Wednesday, October 1, 2008

FROM THE HEART: Final Thoughts

The title of this post might be a bit misleading, since I can assure you this will probably not be the last time I ever write about this subject. There are several reasons for that, and I’ll do my best to explain why this is such a timely and daily topic for me personally.

First of all, addressing this topic for me is not an attempt to tear anyone down, or point fingers, or anything like that. In a very real way it’s a plea to fellow believers for help. Help in the regard that I don’t need worldly examples in my life to influence me, I have plenty of experience in that area myself. I don’t need to hear Christians cussing to show me how to do it, I once did it better than most of what I hear today. Please know I’m not boasting of such a thing, I’m just saying that I was once much worse than what I hear now, i.e. “been there/done that”.

Instead, what I need are examples of Godly men and women that are tenderhearted, full of compassion, evangelical minded brothers and sister that can take on current issues that we all deal with, without ever once sinking to the same level of the very sinful conduct or language that they’re addressing in these issues. I know these folks exist, I know of several who do this EVERY day. I’d dearly love to see and hear more of that kind of Christianity. These are the people that are examples of grace, humility, kindness, conviction and mercy, but also people who will stand their ground doctrinally, and not shy away from hot button issues. These are the people (in my life) that represent genuine Christianity to me. May their tribe increase!

Not just from a personal standpoint, but from a parental standpoint, this issue is critical to me. Part of the reason we chose to homeschool, was because we are people who truly believe the Scriptures. We know that the vast majority of public school teachers are unbelievers, and even though some of them may be extremely gifted teachers, they’re not likeminded in faith. That’s a conflict for us, especially in the areas of science, history and health education and lesser aspects of other subjects. We had to ask ourselves a tough question when it came to this, and that question was essentially “do we purposely place our kids under someone else’s authority, when we know ahead of time that this authority in their life is going to teach them the exact opposite of what we teach them at home?” Some parents ask themselves that question and answer yes, and make every effort to un-teach or counter the ungodly teachings offered through public schooling. For us, and since we have so many kids at so many different age/maturity levels, that would have been a near impossible task, so our answer was NO, it was not something we were willing (or able) to do.

Now you might be asking yourself “what in the world does this have to do with cussing Christians?” The answer is: EVERYTHING

It’s the same concept, but instead of un-teaching our kids the things taught in public schools such as

• evolution of man as opposed to the creation of man by the Creator
• the removal of rich Christian heritage from history lessons
• the idea that it’s not such a big deal if they are sexually active as long as they have access to birth control, AIDS protection and abortion clinics
• the pro-homosexual agenda being taught to the kids from the day they enter kindergarten
• the humanist approach to a worldview & the tolerance of pagan religion

What we’re now faced with as parents is un-teaching them that it’s okay to use vulgar and profane language, no matter if their favorite "Christian" singer uses it, no matter if the pastor used some demented sexual analogy from the pulpit, no matter if their youth group leader(s) cuss. As Christian parents, we hope to have decent Christian examples for our kids within the body – rather than battling with one another over this. We don’t need worldly examples for our kids, we need Godly ones. It's a difficult enough job to raise kids in a world that hates God and shames the name of Christ every single day - the last thing Christian parents need is to be facing that same kind of difficulty among our own.

Because our culture is the way it is, Christian parents face this issue every single day. You cannot turn on a radio, a tv, the computer, or open a newspaper without seeing or hearing vulgar or obscene words or phrases, and/or hearing the Lord’s name being taken in vain. For that matter - and I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed the increase of this – you cannot even deal with a customer service rep or a cashier in a public place anymore, without hearing this language used there, as well. Grocery stores, gas stations, dvd rental places, coffee shops or fast food places – it’s everywhere, and these folks have no issue whatsoever with cussing right in front of you, or TO you when they’re speaking to you. It is an every day occurance, and the more our kids hear it (without correction from adults) the more it will simply become “normal” to them, and they won’t give it a second thought.

I don’t know about you, but I WANT my kids to give it a second thought when they hear profane speech and the Lord’s name being taken in vain. I WANT it to bother them, and I WANT them to avoid it. I don’t want them to become so numb to obscene speech in our culture that they cannot discern why it’s wrong. And I certainly don't want conflicting messages from other Christians telling them it's okay, making my job as their mom, all the more difficult.

Last week in an email correspondence with a fellow believer on this very issue, I used an analogy that I’m going to share here because it paints a word picture that I’m fairly certain will be pretty obvious.

There are two rooms, with a table in the center of each room. On each table is a plate, and on each plate is a variety of delicious food, free to anyone for the taking. The first room is clean and tidy, with a wide and open path directly to the table. The second room, while almost identical to the first, has one extreme difference. The second room is filled knee deep with manure. To get to the food on the table you have to wade through the manure, first.

I used this analogy to ask the question in my email correspondence, why it is that so many Christians in our time are so willing to wade in the manure, when the same food can be easily obtained from another source?

In other words, why is it seemingly so “cutting edge” or “authentic” to have to cringe through the cussing, scatological humor, or vulgar and/or personal sexual references to get to the message, when that same message can be heard by Godly men who never use that language to begin with? I confess, I do not understand the attraction to wading through manure (and I live on a pig farm, so I’m a little more familiar with such things, than many of my readers, I’m sure - and I will confirm for you right now, it is neither cutting edge or attractive, in any way).

In case you were wondering if I had one specific speaker in mind, the answer is no. There are unfortunately plenty of pastors, speakers, authors and bloggers that use this language these days, that my analogy would apply to any of them.

In conclusion (at least for now, until this comes up again, and it will) the statement that I’ve heard so much over the last couple of years, and the statement I’ve even made myself:

“I can’t believe we’re even in a place where we have to address this”

Simply put, we are in that place, so yes we have to address it. It’s either that, or continue what so many have been doing that brought us to this place to begin with, and just keep ignoring it, pretending it can’t/won’t affect you , your kids or your church. Or, we can become all authentic in our journey and just start using this same language ourselves and then craft really elaborate excuses to do it, then argue about it for days on end with those who are offended by it.

Personally, I would much rather see a reformation of sorts, and see more and more Godly men and women, boys and girls standing up, speaking out and saying “no, this is not acceptable”. Not only speaking out but being able to do that with the clear understanding of why it’s wrong, according to the word of God that we all say we hold so dear.

Yep, I’d like to see that. How about you?