Our Culture Has Taken a Plunge

keep-calm-and-don-t-cross-the-lineI’m a big fan of social media. I think Facebook and Twitter are wonderful tools to use in God’s Kingdom. I use Twitter to follow Christian leaders and pastors and truly enjoy the way it brings God’s people together. Because of social media, I can sit under the tutelage of people like Charles Stanley, Johnny Hunt, and Mark Batterson. There is something truly wonderful about connecting with the leadership of my denomination through Twitter. It also gives me the opportunity to share what I’m studying and learning with others. On Facebook, I created a group for my Sunday morning Bible Study class. It’s a tool we use to share prayer requests and questions. It is also a wonderful means to keep the class “connected” between Sundays.

However, as much as I love social media, I have noticed a phenomenon recently that has me disturbed. What has me bothered is the lowering of standards in regards to our language. Please understand, I’ve worked in a prison for twenty years and have heard (and unfortunately used at times) language that I am not proud of. Because of my career in corrections, my language was an area of my life that God had to deal with. But I must be honest … when I hired into the prison system twenty years ago, there was a certain brand of foul language that was unique to the prison where I worked. As I peruse social media today, however, that same language has now become common place – even amongst the youth! Today, people are willing to type and memorialize forever on their Facebook pages words that were once reserved for the darkest corners of our world. And this phenomenon has become so normal that none of us react to it!

The same is true of the porn culture in our world. Behaviors that were once considered taboo have become normalized. Sex is everywhere. Popular TV shows, music, movies, and even commercials all contain sexual content. And yet we wonder why there are teens everyday texting naked pictures of themselves to members of the opposite sex. We live in a culture where our conduct, bodies, and very lives are no longer valued as they once were.

We have fallen asleep at the wheel and allowed what was once considered taboo to become normalized in our culture! 

Yet even as I point this out there are some who will claim I’m overreacting to the situation. They will say certain behaviors have always been present in our culture and that things are no worse now than they’ve ever been. I’m sorry, but I have witnessed the decline of our moral standards first hand. We live in a world that is drastically different than one I grew up in.

Francis Schaeffer wrote of what he called the “The Line of Despair.” In short, there was a time in our culture before we crossed this line where nearly everyone (Christian or not) saw Christian values as something worthwhile and believed in an absolute moral truth. Having crossed that line, however, our culture no longer sees truth as absolute and views morals as relative to each individual. Heck, in todays culture, those who hold onto a Biblical standard of ethics and morality are often accused of hatred and bigotry. There has been a shift in how our culture views morality. It is no coincidence that this shift coincides with the degradation of moral standards and behavior in our culture.

I suppose the question is, “What should (or can) Christians do about it?” As the Church, we need to stay strong and keep offering the one thing that stands in stark contrast to the depravity we see in the world – Jesus Christ. The Church culture should stand in polar opposite of popular culture. We must conduct ourselves in a manner that sets us apart from the world. We need to preach Christ-crucified to a culture that is in desperate need of the Gospel message!

Christians … our language, behavior, Twitter feeds, and Facebook walls should set us apart from nonbelievers in a manner that points others to Christ! The Word says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:16 NASB). We need to understand that the degradation of moral standards we see in our culture is a mere symptom of a much bigger problem.

Our world needs Jesus Christ as much now (if not more) than at any time in history. We must stay faithful to the Gospel and continue to proclaim it to the world.

Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NASB).

I think D.C. Talk said it much better than I …

 

 

 

Should Christians Avoid Facebook?

In a recent blog post, Pastor Jared Moore responded to the notion that Facebook causes divorce. Pastor Moore argues that blaming Facebook for divorce is akin to blaming sugar for obesity. He writes:

We cannot blame sugary soft drinks for obesity, tobacco for lung cancer, media for corrupting our children, immodestly dressed men or women for our lust, social media for divorce, etc. The problem is sinful hearts, and the only solution is the good news found in Jesus Christ alone. All humanity must admit that the good news is Jesus Christ and that our sinful hearts are the bad news. Husbands and wives cheat because they believe a new relationship (sin) is the good news (gospel).  Why do they believe this lie?  Because their hearts are evil.

I agree with Pastor Moore. Facebook isn’t the problem; rather, the problem is that in our fallen states we often times prefer sin over a relationship with Christ. Having recognized this preference for sin, however, one must wonder if Facebook is worth it for the married Christian. In the world of social media, temptation often runs rampant. A husband or wife who is prone to cheat probably shouldn’t run the risk of harboring friendships with members of the opposite sex apart from their marriage (online or otherwise). So would it be better if we just abstained from Facebook all together? After all, as Christians we should be looking for ways to limit opportunities for sin … and Facebook sure makes it a lot easier to cheat.

Personally, I would stop short of recommending that Christians abstain from Facebook all together. There are probably some that should, but not all. I would, however, recommend that all Christians who choose to use Facebook should do so wisely. Here are some tips:

1. Create a joint account with your spouse: I recommend all married couples do this because it puts to rest any suspicions (provided both the husband and the wife have unfettered access to the account). One positive result of a joint account is that friends, family, and others will begin to view you and your spouse as a couple. Admittedly, Facebook doesn’t have an official option to do this, but it’s easy enough to figure out after playing with the settings a bit.

2. Use Facebook as a tool to spread the gospel: Many of us are hesitant to discuss our faith with others. While you may not have the guts to evangelize in person, Facebook can be a natural extension of your walk with Christ. Did you have fun at church Sunday morning? Share it on Facebook. Did God answer a prayer? Praise Him on Facebook. Want to invite someone to a Bible study? Invite them on Facebook. Social media can be a wonderful way to share your Faith. If it offends someone, they can always un-friend you, right?

3. Use Facebook to connect with other believers. Utilize Facebook as an instantaneous way to communicate with your fellow believers. I’ve recently discovered that Facebook is a wonderful tool to voice urgent prayer needs. With one status update, I can instantly request prayer.

Granted, we could all close our Facebook accounts and sign up for Faithbook, but I submit there is a way we can use social media wisely.

What’s your opinion?