They don’t care. That’s why. Even when predictions of social disintegration and the loss of the family come true it won’t matter. People will be too busy adapting to the new realities to sit around crying about what has been lost, assuming they notice. You won’t even get to say I told you so. If you doubt this just ask yourself if wives and mothers should work outside the home or if public school teachers should lead their classes in prayer. If you are over a certain age such questions may give you pause even if you take the politically sanctioned answers for granted. If you are under a certain age the questions themselves are downright insane. In either case a return to our former respect for homemakers and the indispensability of God in education is beyond imagination. They have been successfully amputated from reality. It doesn’t matter that the operation had crippling effects, exactly as predicted. Hobbling is now the normal way to get around.
Framing the destruction of marriage as an issue of personal liberty is an unbeatable strategy. It’s not brilliant, but it doesn’t have to be. “There are consequences” means about as much as “it’s wrong” to the self-worshipping boiled frogs of our privileged first-world society. We’re the people who proudly sic the starving dogs of the federal judiciary, regulation, legislation and social pressure on fellow citizens with the gall to oppose the “right” to kill unsuspecting children minding their own business, warm and snug in their mothers’ wombs. Call me crazy but killing children is “wrong” and a dead child is about the most serious “consequence” there can be for one’s actions. But so what? What measly consequences could possibly trump the rush of mob righteousness? What can’t we rationalize? What won’t we do?
The western progressive project is humming along nicely and will continue to do so because it follows the stream of human nature. The occasional “two steps back” may irritate the impatient but they are merely bumps in the road to utopia. Progressive icon Franklin Roosevelt un-self-consciously instructed Americans to seek the Christian God’s help as their countrymen beat back the monsters of fascism and imperialism. Nobody thought it was strange. I personally remember Lyndon Johnson, architect of the progressive watershed Great Society praying on national TV with no regard for the hurt feelings of rabid atheists. Nobody thought it was strange. Now we hound kids from public school classrooms for saying God bless you and demand that religious business people deny their faith or else. No mandatory yellow stars or smashed windows yet but give us time. While some of us may be unhappy about these things it’s telling that nobody thinks they’re strange. The fact that talk around the water cooler now includes just how swell it is that men can finally marry men means civilization has lost the competition.
Conservative electoral victories, people going to any old church for a while after the 9/11 attacks and the occasional popularity of tepidly “family friendly” entertainment are not harbingers of revival; they are the weak gasps of a once vibrant society committed to rationality rooted in the authority of the Almighty creator.
As long as we humans continue to take our definition of freedom from Psalm 2:3 (The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.) rather than John 8:36 ( If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.) the trend will be irreversible. If you wonder why self-evident morality, common sense arguments, utilitarian reasonableness and utterly predictable consequences don’t make a dent in the papier-mâché edifice of soul-crushing post modernity look no further than these two verses. No power on earth can counter the momentum of human nature. That’s the issue. It is always the only issue.
But our power doesn’t come from earth. Genuine followers of Christ live in the freedom of John 8:36, not the self-worshipping fools’ paradise of Psalm 2:3. We’re not interested in the adolescent rush of make-believe freedom; we don’t bite on that hook. We’re strangers here. Our eyes are fixed upon the eternity of our true home, our true country, not the fleeting trivialities of temporal thrills and stylish triumphs.
We’re not here to fix their world. We’re here to act as God’s agents of transformation. We’re not here to add our drops of clean water to the muddy puddle man has made of society. We’re here as representatives of God’s society. When we place our faith in the persuasive power of statistics, studies and utilitarian reasoning we disarm ourselves. When our social witness consists of “If you do that you’ll be sorry!” we plant our feet firmly upon the quicksand of subjectivity. For the most part they won’t be sorry. They’ll cry to the mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb before they’ll be sorry.
So what’s a concerned Christian to do?
First, read this:Manifesto: The Primal Creation.
Much of the commentary coming from the Bible believing Christian quarter seems to aim for a somewhat less unpleasant variant of our current society. After all, we’re all reasonable adults here. We can all get along. We all agree about important things, right? It’s just some of the specifics that bug us. In other words our vision is as small as the world’s. We’re more concerned with protecting our freedom to give lip service to “biblical principles” than we are with searching out those principles and ordering our lives accordingly. And search we must. The world and its brand of understanding has penetrated deep into the heart of the church and brought many of us into line. Only an unbreakable commitment to get to the bottom of God’s word and do what it says can pull us out of the ranks of the world. But be warned. The Bible says a lot of things that you don’t think it says.
Next, forget about changing the world. It’s not your world to change. It’s God’s world for you to live in and follow where He leads. He leads us to be THE people of vision, not just one more team of cranky scolds in the rigged game of politics and popular culture. If your goal is to “change the world” you’ll die bitter and defeated. Depend on it. If your purpose is to patiently search for God’s will and walk humbly in the power of His Spirit you will be honored for eternity.
Last but not least build your life upon an eternal perspective. Much can be said about our obligation to be model citizens who take the issues of the day seriously. We must affect our communities, our nation and our world. We must be salt and light. We will be held accountable for these very things. But we must never fall into the trap of working for a better world and expecting success for all our hard work. Instead, we must do all things well because that is our character as citizens of God’s kingdom. Yeah, this is how we do it in the kingdom of Heaven! Watch and learn! A better world will naturally follow. We must understand that we live on a continuum that extends into eternity. What we build and how we live matter for eternal reasons, not temporal ones. As we live out God’s will for our lives, sometimes quietly, sometimes boldly, always with grace, humility and gratitude our light will “so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”