A shot of the Robertson family from A&E's hit series, "Duck Dynasty." In late December, family patriarch Phil Robertson (far right) was suspended for comments made in an article in GQ magazine. Photo Art Streiber/A&E. ©2013 A&E Networks

Are things really as bad as they seem?

Good news awaits—you just have to look for it

If you’re anything like me and have a keen interest in the intersection of media and faith, you probably heard about the ‘Phil Robertson uproar’ a couple of months back. A&E, home of the popular television series “Duck Dynasty”, suspended Robertson for comments made in an interview with GQ magazine in which he listed several of America’s cultural sins, including but not limited to same-sex marriage. Though poorly received by some, the remarks became a rallying point for many Christians across many borders.

Members of the faith community applauded Robertson’s comments, describing them as one man ‘taking a stand’ for what he believed in. Fans of the show poured into stores, buying up any and all Duck Dynasty memorabilia they could find, showing their political support for Robertson, while at the same time lining the pockets of the networks that suspended him in the first place.

Since then, Robertson has been reinstated. The A&E network no doubt made a bundle of easy money off of the spike in merchandise as a result of the incident. Business people always find a way to make the best out of a bad situation.

All of which is to say, “goodness gracious, it’s getting ugly out there.”

Month after month, we at ChristianWeek come across stories about the decline in cultural values, a loss of religious freedom, how it’s getting harder and harder to be a Christian in today’s society…etc.

Stories like the Winnipeg blogger with seemingly nothing better to do than make a mockery of the well-meaning, yet obviously imperfect people (as we all are) from local churches around the city, a story we chose not to run in our print or online pages. Even if the writer’s work raises valid points about how churches are engaging with their communities, one might be left wondering, “isn’t there any good news to report?”

But of course, you know there’s more to it than that.

Take for example the story of the Vancouver congregation that took it upon themselves to create an affordable housing project through a series of wise investments. Surely that lends some credibility to the belief that Christians are, in fact, people of compassion. A step in the right direction, anyway.

Or how about the Recycled Orchestra tour, in which a collection of Paraguayan musicians who, with their homemade, ‘garbage-made’ instruments in hand, seek to raise money for an education centre in their hometown by treating relatively wealthy (and hopefully generous) North Americans like us to a few good tunes.

And speaking of us in the West, it’s important to remember that it could always be worse. Though it may seem like the religious restrictions noose is getting tighter these days with all the ‘Phil Robertson’ cases out there, we could always live someplace else—someplace where you get more than a weeklong suspension for speaking your religious mind.

All of that is to say that even though it seems like times are worse than ever, there’s always a silver lining—stories of faithful men and women striving to make the world a better place through word and deed.

As any careful reader of ChristianWeek knows, there’s always been good news out there, you might just have to look for it. Fortunately for you—you’re already here. Good news awaits. Happy reading!

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About the author

Rob Horsley is the former Managing Editor of ChristianWeek.