Television

Guest Post: Watching the News Without Losing Your Mind (Or Your Faith!)

This is a guest post from my wife, Melanie. She originally wrote this post for Biblical Woman, the blog site for the Women’s Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The post originally appeared here.

A few years ago, I wrote an article about anxiety and the sovereignty of God. At that time, my children were preschool and young elementary age, and I struggled with worry over them. I found that article the other day and read through it, feeling like I was looking through an old family picture album.

The feelings of anxiety were fresh and I quickly remembered the worry I carried over keeping them safe, well-educated, and healthy. The idea that amazed me as I read back through that article was that – as much as things have changed in our lives – many things stay the same.

Yes, my children are older, but I still fight the temptation to become paralyzed in fear over them.  The situations might be different, but my heart at times can be the very same. Today, however, I find the anxiety not only coming from within, but also from around me.

The national news, the local papers, and social media are busting at the seams with shocking stories of pain, hurt, and trepidation for the future. There is a palpable feeling of worry, uneasiness, fear, and general anxiety among people today inside and outside of the Church.  The places that we used to turn to for help with anxiety (friends, church, even entertainment) are now over run themselves with the same anxious content.

What are we, as believers, to do in a world filled with uncertainty and fear?

First, we must remember that God has called us to be different. Christian women must stop falling into the same patterns as those around us. We have what the non-believer does not have. Because of our relationship with Christ and because He has given us His Word, we have the answers! The problem comes when we don’t access the power that we have been given. We turn into the gullible women of 2 Timothy 3 who might learn, but are never able to act on the knowledge of the Truth.

We must act on the wonderful, hopeful, freeing knowledge we have of who God is and how He is at work around us.  For if we do not, we will miss the opportunity to live out our faith, and no unbelieving person will ever want what our testimony of Christ proclaims.  Never forget, friend, that our Lord holds the future and He is still in control. Yet, if we worry just as much as our lost neighbor does, what peace do we have to offer her? It is only when we stand courageously on the truth of God that we can offer hope amid fearful times.

Secondly, we must train our mind and eyes on truth. The diet we feed our minds produces the fruit of our thoughts and emotions. Paul did not give the Philippians specific instructions on what to think on because it made for a pretty plaque on their living room wall. He wrote to them from a prison cell, during a time of disunity and heresy in the church. The Philippian Christians were surrounded by Gentiles in a town with a heightened military presence. I am sure the Christians might have been a bit nervous, so Paul charged them with exactly what to think on to prevent their mind from wandering into the back allies of fear and anxiety (Phil 4:6-8).

Lastly, we must rest in the sovereignty of God. A genre of writings that I find helpful in digesting the events going on in our world is biographies of heroes in the faith. What we are going through as Christian and as American women is not new. There are many who have gone before us and have gone through similar fears and challenges. God could have put us in any time of history, in any country.

But He chose to place us here; in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our churches. Just like those who have lived through history, I want to be found faithful to fulfill God’s purposes right where He has called me. I can only do this if I release my grip on fear and anxiety and trust God’s plan for my life and the lives of those around me.

Trust His sovereignty in your life. Whatever happens, He has you right where He wants you for his purpose and for His glory. We must live our lives in a way that, no matter what, we can testify to His goodness and power in our lives!

Will All the Ducks Fly Away?

“God, Family, Ducks…in that order.” So reads the Twitter profile of Jase Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show. It looks like that saying is about to be tested. A&E has suspended Phil Robertson, father of Jase, Willie, and Jep Robertson and founder of Duck Commander, for his recent comments about homosexuality in an interview published in GQ.

A&E released the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.

Apart from the irony that Phil Robertson was doing an interview with GQ, the substance of his comments was not really surprising. In the interview Phil calls himself a “Bible-thumper,” and the author describes this commitment to the Bible by saying that Phil “thumps that Bible hard enough to ring the bell at a county-fair test of strength.”

The controversial statements that have led to his suspension from the blockbuster show revolve around the issue of homosexuality. The interviewer asked, “What, in your mind, is sinful?” Phil responded:

Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

In a further discussion of homosexuality, Phil makes a somewhat crude biological case against homosexuality and concludes by saying, “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

So now both sides have spoken. Phil spoke his mind on homosexuality and other issues, and A&E has spoken by indefinitely suspending Phil from future filming.

What should Phil and his family do now?

For the Robertson family, this will be a test of their family creed. From the beginning of the show, they have committed to “three no-compromises” of “faith, betrayal of family members, and duck season.” The first two are now on the line for the Robertsons. The patriarch of the family has essentially been fired from the show for expressing his religious views. The rest of the men, including Duck Commander president Willie Robertson (one of Phil’s sons), are about to have their allegiance to family tested. Do they go on without Phil or stand by him?

When asked about the sons’ views on morality, the youngest son, Jep Robertson, replied, “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line. If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.” It’s now time to see if the Robertson family sticks together through thick and thin.

What’s the right decision for the Robertsons? I think they only have one option—walk out on the show. Sure, the show could go on without Phil, but the family couldn’t. Either Phil is a part of the show or no one is on the show. That is the only option.

Perhaps Phil was being more prophetic than he realized when he told the interviewer that the show would not last forever. He said, “Let’s face it. Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.” This may be the end of “Duck Dynasty,” but it would solidify a family who is committed to no compromise on faith and betrayal of family.

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Drew Magary, “What the Duck?GQ, January 2014. (*Warning: This article contains profanity, not from Phil Robertson or any other members of the family but from the interviewer.)

A. J. Marechal, “‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Fired Following Anti-Gay Remarks,” Variety, December 18, 2013.