General Ministry
Tony Myles

Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, conference speaker, author, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

phil-robertson-picOnce again, the news is out.

A&E reinstated Phil Robertson back to Duck Dynasty.

What have we learned?

(Hang on… really, really consider what we really learned)

Over the past week, individuals within the Christian and non-Christian community at large have shared their opinions.

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  • Some have stereotyped the Robertsons as rich people with a bigoted attitude. Others have claimed inspiration from someone who boldly says what he believes.
  • Some have have an opinion from afar, reading the headlines and assuming they know the story. Others have micro-analyzed one or two statements of the GQ interview.
  • Some have rallied to activism, from pages they like to merchandise they do/don’t buy. Others have been activists at putting down the activists, which has itself is quite an activity.
  • Some have attempted to hold strong to their own view while appearing moderate, which is quite the trick. Others have attempted to magnify their own view, whichever direction they took on any issue.
  • Some have taken the stance that A&E is a company that has the right to revoke a contract as it sees fit. Others have asked, “Why are they doing that now? I’m pretty sure they knew who they extended the contract to in the first place.”
  • Some have dug into the Robertsons as a family and looked for context on who they are behind the edits of the show. Others have assumed that you can judge a book by its alleged cover.

Some have even crossed lines from what you’d expect to hear out of them and said something completely out of character to share their viewpoint… which is kind of ironic, if you think about it.
So what have we learned? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.

It will all be revealed in one of two approaches to what happens next:

  • You will come up with a one-liner.
    • “It was all about the money.”
    • “It was all about the pressure.”
    • “It was all a publicity stunt.”
    • “It was all about my boycott!”
    • “It was all about the _______ community.”
  • You will come out of this a better listener.

Real people with real feelings that really matter to God were on all sides of this issue.

enemies_love_Can you love them? Can you do life with them?

Or will you ultimately choose the boycott approach and pull into your own circle where everyone thinks like you?

I suppose that’s up to you.

  • A quick word to the non-Christian, atheist, agnostic or “spiritual” person: Thanks for reading this. I’m not sure what you tasted of Christianity in this process, but the reality is we’re as much as mess as anyone. Perhaps the difference is we’ve stopped letting that be our excuse to quit growing, so there is hope within us… His name is Jesus Christ. Please keep giving us a chance, and I hope you often find exceptions to your stereotypes of us.
  • A quick word to the Christian: There are times to circle the wagons and take your stand against Satan, but don’t mistake people who disagree with you as Satan. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood… it’s just how you see the push-back to your faith at times. Forming a like-minded community seems like Christianity, but it’s really not the way it’s supposed to happen. We’re called to follow Jesus and let Him form the community that includes a rag-tag bunch of people we’d never choose to have lunch with on a sane day.

I’ll end with a quote from Shawn Harrison:

The non-Christian world won’t magically submit to Christian ideals and values. In fact, Jesus tells us things will get worse, that we will face unfair treatment*, and even be put to death for our faith (see John 16:33, 15:20). In response to this trouble, Jesus does not say, “Start a Facebook group in protest,” or “Boycott this company,” or anything like these ideas. Rather, Christ calls us to live for Him despite what others say; He says to pray for those who don’t understand and ridicule us; He says to love those who we find to be unlovable (see Matthew 5:11-12, 44, Romans 12:14). He calls us to be a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14).

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  • Sarah says:

    Great words of truth! Thanks for guiding a dialogue. It has been thought provoking for me. Miss your leadership.

    • Tony Myles Tony Myles says:

      Thank you, Sarah! Miss you guys, too. One benefit of this is we can all become leaders by listening to God and hearing the journey we’re all on.

      • Sarah says:

        I have had a very rough time over the last 4 yrs with trying to find who I am in Christ. I realized after our adoption finally went through that, faithwise I am a fraud. That, I am a product of years of denomination doctrinal confusion. I am completely polarized by all the different beliefs. Sometimes I feel discernment leading me one way and then I question why I am being lead that way and I can’t seem to logically make it through to a side. I look to your writing and another blogger from the early days who has transformed his way of thinking. He likes to dialogue with non-believers rather than argue for sake of politics, conservatism, patriotism etc. I love my friends who do not believe and I want to engage them, find out who they are ( how God made them), what makes them tick and love them completely. I feel like I am on an abandoned island. I know God is there trying to guide me but his voice is muffled. I know the Word but right now I don’t trust my brain to receive it the way it was intended. I don’t even know if this reply makes sense.

        • Tony Myles Tony Myles says:

          Wow, Sarah… really appreciate your honesty and transparency here. I wonder if faith is defined less by our rock-solid theology and more about our God-sized questions. There was something about how Jesus never watered-down His doctrine and yet attracted people who would be offended by it. Granted, some days He turned the crowds away (and ultimately was crucified for it). Still, here we are today wrestling with who He is and how amazing it is to follow Him.

          I have a theory about the walls we face with God. Imagine a literal wall – you see yourself on one side, and God is on the other. You try to bust through it, only you can’t. Over and over and over again… and yet again. Finally, you collapse to the ground and cry out, “God, I can’t do this.” He says, “I know.” Only He says it from your side of the wall… He was with you the whole time. And where you thought there was a wall realize it was the beginning of a set of oversized stairs. He props you up on His shoulders, and you climb up with Him together.

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