Friday, June 10, 2011

Amusing ourselves to Death: Brave New World or 1984?

Neil Postman was right, in part. We are amusing ourselves to death. We are living in Huxley's Brave New World more than Orwell's 1984. In the former, people medicate themselves into bliss, voluntarily setting aside what they were made and meant to do for trivial pursuits; in the latter, totalitarian regimes take things away from the helpless masses. This alternative 'world' of our own making we now live in is neither brave nor new. Just a recycled version of what the God of the Bible highlighted centuries ago in the language of Psalm 49, "man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish" and Psalm 14:1 "the fool says in his heart 'there is no God'". "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked, a man reaps what he sows" (Gal. 6:7) and "do not be misled, bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33). We are either firmly planted in the fields of truth or not. God sees through lip service. Functional atheists and agnostics abound, even in Christian circles. We toss out God-talk like it was an offering to appease the gods for a time, then we go back to our 'diversions'. We'd rather play than engage the enemy. The heart is laid bare.

What am I getting at? The propensity of professing Christians to play the game but not buy in to the game plan. We do it so well. Say all the right things at all the right times and the rest of the time just do whatever you jolly well please. Like the gifted player who hangs out on the sidelines while the rest of the team practices. And he wonders why he isn't starting and why his skills are diminished. We all put the time in somewhere. Many insulate themselves
from reality by multiple diversions, thinking somehow that in losing themselves in the momentary they might escape the inevitable reality. Like little children running around a playground we have bought into the extended, perpetual adolescence that says we don't need to think about or grapple with weightier subjects. Just pretend they don't exist.

This is no playground, its a battleground. Souls are at stake. You'll be tempted to say "don't be so hard on yourself, or me". With all due respect, you don't have to read this. You can back to your diversionary tactics or get in the game. The choice really is yours. I for one want to focus on the gospel with the likeminded. Not being ashamed (Rom. 1:16) means not being embarrassed of, disgraced by, hiding from the realities of, the gospel. Too often where the rubber meets the road in life we are all three. Bonhoeffer said that when God calls a man he bids him come and die. Jesus said "deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me." Deny yourself, repudiate self, be sick of your Christ-contrary ways, die to selfish ambition, and follow the path of the crucified. We are either running from or to the gospel and all it's glory.

The heart is laid bare. I am left lying in the dust at the foot of the cross. Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or just maybe God is sensitizing my soul, once again, to the glorious realities of the gospel of the grace of God in Christ. OGK (Only God Knows) and He, in His Sovereign grace, restores what locusts have eaten. He redeems, enabling us to redeem the time. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised. A mentor of mine, Wayne Anderson, taught me "As I'm saved by grace, so I live by grace and lead by grace and serve by grace". As yesterday's post alluded to, if I love Jesus above all I won't be bending or twisting grace into something it's not.


  1. Sobering and so accurate. Thank you!

  2. Do note that one can have fun, be amused, and (especially!) rejoice while being aligned with the Gospel. For example, I have so much fun working with small groups of teachers in Guatemala with International School Project (Campus Crusade for Christ), introducing a curriculum "Foundations of CHristian Morals and Ethics" that they take back to their schools and teach to their students. And I amuse myself in my retired spare time by talking to and getting to know the former drug addicted/alcoholic homeless who now man tables in front of various grocery stores to raise money for the ministry that is lifting them up. And I rejoice as I ride my bike for hours and thank God for all the wondrous things there are to enjoy where I live. I especially thank Him that He let me flounder under my own power for nearly 50 years before calling me to Him, so that I have no illusions about what I "did" to "earn" my salvation. To Him be the Glory!!