Welcome back for the twenty-fifth edition–something of a milestone, I suppose–of the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog! As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or topic suggestions over at the Contact page; I greatly appreciate them all, as well as likes and shares on Facebook and other social media platforms.
This week, we’re taking on one of the biggest fish (ducks?) remaining in the topic suggestion pond–the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame. For those of you who have somehow remained unfamiliar with the program, Duck Dynasty was a reality show which, at least in theory, focused on the West Monroe, Louisiana family and its thriving duck call business. The series ran on A&E for eleven seasons (in the six years spanning from 2012-2017) and set a number of viewership records during its run; outspoken patriarch Phil’s political views also continued to keep the show in the public eye, even as its ratings declined somewhat during its final seasons.
Perhaps no individual celebrity or group has been linked with Churches of Christ as frequently in recent years as the Robertson family. So is there anything to the rumor? Or is it just a decoy?
As usual, the Christian Chronicle is one of our most important sources for our investigation this week. A 2014 feature profiled the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe which, as the article’s title quickly reveals, is the home congregation of the Robertson family. “All the Robertsons are longtime, active members of the White’s Ferry Road church,” the text of the article states, and “the church itself has shown up at least a half-dozen times on the show…” Furthermore, both Phil and his startingly clean-shaven son Alan (who did not appear on Duck Dynasty) serve as elders of the 1,500 member church, and Missy sings as part of the congregation’s a cappella praise team. (1)
In 2013, an AP newswire article also made reference to the White’s Ferry Road congregation, stating that the public’s focus on the Robertsons “barely resonated above the organ music” at WFR. The church, as noted above, is an a cappella congregation, but had apparently played a Christmas video with organ music on the Sunday the reporter was present, leading to a minor controversy within the mostly a cappella Churches of Christ. (2)
That’ll do it for today; it’s clear from the above sources that the connection between the Robertson family and Churches of Christ is CONFIRMED, and there are a number of faith-related books by the Robertsons available at Christian bookstores in case you want to do some more reading on your own time. (3) Thanks for stopping by, and join us again in two weeks as we investigate the facts of life!
(That’s a hint about our next subject, in case you were unsure.)
(1) Bobby Ross, Jr., “Inside the ‘Duck Dynasty’ church: For home congregation, Robertson family’s celebrity a blessing and a challenge,” March 10, 2014, accessed July 4, 2018, https://christianchronicle.org/inside-the-duck-dynasty-church/.
(2) Bobby Ross, Jr., “Say what?!? Organ music at ‘Duck Dynasty’ church?” Get Religion, December 27, 2013, accessed July 4, 2018, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/12/say-what-organ-music-at-duck-dynasty-church/.
(3) Based on my own non-systematic, non-exhaustive perusing of the shelves, the Robertsons may be the only present-day Churches of Christ authors whose books are sold at LifeWay and similar stores. (Their books are, at the very least, the most prominently displayed.) I am curious if my readers have anything else to add on this front.