The Bratty Kid Next Door Finally Gets it

There’s something slightly cute, but oh so pitiable about the manner in which the modern Western culture is suddenly “discovering” all kinds of wisdom about how life ought to be run, when it’s been what the Christian tradition has thought all along.

It’s a bit like your child when they discover how to do a magic trick for the first time.  They fumble with the Ace of Spades card, you can clearly see the slow-mo switch as they grimace and grapple with the change-over, before you applaud them when they go “Taa-dah” and produce the Queen of Diamonds.  They take a bow, you give applause and you all go off for ice-cream.

Except this child is the brat next door, he’s been poking his tongue out at you for months, and his parents keep parking their oil-dripping clanger on your verge.

So take this pearler for instance, overheard on radio by a FB friend:

“Manhood is no longer mainly signified in our culture by sexual conquest or macho behaviour. In our culture, your role as a father is now a much more potent signifier of your masculinity.”

Like, “duh!” – ya think?  So, modern western culture, after all those years selling us magazines, internet sites and Tough Mudder events, you’ve finally come around to our way of thinking?

And then there are the increasing number of articles in liberal newspapers and opinion sites that excoriate porn, showing how it leads to all sorts of increasingly unsettling behaviour, messes with the dopamine in your brain, rewires your neurological pathways, and sets people on a pathway where, what once satisfied the viewer, no longer does, and the fix needs to be greater, deeper, darker and more twisted each time. Never mind the fact that many men can’t get it up with their wives unless they’re looking over her shoulder at an image of another woman (seedy, but true).

You mean, bratty kid next door, that all those years of scorning the Christian framework about sex, all that scoffing at the prudes who either wouldn’t go on line, or when they did, felt wracked with guilt, you mean to say, they might be on to something?

But of course it took you to come up with it first and go “Taa-dah”, looking around the room for approval and applause before it was valid, right? One does wonder what the next trick will be that you come up with. You know, the one at which we will all have to smile politely, and pretend that you’ve got a depth and wisdom about you, a depth and wisdom that God has been giving to his people for centuries, and which would have been available to you ages ago if only you had been humble enough to ask for it.

8 Comments

  1. So Christianity was the first faith to emphasise the importance of ethical/moral behavior?

    Are you the guy thinking that you invented the card trick?

    Perhaps any emphasis on moral and ethical behavior in this world should be encouraged?

    Just some passing thoughts…

  2. As our younger brother realises that dad looks pretty dapper in his robe, sandals, and signet ring shouldn’t we be out looking for a nice steak for his welcome home dinner; instead of bemoaning the fact that our last goat curry was little light on the meat?

    1. Perhaps Kevin – but I fear that the culture is still the “older brother” on this one – extremely reluctant to come to the Father and repent of it. They want the good stuff without the Father.

      1. Good point Steve. Receiving gifts is not the same as acknowledging the giver. I guess I prefer to be hopeful that as the people increasingly respect fatherhood as a sign of masculinity, or accept the damage of impure thoughts that they will be led to God.

        I also like to hope that as Christians we can smile joyfully, rather than politely, when they learn their next card trick. Maybe if they keep practicing they will begin to wonder who made the deck.

        That being said I will put away some money for a subscription to “Men raising kids”. apparently the January centrefold is the new Toyota min-van. Unfortunately the dirty jokes in Maxim, or FHM are probably much funnier than the Dad’s joke section.

    2. Nice! And a good reminder Kev, to demonstrate grace in the culture. Duly noting this for my sermon on 1 Peter 3 on Sunday! I do think that “general” revelation is a pointer to God, but not in a saving way, but Paul in Acts 17 certainly points to what the Athenians already know about what God might be like through observing the world.

  3. Simply noting the irony. I agree with your final question/comment, and of course would say “not at all” to the first two. But there has been a plain pattern in the past forty years to scorn the Christian framework in these areas and to see the modern culture adrift from a moral framework (the “it’s what works for you culture”) returning to it is kinda cute.

  4. But in further to that MJ 🙂 – the fact that cultures across time and space HAVE HAD an impressively common ethical framework, regardless of whether they kept to it or not, is a strong, though not conclusive, proof of a revelatory design and imperative behind this framework. The modern secular culture differs from these other cultures in this important point: the complete denial of any transcendent law that would have such ethics at its centre. Modern secular culture wants such an ethic, but can’t bear to admit it is not so much deconstructed as revealed. (See Romans 1:18ff)

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