What’s in a headline?

I am no tabloid reader, in fact I loathe them.  Love child this, the other woman that, mutant baby this etc. etc.  One is often challenged to ask the question, “who makes this stuff up”?  Yes I know there is horrible and weird stuff that goes on but I have always chalked most of this up to fringe, one off exceptions to the norm.

But the song “the times they are a changin” came quickly to mind a couple of days ago when scanning the top headlines of the day as I do each morning to try and keep up with the pulse of what is going on in the world.

The top stories that morning started with the bachelorette reality star explaining the reason she had sex so early on in the show was “because that’s how I felt in the moment”, followed by the news flash revelation that Bruce Jenner would soon be on the cover of Vanity Fair in the role of his/her new personality as a woman???  Next was a story about a UN “peace” keeping force in Africa trading food for sexual favors from children right next to a story about former speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, likely facing charges for lying to the FBI as to the reason for withdrawing almost 3.5 million dollars.  Turns out it was hush money paid to a youthful male victim of his sexual advances while Hastert was a wrestling coach many years earlier.  Next it was announced that Barnard’s Women’s college will be voting next week on the issue of admitting male transgender students.  With quotes like “History is moving very quickly on this issue”, “We really want to do the right thing, We just have to figure out what the right thing is”, “these issues are changing the game” and “WE DON’T WANT TO BE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY” it’s clear even they are confused and in fear of the political pressure brought by those who fight so militantly for these fringe issues.  The final headline “Father and adopted son dissolve adoption in order to marry” was the tipping point to prompt this blog.

Those lines from Dylan’s song written in 1964 come rushing back in now 50 years later as being just as true today as they were then, perhaps on a grander and more fringe scale.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

I have no intention of trying to send some correction to secular society.  But what & where is the church’s responsibility to the inevitable moral slide of society.  And just to be clear, unless God changes His mind – which He of course can do, this moral slide is not only inevitable but clearly prophesied to happen in the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-4)

And back to discuss the church’s role in all this is very challenging.  We must pray, seek and embrace holiness and be prepared with the Gospel.  Those 3 things seem rather obvious but I suspect are less practiced than promoted.  It is imperative for our own salvation and the salvation of many that we not allow the “little foxes” of life to distract, water down or discredit the witness of Christ in our lives and in the church.

I have no interest in “being on the right side of history”!  I pray my goal is to be at God’s right hand, running the race, anchored firmly in His laws of justice and grace and not caving to the pressures of the declining secular society who are going to hate us either way.  Lest we forget, just 100 years ago divorce was very rare in Christian society, 50 years ago being a virgin was still a virtue instead of the exception and 25 years ago to have a homosexual pastor was unheard of.  Even still some might dismiss this exhortation saying “the church won’t go down that road”.  But the truth is instead of being united leaders away from this moral decline, many churches are already down that road, albeit some miles back, of societies steady decent.

So I choose to cling to the unchanging God, creator, savior and my friend – for to bow to social pressure and change is to deny the work of Christ on the cross – and I just can’t go there.

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