Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson & Christianity’s blindspot

What is this about? This post is mainly about some comments made by Phil Robertson, reality TV star from the A&E show Duck Dynasty which prompted the network to suspend him from the show and some of the reactions I’ve seen online. Robertson’s comments go from typical comments about homosexuals to some that make him seem racist.

Before we go any further, this man was not jailed for his opinion, he was simply suspended by one of his employers for opinions they do not condone. So, before you go on yelling PERSECUTION! Remember that right at this moment, Christians in other nations are being killed for standing up for Christ. Yeah, as simple as that, just for saying I’m a believer of Christ. A TV network suspending someone from their reality TV, from which he’s profiting and gaining thousands of dollars, doesn’t carry the same weight.

Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson. (A&E)

Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. (A&E)

It’s funny to me to see the uproar that happens when some Christian makes anti-gay comments. The comments are usually no laughing matter but what’s funny to me is that people are shocked by what some of these Christians believe or say. Maybe it’s because I spent years deep within Christianity that I’m not surprised when I hear people talk about homosexuals without any respect. I attempted to hide my attraction to men from the religious people around me while they showed no mercy to those that in their eyes had chosen evil.

As someone who spent many years as a youth pastor, I too learned to be like that. I took my seat as a judge, which is what many still do today, and ruled as God’s beloved son. I looked in judgement over those who were having sex before marriage, over those that after the youth service would go out and get drunk, over those that were not living lives as holy as I was living mine.

I look back today with a different perspective. I’ve been through a lot, good and bad, but if there’s something I learned is that judgement can only take you so far, until you are confronted with your own frail reality and how unworthy you are as a judge to others.

While many Christians are gaining understanding about homosexuality, many still repeat what they have been taught. Many stick to the same three or four verses. Verses they have never studied further and take only at face value. Because while other topics deserve scrutiny and deep Bible study, judging homosexuals is easy as pie. Many have never prayed to their God to give them a better understanding of the scriptures they are reading, because those specific verses don’t have much to do with their own spiritual growth.

I moved to Dallas close to 9 years ago for several reasons. One was because I needed a break from living life as a youth pastor and telling others what to do while my heart was breaking for not feeling worthy of Jesus’ calling. But the main reason was to seek understanding. In order to accomplish that I went to an extremely conservative bible college in Dallas, Christ for the Nations. I learned to study scripture in a deeper way, I made some of the best relationships which I still keep to this day, and I was constantly reminded that since I was attracted to men there was a demon in me I had to get rid of.

That hurt. I had given God some of my best years so far, lived for him as selflessly as possible, kept myself from all I was told to abstain from and still I was demon-possessed. Something in that wasn’t making much sense to me. I was devoting my life to God and still I was made to believe that he hated something in me that I had no part in choosing.

Gay and Christian: My unexpected encounter with God

It’s easy for most Christians to sit in their holy corner and say “homosexuality is a sin”. It doesn’t take much effort. For them it’s a sin, period. Again, not all of them think like this but it’s usually the norm. They don’t care to go any further, they don’t care to go into the heart of the matter. They’ve been taught that if you’re gay, well you probably were sexually abused, and the demon of homosexuality took hold of you and voilà, gay for ever unless you choose Christ.

When gays complain that Some Christians are anti-gay it’s not just to keep them for expressing their opinion and their free speech. It’s because their words hurt them at a deep level. Those words tell them they are not worthy, they are not loved. It says you are evil because of what you chose, when really, they didn’t get to choose. Those words reinforce the fact that they are not equal and deserve less rights than them.

I chose Christ. I prayed, fasted, sought deliverance from that demon and was still left being attracted to men. Tried it all, fought it hard and surrendered softly. Nothing seemed to make a real lasting change. Until I broke. I came out as gay to the one I had worshipped for so many years. I was terrified because of what I had been told. I expected God to stare at me in judgement and smite me, but what I received was the total opposite. I received a warm embrace and a love deeper than I had experience all those years before. I also saw the crumbling of a wall between me and God. And that is an experience that no theologian in existence can rob me from.

So, before yo go into your “Homosexuality is sin” preaching or in defense of those who do because “hey, free speech,” remember, people who are attracted to their same sex are humans too. They are all different people, with different experiences, a difference past, different needs but all deserving of love, mercy and compassion.

If you don’t know what is hateful to others, if you don’t know what others consider hurtful, why not try to just speak words of love? Why go on ranting about the way others need to live their lives when in your own life there are things you could be working on?

Why just see and emulate Christ as a judge and not as the loving, kind savior who sat with prostitutes, criminals and lepers?

To keep you from sounding hateful, here are some tips about gays to keep handy:

Not all gays were sexually abused as kids.

Not all gays grew up lacking the love of a father figure or mother figure.

According to some of Mr. Robertson’s more crude comments, he finds a vagina more desirable. And that’s okay, he is allowed to love a vagina. But remember, not everyone loves vagina, and not everyone loves penis.

Gays don’t choose to be gay any more than you choose to be straight.

Not all gays hate Christians, in fact they are many who believe in Jesus as their lord and savior.

Comparing homosexuality to bestiality, like Phil Robertson did, is not only insulting, it’s disturbing and says more about him than about gays.

Must listen: Adam Lambert’s gay anthem ‘Outlaws of Love’

Adam Lambert's gay anthem "Outlaws of Love"

Many artists have songs that people classify as “gay” anthems. Most of these artists are not gay but due to different aspects on the record it becomes an anthem for the gay community. Outlaws of Love is Adam Lambert’s gay anthem and it brings to the forefront the pain that many in the gay community experience daily. The pain of having experienced rejection for something that he did not choose. The pain of not being treated equal in something so essential as loving another human being. Lambert, the first openly gay artist to have his album debut at number one on Billboard, with his album Trespassing, sings a song that is echoed in the hearts of many gay men who live their lives longing for equality but not letting the absence of it determine their role in society. Yes, there is pain in the song but also a quality of strength and perseverance, pride in knowing that while others may not see us as equal, we are the same, we have just been privileged with a more accepting an open-minded view of the world. Thankfully, society is catching on.

While the song is not dancey, like many others in his album, it is a song with a strong message, one that, again, many can identify with. Does that make it an anthem? Most assuredly.

Other great songs on Trespassing are: Shady(featuring Sam Sparro and Nile Rodgers), Kickin’ in, and Running.

Read the lyrics after the jump… Continue reading

TV: Alyssa Edwards swiftly dances over the competition on RuPaul’s Drag Race

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Alyssa Edwards swiftly dances over the competition on RuPaul’s Drag Race

How Marina & the Diamonds helped me through grief; plus a music Top 10

marina_diamonds

The last 6 months or so have been filled with change. The main one, which I mentioned in my previous post being the death of my Dad, followed by having started a relationship. I decided to take a look at what music I’ve been listening to the most for the last 6 months, thanks to Spotify and my Last.fm account for keeping track of it. Looking at the artists on the lists I can quickly figure out what song I was listening to the most and what most of them meant during the time I was listening to it practically non-stop.

For example, the first artist on my list is Marina & The Diamonds and I can clearly remember how much I listened to the song ‘Fear and Loathing’ around my dad’s last days and after his passing. I got the chance to see Marina on her Dallas stop with my boy Mark and my friend Natalia. It was special to hear it live, it brought up a lot of memories, and tears. I can remember during my dad’s last week when I traveled to Puerto Rico, every morning I would drive down to the beach and listen to this song. Some of my favorite lyrics are: “And now the time is here, baby you don’t have to live your life in fear. And the sky is clear, is clear of fear.”
So,  here’s my top 10 and a quick bit about each artist…
  1. Marina & the Diamonds – Her new album Electra Heart came out last year and I am really not suprised it’s my number one.
  2. Lana Del Rey – I have listened to a lot of Lana del Rey since 2011, her Paradise ep has some amazing songs, like ‘Yayo’ and ‘God & Monsters’.
  3. Perfume Genius – I first listened to PG from Mark and quickly fell in love with ‘Hood’, you need to listen to it and watch the video(below).
  4. The xx – This is a case of being on a playlist and getting picked constantly. Most of these artists are on my Spotify playlist ‘Just Cause’ and The xx came up pretty often. Solid music.
  5. Scissor Sisters – ‘Let’s have a kiki’ and ‘Shady Love’ were in constant rotation for most of the year, another non-surprise.
  6. Empire of the Sun – This can be simply described as ‘Swordsfish Hotkiss Night’.
  7. Lady Gaga – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gaga is on the list, however it’s surprising she is not higher. It simply means we need new music, hurry up, ARTPOP.
  8. Emeli Sandé – For about two weeks this year I listened to ‘My Kind Of Love’, and ‘Daddy’ non-stop. This is proof.
  9. Phillip Phillips – I couldn’t stop listening to Phillip’s covers of ‘Disease’, ‘I want you bad’, etc. His album is pretty solid.
  10. Florence + the Machine – ‘No light, No light’ is the first song that comes to mind. Me and Natalia listened to Florence, a lot.

Marina & The Diamonds – Fear and Loathing

Do you have any songs that have helped you through hard times? What are the artists that you have listened to the most for the last six months?

A piano and a voice: Top 5 stripped-down Lady Gaga performances

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