As you navigate the treacherous waters of the rapidly changing currents of American culture, do you get the sense that you are on a raft on the Colorado River during the height of the flood season, being pulled along in a manner that literally is out of your control? Here, I believe is one way of understanding what is happening:1
In America today, we for the most part believe in nothing, or perhaps we should say we dont believe in anything. Whatever we believe in it is generally determined by mob consensus. We believe we have total liberty to choose what we believe, want, need or possess. Our will, after all is sovereign. It is the highest good. By that we mean, it is ours to accept or reject, want or not wantwhatever. But never to obey anything beyond what we deem to be the highest good. Perhaps Justice Kennedy best expressed it when he wrote, At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."2
After all, we have to protect ourselves and society from any force that would impose on us any value or authority that impeded the freedom of our individual lives. Thus we have become morally indifferent to the natural order of things, or to our past history of values and absolutes. So we are free to splatter feces on a surface and call it art. Or gaze forever at pornography, or vicariously engage in brutal violence fed to us by the media, or to wallow in kinky sex of every variety, or to destroy our own unborn (40 million of them since Roe vs. Wade). It all is intrinsically good because it is all an expression of our inalienable freedom of choice. The only authority is our individual will whose impulses and decisions are their own moral index.1 We take as a given our individual right to not only obey or defy the moral law but also to choose which moral laws to adopt and which values to withhold.
If we are not too depraved to comprehend the long term implications of what is happening here, we should dread the rough beast that is being bred in our increasingly vulgar, nasty, inarticulate, empty-headed pop culture. We have become a culture that is ascetically arid, culturally worthless, and spiritually depraved, [whose main focus is] to believe in and adore ourselves.1
Paul warned of such a society: As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people. (2Tim.3:2-5 Msg.)
So how do you and I, as follows of Christ not only survive, but win spiritually in such an environment? Consider Jesus statement: "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your lifeThey are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hitbut nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." (Matt. 7:24-27 Msg.)
QUESTION: Are you daily working the Scriptures into your life as a defense against the cultural storm that is engulfing us? Or are you blithely allowing yourself to be swept along wherever the current of pop culture happens to take you? If the answer is no to the former and yes to the latter, are you prepared to pay the high price of being party to the unprecedented disintegration of America, and to how that will impact you and your family in the years ahead?
1 Key thoughts and quotations derived from Christ and Nothing by David B. Hart, First Things, October 2003; 2 Writing for the majority in Planned Parenthood vs. CaseyViews: 20