please, let's get outraged about more important things

gandhi quote

i will start this post by saying i have never once watched an episode of duck dynasty. i do not know what it even really is, except for seeing the cards and trinkets at the store with their images plastered all over them and i have heard it is very popular. sometimes in these moments of social media craziness i don’t even want to write about contemporary conversations because they can be so silly and such a waste of time.

but after some of the facebook posts i saw the last few days, it reminded me of how i felt a few years ago when people were lined up to buy chick-fil-a sandwiches to support the company’s president’s position on homosexuality.  i remember thinking, “goodness gracious, i wish people would care this much about poverty & abuse & slavery & caring for the marginalized and oppressed.then the kingdom of God would be so much better reflected in this dark crazy world.

but alas, we’d much rather spend time in chick-fil-a lines or organize letter writing campaigns to cable channels.

i completely support free speech. people can say what they want to say and believe what they want.  but what makes me the most sad is that these kinds of moments represent christians to the world.  the internet is powerful. our circles of influence are affected.  the things we say and do reflect what we believe.

and what do we want to be known for?  what should we really be outraged about?

should we be most outraged about keeping our guns or a reality TV show or that everyone would actually have health care?

what was Jesus outraged about?

i’m pretty sure it was about religiosity.

in matthew 23, Jesus says a whole bunch of harsh things to the pharisees; it’s quite the diatribe, but this particular line sticks out today:

“what sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you pharisees. hypocrites! for you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. you won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either” (vs. 13).

i think of this passage often because of its powerful truth and relevance today, when the world is crying out for hope and we are talking about theology  and wasting our time on a great distraction. it feels even more disturbing that we’re in the midst of the advent season and the time that we celebrate the arrival of Jesus and the ways he turns the world upside down.

i could be totally wrong, but i am pretty sure if Jesus had a facebook, he might be saying to us,

um, you-who-call-yourself-followers-of-me,

children are starving, people are living in poverty and shame, men & women & children are being sold into slavery, people are killing themselves because they are bullied & rejected, women are being oppressed & abused, people are being forced into refugee camps, mental illness is robbing people’s dignity right and left, loneliness and despair is swirling in the air this time of year–and you care more about a character on a reality TV show than all of this!

don’t “like” this page; come and follow me! 

i long for the day when we are better represented.

i know so many amazing people who call themselves followers of Jesus or don’t-because-of-the-baggage-that-has-become-attached-to-his-name living out their faith in such beautiful, humble, and brave ways. they are opening the doors to the kingdom of heaven for people instead of wasting time defending positions and picking apart scripture verses. they are outraged about poverty & oppression & abuse & dignity-stripping & equality and are willing to do something about it.

they reflect the incarnation of Christ.

and that’s what we’re supposed to be celebrating this season.

that’s what we’re supposed to be turning the world upside down with.

that’s what our lives are supposed to be centered on.

we are flawed human beings, i know that. none of us can be Jesus,really. but we sure can be a better example of his name, his mission, his hope for people.

please, may we become outraged about more important things. 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

44 Comments

  • Totally with you on this Kathy – incarnation of Jesus, brilliant stuff!

    Can I also say (and I guess me just having finished a masters in theology is a big influence on what I am about to write) that it’s not theology that is the issue, but bad theology?

    It seems to me that theology appropriately applied is to be welcomed as part of what it means to be followers of Jesus and being incarnate. If we pray, we are doing theology!

    With regard to poor representations (wrt guns health care etc) that Christianity can have I wonder to what degree that is reflective of reality or what those attention grabbing individuals and headlines misrepresent of reality. It seems to me that rather than being greeted in the marketplce etc there is the contemporary equivalent of media presence and column inches in newspapers to allure those tempted by worldly power and status.

    Which of course is at least a temptation for all of us! I love the real power that we have been talking of on previous occasions and the perfect love. Knowing we have access to these and the privelidge of having a part in what God is doing in the world with life to the fullest, then why would we want anything else?

    Merry Christmas when it comes Kathy and to all you out there in there in Kathy Escobar blog land 🙂

    Adam

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  • So sad we waste our energy worrying about who will win a stupid reality show or some famous “celeberity”, instead of doing something that would really cause positive change. WWJD??

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  • I’m thinking that part of the reason “people are starving” is because some people actually believe, with this Robertson guy, that black people had it so much better before “welfare,” and you know, civil rights. So they vote for politicians that eliminate food stamps and don’t care about public schools in poor districts.

    Now why would a Christian want to sweep this latest bruhaha under the carpet –in an effort to make us all “look nice” instead of addressing it head-on, like this: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/phil-robertsons-america/282555/
    A thoughtful response like that is not a time-waster. Does an event like this highlight the fact that there is deep racism and homophobia in our churches and our culture at large? Of course it does. Because its there. Would it really be better if we lied about it, ignored it and covered it up? How ’bout we show the world our ability to tell the truth about ourselves and deal with it? What sort of a “distraction” would that be? I guess I don’t understand your point — if we are to be concerned about “dignity and equality” this looks like a good place to start talking.

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    • Just like sweeping child molestation under the Catholic rug. Really a travesty.

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    • Oh my yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you. I felt the exact same way when I read this. The dignity and worth of gay people, the racism rampant in churches, are not side issues! They are incredibly important issues of JUSTICE. I keep hearing this refrain from Christians that are trying to find a middle ground, that this stuff isn’t important. It’s as if they don’t know that lgbtq youth are 6x more likely to commit suicide and, much more likely to become homeless because of homophobic parents. Sort of sad to see this “why care?” conversation here, instead of a substantive one.

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    • thank you for sharing, and really that is my point–there are real issues about equality & dignity for all that should be what we are focused on, not on “oh my, a reality TV star is being fired” real injustice is worth getting outraged about, and i agree with you, equal rights s not a side issue at all but a core issue of justice.

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  • Tanyam, it is not homophobia to address the sin of homosexuality. Would it be cleptophobia to discuss the sin of theft? The Bible is clear and God’s Word does not say anything other about homosexuity than it is a sin. Prove me wrong, show me when it is acceptable.

    Any way, just because it is a sin makes it no worse than any other. We should love the sinner and share the love of God.

    It is the militant pro-homosexual side that is intolerant and does want anyone to voice contrary thoughts on their “life-style choice” (read as sin) any more than other sinners like to have their sin noticed. Of course, the LGBT side is politically powerful and has strong armed businesses into cowtowing to there will. Hard to believe that a mere 5-7% of the population could control the minds of so many who don’t want to be politically incorrect.

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    • No, I don’t think homosexuality is sin, and I’m not alone among Christians. Many of us have reached that conclusion. This is not the place for a long discussion so let me give you a book title, Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers, retired professor of New Testament at Fuller Seminary, an evangelical institution. He once agreed with you but changed his mind. I hope you’ll take the time to read something that just might change your mind.
      But even if I agreed with you, can you hear the pure disgust in his words? This was not a simple, “I think the Bible understands homosexuality to be contrary to the way of life God proscribed for humans.” This takes the lives of 2 women I know, raising their kids, teaching Sunday school, etc., and makes it sound like their lives are worthy of disgust, just an inch away from bestiality. Mostly, you know, they’re running to the grocery store and living just like you.
      “Militant pro-homosexual intolerant. . . politically powerful, strong armed . . . mind control, politically incorrect” Do you actually know a gay person? If you did you might pause before stringing together a bunch of words like that. If you knew a family in anguish over their child’s suicide attempt, you might like to see that rhetoric dialed down a bit.
      And. . . what about his comments on race? That blacks had it better before the civil rights movement. Pure ignorance. Willful ignorance.

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      • Tanyam – You should read what Phil Robertson said about race before you make uninformed statements and call someone else willfully ignorant. And it also appears that you didn’t read what Robertson said about homosexuality, either, because his words were anything but filled with disgust.

        GLAAD does fit Dbro’s description, which was the point.

        And does Jack Rogers trump Paul?

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        • I did read it. And I thought his comments betray a willful ignorance. Guess you don’t. And yep, I hear disgust in his words, but I guess you don’t. If someone asks you a general question about sin, and the first thing you start to talk about is anal sex — yep, I’m going to think I’m hearing homophobic disgust. It wasn’t, as others have observed, a general remark about the love and commitment two men (or for that matter, two women) might feel for one another, the life they share, and sure, sex that might be a part of that life. And it wasn’t a simple, “I think the Bible thinks homosexuality is wrong. That wasn’t the question he was asked, incidently. Yet in response to a question about sin he went right to a sort of odd comment about what’s wrong with men having sex.
          Does Rogers trump Paul? Of course not. But I think we can learn something more about what Paul actually said from someone who has studied him for years. You’re hanging an awful lot of judgment on a very few sentences. What if you’re wrong?

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          • It’s difficult to believe that you actually read the interview and believed that he is willfully ignorant or disgusted. You obviously have not seen him or read his biography, either, otherwise you would not “hear” those in his voice. Your use of “homophobic” betrays your indoctrination by the Left. He is not afraid of homosexuals or homosexuality. He simply recognizes it as sin. Disagreeing with something does not make one afraid of it, but that language is the tool by which the Left can try to control the discussion.

            Robertson mentioned several types of sin, of which we are all gulty of some form or another as Robertson would be the first to admit. It was GLAAD that said he equated homosexuality to bestiality – talk about willful ignorance.

            What judgement am I hanging? You are the one who judged (Robertson). Does Rogers discount bestiality and adultery from being sinful also? If not, why not? If I’m wrong, however, it has no significance. Just as if I’m right. But by ignoring the behavior, the people are also likely to ignore the need for their own salvation through Jesus. And that does have eternal consequences.

    • dbro, if you read the dignified dialogue guidelines here at the blog, one of the key points is not saying “but God says” or “but the bible is clear..” everyone is entitled to their interpretation of scripture, and i never want to dismiss that but it’s important to own that is your interpretation of scripture and others have a different one.

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  • Thanks for this. I am so tired looking at all the posts. YOU are so right. Who cares what this man said. He has a reality TV show about duck calls. And he’s considered a hero??? Sometimes it is just plain embarrassing to say you are a Christian because of how we act.
    I’m more thrilled with Pope Francis and what he says . but his actions are what move me closer to Jesus. I’m with you…Jesus would be hanging out with the marginalized, the homeless, the gays, the addicts.

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  • Omg!! This story ur telling… I totally fit into this! U have no idea how I long for someone to aay what u posted cause I needed to hear this!! As for that stupid show #duckdanasty I totally hate that show!! Why? There’s something about it that’s off to me… what’s wrong with people who proclaim to be Christians but they do totally the opposite of who they claim to be! Not only these so called Christians are hurting people … I have suffered because of them… I know I’m not alone in this… but it get reAlllly lonely when they can’t accept u for who u are and toss u out… it sucks being “homeless” wanting to be around recieve support… love… most of all grace… we don’t deserve this… who does?!?

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      • When I came to realizing wanting to reconcile with some people… I realized as much I want them in my life…. based on questions they asked me I took step back ssked myself ” do u Really want to go back to thosr who has betrayed you. … the one who threw u under the buss just to save their own ass?? the ones who claims to love and care for u… when u hit bottom where were they?” But tjem realized the agreement after finding out 3 people who abused their powers just cuz they have a position in the church…. tells u u don’t belong there…” sooo much I told my self but while I was working it out with people I dislike the most…. soo I decided to back out on this cause you have been lied to… I rather be hurt than lied to… they’re way to legalistic for me … its sbout me… what I need/want … the support I am needing ill never get from them… they can try cram the bible down my throat but doesn’t make them right nor they are god… they can twist, manipulate snd abuse the power they think they have… this where I take back the power they used to have on me … no ones happy… thi s sucks big time!!!

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  • I do agree with your main point. I also don’t think that we can stereo-type christians into only being one or the other. I support 2 children through compassion, founded a not for profit organization to spread the Gospel to teens in my community, support sex trafficking organizations, and I also happened to “like” the page that says we support this guy for staying true to the Bible. I haven’t watched the show either…but I can get outraged about this simply because it is a representation of what the world is becoming, and hopefully it will outrage people enough to make them (you and I included) humble themselves and pray…that God will heal our land! There may be more in their hearts that they are being outraged about. Just my 2 cents 🙂

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    • Exactly. “poverty & abuse & slavery & caring for the marginalized and oppressed.” are things that we fight a constant war on. Just because we get vocal on a single subject for a while, doesn’t mean that those things aren’t still being fought.

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    • thanks for sharing and of course, these things are not mutually exclusive, however i struggle with your words of “staying true to the Bible” because it really is “staying true to his (or yours) interpretation of the Bible” i am fine with that, but to say that he is representing the right interpretation of the Bible is what is damaging. and my point. there are plenty of people who are strongly passionate christians who see the scriptures differently. thanks for taking time to share.

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  • We see this the same. And as we and my friend all know, ranting about those sinful gays relieves us of any responsibility to actually go and do what Jesus very clearly said to do.

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  • I know that what you say of Jesus is true. He’s not asking us to like His page, He’s calling us to come and follow Him… to where ever that may be. I too have never watched Duck Dynasty… just can’t bring myself to, no matter how much the Christians love them right now… but be that as it may, honestly… there must be more interesting things to get passionate about than some celebrity’s opinion… Please! Give us abreak!

    Thanks for this post, Kathy…

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  • My dear Wormwood: Why go through all the bother of tempting them with one of the seven deadly sins when the mere distraction of theological bickering will suffice?

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  • So good. This post makes me want to a better person who has a hard time anymore identifying as a Christian but really wants to be an authentic follower of Jesus. It is stuff like this that makes me wince and run as far away from the labels. At the same time, it is motivating to go against the tide, and use my life really really well. Thanks for stirring the pot and putting words to the feels that have emerged in this debacle. <3 #humanthesaurus

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  • thanks everyone for the comments; i look forward to responding later today but wanted to let you know i always appreciate everyone taking time to share!

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  • AMEN and love to you. We need more churches like the Refuge that disciple people on acting justly is all I would add–because I’m always looking for an “actionable item”. I also love the Gandhi quote in this. I was thinking the other day about him and wondering what actually might have happened if he had been allowed to worship at that Christian church he supposedly tried to visit and where he was supposedly turned away due to racism–he might have been turned into an asleep “sheep” rather than the influential figure he became. Hmmm.

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  • I have spent the better part of two days reading your blog…Lol… Can I just run up and give u a hug? Lmbo not a weirdo. Promise. To find someone else who thinks like me…Feels like me…Sees like me… It’s a bit over whelming lol!

    Thank you for writing so honestly about impossibly difficult things.

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