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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dandler of the Month - The Duck Dynasty


If you haven't seen Duck Dynasty, it may or may not be your cup of tea. It's a reality show and has all the things you'd expect from a reality show, minus any swearing or fighting. Actually, the redneck Robertson family is pretty well put together, as far as family's go. I love the show, because there's a feel-good quality about it as they work in their duck-call business and live their Southern and simple lives, despite the millions of dollars they've made. They bicker and poke fun at one other, as family's do sometimes, but you can tell how much they love each other, and they end every show with the family around the table saying grace. So what's the deal with them?

It's possible you may not like the show, since a whole lot of nothing goes on during that half hour. There's no real plot line. It's just someone else's life for millions to watch. But the real story of the Robertson clan, especially of their patriarch Phil, is relevant to all people; it's the part of the story that doesn't make it on the actual show. Though the TV show never focuses on their relationship with Jesus, the individuals have preached the gospel many times, in churches, universities, media interviews, and in their wildly popular book. And they don't just preach it; they live it out. This is why I chose the whole Robertson family as Dandler of the Month. 

There are so many kinds of Christian life. A contemplative, more mystical Christianity, like that of Thomas Merton, for example, has a different "feel" (though not a different truth) than the Jewish Christianity represented by James in the New Testament. Both feel different than the more evangelistic tone of Jonathan Edwards' early American Christianity, which is different than the more "heady" philosophical approach to the faith taken by Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine. And then there's the real pragmatic, more evangelical down-to-earth Christianity of preachers like Joyce Meyer. That's where the Robertson family comes in. I admire their practical simplicity. I personally fall in line somewhere between the contemplative and the philosophical Christian, but I long for more practical application in my life. 

The amazing thing about all this is that Jesus is truly a god for all people of all cultures, for neither one of these approaches to Christianity is better than the other, as long as each approach sets apart Jesus Christ as Lord. Often evangelicals, for example, will look down on more liturgical Christians, or vice versa, but the truth is there's a lot of wiggle room in which to express our devotion in ways that reflect who we are. 

In addition, each expression of faith can learn much from the others. I've often lamented how evangelical Christianity lacks a good sense of aesthetic beauty in the worship of God; they have a bare-bones approach that leaves no room for artistic, architectural, or liturgical expression that may enhance our experience of the truths revealed in the Bible. On the other hand, liturgical Christians often find a lot of pride in their man-made artistry and lose sight of the scriptures, opting to put their trust in tradition over the Word of God. Mystical Christians often need to get more down to earth and learn to get outside their emotions, using their minds for worship and discernment; practical evangelicals might need to more fully embrace union with God in an emotional capacity and look more deeply into their own hearts.  

The point is, in Christ, we all need each other. The liturgical, Church of England philosopher, C. S. Lewis, and the evangelical redneck Baptist, Phil Robertson, may not want to go to the same church, but they could both learn a lot from the way each approaches God. We all need a gospel of Luke as much as we need a gospel of John: two different approaches to the same Lord.

To that end, I want to present the testimony below called I Am Second, about the Robertsons and what Jesus has done in their lives before Duck Dynasty ever made it to television. On a blog that focuses more on a contemplative/philosophical approach to God, I think they're a refreshing addition, lest the philosopher Christians start thinking they really have all the answers. 

Sometimes the best answers are the simplest ones.

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