One of the basic temptations people have when talking about cultural erosion is to think that we’re in a unique time in history and that no one has ever been in the soup we are now in. But our problem is really quite ancient.
Our current rootless rebellion isn’t edgy or new. It is an off-the-rack Kmart variety rebellion like all our other rebellions throughout history.
We dress differently to the Spartans. They wore leather, we wear latex. We’ve found new and interesting things to pierce ourselves with and we can fly down the road faster than Jehu’s chariot. But none of these things changes the fact that our current cultural spasms are just the same as the hollow cultures of old.
Our problem is not hairstyles, miniskirts, tatts and iPhones. Our problem is unbelief. The reason for our culture-wide internal ache, the bizarre antics of our youth – and those who entertain them – is that they do not know God.
Corinth had its head-shaving women and we have our leg shaving men. The Amorites had their pagan arm slashers and bleeders and we have our “body art”. Canaan threw their kids in the fire, we throw ours in the bin.
Our 21st-century fantasy dance may look different, but it’s the same rhythm. Our culture is attempting a flight from reality and reason, just as our forefathers did.
With all of this, it’s easy to get distracted and confused and to think that, if we can just clean the outside of the bowl, just tidy up the storefront, give ourselves a lick of paint, all will soon be well.
But, such is our confusion, we are no longer even sure which is which. Am I dealing with the outside of the bowl or the inside? Was I born this way, or is this a choice?
And so, we live in a time where women aren’t so sure who they are, and the appearance of many men suggests that they are not so sure either.
Again, nothing new here.
The problem has never been the outside of the bowl – as ugly as it can sometimes be. It’s not the number of trees, the colour of the voting public or the size of the corporate bank balance. The problem has always been much nearer the heart. Job knew this.
If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. (Job 9:30-31)
Yes, our culture is falling apart. That’s what decadence does. It crumbles. And we know this because it happens routinely throughout history, and this means that we need to do what every other culture has needed to do in order to restore sanity and that is, repent and believe in Jesus.
This is foolishness to some and an insult to others.
Never-the-less, Jesus came to redeem the culture along with the rest of our broken world, and as we often say around here, that is precisely what He is doing, inside-out and one soul at a time.