Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The path of enlightenment....

I read recently that 1920’s star Mary Pickford stepped in for actress Billie Dove to kiss her real-life husband Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate. It’s generally reported that the switcheroo was made to pacify Pickford’s extreme jealousy and insecurity, but who knows? If I saw my spouse kissing another, I wouldn’t be jealous. I’d be too busy mortally wounding her.  Apparently, Kirk Cameron manipulated the cameras so he could kiss his wife, rather than the actress who plays his wife, in Fireproof.  I have read of others who have stuck by their values and refused to participate in roles that would compromise them.  I offer only two examples (ancient and more recent).  Perhaps you could add to this short list.

My point in this is that it is assumed that those who would raise an issue or refuse such to act in such a scene are narrow minded and prudish.  It is the way of the enlightened that such things do not mean anything.  It is just a scene, just a role, and nothing real.  It is just sex and seduction and not love or commitment.  It is just a little fooling around or living together and not marriage.  The enlightened, it seems, are able to make these distinctions while the narrow minded and prudish (and generally religious) cannot separate an act from reality or fiction from truth.

I would suggest that is exactly the problem with enlightenment -- at least an enlightenment that makes these distinctions.  It has created a culture of distinction which enables us to fulfill the desires of our hearts without guilt, to dabble in our sins of choice without taking them seriously.  It is only sex.  Well, yes, it is sex but the problem is the only part.  It points out not our enlightenment but our shallowness.  We expose not our erudition or sophistication but our crudeness and our foolishness that these things do not really matter.

It is not just about sex.  We dabble at entertainment instead of worship in part because we are told (or we tell ourselves) it does not matter what brings them in as long as it does.  It does not matter if the music is shallow or superficial or the worship a spectator based appeal to feelings -- doctrine and teaching will follow.  So those who think that what we do in worship matters are called narrow minded bronzies who are not "missional."  Funny, Willow Creek has already found out and admitted that it does matter and that they succeeded in convincing folks it does not matter and so they are content with a Christianity lite and a passive good time in the theater seats with their Starbucks in hand instead of full blown Christianity.  The enlightened path to reaching our culture has ended up with few real results but lots of numbers.

We continually wrestle with how little one needs to know or believe to be called Christian.  So an Osteen offers us the judgement that Mormons are Christians but not the full Christianity he was raised in.  But, both Osteen and Mormonism offer the lightest of the lite Christianity (if at all).  The enlightened way is to say "sure they are Christian -- just not like us."  We say this of so many when we have an easy gauge to Christian orthodoxy in the Creeds.  Do they confess the ancient creeds or not? Now there is a move to rehabilitate even Pelagius and soon Arius will be rescued as will other heretics of the past and present -- reclaimed by the enlightened who can see past the condemnations of old.  Why even Lutherans and Roman Catholics are looking for ways to like each other without each admitting that they were wrong!  It is, after all, the enlightened way of religion and faith.

I guess I am anti-enlightenment.  Some have long guessed that I am far too comfortable in a previous era when speaking truthfully and testifying to orthodoxy in faith and practice was seen as noble and honorable.  I am not sectarian nor am I a Luddite.  I just think that we have not well served ourselves, our faith, or our Lord by separating things into neat little compartments and deciding which count and which do not.  We should be striving for belief and morality that strives to be full, unabridged, and faithful -- with all the consequences that go along with this devotion to the faith.  A morality which can be silent and passive, hidden deep inside but unable to change or challenge our behavior is no morality at all.  A media which exposes our moral frailty and calls it normal is not serving us well.  A worship that allows us to watch without really participating and to listen to a moral pep talk about achieving a better life now is not worth our time and effort.  A faith defined by minimums and generalities is a faith devoid of the power to seek out the sinner, forgive him, and redeem him to everlasting life. 


Anonymous said...

We live in a culture without any
moral absolutes. The 10 commandments
are obsolete. Morality is in the
realm of personal choice as long as
you do not hurt anyone. The church
has lost its moral authority because
truth is relative. Welcome to the
21st century in America.

Until people admit their sin, they
have no need for a Savior from sin.
Yet the Gospel message of Christ is
still needed in our world.

Sue said...

Adding to your list: George Strait, in Pure Country, didn't kiss the girl at the end of the movie, when in most cases that would have happened.

I like your post!