Matt Friedeman – Guest Columnist –
On occasion I find articles written that reinforce the philosophy of this blog and I like to share those articles with you. This is one such article. Be sure to check out his webpage at www.InTheFight.com
There are four “modern horsemen of the apocalypse,” according to Dr. Richard Land in remarks delivered to the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, and they are “riding forth to wreak havoc and destruction in our society.” Land listed the four as the denial of the sanctity of human life, the rise of hardcore Internet pornography, the radical homosexual agenda and the attempt to undermine marriage, and radical Islamic jihadism.
Scary enough list. Here’s an even scarier one:
• The inactive, rudderless Church
• Undisciplined prosperity
• The values of popular culture
Let’s take these in reverse order:
The values of popular culture
Popular culture comes to us in many ways, most of them with the unfettered approval of evangelical Christians. We of the faith watch just as much television as the secular world. We allow our kids to view MTV just as much, R-rated movies to the same extent, listen to hip-hop and secular rock music, and are just as open to the lowest common denominators in Internet and computer games.
Through these technological media our children, our teens, and none-too-few adults learn the majority of their life lessons about sex, drug use, violence, family, materialism, and peer relationships. And the lessons are hardly reflective of Judeo-Christian tradition, which receives much less of our time and attention on a daily basis. Small example — the average television viewing per home is seven hours a day … more American households have televisions than indoor plumbing … the average American preschooler watches an average of four hours of television daily.
Care to guess how much the average household spends in private or family devotions, or how much daily conversation actually passes between parent and teen?
Undisciplined prosperity and the development of Mammonites is a curse to any generation. It is an easy thing to get wrapped up in the pursuit of happiness and to forget that the pursuit of holiness ought to trump the former. Money, possessions, and comforts tend to fuzz up the clear thinking of a culture until the stern virtues of hard work, frugality, integrity, sacrifice, self-denial, and biblical righteousness — the things that led to the foundation of our prosperity — are shoved to life’s periphery. The prophets and teachers of Scripture knew this, which is why the Bible talks four to five times as much about money as it does about the vitally imperative topics of prayer or faith. Undisciplined prosperity that makes “self” the focus instead of God and others becomes the millstone around the neck of a once moral people.
Undisciplined prosperity tends to make a people sloppy, selfish and arrogant. And it is an age-old problem, as can be seen from this description of Sodom’s sin in Ezekiel 16:49:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
Part of this sloppiness becomes the sense of entitlement — the attitude that even if I can’t afford it, I will get it. Call it debt — whether through personal credit cards or government borrowing. Debt is no friend to society and, left unchecked, an ultimately lethal enemy. Continue reading