I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty, but as a Southern girl, I’d probably like it if I did. I also haven’t read a lot about Phil’s recent issue with A&E, but you can’t be online at all without seeing the subject light up cyberspace. This post is not about what Phil should or should not have said to a reporter.
A Facebook friend of mine reposted Jen Hatmaker’s recent blog post giving another perspective on how Christians might respond around inflammatory subjects. Well-intentioned Christians taking a hard-line are not necessarily “wrong.” But perhaps it’s worth considering what’s my heart’s motivation? Which of our responses best reveals and reflects Jesus? Should we respond the same to to other Christians as we do to strangers who do not know Christ? Jen’s message was articulate and eloquent. It so closely mirrors the heart of my Christmas blog, I wanted to share it here.
By the way, I don’t see either message as being at all incompatible with speaking the truth in love — to believers or non believers. I don’t believe in a watered down Gospel. To me, it’s about leading with love, and hopefully, earning the opportunity to share my relationship with Jesus (especially how he’s saved me and continues to work in my sinful life). We want to actually be heard by the open heart and mind of another. Thank you, Jen — for expressing what I was thinking with so much grace and wisdom.
I don’t think God needs any of us to defend Him…I believe we are here to represent Him. I’m not worried about the kingdom, since Scripture seems to think it is “unshakeable.” God has managed to stay on his throne all this time, so we can go ahead and just let him be God. (For the record, I don’t think Phil fancied himself some valiant defender either…I think he was just being Phil. And these were just a few sentences taken out of a greater context, but in a viral world where every word matters, well, every word matters.)
As for me, I care deeply for all the watching eyes, waiting for something real, something that heals instead of wounds. I dream of a faith community that demonstrates a love so scandalous and embarrassing that only the foolish and the rejected and the misfits and the cynics will find any solace in it. My heart’s cry is that someone far outside the sphere of Christian endorsement might whisper, “Even me?” and be stunned by Jesus’ answer: “Always you.”
Because if we are only good news to each other, where will that leave the gospel in our generation? I know exactly what moral issues to declare so Christians will take up my cause and Defend Jen, but I don’t want your spiritual energy…I want us to care about this suffering world more than we care about our Christian rights. Our rights were secured on the cross; the discussion is over. No one can steal from us what Jesus already won for us. Rather, let’s take all our victory, our hope and love and share it. That’s the hill I’m going to die on, friends.
I’m going to choose love.
This is not a gray area. I’m telling you now that I will find a way to preach the scandalous love of Jesus in the face of any issue, demographic, or debate. I will insist on jerking a door open for dialogue with people who’ve been previously maligned by my faith. I will not reinforce the notion that anyone is less than, condemned, or left out, because if that is true, then my salvation is a lie. Because I love mercy for myself, I can’t help but love it for everyone else, and I won’t cheapen it by imagining that my grace is free but someone else’s must be earned. Jesus is the best news in history.
Not one heartache on earth will be solved with more judgment; this world needs more love. It is what saved us and still sets us free. It is the magic balm that soothes tensions, crosses divides, and creates safe spaces. Love is the only answer. May we become beacons of it, Church.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Jesus