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I know there are lots of people writing about the fallout of Phil Robertson with A&E over “offensive” comments he stated in an interview with GQ. I don’t want to talk about his alleged persecution. I don’t believe it is. I also don’t want to talk about his “offensive” comments. Our president, Jim Daly, wrote a great piece if you are interested on his take on Phil’s comments.
My issue and it is with our supposedly enlightened and tolerant society: why have we become so intolerant? A&E stated after the release of the interview, “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks…” and A&E has every right to handle it this way.
What if I parented my home the way A&E is handling this situation? I can see it now…
While sitting in a family meeting, Roy hands out a “contract” to his wife and three kids. As his family looks over the contract he states, “I need all of you to review some new rules here in the house and most importantly read the fine print. It states, “your personal views need to align with mine and if you don’t, there is the door.”
Now, I know I am being a little silly, but that is my point. We have reached critical mass of silliness in our society. Why? Because culturally we are not doing a great job defining healthy relationships. Chuck Swindoll wrote, “It’s the home where life makes up its mind, where life underscores its etchings. God is deeply concerned that the next generation learns about Him. That happens best through us.” It is within our families that we give shape and understanding to our relationships. Unfortuanately in our culture when our relationships don’t work we cast them away or break them off. Look, family is hard and difficult. Its messy. I get that…I have seen the worst of what our society can offer and the devastation it leaves, especially when it comes to children. But that’s my point…what happened to Phil and A&E is a perfect snapshot of the unhealthiness of our society and culture. Somehow it has become an acceptable practice in our homes, churches and communities that if we disagree with each other that gives me the right to demonize you and cut you off regardless of what side of the aisle you are on. The unfortunate reality of this national conversation, which many are making us choose a side, is that many parents struggle with this every day in their homes with their kids. Instead of being in the proverbial "foxhole" together they have built foxholes across from each other and have forgotten that their relationship is more important than their position. I say that knowing parents are struggling with what to do with a child who is struggling with alcohol and drug addictions and other high at-risk behaviors. How do I love and protect my child yet at the same time protect the rest of the family and our home?
So, why is this important for me as a dad? I want to teach my children how to navigate life and all of their relationships knowing life is messy. How do we balance truth and principles with love and grace within the walls of our home and outside those walls? Christ taught radical truths like: not judging others (Matthew 6:1-5), “The Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12-14), anger management (Matthew 5:21-26), oaths (Matthew 5:33-36), retaliation (38-41), and how about loving our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). These are radical to our culture and in some ways within the walls of our homes and churches. Yet how do I teach those principles to my children when everything in our culture screams; "take a side" and its "us versus them."
I know that my point is very different to the conversations happening in our culture about A&E and Duck Dynasty. Regardless of where you fall in this conversation couldnt we all agree that we can and should do better with how we treat each other. I want to teach my kids that the importance of their faith is not just what they believe but how they express those beliefs. That even though their faith might be able to move mountains it will mean nothing without the context of love (1 Corinthians 13). Regardless if culture gets it, I need to get it and pass it on.
Roy Baldwin (@baldwin_roy) is a contributing writer for Dad Matters and the Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family.
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