my head.

1. I don't care what anyone does behind closed doors. I really don't. As long as it's between consulting adult human beings, I don't care. I don't want to know about it. My relationship status is I DON'T CARE.

2. I hate being forced to be an activist. I've remarked often throughout the course of my blog that I am a fan of fans. This continues to be true - I appreciate when people are passionate about their favorite football team or musical group or political party. What I don't appreciate is when your passion overlaps my intended apathy. I've spent 19 and a half years as a mother of a kid with differences. Getting him educated and keeping him out of jail has exhausted me. I pretty much don't have the energy to support other causes. I didn't even watch the last Florida football game this year. Apathy is my middle name.

3. I have a real soft spot for the underdog. I don't like seeing anyone get bullied. As a second-born child and determined underachiever, I know what it's like to be the last kid picked for kickball. I've relied heavily on grace and second chances and forgiveness and the kindness of others to survive this life. I've said a lot of things over the course of my life that I wish I hadn't.  You've been witness to a few of them.

4. I had a drug problem growing up: I was drug to Sunday School on Sunday morning and back to church on Sunday night. I was drug to church on Wednesday nights for Prayer Meeting. I was drug to every Vacation Bible School in a 20 mile radius and attended Christian camps every Summer. I never had to put a lot of thought into my spiritual beliefs - I just accepted Christianity as a small child and that's the way it was. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I'm a lousy theologian. I won't entertain arguments about the proper version of the Bible and pre-trib or post-trib rapture or any of that. I don't get involved in semantics. I'm a lousy evangelist. If you don't want to believe - and trust me, there are people in my life who don't - I'm not going to win a toaster oven by converting you. Because the Bible is the foundation of my beliefs, I can't really engage in a logical debate about the Bible with people who don't believe the Bible.

5. I believe strongly that when good people choose to stand idly by, bad things happen... such as the Holocaust. I believe that Christians are the most discriminated group in our world today. For that matter, white, overweight, Southern Christians are the last demographic that it is politically acceptable to malign in this country. I believe strongly that if a liberal - such as, oh, I don't know, Alec Baldwin, for example - made the kind of statement that Phil Robertson did, it would get media attention but ultimately, there would be no true repercussion for it. Of course, the difference here is that Phil Robertson referenced the Bible and Alec Baldwin simply used a homosexual slur.

6. I believe that the liberal media goes out of it's way to villify conservative Christians. I believe that a Christian sharing his beliefs with GQ magazine is a like casting pearls before swine. I also believe that Christians have to be wary because the devil is a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. Even as the owner of a multi-million dollar business, I don't believe Phil Robertson has the media savvy to do the kind of interview he did and I believe A&E made a mistake by not exercising more control over the final version.

7. OR DID THEY? Is it possible that A&E wanted to stir up a little controversy to keep the Duck Dynasty brand in the news? The Robertsons have been clear about who they are and what they believe. Maybe up to this point the soundbites and quotes have been a little less - obvious - but these people are not shy about who they are. How is it remotely possible that a network would let one of the main characters in one of their most popular shows give an interview without any input? It's not. They threw him under the bus... gave him enough rope to hang himself... whatever cliche you want to use. They knew that there are a lot of red states with people who would intentionally support the Robertsons in a situation such as this... and a lot of people who disagreed with it who would give them a lot of free publicity.

8. I believe in freedom of speech but I also believe that with freedom comes responsibility. You can't just let words fall from your mouth without running them through the filter of your brain. There's a bible verse that tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. A good friend taught me an important lesson: whenever someone repeats something negative that someone else has said about you behind your back, you have to consider why that person would repeat something negative to you. What is their motive? To protect you from hearing something bad? - they just repeated it. To make you mad at the other person or in some way tear apart that relationship? In the same way, what did Phil Robertson hope to gain through his interview? Did he want to convince people that what they were doing is wrong or boast about doing right? I have tried to live my Christian faith from the perspective that you can love people out of a whole lot more than you can judge them out of. I believe that God is love, sin is wrong and Hell is hot. I also believe that God's grace is available to all of us and that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. That's why I don't throw any.

9. My work in the theatre brought me in close contact with young people who were figuring out who they were. I'm fairly easy to confide in (once you get past the fact that I can't keep a secret to save my life) and so I unwittingly found myself involved in the process of more than one teenager coming out of the closet. I've had mothers scream at me over the phone, come to my house to confront me...I've been forced to be more of an activist than I ever wanted to be. I also watched a precious young man who was rejected by his affluent, conservative family because of his homosexuality take the path of least resistance into drug abuse. He died at a young age at the hands of a drug dealer two days before Christmas nine years ago. His parents didn't want a gay son. They got their wish.

10. If these nine points haven't clearly spelled out my position, well, that's intentional. That's the point. It's all very confusing and frustrating to me. I am a sinner saved by grace. If it's a short step from sexual immorality to bestiality, then isn't it a short step from gossip or gluttony or any of the other many, many sins (that I'm not willing to confess publicly) to something horrible as well? We tend to look at sin the way we look at city buildings from the street level - some are taller than the other. But God sees those buildings from above - they all look the same. I'm not called to judge. I'm called to be a fruit inspector. Ok, maybe fruit is a poor choice of words in this situation. I can only tell you that in my life, I've lived through some really horrible things that so-called "Christian" men have inflicted on me... and I've had gay men who have walked with me through some of my darkest hours. Attacks on gay people really hurt my heart and attacks on Christians scare me to death. As a society we let Miley Virus and Kanye West do and say anything they want but if a Christian attempts to take a stand they are dragged through the mud.

Are we past the point of "live and let live"? If so, what happens next? Do we have to fall on one side or the other of every argument? If we don't stand for something do we fall for everything? All I know is that God is love. I think we should spend a lot more time praying for others and a lot less time condemning them.