Thursday, January 02, 2014

Lead, follow, or get out of the way

I'm going to comment on this post:
By way of preliminaries, there are leaders and then there are managers. There are men who function well in ordinary times, but fall apart in a crisis. And there are men who function well in a crisis, but find it hard to lead an ordinary life. A crisis is a winnowing process that sorts the leaders from the managers. 
From what I've read, Patton was a great general while Eisenhower was a great manager. Patton was a natural leader. In a crisis, he could rise to the challenge. Seize the moment. He was an extraordinary man for extraordinary times. Stonewall Jackson is another example.
Not surprisingly, he was a poor administrator. Impatient with weakness. 
There are Christians like Trevin Wax who are probably good managers. They have what it takes to function in ordinary times. But they lack the qualities of a real leader. Not only do they fail in a crisis, but they simply get in the way. They pour cold water on the efforts of those who do know how to function in a moral emergency.  
It’s been a couple weeks since the brouhaha, enough time to get a little perspective on the controversy. 
Notice the patronizing perspective. He's the voice of reason. Those who supported Robertson are hotheads. Wax had to allow for a cooling off period before calmer heads could prevail. Now that the laity have doused their torches and put away their pitchforks, we're read to listen to sanity.
Meanwhile, fans flocked to Twitter and FaceBook to express their support of the show and the Robertson family.
Why equate supporters of Robertson with fans of Duck Dynasty?
First off, let’s not be melodramatic. It’s hard to make Phil Robertson out to be a martyr and when there really are such things as martyrs.If anything, the debacle simply shows us how unpopular it is to say that homosexuality is a sin, but also how unpopular it is to suspend an outspoken, self-proclaimed Bible-thumper for, well, thumping the Bible.
Unfortunately, this is a typically clueless evaluation. No, Robertson was not a martyr. That misses the point. 
Here's the point: if the homosexual lobby is brazen enough to take down somebody as popular as Robertson, then ordinary Christians are far more vulnerable. 
The popularity of Duck Dynasty is a double-edged sword for evangelicals. The show reinforces the stereotype that devout Christians are a bunch of backwards rednecks.
Actually, I think it tends to stereotype Southerns as hicks and rubes. 
So, even if I’m glad that Duck Dynasty has an audience, and that this family is seeking to remain faithful to their religious convictions, I would still caution evangelicals against making Phil Robertson our spokesman. He’s a brilliant marketer and businessman, but he shouldn’t be our mouthpiece.
i) I'd caution evangelicals against making Trevin Wax our spokesman. He shouldn't be our mouthpiece.
ii) Notice how Wax imputes an attitude to Robertson's supporters, then reproves them for the role he cast them in. 
First off, he was unnecessarily crude in his remarks.
What was "crude" about Robertson's remarks? He didn't use street slang. He used standard medical terminology. 
If Christian pundits like Wax are such fainting violets that they wilt at words like "anus," how are they in any position to oppose homosexual activities like…you know…anal sex? 
Secondly, he minimized the pervasiveness of sin in the way he commented on the issue.
Another blind objection. I assume Robertson focussed on homosexuality (although he mentioned other sins as well) because that's what the power elite is fixated on at the moment. The power elite has decided to make homosexual hegemony the great moral cause of our time. Now, it's odd that they've made that their hill to die on. Can't they come up with something more inspiring to rally around than rimming or letting "transgender" boys hang out in the girls locker room? But that's where they've decided to draw the line. 
Third, though Robertson talks about salvation through Christ without mentioning baptism, he belongs to a church that believes baptism is essential for salvation.
That's worth discussing, but it's a red herring in this particular controversy.
In the end, let’s take a deep breath and get some perspective. 
And in this case, many Christian laymen have greater moral clarity than nearsighted pundits like Wax. 
We don’t pin our hopes to a television show, no matter how popular. 
Is his grasp of the situation really that superficial?  
Celebrity television stars come and go; it’s the Word of the Lord that stands forever.
Thankfully, some TGC pundits come and go, too. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure this has been brought up on this blog, or at least somewhere in this whole blog, but I'm with DL Moody on this one: "I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." The typical Christian punditry of our era seems completely incapable of seeing the real issues at stake in a lot of these cultural dialogues. All they seem to be able to see are enormous schools of red herrings.

    I'm all for being reexamining our strategy in the aftermath of some of these culture war events. I'm also all for intellectually rigorous faith and philosophy. However, these seem like rather pathetic attempts to be socially acceptable. It reminds of something an Anglican I've read said about the Bishops in the Church of England, that they were looking for "purple-shirted establishment respectability," or something to that effect.