Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Culture Rot

While pondering the topic of “Culture Rot” from Stanley Crouch’s “All American Skin Game”; I remembered a song of the fifties sung by Faron Young which contained the lyrics: “I want to live fast, love hard, die young, and leave a beautiful memory.” That romanticized notion was perpetuated by the James Dean generation, and today has taken a much darker turn.

Today’s edition of the notion is encapsulated in the “Gansta Rap” which glorifies the most anti-social behavior imaginable. Women are represented as mere objects to be used in unspeakable ways and discarded as easily as empty toothpaste tubes. The value of human life is continually disparaged by these molders of culture for large segments of society. Accumulating those objects which reflect prestige within that subculture is promoted with a seeming lack of concern for the means used to accomplish the task.

The most common expressions of this lack of societal restraint are: drug abuse, prostitution, murder, and robbery. Sociologists, psychologists, and talk radio hosts inundate the air waves with discussions of the phenomenon, all the while studiously avoiding the specific cause. Their humanistic philosophies lend themselves toward training more role models to demonstrate positive social traits hoping they will provide the wayward youth with a sense of “hope” which leads to purpose in life.

Positive role models are indeed important for every segment of life. However, should the focus continue be on the accumulation of “things” for one’s sense of self-worth and accomplishment; such role models face a very unenviable task. Hard work, delayed gratification, and self-denial do not lend themselves to a favorable comparison with the “easy money” obtained through the depraved counter culture activities mentioned above.

The answer, I believe, lies in the restoration fidelity to Biblical Principles by those who profess a belief in the God of The Bible. Today’s society is not unlike the first century Christian era. Although Rome had conquered Greece and her generals militarily, Greece had conquered the world culturally. Immorality and public decadence were commonplace in that Hellenized world. Yet, the followers of God, by personal faith in Jesus of Nazareth, so completely overwhelmed the culture that by 1776, the United States of America was founded based upon Biblical Principles.

Genuine followers of Christ have never been in the majority, but their influence was felt far beyond their numbers because they possessed something which could not be duplicated by education, religion, heritage, or economics. They were indued with power from on high. They acted as if they were on a divine mission to accomplish a directly appointed task. They did not conform to contemporary societal mores, rather they were transformers of the corrupt societies in which they found themselves.

How then, have we fallen to the point where prominent authors, and radio talk show hosts are speaking of an endemic “
Culture Rot”? The answer, I believe, is that those who call themselves followers of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, no longer truly believe the principles of The Bible. We no longer are willing to stand alone against the tide of corruption. We desire to be well spoken of by those in the world, and we believe they will not speak well of us if we stand tall for what we believe. In actuality, I believe the opposite is true. I believe the world is looking for those whose beliefs cannot be compromised by the “lust of the eye”, the “lust of the flesh”, and the “pride of life.

How long must the nation endure this “
Culture Rot” while we who claim to know God personally sit by with a wringing of the hands decrying the situation, all the while contributing to it? How Long? How Long?? One man has said that sin which once slinked down the back alley, now parades down Main Street, and barely raises an eyebrow.

I often wonder if one can genuine believe the principles of Scripture without acting on them. The answer to broken homes is to make Christ the center of those homes. The answer to a lazy workforce is to make Christ central in one’s work. The answer to careless living is to make Christ the focus of one’s daily living. When that happens, and people focus on Christ and His principles, the selfish motivations of contemporary living will be transformed into a selflessness which will transform “
Culture Rot” into “Cultural Revival”.

© 2006 Mike Rasberry

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