Saturday, August 15, 2015

A little too clever by half. . .

Among all the changes in the fabric of American culture and society, the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage only represents the fact that we as Americans think we are too clever and this is itself a serious fault and failing.  It is not unique to us for we certainly follow the mold of modernity in presuming for ourselves that we know better than those who have gone before us and know better than the God who made us.  But we are less careful about saying that and less self-conscious of its arrogance today than ever before.

In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul writes:  I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever. . .  These are words of judgment more against us and our time than any other time in history.  Even Christians believe that creations was given us to improve and not to use faithfully, that God's act in making all things was to give us raw material to us in our self-appointed role in remaking what He has made.  While this is certainly true in the callous way we have raped and pillaged the earth without care for the damage we have done or the glory of God, it is even more true in our intellectual presumption that we know better than nature, than God, and than those who went before us.

We have taken reproduction and turned it into a technology that is designed to put us into control.  We will decide if and when sex has the capacity for children -- not God and not even nature.  We will control the genetic shape and make up of the child we choose to create -- not God and not even nature.  We will decide when to have children and when not -- not God and not even nature.  We have taken the miracle from our humanity and turned it into the sterile room of a technology center in which techs tinker to produce super babies immune from all our foibles except our arrogance.

We have taken marriage the turned it into a fundamental right in which we decide when and who we will marry and when and who we will divorce.  Within a day of SCOTUS casting aside all state laws to prevent same sex marriage, Tennessee, one of the hold outs, had its first same sex couple file for divorce.  Are we surprised?  No.  Are we shamed?  Not in the least.  Marriage is for no nobler purpose than my happiness and I will decide when it begins and when it ends.  That is the way we defined marriage long before the courts or politicians decided to amend its parameters.  Marriage is not about sacrificial or long suffering love  but about the whim of pleasure that comes and goes and with it the spouse.  It is strange that anyone still wants to enter the quaintness of a marriage given that sex, children, and pleasure have long since been emptied from marriage and made available to any and all who want it -- safe, without commitment, without responsibility, and without trouble.  Except that we as a nation are more despondent and depressed than any generation before us.  Why?

We have made the measure of a life well lived its happiness and so the move is more and more to allow any and all who decide that they have too much of life to end it quickly and painlessly with the aid of a physician whose first call was once to do no harm.  Is there anyone who has not grown weary of life's troubles and trials, its disappointments and despair, its sorrows and struggles?  Our responsibility to neighbor has shifted from the help of those in need to the hastening of a death we now call sweet so that they can find release and we can get on with our lives without having to worry about them. In fact, it is better to kill the unborn rather than subject them to a life of unhappiness where they are neither wanted as we think they should be or have the chance of a proper, emancipated, and sophisticated life.

Of all the sins we have committed the most troublesome is our arrogance and cleverness.  It is this lie that the SCOTUS adopted into law.  We know what we want, what is best for us, and what will make the lives of others better.  We think we can outsmart God, outsmart disease, outsmart marriage, outsmart family, and outsmart death.  How is it working?  We do not really care.  Victimhood is our obsession so if it is not working out well, we can glory in our misery and find somebody to blame (ultimately God) for our unhappiness.  It is this that we must first confess to God and it is this that we must learn to repent or God will turn us over to our false and empty wisdom and allow our deceptive and fake cleverness to stand.  Even though it may now be enshrined into laws that shame us before God, we must first learned to be shamed by them before anything might improve.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of great trouble. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power … so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith … But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:1-8; 14-15).

1 comment:

John J. Flanagan said...

Very insightful commentary. I think the problem is endemic to our race, and part of our rebel nature. Man has exhibited this arrogance of which you speak in all generations and in all societies. Even professing Christians fall into this trap, let alone the secular world at large. Today, as I scroll through the articles written by Lutheran bloggers, some from ELCA, and even from the LCMS, I see an effort to rewrite the Lord's words and admonitions in a way suitable to please the culture's values. Educated ELCA theologians whom I know are regular bloggers can come up with the most troubling, stunning, and distorted reinterpretations of the spirit and intent of the Confessions, Holy Writ, and plain Bible verses....fashioning into them a post modernist viewpoint. I argue with some of them, and I am always attacked because my views are contrary to their own. It is like presenting a jury with definitive evidence and convincing and timeless truths....which are handily rejected. Today's post modernist Lutheran theologian doesn't even bother to defend their reinterpretations of God's word with any great persuasive analysis, they simply present it as truth. But such are the false teachers in all generations who have taken this road. It is enough to have the world challenging the word of God, yet the post modernist progressives within the body of Christ do even worse damage. They are actually educated men and women from within the church who have set their minds on turning the truth of God's word into a lie and leading others on the path of apostasy.