June 29, 2015
“You should be ashamed of yourself!”
In an earlier era, that was a common maternal reaction to an out-of-bounds kid. Parenting wasn’t as complicated as it is today. The approach to family oversight was a simple, two step process: 1) lay down the law; and, 2) enforce it. Enforcement would begin with a warning, followed by some kind of meaningful consequence. Simple, but effective: master the approach, apply it beginning with toddlers… and repeat until adulthood.
That methodology seems to have unraveled in the 21st Century: parents are more likely to lay down a credit card – for some device that will keep the kid preoccupied, so the parent can be distracted by their own issues – than to lay down the law. All behaviors have – apparently – become “acceptable,” so the need for absolutes has been eliminated. With no limits, there’s no need to apprehend the violator. Kids do their thing; parents do their thing; enforcement is no longer practiced, and nowhere to be found.
Families are the building blocks with which you build a culture. A culture is the sum-total of the households – people and practices – who represent its population. Government is to be the arbiter of culture; the “parent” to the culture’s “kids.” The role of government: 1) lay down the law; and, 2) enforce it.
Last week, the boundaries were greatly modified: the limits drawn around the institution of marriage – and, in that act, the nature of the future American family – have been erased and resketched by the Supreme Court. The population celebrating around that decision is larger – and, more vocal – than the population who, in shell-shock, are wondering what to do in the face of the erosion of standards originally established using the Bible as the principle benchmark.
“I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed” (Jonathan Swift). Swift – Irish writer and cleric, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin – lived 300 years ago, but his observation could have been a caption under any of the weekend photos of Rainbow parades in cities coast-to-coast. “These things have always been part of society,” the non-alarmist offers… but, in earlier times, shame kept them in the background.
David Platt is a young evangelical firebrand for Truth. Just 36 (missed Millennial generation status by a year), he holds a PhD, and has served as a seminary leader, megachurch pastor, and – now the President of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. His new book is a must-read this summer: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty · Same-Sex Marriage · Racism · Sex Slavery · Immigration · Persecution · Abortion · Orphans · Pornography.
His opening paragraph throws down the gauntlet: “The Gospel is the lifeblood of Christianity, and it provides the foundation for countering culture. For when we truly believe the gospel, we begin to realize that the Gospel not only compels Christians to confront social issues in the culture around us. The Gospel actually creates confrontation with the culture around – and, within – us.” Platt is not out to rant; he’s out to rescue.
This is a crucial time in the history of America. We are faced with momentous challenges. Sin has become increasingly shameless, while we seem to be increasingly silent. Paul’s counsel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17).
Get Counter Culture; we have work to do. Not to rant, but to rescue shameless sinners with the Gospel…