Saturday, December 21, 2013

Farewell to Propriety, As I've Known It

When I was in Grade School, there was a Report Card grade in an interesting column, which I haven't heard much about, lately. It was titled "Deportment".

Merriam-Webster says:

DEPORTMENT: the way that a person behaves, stands, and moves especially in a formal situation;  the manner in which one conducts oneself :  behavior

With reference to the entire Phil Robertson dust-up that's been hogging the media, and blogdom, lately, I have a couple observations. Herewith:

  • I believe in free speech. I believe in our freedom to tell someone who's overweight that they're fat. I believe in our freedom to tell someone who is stupid that they're stupid. I believe in our right to tell our host or hostess that the meal they prepared tastes awful. I believe in our freedom to tell anyone, even publicly, what's on our mind ... as long as scripture does not forbid us to do so, and it's not slanderous, etc. 
  • This freedom does not necessarily mean it is wise to do so. One example of that is, for me, discussing Spiritual matters with the secular press, on the record. I will, of course, tell others of my faith, what I believe, but I do not believe I am free to cast pearls before swine. And I'll leave you to interpret what that means.
  • Phil Robertson did an admirable thing in sharing what Scripture states concerning homosexuality and the other sins he mentioned. We need to hear the Biblical condemnation of aberrant sexual behavior, and to hear God describe how that portion of people's lives should be.
  • What Mr. Robertson did not do is to exercise any sense or propriety, good taste, good manners (in what he said) ... in other words, good Deportment. 

His description of homosexual sex was crude, tasteless, and rude ... think about having a group of church friends over and hearing or seeing what he said, quoted in the media. 

If Mr. Robertson had somehow wandered into our Sunday School Class, and said any of the things he said in his interview with GQ, I would have stopped him and asked him to leave. And with all the stink about his suspension from A&E, and the Duck Dynasty Program, I imagine I'll be mentioning this to my class, tomorrow morning. 

I heard a long time ago, when TV began to become more explicit, that one of the most beautiful love stories ever was Romeo and Juliet. Yet there's no bedroom scene, no mention of sex, and no reference to anyone's private parts. 

Were I the producer of Duck Dynasty, I'd have done the same thing he did. Not over his views on homosexuality, but rather on the crudeness and lack of good taste, which he modeled. 

Now .. the surprising thing about this is that I have not seen anyone complain about the crudeness and inappropriateness of what he said about certain sexual practices. I have to believe that's a reflection on society, itself, and tragically, I have heard only silence on that topic from among Christian bloggers, laity and clergy alike.

I wrote about what I believe Christian behavior should be, some time ago, here.

I believe we're not only to teach the Bible, but we're to model good Christian behavior, Godliness, Christ-likeness, and values which make it evident in our works that we are to be like that lamp on a lampstand. To me, Phil's off-topic remarks were objectionable in the extreme.

I suppose the really telling thing about this was that, when I shared my ideas with Peg over lunch, she said "But that's just society today".

Another thing sticks in my mind is that thought about leaky tanks (gas tank, air tank, water tank, etc). If the pressure inside is greater than the pressure outside, then whatever's inside is going to leak out. Contrarily, if the pressure outside is higher than the pressure within, then what's outside is going to leak into the tank. The same can be said for Christianity, too. If the Spiritual pressure within the believer, or the church, is less than the pressure of the world, then the world is going to seep into the person, or into the church. If, however, the Spiritual pressure inside the church, or the believer, is higher than the pressure of the world, then our faith is going to leak out and expose those around us to Christian faith.

There's no doubt the pressures of the world, of society, have been increasing lately. And I'm afraid that we are, collectively, not keeping pace. Enough so that, when Phil Robertson speaks a Biblical truth about homosexuality, it'll get him thrown off the air, but when he speaks with unnecessarily crudity and tastelessness, no one seems to care.

No one.
  

3 Comments:

At 8:41 PM, December 29, 2013, Anonymous Lee said...

Several years ago, I took my church youth group from Kentucky to Savannah, Georgia on a mission trip. We had to evacuate on the second day because of a hurricane, and then we got caught in Forsythe, Georgia when the first floor of the hotel we were staying at flooded. Fortunately, we were on the second floor. We had parked our two vans on the far side of the parking lot, because one of them was hauling a trailer, and the water stopped inches short of flooding that side of the lot. I made the statement to the press that we considered ourselves blessed by God because of that. Wow. Did that cause a stir! Did we think that God spared us because we were believers? Did those who lost vehicles, other belongings and homes in the flooding deserve it because they weren't? Did we believe that God put us on the second floor because he foresaw this event happening? We were selected for the interview, btw, just because we had been spotted by the news crew on the balcony of the second floor and they'd seen the church van in the lot.

When you have celebrity status, like Mr. Robertson does, your free speech isn't curtailed by that. But your level of responsibility for what you say becomes much greater. It is tough to maintain an image that keeps selling your program, your books, and all the products off which you make your fortune, and communicate clearly about your life, and especially about your faith.

 
At 2:43 PM, December 31, 2013, Blogger Bennett Willis said...

Lee made good choices. They may have been led to those choices--and I like to think they were. As a result he was blessed.

Seems good to me.

 
At 4:11 PM, December 31, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Indeed he did. For those with the Spiritual eyes to see, it all makes sense. For the natural man, well, there just has to be something besides God to credit it to, you know.

I spent 4 years on our city council here, and I had enough episodes to know for sure the Media oft times misses the point, and for sure they do in Spiritual matters.

Thanks for commenting, gentlemen.

 

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