It is NOT Gray
by Paul Landkamer
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We're getting numb. What were once obvious wrongs are now common practices, and it's even bleeding over into the way we try to win people to Jesus. Knowledge of right from wrong, and behaving as though we know it, is expected from God. If there's any doubt in that, read your Book of Proverbs. We still live in a world of blacks and whites --wrongs and rights, no matter what our society claims. Our world is not just different shades of gray!
The whole reason I began my active quest for Christian music was because of a radio DJ, who claimed to be an ordained Methodist pastor. He was the head DJ on my once-favorite radio station and I questioned his continual use of sexual humor as part of his morning show. He told me, "We give the listeners what they want, regardless of any moral implications." This was a guy who called himself a Christian, so I figured it was my duty to call him on it (Luke 17:3). A bit of irony surrounding this is that about a year after I quit that station, the Christian K-Love network of stations bought it. That DJ didn't see anything wrong with letting people know he was Christian, yet acting no different from the World.
At a concert several years ago, a Compassion International spokesman had no problem using shock language in his plea for donations. He said something to the effect of, "You people don't give a rat's a** about these starving kids…" I got to one of the other adults, who had connections with the sponsoring radio station, and said, "That's just wrong." She said, "It's ok, some of our kids were at another concert he was at and he said the same thing. It doesn't bother them." I suggested the repeated hearing of talk like that numbed them to its wrongness. She pondered that thought, and almost looked embarrassed that she was accepting the language. Concert-goers were getting numbed to the mission-guy's language.
I asked one "Christian" band what sorts of venues they played at and they said, "Anywhere we can say f*** on stage and not get kicked out." Another guy who claims to be the vocalist in a Christian band regularly drops the "F-bomb" in his lyrics –and with pride, too, as his MySpace site includes that language in all-cap's.
Another Christian band uses sh*t just because it rhymes. Another inserts the unnecessary expletive "the Hell" in the lyrics just because it fit the mood. Self-proclaimed Christians where I work, regularly throw around "oh my God" in their casual talk. I flinch when I hear it. Then, all over the place, there's friggin, freakin, OMG, OMFG and all those other shortenings and adaptations of expletives. It's not just gray! Just because your sight's going bad doesn't mean the whole world is turning gray. It's like the grouchy old guy who complained that the whole world stunk –until he picked the chunk of limburger cheese out of his mustache.
And then the reason I'm here on this soapbox is because of a recent "Christian" ministry meeting that had an open mic night. The acts were obviously not screened, or was it that I'm the only one who saw anything wrong with the Christian vocalist on stage referring to an attractive lady he met as "a fine piece of tail", then going on how her appearance made him "horny"? He told me it was just humor. He said he did it because the kids like it, and to show the non-Christians in attendance that Christians aren't any better than they are. I fully agree that we're not any better, but we are supposed to be different. I figure, using the singer's reasoning the ministry could offer free beer and see a big increase in participation.
I like the lines in a couple songs about the topic: "When I go to the show, all I see on the screen is a stream of pure vulgarity. I wrote down a note. I complained for a day to the House of Representatives. They laughed in my face. They said, "Son you're a one in a million minority. The name of the game is to titillate the brain, stimulate the immorality"" and it goes on "…I was so offended as I sat for three hours. It was mental cruelty. I was so shocked. Just a little more flesh, just a little more blood, a little closer to the edge, a little deeper in the mud…" This is the wisdom of shock-rocker, Alice Cooper in his "Sex, Death and Money". And Paisley Yankolovich sang, in "Leading Horses", "drowning in dirty water, splashing evil everywhere. We just love that dirty water: Hell's bells ring. We don't care… We just joined the cho-ir, We just joined the cho-ir". In his "Ticket to Ride" he sings of how our culture's going wrong, "and we don't even know we're doing it." Paisley's right.
I slip, and I'll admit it. I'll let an occasional expletive out, but it's not habit anymore. I'm not going to practice it then intentionally perform it for all to see. I know it's wrong and I try not to do it. I'll have occasional thoughts that shouldn't be re-played. I've even exceeded the posted speed limits, despite my trying to drive within the law –and don't try to tell me, "Oh they always give you five miles an hour over the limit." What a witness, for a Christian fish or a Christian radio station sticker on a trunk or bumper to go ripping by some non-Christian who's doing the speed limit. What a rotten message about Christians that sends! Romans 13, Titus 3, and more, are pretty clear that we're to abide by the laws of man. When you know what's right and don't do it, it's called sin (James 4:17). It's not gray!
We can't change God's Word to fit warped theology like lots of cults do, nor to fit new behaviors in our society. We've got to quit sacrificing God's Word to the gods of Fitting-In and Political Correctness. When Paul said he becomes all things to witness to different persons, he didn't mean he becomes a prostitute to witness to prostitutes, or a drunk to witness to drunks. The non-Christians are watching us, and too many times, I think they've got a better grip on how Christians are supposed to behave than Christians. We are ambassadors for Christ: let's act like it (2 Corintians 5:20).
Too many of us have become numb to attacks of the flesh. We've been tolerating far too many "little" things until they become "no" things to us. We've got to wean ourselves off the anesthetic poison society is trying to get us to take and to quit taking that poison all together.
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