Have you thought about how much the world has changed in your lifetime?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #51 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
On this, Oct 25, my 70th birthday, I feel compelled to share a podcast that offers some personal reflections.
If you had told me when I was 30, or even when I was 60, about some of the things now taking place in our culture and country I would have rejected most of the possibilities out of hand.
Like many of my older friends, I have to say it seems like our culture and country are upside down, in many ways unrecognizable from the experience of my childhood and even my experience as a young adult.
Of course, not everything is bad or wrong or irrational. We’ve made technological and medical progress that benefits us all. I remember the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the good changes that resulted from it. I’m glad women are treated differently now, given more access in the workplace, and recognized for the leadership and other creative potential they can and do contribute. Our ability to communicate via satellite broadcasting and the internet now makes it possible for us to share the Gospel and Christian teaching globally, to reach the unreached, and to speak into so-called “closed” countries, a concept that from the point of view of a Sovereign God does not exist. For the Lord, there are no closed meaning unreachable countries, no closed meaning unreachable hearts.
But with some positive change we’ve experienced a boatload of negative change.
The pandemic occurred as part and parcel of living in a fallen world. Pestilences and disease come and go. But the government overreach, the fake news, the government mandates not just threatening but taking away freedom of worship, mobility, assembly, and speech in this, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, was and remains disheartening at best, dangerous at worst.
The rapid, fall off a cliff movement of our culture to embrace first a level of sexual permissiveness a healthy society cannot sustain, then to embrace, promote, and demand sexual liberation that is utterly irrational in the face of history, biology, culture, and religion is mind-boggling.
It’s only been twenty years since TV show “Will and Grace” paved the way for gay characters on television. In the past two decades, LGBTQ has become an unstoppable tour de force pushing not simply for tolerance or acceptance but normalization, legitimation, and promotion in every aspect of life including religion. LGBTQ in a short time has gone from something considered immoral or perverted to something considered acceptable, no big deal, and to each his own.
It was just seven years ago in 2015 that the Supreme Court of the United States opened the legal doors to same-sex marriage via Obergefell v. Hodges. President Barack Obama switched his viewpoint while in office in order to support same-sex marriage as some new civil rights accomplishment.
It was just seven years ago that Bruce Jenner appeared dressed as a woman on the cover of “Vanity Fair” with the now infamous comment, “Call me Caitlyn.”
Transgender ideology, following upon the heels of LGB politics, has become the new flavor of the month. President Joe Biden has repeatedly argued that transgenderism, along with abortion in his mind, is a newly discovered constitutional right. Meanwhile, the last appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, Ketanji Brown Jackson, answered a question during her confirmation hearings about defining a woman, with the comment, “I’m not a biologist.” In other words, a woman vying for and now holding the highest legal office in the land suggests she cannot provide a definition for woman. This level of unremitting irrationality is now being vigorously embraced and promoted in the nation’s public schools from kindergarten to grad school. What do you suppose this kind of willful sexual deceit will do to the next generation of American children?
Truth, i.e., moral absolutes, meaning right vs wrong, has been systematically jettisoned beginning in the 1960s and now to a point where celebrities or politicians regularly talk about “Your truth” or “I know my truth.” Among the results of this rush to free us all from reality so we can do what’s right in our own eyes, is a new spate of lawlessness, inconsistent, inconsequential, and near irrelevant law enforcement. Consequently, schools, sports events, city centers are unsafe crime spree zones. That’s crime spree, not crime free. Not a week goes by that does not prove out this sad observation.
Patriotism, too, is no longer kosher. One must not celebrate a country in which something bad happened in the past, some group was ill-treated, or in someone’s view is not perfect. I heard a school board member from Fargo, North Dakota say the board had voted to cease repeating the “Pledge of Allegiance” because it didn’t align with the district’s equity and inclusion values, and that—here’s the amazing part—he said it wasn’t true, that since there was not “liberty and justice for all” he couldn’t embrace it. Where, one wonders, did this man fail to learn about ideals and aspirations, about goals, about making statements about what we want to be?
Meanwhile, even the U.S. military has gone woke in a variety of ways, placing more priority on race and gender than on preparedness.
And I know that no amount of social support programs, free housing, medical care, mental health services, public defenders, state hospital, hospitals, jails, criminal justice system, substance abuse treatment, and more can meet the need of a population of people who do not police themselves, no longer look to family or church, and reject all categories of right and wrong in the name of unlimited personal happiness.
So, when we list these things it becomes like a sad litany, an “I don’t recognize my own country” disillusionment. I understand when I hear older people make this comment.
But I have always attempted to be optimistic, not pessimistic, in part because that’s what I believe Christians ought to be. We know the Sovereign God who is not surprised by any of this. We know the Lord who knows and holds the end of the story, history, in his hands. We know that in darkness the light of Christ should shine more brightly through us. Why then should we succumb to despair?
I admit feeling discouraged when I hear of another absurd and radical idea or development being championed as the brave new world. But this is to be expected in the intentionally de-Christianizing culture and times in which we live.
In his book, Strange New World, Christian scholar Carl R. Trueman notes that in the book of Psalms, the various psalmists regularly wrestled with the vagaries of the world around them. They were honest, sharing their anxieties and concerns with God.
“But this is never for the purpose of self-validation or, worse still, a wallowing in self-indulgent pity. Rather, it is for the purpose of setting the experiences and the feelings recounted within the context of God’s great truths.”
The psalmists present a view of the Christian life that is marked by joy but that also knows sorrow and loss. They set the struggles of the present in the context of God’s great actions in times past and promises for the future.” Consequently, they help to keep perspective—theological and emotional—on the events of the present.
We do not live by sentiments. Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” (Matt. 4:4).
So, in my 70th year I want to live well as long as God gives me to live. And I want to have finished well when he says my expiration date has arrived.
To do this, you and I, while being now weary in doing good in the face of trials and travails of this world (Gal. 6:9).
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus,” (Heb. 1:1-2).
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022
*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.