Like Button

Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Problem of Cultural Crisis

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that things change. Of course they do. And, of course, for most of history the older generation has been saying, "In my day ..." and talking about how things have changed, usually not for the better. On one hand this is to be expected. I mean, entropy is a basic law of thermodynamics. All things, if left alone, will decay. Okay, that's thermodynamics, but if you take a look around you, it often appears to be the case in our society and our culture. Not always, but often.

So we have this problem of cultural decay and we call it might want to call it a "crisis." Unfortunately, I don't think that term works here. A crisis is typically a turning point, a peak, a time of intense difficulty. What we're looking at, on the other hand, is a ramp of trouble rather than a point.

So we, especially Christians, want to do something about this "crisis," this decay of our modern society. We want to fix it. We want to repair it. We want to redirect it, reform it, make it better. But our problem is we're looking at it now, as in a "crisis," rather than what it is -- an ongoing, long term condition. We tend to think, for instance, that Clinton or Obama or Trump has caused a current problem when, as it turns out, the problem in view has more likely been a long time coming. So we think we can fix it by eliminating the politician we dislike when the truth is the problem is much larger. We think that "the gays" have caused many of our problems du jour. They have caused issues, but it would be a mistake to think they've done it all on their own. They had help. A large part of it was heterosexuals and even Christians. We stretched boundaries on marriage, sexual morality, contraception, definitions, and so on and now we're wondering how we end up with this new pair of pants that don't fit. "It's those homosexuals!" we might be tended to reply, but fixing them won't fix the problems we piled up that let them do what they did. If we could, for instance, push back Obergefell v Hodges (the ruling that forced America to redefine marriage), we'd still be stuck with a twisted view of marriage and a broken cistern of sexual morality. The Left didn't succeed at pushing legal murder of children in the womb in Roe v Wade through a solid structure of moral absolutes; they did it because our morality was already weakened.

The problem, then, of our current cultural moral crisis is not the current cultural moral crisis. The problem is a long-term sin problem that Christians have remained quiet about -- "Go along to get along" -- or have lost direction over since "Make America Moral Again" is not our charge. We don't generally make "Make disciples" our neighborhood mission. Do we make it our mission anywhere? We are not largely in the business of taking the gospel into all of our own worlds because, "Hey, it's America and aren't we all Christians?" (I have actually been told that.) When we can't be bothered to bring Christ to our own homes, families, and neighbors, we must not be surprised when He isn't there to redirect their hearts. Or, putting it in Christ's terms, if they don't love Him, why would we expect them to obey Him (John 14:15)?

As it turns out our current cultural crisis not merely current. It is, in fact, the product of Adam and Eve's sin. The remedy is not better politicians or laws. It is new hearts. The problem I'm highlighting here, then, is two-fold. First, don't get fooled into thinking that our current cultural moral crisis is what you see. It has been here all along and it is only getting worse. In fact, we've been inoculated to some degree, not seeing how bad it actually was "back in my day." Second, we believers have the solution at hand. Are we actually offering it? Or are we just complaining about the current moral climate? "I've got all this food at hand and I'm outraged that there are so many starving people around me" doesn't play very well, does it? John wrote, "If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" (1 John 3:17) I would think the same would be true for those with spiritual goods who ignore the need around them.

No comments: