I have the same urge that many have this week … I feel like I should say something – or even shout something – about the seismic cultural shifts going on in our country.
My prevailing feeling is sadness. And, selfishly, loss.
The fact that our country has given the collective middle-finger to God is nothing new. Biblically, it’s the norm of our fallen world, and fits snuggly into the Christian narrative. Through history, it’s happened time and time again, even in the most seemingly “godly” cultures. It should come as no surprise to anyone.
It has already begun: I will increasingly be bad-mouthed and belittled by those who think more “progressively” than I. Again, this is nothing new. And it will have very little actual impact if I choose not to avail myself to the media outlets that trumpet both their derisive opinions and the counter-vitriol of two-dimensional conservatives who, frankly, don’t speak for me or anyone I know.
There may even be some threats to our religious liberties in the future. Could things ever be as tight in the U.S. as they are in China? As they were in Russia? As they were during the Roman Empire? God has allowed it before, and has made it known that such should be expected again, especially toward the end of times.
But really, my day-to-day life won’t change much. Most of my friends and colleagues believe in God, and that He has revealed Himself in the life, words and works of Jesus. They take their cues from the scriptures, not from secular culture. “There is a way that seems right to a man (Prov. 14:12),” but they died to those notions a long time ago. I anticipate that we will continue to believe, as we always have, that we live in a broken world that needs to live in disciplined ways (e.g., “disciples”) in order to be peaceful, joyful and blessed. And we’ll continue to pray that God’s will will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I don’t even blame secular thinkers for coming to their conclusions. If you build your life on these assumptions … that 1) if my flesh (cf., physiology) tells me something is true, then it’s true; and that 2) I (we) should be free to make my (our) own decisions … we become like the child at the supermarket, throwing a tantrum because she wants a cookie, and no one should deny her of her choice. The parent gives in, gives the child what she thinks she wants … and the child rejoices, feeling like all is right with the world. But, in reality … she’s fatter. Her appetite is ruined for dinner. Money has been wasted. She’s becoming a brat. And tonight, when told she has to eat her vegetables before she gets her second cookie…well, good luck with that.
So, I look on at that child, crying in the aisle. It’s none of my business, right? No skin off my nose. I’ll likely have no interaction with this kid for the rest of my life. Should I judge? Should I care?
But I’m sad. What the child doesn’t know … I guess what she can’t know … is that she truly wants her parent to say “no”. True love would call her to deny her physical impulse, and wait for a better, even the best, context to fulfill her appetite. Because living out from under effective discipline, and catering to the flesh, is not going to serve her well.
So, the kid got the cookie. She’s even doing a little “I got the cookie dance”, and waving it in front of her demoralized parent. She didn’t have to wait. Next, the kid will be fighting for the right of all kids, everywhere, to shed parental disciplines and have all-you-can eat cookies. And anyone who says things should be otherwise are judgmental, haters and bigots.
But we’re not. It’s not being a hater to honestly and genuinely wish for more for others than they wish for themselves. And I already miss the days when the culture at large in America felt the same way.
“There is a way that seems right to a man…”