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Re: Old Fashioned Values?

    "For everyone from the least of them even to the greatest of them profits from unjust gain; and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the ruin of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush; therefore they shall fall among those who fall. At the time that I punish them they shall be cast down, says Jehovah...

    Thus says Jehovah, Stand in the ways and see, and ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS WHERE THE GOOD WAY IS, AND WALK IN IT, and you shall find rest for your souls...

    But they said, We will not walk in it." (Jer6:13-16)

In response to some recent mailings there have been private comments related to the watching of things on TV, such as certain game shows (that were used as object lessons); that Christians should not watch certain things, since they do not fall into the category of: "whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report...if they are virtuous and praiseworthy; think on these things" (Php4:8)

To one such respondent I replied that my remote gets its channel buttons used a lot; and that the "off" button also gets used. In fact, the channel select buttons get used so much that their labels have long been worn off...a stranger picking it up would not know which buttons do what

So, at the risk of offending these same people once again, here is another object lesson from the land of TV. This time, animated adult cartoons. After all, for the few of you who don't watch these things, I know there are others who do... are you aware of what you are seeing?

For years I have refused to watch things like the Simpsons, thinking it was only about smart-mouthed Bart and crass Homer. But over the past year I've discovered that it is a platform providing comic-relief, satire and real life commentary on many things. Many pretend [c]hristians would be benefited by its occasional observations and commentary on the "church", and such things. The world actually seems to recognize the truth of a lot of things that most church people are blind to; some things we address on a regular basis from a Scriptural perspective. The world pokes fun; we speak seriously. They periodically address the starched-shirt traditions of Rome, charismania, and the left-behind crowd.

And then, on certain nights, after the Simpsons, the "Family Guy" comes on. And this is our object lesson this time.

In Archie Bunker-esque ("those were the days") style, the opening starts with a piano center stage to which Mrs Griffin and Peter come out singing. She sings about "violence in movies and sex on TV" and he sings "where are those good old fashioned values on which we used to rely?"

Listening to those words, one might think the show was a clean 'family' show: bemoaning today's immorality, and dreaming back to the "good ol' days" of presumed goodness and decency. But in the very context of these words, what is going on in the background? (Some of you are likely familiar with it. Others of you are not; and you are not missing anything; and this is not to suggest that you should look it up to watch it. Don't.) The music is Big Band, with cartoon character Broadway chorus-line Las Vegas style dancing girls on the big staircase kicking up their legs.

These are the "good ol' fashioned VALUES"? If any of you have watched it, you know the episodes often go downhill from there. (It's one of those I use the channel selector against, when I see what the episode's theme is)

But has anybody ever thought of the hypocrisy of it? Bemoaning "violence and sex", while in the background celebrating showbiz sex? Old fashioned values taught girls and women to observe modesty in dress, but would think nothing of going to a Broadway production where sexuality is flaunted. If it's not a chorus line, it might be ballet; or ice dancing; or today it's "dancing with the stars".

It reminds me of a song the Melody Four quartet used to sing on their 70s album "New World", the song of the same name in 70s style jazz/rock. Some of the central lyrics: that everybody is bragging about how we live in a "new world" where things have "changed", but observe that people...

    still walk in trouble, that hasn't changed;
    men hate men, that hasn't changed;
    nations rise against nations, that hasn't changed;
    and men still turn away from God,
    and you tell me brother... it's a new world today?
People bemoan Brittney Spears or Mariah Carey, half naked, writhing sensuously. But as the Family Guy opening depicts, in the good ol' days they had their dancing girls. People of the 50s would edit Elvis' lower half from the TV cameras, and in the 90s people might gasp at Michael Jackson grabbing himself, or make a commotion about wardrobe malfunctions; but like I've mentioned in the past in a similar context, I've happened, on occasion in my channel flipping, to catch segments of old (B/W) movies from the 40s or 50s on public TV, only to see sensual hip gyrations and pelvic thrusts, and other things of a form that might make today's stage performers blush. What they do today is nothing new.

Good ol' fashioned "values"?

What -values- are those?

It's somewhat like that other topic we observed some time back, about the "Historic Christian Faith" that many lust after [read it] The question at that time was asked, "-WHICH- ONE/S...???"

    Calvinism? Armenianism? The edicts from Trent, from Nicea, from Worms? The Reformation doctrine called "sola-fide" (sans "repentance")? Once Saved Always Saved? KJ-onlyism? Baptismal Regeneration?

    Traditions from Rome? Reformation? Mennonitism? Brethren? Anabaptist? Congregational? Presbyterian? Nazarene? Lutheranism?

    "History" has many so-called "great men of God"; also called, "church fathers". Who are you going to follow? Luther? Calvin? Knox? Huss? Zwingli? Edwards? Tozer? Graham? Swindol? Tyndale? Sunday? MacArthur? Moody? And the list could go on endlessly...

    "History" has produced many false doctrines. Sola Fide (sans repentance); "following the Lord in the waters of baptism (that is to say, "because Jesus was baptized, that's why we are, too"); Jesus' blood was shed for only 'some' people but not others (limited atonement); in the end 'all' will be restored/saved (ultimate restorationism); all are 'already' saved, they just need to be informed of that fact (universalism); all the end-time prophecies were already fulfilled in 70AD (preterism) and there will not be a "millennium"; etc.etc.

In the same spirit, -WHICH- VALUE/S should we espouse?

Boys will be boys... In the good ol' days in locker rooms and other places boys would boast of their own body parts, talk and lust after the body parts of females, seek after some "girlie action", boast to their buddies of their conquests, beat up on somebody else they suspected of infringing on their territory, and perhaps even commit murder.

Hmmm! That's what they do today!

Girls were supposedly "sugar and spice and everything nice"? But when they found themselves pregnant they would be wisked away quietly for a 'procedure'. How did they get pregnant? Did the boy force himself on her? How many times did she, even though pretending in public to be a "good girl", when in private with the boy, deliberately invite the boy by uncovering herself? And how many girls would hiss and scratch at each other over some perceived desirable boy?

Only difference today, girls are no longer taught to -pretend- to be "good", but are raised up by society to grow up openly as "sluts". And mothers even bemoan if their daughters are appearing too "goody-goody", as they encourage them to make themselves up to be more provocative; as they, the mothers, themselves often behave like "desperate housewives"

What other subjects shall we address? Prostitution? It has always been around; that was at the root of the incest between Judah and Tamar. (Gen38) Murder due to lust and perverse deeds? David and Bathsheba. (2Sa11) Murder due to jealosy? Cain and Abel. (Gen4)

Do we need to go on?

Politically people bewail warfare and the 'reasons' for going to war. Today it is the US in Iraq, with 9/11 being the 'cause'; it's a "just" war. Bad terrorists! During WW2 it was the US and Japan, with Pearl Harbor being the cause. Bad Japanese! Today it is Ahmadinejad vs Israel. During WW2 it was Hitler and the Jews. Before that it was Haman and the Jews. Before that it was Nebuchadnezzar and Judah. Before that the Philistines and Israel. And before that...??

    "That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it may be said, See, this is new? It has already been in the days of antiquity, which were before us." (Ec1:9-10)

    "Do not say, Why were the former days better than these? For you do not ask wisely concerning this." (Ec7:10)

On the other hand, our opening passage exhorts...


Is Scripture contradicting itself?

The young man is 'cleansing his way' by "taking heed according to [God's] Word" (Ps119:9), and sinners come along enticing? Dad exhorts, "My son...do not consent" (Pr1:10)

The good ol' fashioned values the world clamors after, they clamor because (perhaps?) they don't truly 'remember' their past in sin. Is today really worse than the "good ol' days"? Or has -all- of human history been encased in sin, ever since Adam and Eve messed up way back at the very beginning? People today bemoan how openly provocative females are; but don't realize that ancient goddess worship millennia ago involved total nudity whilst going out to greet the rising sun-god...along with related temple prostitution.

Is it actually the case that, as we get older we become more fully-aware of just HOW AWFUL humanity really is, so we wish back for our younger days of 'ignorance' and perceived 'innocence'? Things were just as bad then, but we didn't -realize- just how bad it was?

As the "preacher" says, there is NOTHING NEW. What we think is "new" today, already existed way back since the days of antiquity. Just as children rebel against parents today, so did Absalom, Amnon, Joseph's brothers, Cain, etc.

So, what is God saying? "Ask for the old paths..."? Is God exhorting us to keep "ol' fashioned values"? What does the verse -say-?

"...where the -GOOD- WAY is"

    "Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." (Ps34:14)

    "Learn to do good, seek justice," (Is1:17)

    "Seek good and not evil, that you may live;" (Am5:14)

    "For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and DO GOOD; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1Pet3:10-12)

And... "WALK IN IT"
    "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." (Is30:21)
They say: What the world needs is 'love'...?
    "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you heard from the beginning, you should walk in it." (2Jn1:6)

    And... "..the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may -DO- IT." (De30:14)