Hugh Halter
What the Duck?
by Hugh Halter on April 19th, 2013

“What the Duck?”
Imagine a gaggle of good-hearted Avatars from the Beta Antares solar system zooming to our planet to find out what the various gods of Earth are like. One gets sent to the North American Christ-following humans, and his brothers go to various other Earthly quadrants to complete an important mission. Their entire race doesn’t actually have a God, and the superiors want them to go find one that could make sense for them. 

If I were helping the open-minded missional Avatar, I’d keep it simple by inviting him over to watch a few of our culture’s most respected TV shows about God.  I’d lead out with The History Channel blockbuster “The Bible,” then end with a chaser of five back-to-back episodes of “Duck Dynasty.” 

A few days of this would probably be good enough to confirm what all evangelicals know about God, His Story, and His Son.  He could go back and let them know that the BIG GOD of the North American quadrant is mostly cranky and mean. Further, Satan is some guy named Obama, and that God’s Son, Jesus, is a gorgeous Men’s Fitness model from Alabama.  And then, after just a few “Duck Dynasty” viewings, he would have even more detail about Christian families.  They live in ornate, eclectic, woodsy communes full of mansions and mobile homes, and they spend all their free time blowing squirrels out of trees with long metal fire sticks.   Most importantly, the young avatar could tell them that real Christians always wear cammo.
Ughhh. I just don’t know quite what to say anymore to people that are trying to find the real story of God.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually love “Duck Dynasty,” and I’m sure “The Bible” also shared the basic story of God in a videographic entertaining way. But dang if we don’t always seem to give people as much to laugh at us about as we do to make them curious.  We still don’t even let Jesus look Jewish or Middle Eastern!

Last night I was sharing a 6-hour presentation called “The Story of God” to 30 real estate agents who asked me to help them understand God without all the religion.  It was a great time, and as I walked them through the entire narrative, I could see them come alive with hope that God and Jesus could be found without the trappings of the odd stuff that makes even us old-timers scratch our heads. 

When it ended, I felt pretty good.  Many came up and gave me hugs and thanked me profusely for the unique way I shared the story without making them feel weird or judged.   And then one man came up and said, "Thanks, Hugh. Tonight was really good for me, but I’ve got to be honest.  I’ve been watching ‘The Bible’ on TV and I am always amazed at how goofy the depictions of Jesus and other characters are.  I might believe in the story you told, but I could never be a Christian. They are just too weird!”

I drove home with a pain in the pit of my stomach…again. 

I actually have no real issue with those two shows.  My issue is that it seems as though conservative Christians (which I think I am still one of) always seem to come off as out of touch, inappropriate, clueless, one-sided or blind-to-culture boobs.  Our story is always pretty good and fairly accurate, but the mediums by which we tell the stories (church services, TV shows, mini-series, or the lives of average Christians) trump the good story with lousy images. 
And can someone tell me why cable has to always load up a bunch of biblical TV shows right before Easter?  My honest take is the people of God don’t seem to make the story approachable or intriguing the rest of the year, so we’re happy to support advertisers who will make us look like we care about the world for a week or two.  Double ugh.

The scriptures paint a strange reality that we, the people of God, are the book of God that the world reads.  We are letters by which people see or don’t see His character.  Jesus told us we would be the witnesses.  That means we wouldn’t just tell the story of God, we would show the story by how we live.

I’ve heard Christians say how excited they are to try to invite their friends over to watch episodes of “The Bible,” as if that is the silver bullet for reaching their friends, but I surmise it would be far more helpful if we learned our neighbors names and put a good year or two into making the kingdom tangible to them first.

The only hope to helping an Avatar—or your next-door neighbor--find the real story of God is to live it.  As the scriptures declare, it is “Christ in us that is the hope of Glory.”
Yes, I’m sure a few people will come to faith by watching this stuff. But the shows’ biggest impact will be to bless a few of the already faithful, and then raise a few hundred of million dollars for next year’s Easter prelude.

No, our only hope to turn the sneering, jeering, laughing, eye-rolling gaze of our culture is to find a few Christ followers who live such large and loving lives that no amount of Americanized portrayals of faith can overshadow the truth they see in fallible but real people who humbly admit their need for a Savior.  That truth would be something even an Avatar would talk about. 

Hugh Halter  

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Duck Dynasty, Story of God, Christian, Hugh Halter, Jesus, bible, Avatar, Evanglisim, Christian leadership, christian leaders, pastors, pastoral leadership, North American, Cammo, Witness, Neighboring, Love your neighbor


Name - April 19th, 2013 at 3:53 PM
Hugh, I am thankful for your voice .Your words encourage me to continue to trek on. Christ in you--Thanks.

Brandon - April 19th, 2013 at 5:18 PM
Great post. Any way to check out the presentation you did? Thanks!
Bill - April 19th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Too true Hugh. Having been disconnected from organized religion for about 8 years I find my occasional visits to church services to be getting ever weirder and irrelevant to me. No reflection on the people, I love em but I find myself looking around the room wondering "am I the only one finding this a bit...plastic?" Love seems to be the only reasonable response to people everywhere, christian or not. Happily there are examples of sacrificial love happening, there is hope and opportunity.
Larry Swayze - April 19th, 2013 at 8:00 PM
I have the good fortune of living with a group of young adults who live such large and loving lives that they are impacting those around them in a real way with the message of the Gospel. They have more fun that any other group I've been around, and they are making a difference. Most of them don't have televisions, or the time to watch them. I've never seen Duck Dynasty, but I did see one episode of "The Bible".
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