Generational Achilles Heels: Part II

With apologies to my Roman Catholic and mainline Protest friends, I don't know how much of this issue is in-house to Evangelical Protestants. I do know that there are at least some analogues, but I also must confess that it is my own experience out of which I am speaking.

But let me take a more reflective, broader shot at this topic of generational Achilles heels and moral formation.

One of the functions of any Christian group is the creation of a particular culture, of a community that normally operates according to certain moral, spiritual, intellectual and aesthetic principles.

My critique of the previous generations of Evangelical Christians, what I'm calling its 'Achilles heel', is that they created a culture which negated one of the most important and proper effects of grace in the life of the believer and in the life of the community. They created a culture that negated the experience of freedom in Christ that should be the outcome of the outpouring and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

While honestly and sincerely preaching grace and justification (being made righteous), the previous generations too often turned right around and created a church culture of rules, codes and external judgments that enslaved individuals and the entire community to fear, to guilt, to judgment and to condemnation -- to everything they should have been saved from by the all satisfying death of Christ! Because that death should "satisfy" not only in some eternal account book in the sky but in the depths of the human heart and in the experience of the believer in Christian community.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free."

Rather, through the constant particularization and enumeration of social vices, personal stumbling blocks and private interior sins, the Christian churches of the previous generation created cultures in which anyone who didn't want to run risk serious social condemnation and suspicion had to invest tremendous spiritual energy cleaning the outside of their little dishes, whitewashing the tombs of their own poor hearts and wearing their Christian phylacteries as masks they could never hope to let down even for an instant.

"There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," and yet the experience of so many Christians who grew up under that antiquated moral paradigm, young or old, was one not only of perpetual fear of the condemnation of the community but of terrible, ongoing self-condemnation masquerading as 'sanctification.' The very thing, personally, that formed the basis for Luther's critique of the Roman Catholic Church of his day!

As I see it, I think there has been a paradigm shift in the past 20 years or so, at the very least a shift away from oppressive fear, guilt and condemnation. You can see it in greater honesty that is permitted and encouraged, in greater personal freedom and diversity and in a general drawing back from binding prohibitions against everything from long hair on men to beer to R-rated movies. I think you can even see it in the proliferation of the personal memoir.

In this context, have there been abuses of liberty that may have led this generation to develop an Achilles heel of it's own? I have no doubt.

But what is the remedy? Is it to go back to enumerating, particularizing and rooting out social ills and private vices as Pastor John seems to be doing with hip huggers and beer, as the Modesty Checklist seems to be doing with purse straps across the chest and long skirts with slits, and as the Modesty Survey seems to be doing with everything from bikinis to lipstick to the curvature of the calf created when a woman wears shoes with high heels over 4"?

I say unequivocally, "No."

I think it will take a lot of hard work, hard thinking, hard teaching and hard spiritual leadership in the decades to come in order for the Evangelical community to avoid either relapsing into moral fundamentalism or falling over into the libertine abyss. Therefore I wouldn't dare claim to lay out in a blog post any complete program for a way forward on this.

But one thing did occur to me.

"All things are lawful," writes Paul, "but not all things are profitable."

What if, instead of trying to pin down the cultural 'lawfulness' of our behaviors (whether put into those words or not) we started approaching the whole task of establishing a Christian ethical framework differently?

What if, instead of asking whether it is wrong to wear really bright lipstick, drink beer or listen to a song with a 'bad word' in the lyrics we approached the whole thing differently?

What if we first tried to answer the question, "What are the purposes of our Christian community, both in itself and in the world?" Then what if we asked, "What sort of culture is profitable in accomplishing these purposes?" And what if we allowed each individual, in dialogue with other Spirit indwelt Christians, to ask and answer these questions for his or herself in the context of the community?

I don't know. Maybe it wouldn't help at all. But maybe it would be a start.

For those interested in following this up, I strongly recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Ethics.

Any other good recommendations out there? Ways to think about this? Ways forward? Objections?

20 comments:

J.J. said...

Good clarification, Jon.

Here's another recommendation:

Holiness by Grace by Brian Chapell

Jennifer said...

I really like this focus on what is profitable because I think it requires the asker to lay out a clear plan and purpose for his actions. Choices are then made deliberatly, soberly :-), with a vision in mind. It throws open all of life and asks, "Why do I do this?"

Jennifer said...

I also like this because it takes God off a list and out of a compartment and inserts him into every aspect of life.

Lonely In Reno said...

In the larger list of "what not to do's" I think that many of those things could be dropped off through a correct understanding of the text. For instance, drinking would be an easy one. The Bible is clear on what is inside the boundaries and what is not. It's when we add to the text that we get into trouble. I think we always need to be asking ourselves, "what text can I point to which informs me of this thing?" If I don't have a text, then grace enters the picture. I do, however, think there is something to be said for the generation before us. It's very hard as parents to allow you children freedom in Christ. It makes logical sense that if I only allow them Veggie Tales, Christian music, no beer, no cigars, and make sure they don't hang out with anybody else outside my home / Christian school then my kids will be Christians. It's an easy straw man for pastors to use as a rally cry. DO THIS AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE PROTECTED FROM THE EVIL'S OF THE WORLD! What right thinking parent wouldn't do it? It's easy as a pastor to pick on the things of this world. It's much harder to give a biblical framework for understanding and to tell the sheep not to freak out and in response to run into the darkness and be light to those people by living out a Christian life full of love and grace and freedom in Christ. Then again, if I can rally the troops around hating the sinners of this world it sure does grow a church quickly.

Crazy mom said...

Jon,
Your post has got me thinking- no small feat, mind you :)

I don't know if any of my thoughts are fully-baked yet, but here is what is rumbling around in my mind.

Certainly, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, but free from what? Free to do whatever we please? Certainly not as sometimes it may please me to disobey the Lord. Free from sin. Yes, that's it. Free from being enslaved to sin (Romans 6), so now I have a choice whether to choose sin as it is no longer my master. THen the question really becomes what is sin, which I think is what you are getting at in your posts anyway.

I agree with lonely in reno about determining sin. Some things are black and white, as in written point blank in the Bible, but there are certainly people who will try to bend those black and white commands and make them gray; and then there is a wide array of gray issues. This is obviously where personal freedom of choice is found.

Our freedom, however, is restrained by love, as we are not only to look out for our own interests,but the interests of others. Likewise, we are not to cause our weaker brothers to stumble when we are enjoying our freedom. So, I think my thoughts lie somewhere around asking myself not, "Am I allowed to do this or that?" but, "Is it loving for me to do this or that? Would it be honoring to God and honoring to others?" Personal freedom can be an excuse to do whatever we want, but I don't think that is the type of freedom Jesus bought us. I think he bought us the freedom to make choices that honor him, while loving his people.

Then there's the whole issue of wrong-better-best. On any given matter there is usually a definitively morally wrong thing to do, then their are a myriad of good choices and, out of those, one might choose the best choice (perhaps only the best choice for them). This is how I frame it with my children when they choose wrongly. We go through other possible options in that given situation and I let them know that their are many possible ways to respond or many possible choices of behavior. I don't tell them, "This would have been the only right way to do or say this or that."

One last thought, I think caution needs to be exercised by freedom-thinkers so as not to judge those that have self-imposed certain rules upon themselves. Meaning, just because someone has certain convictions in their own life does not automatically mean that they wish to impose them on the rest of us. There is a difference between a person who believes that ALL women should wear skirts ALL the time and someone who is personally convicted to dress in that fashion, but does not impose their conviction on me by their attitude or words.

Like I said, my thoughts are still rumbling around and being refined. Thanks for posting this topic. I think it is a worthy subject to ponder at length.

Barb

JPB said...

Lonely: "It makes logical sense that if I only allow them Veggie Tales, Christian music, no beer, no cigars, and make sure they don't hang out with anybody else outside my home / Christian school then my kids will be Christians."

Which is exactly the problem, it makes some sense logically but it does not make gospel sense and experience teaches us it doesn't really make deep-down human sense either. Our moral freedom is too deep to accept the programatic logic of environmental determinism.

Barb: "Certainly, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, but free from what?"

Well, certainly free from many things, but not the least free from condemnation. And I'm arguing that this freedom from condemnation should extent to the church culture. Do we ever need to make judgments? Yes. But should our culture be marked by one of condemnation and judgment of externals? I think not.


Barb: "Free from sin. Yes, that's it. Free from being enslaved to sin (Romans 6), so now I have a choice whether to choose sin as it is no longer my master."

But also free from the law. And as Paul writes, "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." The power of sin is the law.

Barb: "Our freedom, however, is restrained by love, as we are not only to look out for our own interests,but the interests of others. Likewise, we are not to cause our weaker brothers to stumble when we are enjoying our freedom."

And yet, as in Paul's case, we can not bend our necks to the law again even under the guise of the weakness of a brother. I won't make my wife wear a burka because a new Christian stumbles over women's ankles and mascara. I do not think there's a clear line with this principle, but I do know the principle has been used in the old paradigm to justify all sorts of cultural oppression for the sake of the theoretical weaker brother.

Barb: "One last thought, I think caution needs to be exercised by freedom-thinkers so as not to judge those that have self-imposed certain rules upon themselves. Meaning, just because someone has certain convictions in their own life does not automatically mean that they wish to impose them on the rest of us. There is a difference between a person who believes that ALL women should wear skirts ALL the time and someone who is personally convicted to dress in that fashion, but does not impose their conviction on me by their attitude or words."

This is a good point. I have a lot of anabaptist relatives, some of whom end up leaving churches where head coverings and certain styles of dress were mandatory and proclaimed as a Biblical requirement. I have always respected those who because of their consciences continued to wear the head covering.

Similarly with certain patterns of behavior, dress, etc.

But this post was prompted by nothing like that. Pastor John's message was from the pulpit. He has said publicly that he thinks no Christian should drink alcohol. I think that goes too far. Similarly, the Modesty Checklist proclaims itself publicly as a standard for all women and both particularizes and enumerates specific items of dress as immodest, even going so far as to say, "Check this list before you leave the house and if this is improper change before you go out the door." That REALLY crosses the line. As for the Modesty Survey, to me it was laughably sick in its enumeration, particularization and obsession with female attire.

When I wrote some of my pastors and elders about this issue, I was sure to mention that I thought the proper way to address modesty was in the home or through patient, pastoral, private growth of the individual.

My girls will have plenty of conversation with me about modesty. But the particularlization and enumeration does not belong in the pulpit and it does not belong in a pamphlet passed out as you leave the sanctuary and it does not belong in a web database full of the musings of 16 year old boys.

JPB said...

By the way, I realize that last paragraph sounded like something of a comment stopper. It wasn't.

I'll continue to check back here for a while, as I posted this link at several places where the original video appeared.

I think as much working out of this problem as can happen is good.

Crazy mom said...

Jon,
Thanks for the comments on my comments :) I agree with you wholeheartedly that mandating dress code, among other things reeks of legalism and I agree with your comment on making Jen wear a burka :)

I think personal conviction born out of biblical understanding and love for Jesus and our brothers and sisters in the Lord is where the line needs to be drawn - which I think is what you are saying. I can 'choose' to regulate myself in my freedom without being 'forced' to regulate myself.

While I agree with you that I don't think Pastor John should be dictating our attire or movie choices, I do want him to make people think about those things in light of honoring God with our lives. When I hear him say, he believes no Christians should drink, I know that is his opinion, one I don't share, and I leave it at that. Would I hide our beer if he came over for a visit? No. Would my husband crack one open while he was here? I don't know, but maybe.

I think most Christians fall into two groups - those that are more comfortable with rules and those that thrive on freedom from them. I think both sides need to be ever watchful of the extremes and of pushing others over to the "their side." Does that make sense?

Still half-baked over here :)

Barb

Paul & Beth said...

Jon's question: What if we first tried to answer the question, "What are the purposes of our Christian community, both in itself and in the world?" Then what if we asked, "What sort of culture is profitable in accomplishing these purposes?" And what if we allowed each individual, in dialogue with other Spirit indwelt Christians, to ask and answer these questions for his or herself in the context of the community?

Who is the "we" in your above paragraph? So you are only allowing spirit indwelt Christians to dialogue? All Christians have the Holy Spirit. Are there varying degrees of indwelt? and if so, how would you know if they were indwelt enough for your discussion? You would get an inumerable amount of answers as everyone comes with their own experiences from the past (both good and bad) and ideas of what fits their needs.

That's how all the factions of believers continue to divide us, by what we think is important and how to accomplish the goals. Like minded people associate with like minded people.

JPB said...

Beth, I was equating "Christan" with spirit-indwelt. All Christians are indwelt by the Spirit... so all Christians would have a voice in the conversation, I imagine.

The chief point I was trying to make was to distinguish between asking, "Is it wrong to do X, Y, or Z" and asking "What sort of moral environment and culture fits the purposes of the Christian commununity?" Granted, that last question is difficult to answer, but I think there is a lot more to go on in the scriptures trying to answer that question than trying to answer such culturally conditioned questions as whether jean shorts are acceptable attire.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am wishy washy and only seeing part of the picture, but this is what I have noticed and how we have handled some things as a family.

It seems like people who want to be more liberal theologically and otherwise are usually people who grew up in very conservative Christian homes, and maybe they feel like they missed something and don't want their kids to miss out, too. A lot of people who are upset about the growing liberalism (besides those who grew up in John Piper's generation and before) are people who lived in theologically and otherwise very liberal homes. I grew up in a very liberal environment and I lived firsthand and suffered the consequences of an unbliblical lifestyle--R-rated movies, drinking, smoking, swearing, gambling, and other things. No way do I want to go back to that "freedom." I think if people who grew up in very conservative homes had grown up like I did, they might not think the grass is so much greener on the other side. It might not show at first, but I agree with John Piper that if we start to become accustomed to "living like the world," as they used to say, our kids and grandkids and beyond will suffer much spiritually, physically and emotionally. We have told our kids that satan is very tricky. He's not going to come up to you with horns and a pitchfork and try to get you to come on over to his side very blatantly. He won't let you see how horrible he is. He'll try to lure you in little by little with seemingly innocent things.

It has been really hard for us as parents to deal with lots of things. We have tried to do it without judging but still follow what we believe God has put on our hearts based on the Bible. If kids come to our home and say they're not allowed to watch/play this or that, then we honor their parents, don't roll our eyes or say anything derrogatory. We do what they are allowed to do. We're grateful for parents who do the same for our kids if they do things that we don't want our kids to do.* And we're grateful for people who honor what we've told our kids and still want to be friends--they don't write us off. We don't like to write people off either. We tell our kids, If that's what God has put on their parents' hearts, then we are not going to try to convince them otherwise.

It's kind of the same with pastors. If what John Piper said in the clip is what he got from his time of prayer and preparation, then I'm not going to find fault with him. He has a huge responsibility and what he is responsible for has life or death consequences--eternal consequences.

The hardest area for us is in the area of music and movies--art in general. Generally we don't watch R rated movies, but we do see value in great literature come to life, and many of those are R rated. Some are not based on lit., but still very valuable artistically. In cases like that, sometimes we watch the film, but we don't buy it and keep it in our home to watch over and over again. Then we have some hardfast rules--no occult content, for example--ever. With music, I don't get really upset anymore if I go to an event and they are playing "worldly" music, yet I try not to hang out at those places all the time, and I try to make sure the music I keep in my home and listen to all the time is not dominated by unbiblical values, ideas, and lyrics. As for top 40 and the like, I wouldn't choose to listen to it ever--we give our kids a little leeway in that, and sometimes on long trips if we want to hear what's going on in a city, we'll put up with a secular station for a little while, but to me it is just too connected to my old life. I know you're looking for more philosophical answers, but I find that my philosophy and practice are not always easy to match, so I included some of each.

This has been a very interesting discussion.

*We have noticed in the 23 years that we have been Christian that nobody, nobody, nobody does everything just right--no matter how just right their philosphy and behavior seems. Like, some do not go trick-or-treating, proms, R-rated movies, but they are into Karate. Or someone doesn't do any Eastern mystical/new age kind of activities, but they keep a case of beer in the fridge. Some people think we are ridiculously conservative. Others don't want to be around us much because they think we're too liberal. The hard part about list making is we are never going to get everybody on the same page--until Jesus comes back. Then none of the things we think are so important to be free to do are going to matter much when we see him. Come, Lord Jesus, and please make us ready...

JPB said...

Anonymous (I wish I knew who you were, it's always difficult not to).

I certainly sympathize with what you're saying.

But, as with Pastor John's clip, there are several things I have to take exception to that I do think are of vital importance.

Does that mean I would call someone's basic Christianity into question? No. Please take all of what I have to say here with the same qualifications I offered when critiquing the clip from Pastor John.

However ...

To begin with, I don't like the terms liberal and conservative because they paint by number what should be carefully articulated.

Whey you say, "I lived firsthand and suffered the consequences of an unbliblical lifestyle--R-rated movies, drinking, smoking, swearing, gambling, and other things," I have to point out that you have categorically implied that drinking, et all, are consequences of an unbiblical lifestyle. This simply does not hold up biblically, intellectually or spiritually. Drunkenness, yes. R-rated movies that put one into a situation of temptation too great to bear because of personal weakness, yes. Intentionally offending another or violating good order by swearing, yes. But all of these things, per se? Absolutely not. These are not consequences of an unbiblical lifestyle. Audultery is a consequence of an unbiblical lifestyle. Dishonest dealings is a consequence of an unbiblical lifestyle. Injustice is the consequence of an unbiblical lifestyle. But not lighting tobacco and breathing it in or letting grape juice sit out a while and then drinking it.

You also write, "I agree with John Piper that if we start to become accustomed to "living like the world," as they used to say, our kids and grandkids and beyond will suffer much spiritually, physically and emotionally."

It is true that we must be distinct from the world, but we must be distinct in the right way. And perhaps the loss of Christendom and the new position we find ourselves in has so disoriented us that we latch on to things like teetotalism, anti-smoking, and film constriction ironically based upon the world's rating system to distinguish ourselves when we should be distinguished by our charity, justice, and vision for the world.

You write, "We have told our kids that satan is very tricky. He's not going to come up to you with horns and a pitchfork and try to get you to come on over to his side very blatantly. He won't let you see how horrible he is. He'll try to lure you in little by little with seemingly innocent things." Yes, but this includes seemingly innocent prohibitions like eating with unwashed hands and harvesting on the sabbath. It also includes the temptation to raise things like tithing on mint, dill and cummin to first order importance. Again, I would ask, which is the more dangerous biblically?

"If kids come to our home and say they're not allowed to watch/play this or that, then we honor their parents, don't roll our eyes or say anything derrogatory."

I agree. To do anything else is disrespectful.

But you write, "It's kind of the same with pastors. If what John Piper said in the clip is what he got from his time of prayer and preparation, then I'm not going to find fault with him." This is a very dangerous principle. What if someone got in his time of prayer and preparation that the biblical demand for women to cover their heads in the church was still binding?

You're right that he has a huge responsibility. And I tried to make it clear the debt I owe him. But I too have a huge responsibility in raising my children, leading my family, conveying a sense of the Christian vision to my students, etc. And that responsibility sometimes includes critiquing openly what I believe to be bad enough thinking to warrant it.

"I know you're looking for more philosophical answers, but I find that my philosophy and practice are not always easy to match, so I included some of each."

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm only looking for philosophical answers. And I thank you for not responding in that fashion. I am looking for fully humane solutions that honor who we are as the People of God and where we are at now in the world. This has to be practical.

"We have noticed in the 23 years that we have been Christian that nobody, nobody, nobody does everything just right--no matter how just right their philosphy and behavior seems."

Amen.

And here's pretty much what I'm saying, I think, echoed in how you end: "The hard part about list making is we are never going to get everybody on the same page--until Jesus comes back. Then none of the things we think are so important to be free to do are going to matter much when we see him."

So why make lists that you think apply to other people?

JPB said...

And anonymous, feel free to e-mail me if you would rather your identity not be public on a blog. I do like to know who I'm talking to / with. Certainly if what I said gave any serious offense.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I'm a little technologically challenged. I couldn't find from your home page how to e-mail you. Maybe you can point it out.

Actually, I took no offense at all to anything you said. I was just describing how I look at things. I know it's not perfect, but it's just where I'm at at this point.

I can clarify more by e-mail, but I'll just say to you and the other posters here, it's not that I think drinking, smoking, gambling and R-rated movies are the result of the worldly lifestyle, but to me they were the wordly lifestyle, and because my family lived that way is why we suffered. That's what I meant.

JPB said...

Amen, and thanks for the clarification!

JPB said...

Sorry. I had forgotten I adjusted my e-mail settings. If I get this cleared up, you'll be able to click on my profile and e-mail.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry for my anonymous response. However I signed up to blog originally, I just can’t remember whether it was through google or wordpress or how I did it, and none of my usual usernames and passwords seem to work, so I just gave up and signed in anonymously. I just stopped by your blog after you commented on one of my comments on another blog. I guess I should have explained that and not barged in on your blog so abruptly.

I find it hard to discuss things in detail in blogs and e-mail because often people can’t hear your tone or just otherwise tend to misunderstand. I understand your concerns with legalism and with the excerpt from Pastor John’s message, but I just tend to agree more with him. I didn’t think there was anything disrespectful about your critique. I realize we are both coming from much different experiences.

Regarding some of the other points you made about my comment:

I share your dislike of labels—it’s not really nice to label people—especially with all the connotations that they carry. And there is such a continuum with people at various points. Yet it just seems easiest to speak in terms that people are familiar with. I’ll try to think of a better way.

You’re right, it is weird that we use the world’s system to evaluate movies and other entertainment. There are actually some G and PG rated films that carry worse messages than many R rated films.

You make a good point about the Pharisaic type sins—ceremonial things and lack of mercy. Maybe I am more sensitive to very visible sins because they devastate so visibly. Which is worse? Well, all sin separates us from God and brings death and destruction in this life and eternally. Yet Jesus did say that the Pharisees sins were worse than the prostitutes (well, I’m not quoting him, but he implied that more than once—I can’t think of the verse, but I think did say it straight out at one point.) Yet I think there is a difference between people who put on a show to hide their sinful, selfish desires, and people who really want to avoid things that lead to destruction—especially when they came as close to it as I did!

You are also right in saying it is a dangerous principle to say that what people conclude from their prayer time is always right. I did not mean to imply that. A lot of cults and heresies started that way. I almost added to my comment about respecting what God puts on the heart of other parents a clarifying note that if the other parents were practicing something really bizarre or dangerous, I would say something about it. So yes, if a pastor said something really hurtful or wrong using a Bible verse to defend it, I would say something about that and not continue to go to that church if wrong teachings continued. I think what Pastor John was saying was different than that, and I think your critique is understandable and not putting him in the same category as false teachings or bizarre behavior. I know you’re not accusing him of that—you didn’t sound accusatory at all. It sounds like you are concerned about falling back into legalism. When I said that I wouldn’t find fault with him, I was disagreeing with the person (I didn’t think it was you) who said he went over the line by saying he felt Christians shouldn’t drink and why. I think pastors should be able to express things like that. And especially since your church doesn’t hold back membership for drinking, I don’t think people should find fault with him for giving guidance, and then allowing people to live by their conscience. It’s like when you said “amen” to my desire to respect other parents—you agreed, but we both understand that there could be exceptions to that. If another parent lets their kids smoke pot, I’m not going to ask my kids to respect that. So I guess our principle in both cases (parents and pastors) is generally we respect people for their convictions that come out of Bible study and prayer, but we must be careful because people can be wrong.

Philosophical answers. I meant that is sounds like you are looking for guidelines and principles, and some people offered book recommendations for that, whereas, I shared more personal experiences and examples. I’m just not sure that’s what you were looking for.

I think it is impossible to make and live by lists and I don’t recommend it. I guess I was trying to agree with you on that, but also recognize that as we study the Bible and pray about things in our lives, there are going to be specific things that we find to be unbiblical and that we want to avoid. It amazes me how we all read the same Bible and yet we can all look at things so differently. I will be so happy when we see Jesus face to face and it all will be so clear.

You have been so gracious to listen. I hope I have not gone too far off your intended topic.

cd

J. Balsbaugh said...

CD -

I thought your exhange was perfect for the blog. And it does remind that others have different experiences, therefore we can't measure these things in the end by experience -- though of course that has to play into one's assessment.

In the end, even taking experience into question, the ultimate authority for us as we shape Christian culture is the biblical witness as to the kind of culture God wished to establish in his people.

Which blog do you run?

Anonymous said...

I actually don't run a blog, I just read them--mostly from our missionaries, DesiringGod, and a few people I've picked up from the DG blog.

I was thinking last night about a statistic that our Women's Ministry director shared. I don't remember the source of the stat, but it said that each generation lowers its standards by about 10 percent. Eventually when a generation hits rock bottom, someone in the family responds by turning things around and going in the opposite direction, setting the standards very high again.

I find myself wondering if at times I've lowered our standard a bit. For example I'm glad that people don't judge me for going to movies, as I hear was once customary. Yet I'm concerned about the number of great films (The Notebook, the Bourne trilogy, The Guardian) that display such courage, loyalty, commitment, so many good qualities, yet send the message that premarital sex is no problem. I had mentioned this in your first Achilles Heel post, but entered it kind of late.

I appreciate the way the people in your blogs really respect and take each other seriously. I was a part of a group last year where if people held different views, they really started to bicker. Thanks for hosting such a helpful forum.

Anonymous said...

I should probably specify the blogs I appreciate so much are yours, 22 Words, the Pipers--most I have picked up from those. I only get on in snippets, and it will probably be harder once school starts, but it has been refreshing to correspond with such nice people.