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Phil Robertson's GQ Article

It's been an interesting day reading all the comments, blogs, posts, arguments, picture captions and petitions today regarding the GQ interview with Phil Robertson. Some of them have been interesting, but for the most part, they have been down right disappointing.

You can't help but notice the gigantic chasm between the gay community and the Church. Like most dysfunctional relationships, each group has attempted to paint a black and white picture of the (seemingly) high level of animosity between the two. From (some) of the church's perspective, the LGBT community is hell bent of destroying all of society, and ushering in an era of evil the world has never seen. What I find strange about this, is that if the Church is founded on the Holy Spirit, and has lived for two thousand years in almost every cultural context imaginable, I don't think we have anything to worry about. Furthermore, if you do a little bit of history on the Church, you realize that is has struggled along the way to adequately live and promote the grace of the gospel. During these times when one group of people is shouting "you are hurting us" we need to desperately listen, and for goodness sake shut up. I am guilty of this. We sometimes forget that we can be hurtful in how we talk and act. Was Phil Robertson hurtful in how he articulated a biblical worldview of human sexuality? I think the honest answer is yes.

On the other side, some in the LGBT community constantly uses terms like "bigot", "hate filled", "homophobic", and the like to describe many members of the Christian Church. The reality is that religion is a very important and central faucet to many people's thinking. It is extremely difficult for many of us to be honest to the person of Jesus Christ and the claims that he has on our life, when so much of it runs very contrary to the ethics and values of our culture. It may seem strange that there are millions of people dedicated to a two thousand year old book, and it is easy to label someone as hate filled when that book that those millions of people follow seemingly says things contrary to something as natural as ones sexual preference. In reality, many Christians are deeply loving people and we navigate an extremely difficult and complicated life. It's wrong for someone to forcefully change another; isn't that at the heart of much of the LGBT backlash, aren't they saying, "Don't force us to change who we are?" Perhaps that conviction to be treated as a free human being needs to run both ways?

This should be a time of understanding, not further name calling and division. I am very aware that there is a good possibility that my post will turn into a debate on Facebook. So here, I will try to make a preemptive strike on the debate.

Was A&E justified in suspending Phil Robertson? It's pretty simply really: of course they are. It's their channel, it's a show that they pay for and promote. They don't have to put anything on their channel that they don't want there. Hey Church, do you realize how hypocritical we are when we (rightfully) expect the Human Right of Religious Freedom to allow us to bar certain people from membership, clerical life and Christian marriage? Wait a second, you think a corporation should be forced to keep an employee that they feel misrepresents their values? Sounds like a familiar conversation doesn't it?

That is why I am so disappointed. I am afraid that this whole debacle will just force us further apart. I am afraid that if I had to be honest, I have a suspicion that if Jesus were here today, the "people of God" would be calling him a gay sympathizer and want nothing to do with him. Look around Church, there is a visible group of people that are hurting. Do you think they are pretending? I am afraid that Phil Robertson has just become another voice that is quieting the gospel. Did you read what he said? Is this how the gospel is to be articulated?

The problem is that when the topic of sin came up, Phil Robertson started with homosexuality. Is that right? I think when the topic of sin comes up, we start first and foremost with ourselves, defer judgement to God who is good, and preach the grace of Jesus Christ.

Let's take this opportunity to listen and be true agents of grace. I know we can't change who we are, but let's not allow these tactless statements to further a delusion that something that is referenced in all of three places in the New Testament should be at the center of our identity.

GC Article


Dave Williams said…
Hey Matthew,

A friend of mine shared this on facebook, and cautioned that we should be careful as to the comments we make. Hopefully I can do that. I do feel that your blog is well written. The issue that I have with many articles, including the original GQ article is that we have no idea how Phil actually replied to the question, for all we know he may very well have started with a "smaller""even though all sin is equal" sin. But GQ decided to edit it the way that they did.

Also, Later in his interview Phil says " “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?” I don't know, maybe for this one he did start off with the homosexual remark, but we don't know. Maybe God has placed this issue on Phil's heart as something that he can change. We don't know.

The only other thing that I am going to comment on is in regards to this "It is extremely difficult for many of us to be honest to the person of Jesus Christ and the claims that he has on our life, when so much of it runs very contrary to the ethics and values of our culture." What ever happened to Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

I will leave with this, for which I absolutely agree with you on " Perhaps that conviction to be treated as a free human being needs to run both ways?". I think the chasm between the two sides is vast, and growing more so everyday, but it is running both ways. I agree that maybe "Christians" have hurt the LGBT community more than they have us, which is saddening.

Hopefully, we, as Christians, will start to draw in more and more to the spirit and let him lead us.
Matthew said…
Dave, thanks for your comment. It is true that GQ may have edited the article to pain Phil in a bad light, but as far as I know, Phil has not made any statements pertaining to that. I don't think Phil is hateful, and I think labeling him as such is wrong. However, I think comparing homosexuality with bestiality is hurtful. I think by starting a conversation about sin with homosexuality isn't tactful. I think by describing a women's vagina, and thinking that a gay man should magically be attracted to it instead of a man's anus is ignorant.

As far as Romans 12:2, I couldn't agree with you more. I just am tired of Christians acting like it's easy. I for one struggle with reconciling a biblical worldview of sexuality with the current idea of homosexuality. I am not going to pretend like that's easy for me. I am so glad that I can trust in the goodness of God to "sort 'em out later". On that point, I agree completely.

Thanks again for your comment, It's your reflection that "maybe 'Christians' have hurt the LGBT community" that I think has been lacking from most of the response to this whole situation.

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