Baby Soft Hearts on Faith Reboot

15 Jan

Friends, today I’m blogging over at Faith Reboot with Brittney, which is an excellent blog Brittney Switala of HisRadio.  I’m hoping some day she’ll help me realize my dream of becoming a radio personality (I’m only half-kidding about that, Britt!), but for now, she has graciously asked me to be one of the contributing writers on her blog.  

I join you to check out Faith Reboot for not only my blog post, but Brittney’s great material as well as the other ladies contributing to the blog every Thursday.  These posts  will hopefully hit you straight in the heart and reboot your spirit.

Here’s an excerpt from my post, “A Renewal of Heart and Soul”: “

“For the renewed heart to grow, for it to strongly beat, for it to be fully alive, it must experience all things—heartbreak, joy, loss, gratitude, and more.

The difference between the renewed heart and the jaded heart is simply one of choice.  Will I commit to allowing God to use me, to grow me, and to change me into the person He wants me to be or do I choose swallow me up—to hide my light under a boulder, hide inside myself, and pretend the loneliness isn’t slowly destroying me?”

Read on: http://www.faithreboot.com/renewal-heart-soul/

The Desolate Woman: A Biblical Perspective on Rape

8 Jan

“Desolaton of Tamar” by James Tissot

A huge kingdom in a faraway land, a beloved king with a beautiful daughter, and a handsome prince who is heir to the throne—the story has all the makings of a lovely fairy tale, yet it is a horror story. The kingdom was Israel under the rule of King David and the handsome prince was David’s oldest son, Amnon, who just so happened to be in love with his half-sister, Tamar. Found in 2 Samuel 13, smack dab between David’s affair with Bathsheba and the revolt of David’s sons against their father is the passage about the rape of Princess Tamar.Nathan the prophet told David that “the sword will never leave your household” only a few chapters earlier and spoke of the turmoil that would erupt in the king’s family as a consequence of his sin. The unraveling of the kingdom began with this rape.

It all started when Amnon became lovesick over his sister, Tamar. He lamented to his cousin, Jonadab, that he couldn’t do anything to her because she was a virgin. Jonadab concocted a terrible plan, which Amnon carried out. Jonadab advised Amnon to feign illness and request Tamar’s presence from the king. King David did not deny his firstborn anything, so naturally Amnon’s request was granted.

Tamar, being the dutiful daughter, came to her brother’s house to prepare him a meal, which he refused to eat. Instead he told all his servants to leave and then said, “Tamar, why don’t you bring the food here to me in my bedroom? I’m too weak to eat on my own so I need your help.” Tamar brought the food into his bedroom. All of a sudden, Amnon grabbed Tamar and demanded that she join him in bed.

Aghast, Tamar refused his offer begging, “Don’t force me, my brother! Such a thing is not done in Israel. Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you, you would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king: he will not keep me from being married to you” (13:12-13, NIV.) Tamar’s plea fell on deaf ears. And because Amnon was “stronger than she”, he raped her (18:14.)

There are a few interesting things that can be pulled from Tamar’s emotional statement. When Tamar said that things like this are not done in Israel, she was speaking of the law which forbade a man to have sexual relations with his sister. (Lev. 18: 9, 11) Disgraced, she could have been either put to death for having such a relationship or considered “unmarriageable” because she was no longer a virgin. However, Tamar then said that the king would allow Amnon to marry her, which was also forbidden by law (Lev. 20:17; Deut. 27:22.) Perhaps Tamar hoped this would dissuade Amnon for the moment so she could escape or she thought David would bend the law for his children. Whatever the reason, Tamar’s statement was ignored.

Tamar’s plea cuts to the heart of any girl or woman who has been sexually assaulted. Please don’t do this to me; do not take this from me. Yet often because a man is stronger than a woman, he takes violently what is not his to take. The woman is often left alone and confused, picking up the pieces of what she thought would be a good life.

After Amnon raped his sister, he sent her out of his house and said, “Get this out of here!” Again, Tamar pled for justice on her behalf and begged, “No! Sending me away would be a greater wrong that what you have already done to me” (13:16.) Modern women recoil at this passage wondering why Tamar would want to keep the company of her rapist. However, in the Jewish culture at that time, a woman who had been raped was deemed unmarriageable. Young girls and teenagers who were victims of rape were not only robbed of their innocence but their hope of marriage as well. The Jewish law made a provision for these women—if a man raped a virgin, he was required to take the girl as his wife (Deut. 22:28-29.)

The love that Amnon felt for Tamar before the rape turned to rage after the rape so Tamar was sent away disgraced and ashamed. The Bible says that she then put ashes on her head, tore the ornamental robe that the king’s virgin daughters wore, and wailed loudly—all signs of extreme mourning. As soon as Tamar’s full brother, Absalom, came upon her, he surmised what had happened. He told her to keep quiet about the incident, which she did. She was then taken into Absalom’s house and lived “a desolate woman” (13:20.) This is the last mention of Tamar in the Bible—that she lived the rest of her days as a desolate woman.

I imagine that Tamar, being beautiful and young and the daughter of King David, had a lot of promising prospects when it came to marriage. Like many teenage girls, she may have dreamed about her Prince Charming, her marriage, her children, and her future. Yet in an instant, her dreams came crashing down around her. It is not mentioned how old Tamar was in this passage, but she was probably in her early-to-mid teens–only a teenager. Full of hope, full of promise, full of life, and then desolate.

Unfortunately, in the time Tamar lived, rape against women was not a serious offense. Sure, God had laws against it, but since women were demeaned and treated as property, rape wasn’t seen as brutal and damaging in that culture. Yet the women who endured it felt the hot shame on their cheeks. They never felt safe again, some were even scorned publicly. Since Tamar’s rape was kept a secret, many may have assumed that Tamar willingly slept with Amnon or someone else. Her ornamental robe of virginity was gone—I’m sure the rumors ran rampant.

King David somehow received word of Tamar’s rape and was enraged just like any father should be when his daughter is violated. Instead of demanding justice for Tamar, David did nothing. It was Absalom who waited patiently for two years before he killed Amnon for raping his sister. It was Absalom who eventually turned against his father and slept with David’s concubines on palace porch for all Israel to see. Not only was Tamar affected by David’s inaction, Absalom, the next in line for the throne, was as well.

The story of Tamar is horrible and hard to read; especially when one considers the real and raw emotion Tamar must have felt. Yet this story is in the Bible, not only to show the downfall of David’s household, but to teach readers something about rape, to show women who have been sexually assaulted that they are not alone in feeling shamed, unloved, and desolate. Sadly, women you know have been or will be victims of rape or sexual assault. While you may not want to take a friend or who has been a victim of sexual assault to this passage right away, it is a helpful reminder that rape did exist and was mentioned in the Bible. Here are a few things you can pull out of the story of Tamar that is universal in a women’s experience of rape.

*Tamar’s virginity and purity are compromised. Anyone who is a virgin when she is raped is still a true virgin, though she may not be one physically. True virginity is a spiritual matter. No one can take that away.

*Tamar’s pain was emotional. She showed her deep distress by putting ashes on her head and wailing loudly—both signs of deep grief. She is called “a desolate and bitter woman” in the Message Bible. Desolate may mean she never had sex again or it may mean that she simply never recovered after being raped.

While there is no time limit on grief, and a rape survivor should be allowed to express her rage, sadness, fear, and other emotions freely, God wants to heal His Child. He does not desire His daughters to be desolate physically, emotionally, or spiritually. He wants to fill the empty void, cover His daughter’s shame, and fully restore her as only He can. What man has taken away, God can restore and He so desperately longs to comfort His children. Point your friend or teen to the God who weeps with His daughters.

*Tamar’s pain was also physical. Tamar’s tearing of ornamental robes is significant, because this speaks to how her life was torn apart, but also because her vagina may have been torn and bleeding from a potentially violent rape. When a female virgin has sex for the first time often her hymen (a thin layer of tissue around the opening of a woman’s vagina) is ripped. While the hymen can be ripped for other reasons, including molestation, throughout history a woman’s virginity was determined by whether or not her hymen remained intact.

Women, especially virgins, may bleed or become sore from sex, especially violent sex. A woman who is raped may also need to make regular trips to the gynecologist, which can be terrifying. Her health may be forever affected if she received a STD, severe vaginal trauma, or other brutal treatment.

*Tamar was unmarriageable and may even have been suspected of being promiscuous. How often do we hear men say that a woman was “asking to be raped”? No means no—every time, all the time, no exceptions. After one girl in my former youth ministry was raped, she was called a “slut” by other students at school. While she may have been a bit of a flirt, she said no and was violated anyway.

Today girls who are raped do get married and lead fulfilling lives; they do not necessarily live as “desolate women.” Girls and women who are raped often feel “damaged and violated”. They feel unfit for relationships and even marriage. This is simply untrue, but girls need to work through these feelings, which can take years. Counseling is essential to achieving a semblance of emotional wholeness in a rape survivor’s life.

*Tamar wasn’t allowed to talk about the rape. Tamar was told by her brother, Absalom, “Be quiet…Don’t take this thing to heart” (18:20.) Perhaps he just didn’t want her to worry about the situation because he avenged her honor by killing Amnon, or maybe he just didn’t know how to react. While it is unknown if Tamar was ever allowed to talk about her rape to close confidants, it seems in this passage she was denied the opportunity to tell her story. She needed to tell her story and even receive support from others who may have been raped.

*Tamar was denied earthly justice. David, the king of Israel, could have punished Amnon for violating his daughter, but in refusing to do so he failed as a king and as a father. Even though Absalom killed Amnon, he may have seen Tamar’s rape as a slight against him and defended his honor, too. Survivors of rape should never be denied justice. Again and again, God refers to Himself as a God of justice, who hates injustice (Ps. 9:16, 11:17, 33:5; Is. 30:18, 61:8.)

Even though Tamar is never again mentioned in the Bible, a potential bright spark in her life can be found later in 2 Samuel. Verse 14:27 says that Absalom was the father of three sons and one daughter, who he named Tamar. Ironically, the names of Absalom’s sons are not mentioned, only his daughter, Tamar. While the passage does not say that Tamar was her niece’s namesake, I’d like to believe that. Despite all her hurt and heartache, I still want a happy ending for Tamar and perhaps it comes in the form of her beautiful little niece. While Tamar may not have lived happily ever after, she still lived, was taken care of by her brother (until his death anyway), and spent time with her nephews and niece.

Sometimes I wish every story was a fairy tale, yet far too often girlish dreams are shattered by harsh realities. Rape is like that–reaching across time, space, and culture to affect millions of women throughout history. It can happen to anyone—even to the daughter of a Powerful King who lives in a Kingdom that is not of this world. Yet that Father always wants justice for His Child and will never leave her to be a desolate woman.

***

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault, please check out RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.)  They have great resources. Call them at National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE | Free. Confidential. 24/7.

Feel free to leave a comment, if you like.  However, I have found when I post about sensitive topics, sometimes readers want to share their reaction with me privately, so feel free to email me. (You can always email me.)


You’d Better Be Good Enough!

17 Dec

Amy’s Note: I wrote this post several years ago, but this year I can’t shake the thought that you have to be good in order to earn gifts from Santa, and yet Jesus came because we couldn’t earn our way back to God, no matter how “good” we think we are.  Therefore, I’m reposting it because there’s probably a lot of you who never read it the first time around.  And, yes, this was when I had two dogs, not just Maddy.

“Maddy!  Stop jumping on the wrapping paper,” I yelled at my Shih Tzu, who thought it was playtime. I was attempting to wrap Christmas presents.  Undaunted, Maddy ran to and fro across my open roll of paper engaging her sister, Cassie the Peekapoo, in a rigorous game of “Catch Me If You Can.”

Half-amused and half-frustrated, I said, “You two better knock it off or Santa Paws won’t bring you any presents!”

It was a bold-faced lie.  BFF Sarah and I had already purchased doggie delights for the two little scamps on our mega-Black Friday shopping extravaganza. (Usually, we are the only two people running into PetSmart with unadulterated glee on Black Friday!  Half-priced candy cane bones!  Score!  Well, we weren’t the *only* two people this year because there was a hot deal on kitty litter.)  My dogs don’t know who Santa Paws is anyway.  If a bearded old man did somehow break into our house on Christmas Eve, Cassie would probably bite him and Maddy would give him a tour of the apartment.  (And I refuse to leave my chocolate chip cookies out for anyone, even Santa.)

See, they can’t even behave long enough to get a cute Christmas picture taken!  Maddy the Shih Tzu instigated an attack on Cassie the Peekapoo.

Then it struck me how often I’ve heard parents tell grouchy youngsters to behave or “Santa won’t come.” As if he really wouldn’t come!  I mean, there are a few cruel parents out there who may abide by this principle, but for the most part, it’s a lie.  No matter how terrible your kids are, like my dogs, they are going to get some awesome gifts come Christmas morning.

The “be good, get gifts” myth is further propagated by the emergence of “Elf on a Shelf.” For those of you who haven’t been acquainted with this marketing tool, let me explain.  For $30, a family can get a cheaply made freaky-looking elf that spies on kids and reports their misdeeds to Santa.  Oh, and he comes with a book. You can also buy a skirt to make “him” a “her.” But it really just looks like a boy elf wearing a skirt.  Personally, “Elf On a Shelf” freaks me out. (And it also disproves the myth that Santa is omnipresent.  I mean, “he sees you when you’re sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake”?  Is Santa stalking me?)

It’s no wonder that people think they have to earn their God-given salvation.  I mean, when everything we get is based on our behavior, how can the free gift of grace actually be free?  Surely, there is a cost for entrance into heaven!  What’s the catch to this whole “broken curse of mankind” thing?  In a culture obsessed with good works, earning potential, and extreme couponing, free only comes with hard work, smarts, time, and a bit of creativity.

Yet the gift of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is very costly indeed.  It costs everything—our minds, souls, bodies, and spirits.  But if you’re like me, you’re a mental mess, a failing body, and a spiritual disaster.  There’s not much to give a God who created everything and everyone, including me.  A renewed relationship with God, a broken curse, and spending eternity in a place where God’s glory lights the place in exchange for an earthly life given to God’s use and for His purpose?  There’s no comparison.

This awesome cake was created by Sugar Weave Custom Cakes.

And I can never, ever, ever be good enough to get that.  No matter how many dogs I rescue and return to their owners, how many times I help out my elderly neighbors, or how many Bible studies I lead, I’m still carrying the curse of Adam and Eve.  Or I would had I not accepted the hand God held out to me so very long ago.

I will never be good enough—not for Santa’s gifts or Christ’s salvation.  But, fortunately, even if I’m on Santa’s Naughty List, there will always be a heavenly scroll that bears my name and I will always be close to the heart of a God who has “Amy” written on His very palms.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who finds Santa’s Naughty List disturbing.  When looking for funny pictures of Santa, I came across Amy (doesn’t she have a lovely name?) Henry’s post, “The Flawed Theology of Naughty and Nice Lists.She says it beautifully, but doesn’t talk about shih tzus or Elf On A Shelf, so you’ll have to read mine, too.

A Stranger in the World

5 Dec

There’s something about over-the-top gaudiness that humors me.  Whether it’s an inappropriately huge Christmas tree decked out so many ornaments it leans to one side or a neighbor’s lawn covered in inflatables, I just have to laugh.  Christmas seems to bring out the glitter, the glam, the glitz, and the gluttony we’ve been hiding all year long.

I’m not sure Jesus’ birth was ever intended to cause so much “celebration.” It was a quiet affair—father, mother, and child, a heavenly host, and some of the lowliest shepherds.  A year later, the wise men appeared bearing three gifts.  All in all, it was not a very grand affair for the Lord of Heaven and Earth—at least to the naked eye.  The birth of William and Kate’s little prince garnished more notice.

It’s just a story we tell, isn’t it?  Right along with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Polar Express.  We live in a world where Jesus birth is as much a fable as the story of St. Nick—more legend than actual Bible truth.  So, then, why does it surprise us when we see the world expressing itself as only the world can?

For example, earlier this week on Facebook I posted a picture of a nativity (see about) composed of Star Wars and Star Trek characters, other alien entities, and a gallantly posed Batman figurine flexing atop the crèche.  It drew some chuckles, likes, and cries of sacrilege.

But, to me, it perfectly illustrated Jesus’ birth, whether or not the creator of this particular nativity intended it to be.  John 1: 10 came to mind, “He [Jesus] came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him.” We didn’t recognize Him.  The world had no idea who He was, and it’s still missing Him!

To many, Jesus’ birth seems that alien, that inexplicable, and that ridiculous.  The story of Immanuel (God -With-Us) is so insane that it might as well be added in the madness of the holiday season.  A nativity scene nestled between Elf on a Shelf and a pink glitter reindeer—it just seems to make sense.

And yet it makes no sense at all.

On the holiest of nights, Heaven kissed Earth producing a small, helpless baby who would save us all.  Heroes usually have an epic birth story and the gospels tell the story of Jesus.  An otherworldly humanoid sent by His Father.

It’s almost like Superman’s backstory.  His home planet was being destroyed, so Superman’s mother and father packed their baby boy into a capsule, which crash landed in middle of nowhere America.  Taken in by a farmer and his wife, Superman’s humble origins didn’t hold him back from becoming a shy, big city reporter named Clark Kent who moonlighted as Superman.  With one exception, Superman came to earth to save his life, but Jesus came to give His life away.

That’s a nice story, isn’t it?  But how could it possibly be true?  It seems unbelievable.  So replacing Jesus with a screaming alien baby and the wise men with three Darth Vader’s, well, that’s just as ludicrous because it’s not true.

Unless it is.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are full of true stories of people who missed who Jesus is and what He came to do.  Even Jesus’ most faithful followers didn’t understand His purpose, until they came face to face with their Risen Savior on a Sunday long ago.  If we who have been with Jesus face to face miss Him in our daily lives between soccer practice and Bible study and grocery shopping, then how can we ever expect a world that didn’t recognize Him to understand Him?  It’s nearly impossible to recognize someone you have never met.

Play “Jingle Bells,” drink egg nog, and wrap your gifts in lovely paper.  There’s nothing wrong with celebrating peace on earth and goodwill to mankind (Luke2:14).  Just remember, the world won’t always recognize Him; they won’t know Him.  But you can and you do.  Help others to look beyond snow globes, ugly sweater contests, and Secret Santa’s.

Celebrate His Birth. And laugh at the joy in the world, for it is about Him, even if the world forgets about the little alien stranger who came to dwell among us.

Choosing to Heal

17 Oct

I’m tucked away in my writing nook on this beautiful fall morning.  My sinuses are rebelling against the rest of my face causing a throbbing effect, but my heart is full.  Well, maybe half-full if I’m going to be honest.

And it has been such a long time since my heart has felt anything but empty.

Recently I said goodbye to someone who is very dear to me. For almost 9 years, she’s walked with me through the darkest of times.  She helped me work through issues and fear and I’m a stronger person today because of how God used her in my life.  We said goodbye on September 29 and I sobbed for the rest of the day.  I randomly cried in the weeks leading up to those final moments together.  And now I feel the ache of her departure from my life.  I miss her warmth, her honesty, and how she encouraged spiritual growth in my life.  Very rarely do people touch in our lives in such a way and there is a hole when they leave.

I have a hole in my heart.

But God–two powerful words–is filling that hole with Himself.  He is calling me nearer to Him and I’m reluctant to bask in His comfort.  I’m angry that He took her away.  I want to live life with open hands, trusting that God will use absolutely everything for my good and for His glory.  I believe this!  Yet it’s hard to accept it.

The hole is slowly filling in because wounds usually heal–sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly and sometimes never at all.  With this type of wound, I have a choice.   I choose to heal.  I choose to care about others knowing that they could one day disappear from my life through death or circumstances.

When I started writing this post, I thought I would tell you about my new house, my new ministry (Share Beauty Project), or offer some scriptural insight.  However, that’s not what I needed to write and I suppose that’s not what you needed to hear.

Let’s give our hurts to God.  Let’s allow Him to heal those holes in our heart.  Through Him, let’s love others, even if it hurts.

A Deafening Silence

13 Aug

Silence can be deafening.

It can fill a whole room, a whole body, a whole heart.

It’s a lonely, depressing ache that goes on and on.  How I wish for the breath to say something, to find words, to hear my voice.

The silence is emptiness and emptiness is deadly, dark and meaningless.

Silence, for me, was a way of coping.  As long as I remained quiet, as long as I pretended I had it all together, then maybe I would be OK.  Or at least people would think I was OK.

But I wasn’t OK.  I was falling apart.

My secrets ripped me apart, caused me to hide in the shadows, and question my existence.  Did I deserve to take up space, resources, air?  The thoughts were loud and angry.  The train whistle cut through the silence several times a day.  There was life somewhere outside of my apartment.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Robin Williams, who has the resources to access the best doctors, best medicines, and best therapy could fall into the deafening silence.  There’s a cruel irony in entertaining the masses, yet dying inside.  Tears of a clown or something like that.

Those of us who have been there or are there or live with constant battle against the darkness know what it’s like.  The silence only makes the illness more pronounced because the angry thoughts swirl around, the clichés become tormenting (“Why don’t you…?” “Someone has it worse.” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “Trust in the Lord”), and it’s a sad, lonely place.

If someone like Robin Williams couldn’t make it through the pestilence of mental illness, specifically depression, what hope is there for the rest of us?  We swallow our pills, see our therapists, practice using our coping skills, and hope against hope we’ll make it.

We hope and pray that we won’t end up like Robin Williams all the while wondering if we will.

There’s a choice in suicide.  There’s always a choice.  It’s just hard to make sense of what’s up and what’s down in mental illness, which doesn’t make sense at all.  Yet everyone seems to have an opinion on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so forth.  Just like week someone told me I couldn’t possibly have PTSD because I’ve never been in combat.  Oh, yes, I’ve seen combat, just not in the military.  The world is its own battlefield.

The reason why I’m alive, the reason why I didn’t tighten the noose around my neck or jump in front of that train was this—hope.  No matter how small, God placed that hope in my heart when I was a little girl.  Though I had run away, battered and bruised from the Church, His hope kept me alive.

It may sound overly simplistic, but maybe it is that simple.  Maybe hope really is an anchor to my soul—an anchor firmly rooted in Christ Himself.  Christ died every possible death so that I could live.  Through the brokenness of my life, He shines forth.  Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks.

Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks the words of hope I desperately need to hear.  His soft whisper drowns out the angry thoughts.  His truth slices through well-intentioned, but ill-timed clichés.

In a world that judges, God accepts me just as I am and uses me despite my weakness.  Because of God, I have meaning and I don’t have to be silent anymore.  I can speak out of my weakness because He has made me a display of splendor.

In the deafening silence, His sure whisper can be heard.  Perhaps it’s in silence, God can be best heard.

Tolerance? Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson GQ Interview

20 Dec

I don’t read GQ.  OK, I looked at it once when I was teenager.  I was in the doctor’s office and Johnny Depp was on the cover   I may have ripped out some pictures of Johnny Depp and shoved them on my purse, but since then, my life has been GQ free.

I also don’t watch “Duck Dynasty.”  Partly because I got rid of cable, but even before that I didn’t watch the show.  Honestly, I don’t get the fascination with a bunch of backwoods hunters who are millionaires.  My friends tell me they’re Christians, therefore it’s a great show.  The local Bible bookstores AND Walmart carry “Duck Dynasty” merchandise, so I suppose the show has bridged the great gap between the sacred and the secular.

That is, until that GQ interview.  You know the one I’m talking about–the one where Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family, spoke out against homosexuality and made some ignorant comments on the Civil Rights era.  Now Robertson has been suspended from A&E, the network which broadcasts “Duck Dynasty,” because the A&E execs are outraged by Robertson’s view.  

Really?!  The family prays at the end of every episode and speak at Christian conferences.  Is A&E and the rest of the world really so shocked that evangelical Christians don’t support homosexuality?!  I don’t want the show and I’m not surprised; I don’t understand why anyone else is.

What does shock me is the way Robertson expressed himself.

According to this CNN article, Robertson used some pretty crude language to describe homosexual relationships.  I am appalled at his language, but perhaps that’s why people like him, perhaps they like his frankness…until Robertson says something they don’t agree with.  Then he’s a “racist redneck homophobe.”

I have learned that everyone won’t agree with me…and I’m [mostly] OK with that. But how dare Robertson express a belief that goes against popular culture’s view of what’s “right.”  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion as long as he or she goes along with the majority view.  Oh, we say we value diversity and individual beliefs, but we don’t.

Instead of wondering whether or not Robertson may have been misquoted or if his words were taken out of context (though it appears they haven’t been), many are ready to tar and feather him while screaming for equality!  As a former journalist, I know I would always look for the best quotes from interviews to tell the story of my interviewee.  However, I am a stickler for context and dislike sensationalism.  As a public figure, Robertson should keep a closer reign on his tongue.

But Robertson has every right to say what he did.

If we really value free speech and want to preach tolerance, then we need to agree to disagree with others.  I have friends who support gay marriage and friends who don’t.  I have friends who think I’m a fanatical Christian, others who think I’m a nice girl, and others who share my beliefs.  Even among my church family, we have different views on theology, politics, and relationships. But I don’t just stop being friends or talking to people with whom I disagree.  If I did, I wouldn’t have left with which to talk.

I am offended by Phil Robertson comments, not just because some what he said was ridiculously ignorant (yeah, I’m sure the blacks loved Jim Crow laws.)  Note my sarcasm.)  But does a man who calls himself a Christian, a reflector of Christ, need to actually name private parts to make a point?  Does his foolish talk really have to affect what others will think of me as a Christian?  This is what I find the most disturbing because I am nothing like Phil Robertson.  It hurts me that other Christians have to deal with someone who put his foot in his mouth.  We will find the grace to forgive him because that’s what Christians do–make mistakes and are forgiven.  Though some mistakes (or sins) have consequences, like Robertson’s suspension from A&E.  His suspension probably has little to do with his tone and more about his comments regarding homosexuality.

I won’t be tuning in to “Duck Dynasty” any time soon, especially now that Robertson has been suspended and many are questioning the future of the show.  I won’t buy their merchandise or sign a petition to try to get A&E to reverse their suspension of Robertson. Yet Phil Robertson has a right to say what he wants, though I don’t like his tone.  So do what I did, change the channel and watch something else.  Don’t preach “tolerance” and then condemn someone because you disagree with his or her beliefs because seems rather intolerant, don’t you think?  But you have every right to be offended.

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