Back in the late 1980´s, I was under the tutelage of Lorne Shepherd, an incredibly marvelous instructor/teacher who was and still is one of Canada´s leading Christian Counselors. He used to stress again and again how completely and systematically Hollywood and the television conglomerates had succeeded in reshaping society and thoroughly desensitized the masses, who were in essence very moral and ethical people, into accepting ideas and philosophies that ran against the very nature of their values and their belief system. Philosophies that actually cut through the very core of decency.
Many times, as he was lecturing on some age old principle I would think, "Yes, YES, I used to believe that!" and then I´d wonder, "At what point in my life did I stop thinking in that vein and when did I lower my standards?" It became quickly apparent that I no longer saw the forest from the trees as to what so many believers in the church had embraced. At least not until someone like Lorne came along and pointed out how far we had strayed into the woods by blindly accepting what had become the ´norm´, because it seemed to be considered acceptable by almost everyone else. I would often have to give my head a shake and come to the realization that just because the majority seemed to embrace certain values, that did NOT mean that those values had become right or honorable. Even though I always knew deep down that they certainly never were and never would be acceptable to God, I used to look the other way, not wanting to rock anybody´s boat.
What I want to do today in this article is to simply point out, as Lorne did for me, a few areas that many Christians need to revisit because they are allowing worldly concepts to reshape their thinking and those things are becoming very detrimental to their spirituality and their walk with God. These things conflict with how we are to portray Christ to a lost and dying world. These things also conflict with the admonition to be ´unspotted from the world´ (James 1:27 KJV)
Now my case in point... I was recently sent an e-mail with a link to view a ´Christian´ comedian´s web site with a note saying that he was hilarious. It did not take very long after watching a few previews from his various acts to put me into a ´Holy Ghost rage´. (I guess for the sake of sounding ´spiritual´ I should be using the term ´righteous indignation´) At any rate, I was flabbergasted to hear this comedian making fun of and sabotaging everything that I hold dear in a very crude and almost vulgar manner. He was demeaning the institution of marriage. He was undermining parenthood and depicting moms and dads as complete morons who were totally void of any common sense. He was portraying people that home school their children as complete nerds. He was very insulting and disrespectful to other religions and even mocked the practice of saying ´grace´ before meals as totally ludicrous, meaningless nonsense. The entire thing was an insult to my intelligence. I thought, "Why don´t you leave these vicious attacks on the things that I deem as wholesome to the ´Late Night Talk Show Hosts´?"
What concerned me more than anything were the commendations on his site from the churches where he had performed. They wrote, "AMAZING ... best ever... the entire crown was doubled over!" and comments such as, "It was a riot ... and it was a big plus for our church. We had more invited guests for this comedy night than for any other event we´ve had." The one that broke my heart the most was, "He was incredible! It was the first concert event in our church´s history, and he put on a show that rocked the house. People not only laughed all night but bonded together in community. Thank God for this ministry to the body!"
I could hardly believe what I was reading. Words like, ´rocked the house´ are not conducive to the holiness and sanctity of the altar of our Lord. Have we forgotten that God´s house is supposed to be called a ´House of Prayer´ and the altar a place where sinners come to repentance, not a replica of a stage in some Vegas nightclub?
This reminded me of a pastor of the largest mega-church out in California who announced from the pulpit on a Sunday morning a few years ago that imitation was the best form of flattery and then proceeded to do an imitation of Jimi Hendricks who was a head-banging, guitar-smashing, acid rocker who died by choking on his own vomit after a drug overdose. This 1960´s wild man was considered lewd and indecent and was known to have used psychedelic drugs and have demonic visions. His song, Purple Haze, glorified drugs which were used to produce ´magical effects´. He was involved in occultism and mysticism and these themes permeated his music, yet, this pastor considered it thoroughly appropriate to pick up a guitar and mimic this poor, lost soul. What is even more outrageous is that most of his congregation was clapping and singing along and having a real ´blast´.
Wouldn´t it be wonderful if a pastor such as the above would mimic the apostle Paul instead, who said, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. ... But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore, he saith, ´Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.´ (Eph. 5:8-11, 13-16 KJV)
Paul also gave some very wise counsel to the leaders of the churches, so I can´t think of a better way to close this article than to quote him; "Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." (Acts 20:26-32 KJV)