I’ve purposely held off on commenting on the Phil Robertson conundrum in efforts to not give an off-the-cuff response that makes the situation worse. I hope my words prove to be beneficial. Before I go any further I want you as a reader of my work to know that I love and respect all views regardless if I agree with them or not. Having said that, here are my observations regarding this whole situation:
Phil Robertson himself said he is a product of the 60’s. We must look at what has shaped him. We must realize that this man has lived most of his life outside of the Internet era. For most of Phil’s life everyone spoke their mind without much backlash because their voice did not reach as far as it did today. Today it is much easier to make your voice heard. And that doesn’t even take into account that he is now a well known celebrity. Until a couple years ago nobody knew who Phil Robertson was. I’m willing to bet if you put someone similar to Phil, a conservative Christian of almost 70 years old who is accustomed to living a quiet life and who has never lived outside the southern United States, in that kinda spotlight they would say something that would offend someone. But at least that generation stands for something. Sadly that is much more than I can say for my own generation. The era of the relativistic “do as you please/politically correct” mentality is very much upon us.
We must also note that most people that age are set in their ways.Phil Robertson has spent a lifetime developing what he believes. We have no reason to believe he will change his stance. Any attempts to change him or others like him will most likely be futile. We would do well to simply forgive him and move on with our lives. If you don’t like what he stands for then you don’t have to support him. But you also don’t have to bash him either.
People’s tactics in the “homosexuality vs the Bible” debate are mostly wrong. I believe the internet shouting matches are doing nothing. These kind of exchanges need to be between friends who have a high level of mutual respect and love for each other. I believe that is one aspect that could change the whole mood of this conversation. I also feel that is one reason so many people get heated quickly is because neither side feels respected. People react from an emotional place within them when they feel disrespected, and when such emotions dictate a persons response to a situation the situation has potential to quickly become volatile. I think we are also finding that just because your message is louder than your opposition it doesn’t mean you’re winning the battle. Both sides have been loud and it has done nothing to rectify the situation. As a Christian who loves people deeply I feel like we need to use Jesus’ tactic of flipping tables less and more of Jesus’ tactic of “go and sin no more”. We must also realize that not all people react to confrontation the same way. So we cannot confront every person the same way. I’m reminded of Jude verses 22-23 and how it speaks to this notion of dealing with people in various ways: “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear”.
Above all we need to see people first as someone who has worth and value and we need to avoid devaluing people simply because we disagree with them. I hope and pray that God will be glorified as we struggle through these difficult conversations.