“So, do you think we are in a culture crisis?” I was recently asked while giving a seminar. While it may seem obvious that the correct answer would be “of course we are in a cultural crisis”….that really isn’t accurate when we look at the evidence.
The true reality is we have been on a pretty clear downward path of cultural decline for some time and like frogs boiled slowly, it seems we may be realizing this a bit too late. While easy and quite appropriate to be outraged and angered by our current cultural trends…. nothing gets this bad overnight.
I learned years ago that you can discern a lot about a culture by its heroes….uh oh.
In the past year alone we have seen vast displays of culture in decline. Whether it be the fall from grace of the much heralded Lance Armstrong for doping and then lying repeatedly, or the continual demonstration of deviancy on display in the entertainment industry with the likes of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.
The reality is that we have been surrounded by what C.S. Lewis has referred to as “men without chests.” All three of the aforementioned “heroes” at one time or another have espoused a religious or values reference, often when giving large amounts of money or speaking out on a particular social or political issue and yet their lives appear void of such foundations. On one hand they are awarded and heralded as stars of a generation, and on the other they appear to demonstrate a lack of a consistent moral compass. The sad reality is that these are not novel examples, they are everywhere.
The ease at which our culture creeps ever lower is amazing. How many of us have caught ourselves humming along with the recent hit “Blurred Lines?” Now, take the time to read the lyrics and see if it is a song you feel comfortable humming along to. As a young girl told me years ago…”you know it is a bad song when you won’t sing it for your momma.” It really isn’t that hard to see the deviancy in our world. Unfortunately, I believe most of us aren’t looking.
The issue is that we have put God in a box only to be brought out when convenient or non-controversial. The disconnect in our culture between our Faith and how we are actually to live is pervasive and offers little to our families and children.
God sounds good in church or when attending bible study, but what does He have to do with everyday life? The very question demonstrates the problem. We have lost the perspective that God has something to do with “everything” in life . . . that He created it. Now don’t think this is a commentary against non-Christians – we are just as guilty. Many profess a life for Christ, but do we really live in accordance with a Christian Worldview?
Our role should be that of skeptics of our current culture. But buyer beware; in doing so there will be consequences. While many would think that operating from a correct moral compass or more specifically a Christian Worldview would mean that we would be moving ever slowly away from cultural trends; that could not be further from the truth. When we take God out of the box we hit culture head on. This will cause conflict, but the right kind of conflict.
The good news is that although culture won’t move much overnight, deviancy at its core is weak. What would happen if tomorrow we decided to no longer pay for movies containing profanity or lewd explicit behavior? What would be the response if we chose to not purchase music that degraded women or contained “what your momma wouldn’t want to hear?” The truth is the movie and music industries would change….and rapidly. As soon as the money dries up, their allegiances would shift and we would have better movies and music.
Yes, many may not like it and we would earn the label weird, different, or more likely judgmental – but coming from supporters of a decaying culture we need not flinch. Remember this is the bunch that has been fumbling around attempting to define “twerking” as entertainment.
To continue acting as if morality is personal rather than transcendent is foolish and is akin to tossing our children into the wilderness without a compass. We can and must do better.
– Keith McCurdy