Everyone is talking about Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberston and A&E’s suspension of him. What is so surprising to me is the wide variety of comments I have seen, and how many people are quoting the bible to me. As far as a general overview of the situation, my friend Kristen Howerton from Rage Against The Minivan covers my feelings quite well.
What I am pondering is our modern day fascination with holding on to the bible with both hands, gripping so hard that our knuckles turn white. Why quote it word for word as a road map for our lives when the words themselves are so contradictory? And truthfully many of the passages have no meaning in the here and now. Not to mention they were written down long after they actually happened. Doesn’t that leave some margin for error?
I have often said I am not a religious person, but I have faith. I am spiritual. I believe there is a higher power but I am not sure what that higher power is. I look at the bible as teachings left behind to help people understand big concepts. Stories and parables to pass from generation to generation. A collection of poetry to give solace when you need a friend.
Paper and leather that boil down to this: be good to each other.
Jesus taught compassion for others.
And not just as an addendum. Phil continually says hateful things and then tacks on, “but I love everyone!” It just doesn’t work that way.
I personally believe that Jesus would be appalled at the way his words are being twisted and how the bible is being held up as a letter of the law. The rules above all others should be Love. Kindness. Sincerity.
I am finding those things in a surprising place lately, in Pope Francis. This new breed of religious leader is one I will quote, is one I will believe in.
“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?”
I am a Christian. And I am mostly in agreement with you here. I think what’s happening is that as our culture drifts closer to a post-Christian society, those with Bibles hold on tighter and tighter to it. I had a thought a couple weeks back, what if instead of going around and telling people what Jesus said, we went around and lived and acted and treated people as Jesus did. Wouldnt that be a better display of love than quoting text?
Of course the truth is that it’s the positioning of one’s heart that matters. Quoting the Bible with love and compassion and being receptive to that is one thing. Quoting the Bible to one filled with anger and resentment – not effective. Quoting the Bible with some kind of self-serving agenda – also not effective. But approaching anyone with love and compassion, without a Bible, always effective – whether you are doing it because of Biblical teaching or just because you are a human being.
God says that all sin is equal – Theft is theft. Idolatry is idolatry. Lust is lust. Murder is murder. If sexual lust is the sin – does it matter if it’s for a man or for a woman? Bible says murdering someone’s character (lying/gossip) is the same as actually killing them. We differentiate, God does not.
But if we go back to the rule you mentioned, The Golden Rule – treat others as you wish to be treated – so much of the above disappears.
Jesus came to earth and essentially wiped out the “religion” – the zealouts making rules after rules to create order and control according to their ideals. Jesus takes them on and says there are only two laws – Love the Lord. Love your neighbor. And they killed him for it. I think if He was to come again, He would bring the same message, and be a threat to the same type of people.
I’m not sure why homosexuality is such a focus for so many. I would think Christians would get riled up over other things – poverty or addiction or something (and of course many churches and Christians excel at serving those groups). Bible says tattoos are bad- but Christians dont get fired up over that one. Why is homosexuality so much worse than tattoos if all sin is equal? Why has culture clung to that one for so many centuries?
We all are broken – gay or straight, whether a addicted or depressed or lustful or creepy or a duck hunter. We all think wrongly from time to time. We all fall short and mess up. We all say things that don’t come out quite right, even though our heart is in the right place. We all need grace and forgiveness and love.
I like what Anonymous has to say.
I find it interesting to ask people who quote the Bible a lot if they could be Christians without the Bible. I mean, most people say they have a “personal relationship with Christ,” not with the Bible, so why not? I feel like many people have an almost addictive relationship to the Bible.
^ Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. You also hit on a key point, there are many things that the bible says is bad that people don’t seem to get so upset about. I honestly don;t understand. Love is love.
And yeah Sue, to me, a personal relationship with Christ knocks out much of the Old Testament.
great post Aimee
Ayyyyyyyymen!!! One of your most thoughtful, well written posts.
I think your post was excellent but I really like what the first comment had to say.
I know the Duck show does not need any press but I can’t help but feel some of this was staged/set up for ratings.
Bill, I was wondering the same. Cynical us.
Thank you for this.
In all the years I’ve been following you, I often simply don’t agree with your views, mostly in a political sense. In this post however, I couldn’t agree more.
I was raised a preacher’s kid and in my 20’s these same questions haunted me to the extent that I left religion behind. Like you, I have my spiritual faith, but it isn’t governed by the Bible or any singular religious doctrine. While there is great comfort and wisdom in much of the Bible, there is also much of it that was either clearly appropriate only to the era in which it was written or intended to create a class of people who perceived themselves to be morally superior. Logic and common sense prevent me from allowing narrow-minded teachings of fallible men to control me through shame and judgmentalism.
When I’ve tried to understand how such large masses of intelligent people could so vehemently cling to religion and the Bible as though there could be no other truth, explanation escapes me. Sometimes I think that most people need either the comfort of someone telling them what’s right and wrong so they don’t have to decide for themselves, or they get emotional fulfillment/validation from having a “morally superior” community to belong to.
Seeing people who profess to follow Jesus’s teachings of love and compassion bicker this way over a matter of opinion serves only to highlight their ignorance of his teachings. Like you, I find Pope Francis top be refreshing. I’m drawn to him for much the same reason people were drawn to Jesus on his day: his actions match his words and he is a role model for humility.
Thank you for your bold post.
Thank you Hannah for your thoughtful comment as well. I often spout things on Twitter in little here and there’s these days rather than writing them out here, for so many reasons. Most often, it’s been “covered” per se by the time I am ready to write something longer and then it feels like I am using the topic, rather than just expressing myself. But I love that you disagree with me politically and contibuted so thoughtfully to the conversation above. Thank you!
I live down here in the south, so you can imagine how many people are still rambling on about this man.
And am still shocked at how many people don’t realize his right to free speech wasn’t violated – he just suffered some consequences for it, dealt by his employers, an entity other than the federal government.
Belle, I know. I am less surprised by what he said (still offended and disgusted) than I am how little people seem to understand the 1st Ammendment!
love this post