No matter if you’ve heard of Duck Dynasty or not, if you love it or hate it, if you’re a Christian or not — if you’re an American you no doubt have heard of the firestorm brought on by Phil Robertson’s comments to GQ magazine.
There are varied responses – love, hate, and almost everything in-between. Most reactions don’t surprise me (and quite honestly almost everything I’ve seen or read so far has annoyed me), but I have to say that the response that rankles me the most is the public “silence” that certain Christians are exuding. I’ve seen several posts either giving a hipster-esque “I don’t care about Duck Dynasty” that brings to mind a picture of Anne Shirley’s nose-in-the-air disregard, and some criticizing other Christians for getting upset about a cable TV show.
One article in particular was posted by one of my favorite websites – Desiring God. The author, who is an elder at my church and whom I have some amount of respect for, basically tells people off for being upset and wasting energy on such a silly issue and encourages people rouse that energy to fight in the polls and votes. He’s advocating a strategic use of our collective voice.
On one hand I agree with him. Yes, it’s just a cable TV show, and yes, we should definitely be caring about and using energy to engage with culture on a different level. There’s a big “but” in there, though, I think. I usually get my news from Facebook, even though I would consider myself to have a relatively healthy interest in current events and politics. I don’t think I’m alone, and, in fact, I think the truth is that I’m fairly typical. My entire generation uses social media to notify us of important events. There is no doubt in my mind that elections are swayed by social media and celebrity tweets.
So what better way to engage our celebrity-loving culture than to respond publicly and loudly when their very own stars draw attention to issues that would otherwise be considered topics that “you just don’t talk about.” I do not think it’s right to say that what our culture at large is clamoring about is not worth our time – especially when it so directly interacts with an issue that we claim is so important to us.
For something that is such a divisive issue, when would be better to discuss homosexuality than when it is connected to a star of pop culture instead issues within the church or the political process? One would think that today might just be the best time to talk about it.
Homosexuality has become so politicized and divisive that the mere mention of it brings up a “oh not that again” response that we all used to give our parents when they told us what “we already knew.” But maybe, just maybe, interacting with culture on a different level – yes, maybe even the frivolous, celebrity-crazed level – we might do a better job of relating to people that need to hear Gospel truth. Today they’re coming to us, asking for a response (demanding is probably a better term). Now does not seem like a good time for silence.