Miley-Cyrus-just-loves-to-bite-her-tongue

What is the World Coming To: An Unpopular Opinion On Why She Did What She Did

Miley-Cyrus-just-loves-to-bite-her-tongueWere you among the shocked and awed when you heard about Miley Cyrus’ depraved strut around the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards? Do you scratch your head when you read about Egypt, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.? Are you heartbroken over the state of affairs in our own country–the still staggering economy, the political gridlock, the lack of leadership at all levels?

Teachers are supposed to teach kids, not sleep with them. Mayors are supposed to protect residents, not harass them. Parents are supposed to love their children, not abandon them. People are supposed to love one another, not ignore each other.

Taken individually, these issues are complicated and disconcerting. Add them all up and take them on the whole, and there’s a great deal of panic that is liable to ensue. It’s overwhelming. We’ve declared war on everything–drugs, terror, gun violence, sex trafficking, and more. What else can we do? We can’t sit back and let this happen! We’ve got to do something.

Some carry our faith as our rallying cry. To be sure, as a Christ-follower I believe that we should seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. We should not do nothing. Others have no faith, but still bemoan the state of the world. It seems like we’re all in the same boat. Or should I say, we’re all in the same sinking ship.

Just a quick scan of today’s headlines are enough to wear anyone out:

  • The U.S. is likely to strike Syria because of their alleged use of chemical weapons
  • Investment bankers are being arrested because of greed and deceit
  • The VMA’s happened
  • An 8 year old shot his grandma
  • MLB stars admit to steroids
  • Coastal cities are going to be swallowed up by sea level rises
  • Nanny drives drunk to pick up kids at school
  • Missing teen’s body found in Oregon
  • Taliban kills a dozen

You hear all of that and you have to wonder–what is the world coming to?Syria-Civil-War

The answer, of course, is that the world is coming to it’s logical conclusion.

Maybe you were taught that you can make the world a better place, that there’s hope in this world for a peace, love, and happiness. Those make for great bumper stickers. They make for awful theology. We should not be shocked or awed by the evil that exists in our society, in whatever form it presents itself. Whether socially acceptable or not, all manner of evil is present and will continue to be present. As my dad–a folksy theologian in his own right–used to say, “It’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.”

According to the Scriptures, this world is caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of raunchiness. Granted, immorality is not new. Depravity was just as present 2,000 years ago as it is today. We may be able to broadcast our sins faster and to a wider audience, but we got started at this disgusting routine a long time ago. But the Scripture is clear that this destructive course will continue. It will not end. Not on this side of heaven.

If you’re wondering why there’s so much war and manipulation and selfishness and evil in this world, it’s because that’s what happens when you have a bunch of manipulative, selfish, evil people on a floating rock in the sky, each trying to figure themselves out apart from Jesus. People die instead of live. People feel pain instead of peace. People hurt instead of heal. Wholesome Disney stars turn out to be nasty pop icons. Miley wasn’t the first. She won’t be the last. Neither will Syria be the last civil war. It’s pretty depressing when you think about it.

But it should not be surprising. I mean, what do you expect? We are all on a sinking ship. It’s going down fast. We’re taking on scum-filled water at an alarming rate and eventually we will choke on our own ignorant, permissive filth.

Seems pretty hopeless, don’t you agree? And hopelessness leads us to more mind- and soul-numbing behavior. Eat, drink, and be merry! Twerk, shack up, drink up, light up, power up, move up, whatever it takes. Just don’t stop moving, or you might be moved to despair. Fill your lives with stuff, noise, and stuff to complain about. Maybe then you’ll feel apart from it all.

But not even that works.

The only thing that works is to abandon ship. Instead of hoping in this world–which everyone will agree is bound to disappoint–hope in something else instead.

Ephesians 2:12-13, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (emphasis is mine)

If there’s no hope in this world, then our only shot is to hope in something else. It’s not that God’s Kingdom isn’t meant to make this world better. It’s just that this world isn’t the point.

1 Corinthians 15:19 says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

Our hope must be placed in something and Someone else:

Titus 2:11-13 tells us exactly what:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

hope-2012

Everything we need to know is outlined in those verses:

  • This world is crooked, awful place. That isn’t going to change.
  • We should love good and hate evil, but understand that this world will still be a crooked, awful place.
  • Our blessed hope is the appearance of our Great God and Savior, Jesus. We belong to Him, and He alone can rescue us from our own wretched mess.

What’s the world coming to? The bad news is the world is coming to an atrocious, predictable demise. The good news is that the world is coming to a face-to-face meeting with it’s Creator and Savior. Each of us can be rescued from the pit of sin. While the fate of the world apart from Christ is certain, so too is the fate of those who belong to Him.

When the world goes down in flames, we can rise in victory. Because of Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.

12 comments

  1. I agree Titus the only solution is faith in God and the His mighty power to accomplish all things to the perfection of His will. In this we all can find comfort and peace.

    Your blog post was refreshing in a sea of silence in the public arena. It speaks to the only solution. However, if I may recollect a moment, the same solution was present in the 60’s when a when a generation of so called “Baby Boomers” also had the choice of God. History shows that instead of believing and being the new power of God at work, in now some 40 years later, they have reshaped society away from God. Recall, the “then silent church” body did not stop a renewed interest in humanism, statism, tolerance and egalitarianism as the way forward for society. We can rightly assume they resigned to “these young people will grow out of it.” The only problem is that they didn’t. In less than twenty years later, these same young people become the “opinion makers” of society and from this new position of power, they promoted their misguided new age beliefs in place of faith in our Almighty God. This is certainly evidenced by the removal of God from our public schools and from the state republic. Our once Christian Republic is now simply another Republic – and one moving closer to socialism with each passing day. For the left, Rejection of Christ and Rejection of Christians is the only answer as it removes the last accountability from the only authority, God, and replaces it with a new authority, the state.

    I pray for the “new awakening”, but to accomplish this awakening, the common church will need to leave the comfort of its four safe walls and declare loudly in the public arena right and wrong using the strength and power of the Holly Spirit. I welcome the new opportunity to reverse the tide and your efforts here and elsewhere do not go without notice.

    Now again, we are called with the advent of a new larger generation called the millennials. The opportunity is here again to reshape this next generation as believers in Christ. It will shape the next hundred years of our society and if this new generation is not brought on board with Christ, surely the second coming will be sooner, rather than later. Our nation, with a majority of Christians remaining and the last of world wealth, ARE “the last great stand for God.” If we fail in this mission to restore our nation, our children will suffer – and God will surely cry since this is His first sovereign Christian Republic.

    So the question I pose is for the willing. What should Christians do publicly from your experience to reverse the tide of the ever-growing sin you mentioned – for without change we will slip into history as another nation who lost its way with God?

    If I may, there are obvious answers. Confess Jesus. Prayer certainly. Living righteous absolutely. But, what public ACTIONS should believers take in the same form as Jesus once sis to challenge the status quo. Jesus was certainly was not afraid to be ridiculed, persecuted and even die for His faith and in His grace, we are each atoned for His sacrifice.

    I wonder, how many Christians today are willing to leave the fine comfort of their version of faith to reverse the tide?

    Peace in Christ.

  2. i agree with most everything you wrote, but i was waiting for the part where you talk about the kingdom being here? and now? and the responsibilities Christians have of being the physical representation of Christ’s body here on earth? and ministers of reconciliation? i don’t think that we will save the entire planet, or that everyone will become Christians, but i do know that there will be a new earth when Christ returns.

    i agree that we can not place our hope in this world, and also with MUCH of the other points you make, titus. i’m not arguing with what you’re saying here… just think there’s a bit more to the story!

    1. I also agree with your post, Titus, and with Tara’s response. “Jumping ship” doesn’t quite sync as an illustration with the Christian response I see outlined in the Bible. More along the lines of, “stay on the ship even though it’s going down, and show as many people as possible that the junk ship we’re on is sailing next to a luxury cruise-liner.”

  3. Hey Titus- Honestly, I read the Durango guy’s post first. After hearing, and empathizing with his issues I came over here. I hoped, like Tara, to read a bit of Kingdom on Earth talk but I also wanted some more clarification on this bit:

    “According to the Scriptures, this world is caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of raunchiness.”

    From a purely logical standpoint I see where your atheist friend is coming from…in a lot of ways our world is getting a lot better. And I don’t necessarily see how the world is getting worse, just more public. (Like you said just after the aforementioned quote.)

    That being said, you say that “the Scripture is clear that this destructive course will continue. It will not end. Not on this side of heaven.”
    I guess I’m just wondering what specific scriptures you’re referring to.

    I know you could completely handle it if I was being argumentative but I’m really not. I’m honestly just curious. The verses you quotes seem more of an answer to immediate (and past) fallenness not necessarily the future. I can think of a few scriptures that might give this idea (like talk of the “last days”?) I just wondered if you might expound on it.

  4. Also I’m writing this quickly on my phone so I wanted to clarify that by the world getting better I didn’t mean whole/complete/without desperate need for Jesus …just that we seem to be trading this depravity for that and are at the same level of brokenness.

    1. Hey Whitney,

      Thanks for talking back. I know that you are just hashing things out, and I love the dialogue. Wish we could do it over a cup of stout coffee.

      I think Clayton’s disagreement with me is in two areas.

      The first is that I’m making the argument that the world will always be full of booty shakers and manipulators and dictators and the like. I cite mostly anecdotal evidence because I’m not trying to prove that the world is worse than it used to be, just that we should not be surprised that it is in the shape it’s in.

      Second, I am making a theological point that sin will always have a negative impact on our world. He is making a logical point that some parts (he concludes, most) are getting better. He picks some stats to support his viewpoint. But he talks mostly of length of life, lack of crime, etc. We can live until we’re 150 and not have any diseases, but sin will still reign in us. That’s what I mean by the world getting worse–our hearts are still lacking while our flesh enjoys (arguably) it’s safest, most comfy existence.

      I think the third disagreement is not so much a disagreement but a point of emphasis. Tara & you saw a lack of Kingdom of God talk in my blog, and I admit it is absent. In trying to articulate that we should not be all aghast when Miley is over the top or someone steals or kills or is selfish, I probably went overboard on the fatalistic, what-do-you-expect argument to the detriment of underscoring the hope we have in this life for redemption, restoration, and the betterment of all mankind.

      I do hope the Scriptures I cited in the last half of the blog provide some balance to this. I am squarely in favor of hope-filled living. I’m going to do the best I can to bring hope to people in this life, but it is true that my hope is in the next, not this one.

      As to your question about Scriptures supporting the “self-perpetuating cycle line” and the one that followed that, I have to confess that I was thinking more of Scripture themes, not specific Scriptures that say what I said in different words. The Book of Judges, for instance, describe the cycle of sin, judgment, cries for salvation, rescue, and then the return of the nation of Israel to sin again.

      Proverbs 26:11 and 2 Peter 2:22 talk about how fools return to sin again and again (which sounds cyclical), and I assume this proverb can be applied corporately to communities and not just individuals. I would cite 2 Timothy 4:2-4 as well.

      It is hard to insist that the world is getting worse. I think the only time I used “worse” in the blog is when I quoted my old man, which should not be taken as Gospel. But perhaps it was a poor choice of words nonetheless.

      Bottom line, I do think we need the Kingdom of God here on earth, and you and I are both working toward that end. That’s what my whole life is about. My simple point–that perhaps was made too complicated, and certainly was misunderstood by our atheist friend, was that we shouldn’t be surprised when people who have not placed their hope in Jesus live like hell.

      That, again, should motivate us to abandon the world’s promises of power, belonging, and self-fulfillment, and seek to live for the good of the Kingdom, dragging others along with us if we must.

      Thank you again for reading and for the dialogue. Drop me a FB msg if you want to talk more. Would love to do so!

      1. Cool. Honestly I misread what you were saying (maybe I was triggered by your Dad’s quote, but I see why you included it.) I was thinking you were talking about some sort of widely held theological idea that the world is spiraling deeper and deeper into its fallenness (somehow getting worse) until Jesus comes back based on specific passages of scripture. My first thought was like “Did I sleep through that Basic Christian beliefs class in Bible college?” (Because that happened sometimes)🙂 But I see where you are coming from now.

        I also think it was interesting reading the Durango Without Dogma guy first. Although my worldview is aligned with yours I found myself reading your post through his eyes (and the eyes of lots of other atheists I love) and think “I could see where he got there and why that’s problematic.” But that doesn’t mean that’s what you wrote/meant!

        Great things to think about!
        Thanks, Titus
        Miss you guys!

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