What I learned from watching Duck Dynasty

Faith & Inspiration
by Andrée Seu Peterson

Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014, at 8:59 am

Because I don’t own a TV, the recent “tempest in a duck call” nearly sailed over my head. It was by pure happenstance that I found myself during the Christmas holidays in a hospice bedroom with a television on and tuned to a Duck Dynasty marathon in progress.

Three episodes do not an expert make. But even the taste of the Robertson family’s life produced in me a distinct impression that, while neither here nor there in terms of the ongoing controversy, was edifying to my soul in some idiosyncratic way.

In all three episodes (interwoven strands about a doughnut-eating contest, a sofa-buying expedition, a family swimming time, a practical joke played on Uncle Si), I saw well-adjusted people, comfortable in their own skins and in the world that God made, and enjoying all His blessings in the relaxed manner of children who feel utterly secure in their Father’s house. They did not talk much about God, if at all. But on the other hand, earthly children who feel secure about their mothers and fathers do not necessarily talk much about them as they go about their day. It is enough to know in the back of their minds that they are loved.

But then the camera finds all parties gathered together for family prayer around an evening meal. And since this forms the last scene of every “day in the life,” that prayer time seems to confer a meaning that bathes, retroactively, all the interactions of the day.

The doughnut contest now seems to be, in the light of the end-of-day thanksgiving, a good-natured frolic under God’s sun. The playful dithering over a new couch appears as a perfectly allowable expenditure of time in a world where God’s children may legitimately appropriate His provisions without fear. The afternoon off from mallard-enticing sound device production at the local watering hole strikes me as an instance of the very biblical picture of enjoying the shalom of God:

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

In fact, what I personally learned from the Duck call family’s easy manner of moving in God’s world (in partial rebuke to my own frenetic tendencies) was that perfect trust casts out anxiety. Enjoying life is what trusting God looks like. It’s like John Piper said: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”

When we enjoy God’s good things throughout the day, and send up impromptu thank yous here and there along the way, just about all we need to do at day’s end is to bow our heads together over dinner and say, “Lord, thank you” and “Good night.”

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine and the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.

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