No doubt by now you've heard about the major controversy surrounding the Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. Whether you actually heard the story or have just seen the massive backlash from it, I'm sure you know something regarding the whole scenario. As the story goes, Robertson was doing an interview with GQ Magazine and made some rather coarse remarks that were deemed homophobic by the interviewer. As a result of that interview, A&E has indefinitely suspended Robertson from appearing on the show that features his family and the business he helped create. Since A&E's announcement, there has been an uproar in the social media universe against their decision. Backed primarily by Christians, people all over the country are calling for A&E to rescind their decision.
It's a phrase that we hear all the time in Christian circles. We are always striving to live "in the world but not of the world." While not taken directly out of Scripture, it's a consolidation of a portion of Jesus' prayer in John 17: "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:14-16). This phrase is a good one, but has been used to the point of cliche. But do we really understand the full weight of what we say we are pursuing?
Often my roommate and I have high aspirations of getting to bed early, and more often than not we fail miserably. Usually it's because we're on Skype or FaceTime with our respective girlfriends (who both happen to reside in California currently), but last night we were up talking with each other about a recent blog post from an artist I used to admire. I have to confess that the end of our conversation began to degrade into poking fun at the artist's blog, as well as some of his recent music. Unfortunately, I also have to admit that I found this artist's stance in his blog post to be on the verge of laughable. The issue at hand was the current status of the Christian music industry and the no-so-fine line between sacred and secular music.
Aside from the book of Leviticus, no Biblical passages are less desirable to read these days than the genealogies. At best most people skim over all the hard-to-pronounce names, and at worst people will ignore them altogether. I was once in a Bible study going through the book of Nehemiah, and one week we studied a chapter that was almost entirely a list of all the men who had returned to Judah and helped rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Needless to say we had an invigorating discussion after we slogged through all the difficult names. (Who names their child something like Nephushesim anyway?)
Thanks to the influence of my father, I grew up listening to artists such as Paul Simon and Jackson Browne, musicians I probably would've never discovered if left to my own devices. These men, while not professing Christians, have written their fair share of music with a "spiritual" theme. (Just listen to Paul Simon's So Beautiful or So What album and you'll know what I mean.) As we head into the Christmas season, one of these songs has been stuck in my head. It's a Christmas song by Jackson Browne entitled "The Rebel Jesus." In the song, Browne identifies himself as "a heathen and a pagan on the side of the rebel Jesus." I love this song, and I love its message, but I don't think Browne fully understands what it means to be "on the side of the rebel Jesus."
A simple servant of the Master.