The mess when right and wrong get mixed up

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

That’s the quote “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson gave in a recent recent interview with GQ magazine, which has heads spinning today.

While most of my Facebook timeline has been filled with friends applauding Phil’s take, I’m not going to lie, it has bothered me.

In fact, when I first read it Wednesday afternoon, I cringed and the more I read it, the more I hate it.

It’s not that I think Phil’s overall view on homosexuality and the Bible is inaccurate. In fact, I agree with most of the dude’s take on it, as well as the scriptures he later uses in the article to back it up.

Like Phil, I think the Bible is very clear in saying homosexuality is a sin, just as it is very clear in saying gossip, lying, adultery, gluttony, coveting, and a host of other things you and I fall prey to everyday are sins.

My frustration doesn’t stem from a disagreement on what is or isn’t sin, it stems from a disagreement on how Christians should approach people, both Christians and non-Christians, struggling with sin.

Just because a person is struggling with a sin I don’t struggle with, doesn’t mean I should blast this person as illogical. It doesn’t mean I should call into question their thinking process just because I don’t get it. And it doesn’t mean I should act as though their temptations or desires are any more foolish than my own.

I mean, re-read Phil’s quote. It comes across as, “What’s wrong with you that you’re into this? How stupid are you?” Whether he meant it that way or not, that’s the message received.

Is there any chance a homosexual non-Christian reads his vagina over anus line and says, “You know, you’re right. Tell me more about this Jesus who led you to believe this?”

Honestly, there may be nothing worse you can say to a person struggling with any type of sin than, your struggle makes no sense.

I should know, I’ve been there, and if you think about it, you probably have too.

That message devalues you, it makes you think you have something innately wrong with you, and even if you were hell-bent on fighting your struggle, after hearing that, you’re likely done putting up much of an effort.

No matter who you are and how hard you’re worked to climb out of whatever dark place you found yourself in, that message knocks you down at least a few notches.

I mean, just imagine if Jesus had taken Phil’s tone when the Pharisees brought him the adulterous woman. Imagine if rather than standing up for her, he said, “What are you doing sleeping around, lady? Being slutty don’t make no sense.”

What if rather than offering the woman at the well living water, Jesus said, “What do you want with five husbands anyway? That’s just illogical.”

And when Zacchaeus was up in that tree, what if rather than offering to hang with the tax collect, Jesus said, “Dude, why are so greedy? You can’t take it with you. That’s just dumb, man.”

When we see Jesus approach sinners, we don’t see him call into question their logic or devalue their temptations. Instead, we see him befriend and accept them no matter what their struggles.

That’s not to say he wouldn’t encourage them to overcome those struggles, but he darn sure didn’t go down that route until he showed them he genuinely cared about them.

For whatever reason, we Christians have a really hard time doing this when it comes to homosexuality.

Rather than meet folks dealing with this issue with the same acceptance and understanding we would a habitual liar, someone struggling with stealing, or even unfaithfulness to his or her spouse, we tend to want to draw a line in the sand and demand people instantly choose one side or the other.

Perhaps it’s just easier to deal with such a tough issue in this manner or perhaps it’s because we Christians love to march on things with the mindset we’re standing up for what’s right. I’m not sure.

But I am sure that we too often find ourselves attacking those whom we should be embracing and too often we find ourselves building up walls between us and others when we should be helping tear down the ones that already exist.

Again, I’m not saying we’re supposed to be tickling people’s ears, throwing parades and celebrating sin.

I’m just saying that when we start building up walls between us and those who are different from us, it’s going to be a lot harder for them to hear us when we’re trying to share the truth with them.

The line has already started to be drawn over Phil’s comments and walls are already going up.

Amidst his ban from “Duck Dynasty,” hundreds of thousands of “likes” have flooded Facebook pages stating, “I stand with Phil” or “boycott A&E until Phil’s back.”

Already an “us verses them” mindset has set in, pinning Christians and gay rights advocates on opposites sides of a battlefield. People on both sides are clearly angry and you can see the verbal bullets beginning to fly.

Now, I don’t know Phil, and while I don’t like “Duck Dynasty” at all, I’ve always admired he and his family’s openness when it comes to their beliefs.

He seems like a genuinely good dude, but I just think this time, he’s mixed what’s right and what’s wrong together and created a mess, one which could put us as Christians further from the people we should be reaching, rather than closer to them.

Honestly, I’m not sure if we should choose to “Stand with Phil Robertson” or not. I’ll leave that up to you.

But I am sure we should choose to stand with Jesus and we should attempt to afford others the same grace and understanding I hope they will afford us in return.

— @TravisKWilliams


About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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8 Responses to The mess when right and wrong get mixed up

  1. Amanda says:

    Love this, Travis. It made me think a little differently than I’d been thinking this morning.

  2. Heather says:

    I totally didn’t read that comment the same way. What he said…”But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” I didn’t see it as him talking only about homosexuality but as him talking about just what he said-sin. Sin isn’t logical! It may be what makes you feel good, or it might be what you want, but if you step back and take a look at what you are doing and why you are doing it, particularly if you are a believer, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t think Phil meant what he said as slanderous or demeaning to anyone, only voicing his beliefs. Most of what you are hearing about is the quote you used, and I feel it is being taken out of context. You don’t have many people reporting on the fact that he did say ” I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me,” he said. “We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity.”

    • travman44 says:

      I think you’re right about Phil, I doubt he really meant to call anyone out during this and I may be guilty of using this opportunity to tackle a topic I feel like needs to be talked about more.

      I do think Phil brings to light an undercurrent thought within the church that homosexuality is a different type of sin than others. I know if I was gay and read his vagina over anus rant, I would have felt stupid and misunderstood.

      I’m also not sure that sin is illogical. I mean, sometimes the illogical thing to do is to follow Jesus, kind of like when Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything he owned and follow him. An argument could probably be made for both sides there and would get real complex, but it’s good food for thought, which is kind of what this blog is all about.

      Thanks for your feedback! It’s much appreciated!

  3. Ben Poe says:

    Travis, his remark is crude, but I see it as a very heterosexual viewpoint. Isn’t he saying “I can’t see your perspective?”

    You use several examples of Jesus encouter with truth seekers and then try to align this GQ article to them. Jesus did call Pharasees “white washed tombs” …. but I don’t this approach was as his evangelical approach when invited to a Pharasee’s house. Nor do I think this GQ article was meant to be a tear out section for witnessing to the gay community.

    Also …about “drawing a line in the sand”; is it quite possible that we don’t draw a line in the sand about stealing, because we don’t have people trying to legislate theft as legal, or draw a line in the sand about unfaithfulness because nobody is trying to legalize adultery. But we do have a culture that is trying to make homosexuality “acceptable” & “sin-free” …

    I do believe it is easy to focus on sin that we don’t personally struggle with. But I also think it is easy to say nothing.

    • travman44 says:

      I 100 percent don’t think this article was about witnessing to the gay community, but I think it will have a negative impact none the less.

      On one hand, I understand Phil not being about to see a homosexuals perspective because he doesn’t struggle with that flavor sin. But on the other hand, he should be able to see their perspective as someone who struggles with sin in general.

      I guess what bothers me is when we raise this sin to a higher level than others. I mean, simply referring to those as struggle with this as “the homosexuals” puts this sin on a different level than others. I mean, when is the last time we referred to a group as “the liars” or “the coveters?” Not even sure that’s a word.

      I think I fear drawing a line between us and others over on topic makes it harder to reach out to them, but those are just my thoughts on it, and like everything, are always a work in progress.

      Appreciate your insights. Conversations like this are much needed I believe.

  4. jondrms says:

    The sanest approach to this whole thing that I have read so far.

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