I have seen every bit of 20 seconds of Paula Deen’s show. I was channel surfing and stopped on the Food Network because I got a phone call.
In this show, she was at President Jimmy Carter’s house, cooking something with Rosalynn. Two thoughts came to my mind: 1) Rosalynn looks exactly the same as she did during the 1980 election and 2) Surely I can find something better to watch.
I am not qualified to give an accurate perspective about Ms. Deen and her recent issue which involved her no longer being on the Food Network. I don’t even know for sure that she isn’t on the Food Network anymore. I’m just going on what I’ve been reading on Facebook and what my wife tells me.
Here’s what I do know. She said a disgusting word that by today’s cultural standards is at the ultimate worst. I definitely do not approve of the word she said and would not justify it being said in any way, shape or form. Those who know me know I’m very critical of all forms of obscene language, so for me to say I’m against what Paula Deen said should not be much of a surprise.
So when I was given the task of sharing a perspective of the cultural uproar surrounding this TV celebrity, I had to do some thinking. What would be the best aspect to share about Paula Deen on “Word Slingers,” this website that shares as its mission “Blogging with Jesus in mind”?
The example Jesus gave during His earthly ministry could be applied so many ways. One of the more popular examples people use is the setting of the adulteress who was thrown on the ground near a setting where Jesus was teaching. He, of course, voiced one of his most commonly quoted saying, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
This could be used appropriately, but I choose a different setting, when Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well (John 4). In that situation, Jesus initiated the discussion with her. He chose to connect with her when it was not socially acceptable to do so. She was a Samaritan woman coming to a public well to fetch water. Jesus, being a man with Judean descent, was not supposed to socialize with Samaritans, especially with Samaritan women and ESPECIALLY not in public.
Something Jesus pointed out well after he developed his conversation with her was that he knew the woman was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. He also pointed out she had five ex-husbands. Not just one or even two. Even by today’s standards, this woman would have a rather “loose” reputation.
Here is what I find fascinating about Jesus in this encounter. Jesus knows everything about her, yet he didn’t let her flaws and failures become issues of hindrance. He still connected with her and treated her just like he would treat anybody else. Again, Jesus initiated the discussion. He loved her intentionally even when he knew ahead of time that she was doing something wrong.
So what does this have to do with Paula Deen? Again, I really don’t know much about her, but even if I knew as much as Jesus knows, I should still accept her and forgive her.
Yes, that is easier to say than do. We are prone to hold celebrities to higher standards, which means they are also susceptible to heavier criticisms.
So let me also share something that I have heard my pastor say on more than one occasion: “What I say about you says more about me than it does about you.”
Paula Deen is being punished by the harshest of courts – the court of public opinion. Her television career may very well be over, or at least heavily hindered, because of her using an unacceptable word.
What I would suggest to anyone who feels justifiable in passing judgment on her, choose your words wisely.