Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Modern Culture and Godly Families: Oil & Water

If I had things my way, the only things I'd ever talk about would be things like God's mercy and grace, great music, good food, fun hobbies, and fluffy little kitties. The good stuff, you know?

However, I'm a mom, and a mom to a small army of various ages and temperments and maturity, so I don't get to sit around and discuss great music and fluffy little kitties all the time. In fact, I get to sit around and discuss things that are often high tension and fueled by high standards, and high expectations.

Things like:
• The culture we live in
• Personal holiness
• Honor
• Image
• Responsibility
• Courteousness
• Submission
• Right to privacy
• Respect

On any given day, those are the things discussed in my house, between myself, Kev and any one of the five kids still living at home. Such was the discussion three different times yesterday in varying degress of focus.

In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea from a personal experience perspective, what it is like to be a professing Christian teenager, in the culture that our teenagers live in. Now this is the part where I tell you that when I was a teenager, we walked to school barefoot, 5 miles, uphill both ways, in the snow, and all of that stuff. The weird thing is, it doesn't even really seem like it was that long ago that I was a teenager. Last night I heard a song on the radio that was a hit when I was about 16, and the memories really did feel just like yesterday.

No matter how it seems or feels, it wasn't yesterday and the culture that our teenagers live in today is so drastically different than the culture we grew up in, if you're anywhere near my age.

When I was 16, there were things that just weren't shown on TV, or in movies, or heard in songs, or lived out in social settings. Their were still cultural taboos that were there as a result of a more conservative, polite society that said; marriage is between a man and a woman, kids are supposed to respect and obey their parents, boys should be respectful and responsible, girls should be femine and modest, music should be fun, and families should love one another.

Fast forward a brief 25 years from when I was a teenager and take a good, hard look at the culture we now live in. What was considered normal and expected just a few short years ago, is now out the window. Marriage is between whoever and whoever, kids are killing kids, boys & girls couldn't care less about their personal honor, music (and movies, video games, etc.) is all about doing whatever with whomever and families are splintered and shattered.

While I am certainly no expert on cultural trends, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that when a man parading half naked down main street with his half-naked boyfriend, with 500 other half naked man/man - woman/woman couples, is considered normal and acceptable - - but - - displaying cigarette cartons in public view in convenience stores is now illegal in Ontario, there is without question something putridly wrong in our culture. To give another example - when you can turn on the TV at 7am on a Saturday morning and find hard core porn being broadcast on certain non-pay cable/sat channels (at least in Ontario), you better be asking yourself if you're sure what the Saturday Morning Cartoon club in your house, is really watching. Do they have access to this garbage? Did you even know it was on your tv? (I didn't know it was on mine until last week). Where in the world did our propriety go? Where did our priorities as a society go?

Our kids are literally bombarded every day, with this message. What was once morally repugnant, is now okay, and what was once good, is now ignored (or mocked, or simply unheard of). In other words, wickedness and licentiousness is the new good. As parents, we get the ever-popular job of teaching them and training them that the messages they see in movies, hear on the radio, and watch being lived out in their own group of friends & acquaintances is are the wrong messages, and why they’re wrong. It’s almost an uphill battle at times, and can leave even the most saintly parent pretty well emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

Obviously this issue is certainly not exclusive to our generation of kids. Our own parents (and theirs before them, and so on) dealt with the same kinds of issues. The whole “Elvis the Pelvis” thing in the 50’s (or was it the 60’s?) comes to mind. Indeed every generation of parents, and every generation of kids goes through this to one degree or another.

I am convinced though, that this particular generation of kids is being immersed in a deviant culture unlike any before it, in western society. I’ve asked parents who are older than me, that have raised their kids in my generation and they agree that it’s much worse, and most are glad they’re not still raising their kids, in this culture.

Indeed it’s a battle. The solution? Holy living, teaching them what’s right, reinforcing that every single day in word, thought and deed, vigorous prayer for them and with them, fellowship with a local church body that also reinforces these same Godly standards, and constant communication with your kids.

While it may be impossible to know first-hand what it’s like to be a teenager in our modern culture, it’s not impossible to display a standard for them in their own house, where they can see the difference between the message of the culture and the life of a genuine Christian. That’s our job, our duty, and our responsibility, as their parents. We persevere and we pray and we keep talking to them. We hope God’s word is being cultivated in their hearts and blasting away the message of modern society.

Then, at the end of the day, we might be able to take a deep breath and discuss good food, great music, and fluffy little kitties.