“In those days, there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6
It is not my intention to comment very often on the socio-political topics of our day. It isn’t that I don’t see them as important, it is just that to me constant ranting about them outside of the context of the gospel (which I often do privately) does little good, distracts from the gospel message and threatens to raise my blood pressure to levels above what my doctor recommends.
However, there is an exception to every rule and today is one of them. Here are some of the tidbits that have made the news in the last 24 hours. In Wisconsin, a school board issued a public apology for printing an opinion editorial in the high school newspaper by a student that opposed adoption by gay couples and cited biblical references that refer to homosexual acts as perverse and unnatural. The horrified school board issued a statement that decried such article as tantamount to “bullying” and vowed to never again permit such insensitive and hate-filled statements to appear in print. Questioned about whether such a policy constituted censorship or infringed on any constitutional rights to free speech, the board was unconcerned. (Apparently, in Wisconsin, there are at least some parts of the Bible that have become too offensive to be fit for public discourse. Ironically, they seem to be mostly those parts in which God tells us what HE finds to be highly offensive!)
In Utah, a school board has refused to allow the students at a new high school to choose a cougar as their school mascot. The school board reasoned that such a mascot might offend middle aged women. I know you think I made this one up, but I promise you, I didn’t. You know, it is going to get difficult to tell all the teams apart when the only permissible mascots are colors and plants. I guess there is no anti-defamation league for either . . . yet!
Finally, a couple has finally publicly acknowledged that their five year old child is a boy. One would not think that this was newsworthy, but it turns out that the couple had heretofore gone to great lengths to conceal from everyone else in the world their child’s gender because they wanted him/her/it to be freed from all the gender based stereotypes of our culture. For the last five years, they have dressed him/her/it in gender ambiguous clothing, given him/her/it gender ambiguous toys, and called him/her/it by gender ambiguous names such as “infant” and “child”. They did all this to make sure that no one would know their son was a boy lest they might actually treat him like one. ( I can’t wait to check in on the “adolescent humanoid” in about ten years.)
So what is going on here? Well, since I know just about everything, I will tell you. Twenty first century Americans live in a culture that, like ancient Israel, has no “king”. We recognize no outside monarch, such as our Creator, as having the authority to instruct us as to which end is up around here. Having no anchor, literally everything is becoming up for grabs. Simple questions that we thought were reasonably settled are now thrown open for debate. What is a man? What is a woman? Are there differences between them? If so, is that good or bad? What is the difference between a man and a tadpole? Is that good or bad? What is marriage and why do we have it? Is that good or bad? What is a family? Is that good or bad? At this point, any question that involves discerning the difference between good and bad has us pretty flummoxed. Speaking in Okllahoman, it is getting to where we don’t know “come here” from “sic ’em.”
Since we have had no king, we have had no alternative but to make it up on as we go, i.e., to “do what is right in our own eyes”. When I say that we have had no alternative, it makes it sound like we would have liked one, but didn’t have one. That would be misleading. We are more than happy to be our own king for as long as we can. It is only when, like the prodigal son, our “rule” lands us in a pig sty eating pig slop that we start questioning whether or not throwing off the yoke of our “overbearing father” was such a good idea.
My guess is that we are not too far from being fed a steady diet of pig slop. Let us pray that we will then at least have the sense of the prodigal to recognize that having God for our king was not tyranny, but “the beginning of wisdom.”