So, I’m reading my Internet newspapers this morning and I just can’t help but think, “What a shallow, culturally bankrupt society we live in.” I know that sounds harsh, and perhaps I’m just in an irritable mood (which I am), but just look at what’s going on around us. Let me share some headlines
From the New York Daily News
“Four cuffed for beating malnourished 10-year-old, dragging her behind car with a rope tied around her waist” (What?! Who does that??)
“Sophie Richie decides to walk barefoot in Malibu parking lot” (as if this is news, and who the heck is Sophie Rich anyway?)
“Pull-out method of birth control nearly doubles since 2002” (who’s keeping these stats?)
From the Oregonian
“After investigation reveals inept leadership, Portland principal put in charge of even larger school” (can you say, “Peter Principle?”)
“Oregon Runs a government waste hotline; it wastes money” (of course it does)
From Yahoo News
“ABC fuming Strahan won’t end vacation for hurricane coverage” (First World problems)
“Single parents are not happy about Kristin Cavallari’s joke” (because we can’t take a joke in this country anymore)
“The cost difference between Melania Trump and Michelle Obama’s outfits reveals the truth about America’s criticism” (yes, fashion is how we should judge people)
“Last-second trade for $162 million pitcher” (yes, because people who play sports are worth so much more than, say, teachers, cops, nurses, and the rest of us who actually work instead of play for a living)
“Mandy Moore doesn’t like to sleep in” (mind blown!)
From Fox News
“Stars’ stripper past revealed” (Ugh)
“Nude blogger is back” (anyone notice she actually left?)
“Brooke’s bikini body at 45” (someone needs attention!)
“Principal fat shamed girls” (great leadership there!)
And it goes on and on and on and on.
We’ve gotten to the point in America where our culture glorifies:
- Graphic Violence
My friends, we are Rome and you know what happened to them!
Perhaps I’m being too judgmental. Yes, there are “feel-good” stories in the media as well. I particularly like the ones about animals being rescued and cared for. But if you follow where we spend our money, what we do with our time, and what is considered “news worthy,” I think you agree that our culture is completely depraved.
Under the NBC News headline, Things are looking up in America’s porn industry, we’re told that porn is a $97 billion world-wide industry, $10-$12 billion from the United States alone. Think about that, Americans spend roughly $11 BILLION on porn! That’s more than 14 states’ entire budgets!
According to Forbes Magazine, “The sports market in North America was worth $60.5 billion in 2014. It is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019.” That’s more than 43 states’ budgets.
What are we paying our celebrities a year? Here’s a list of the top 10 from Forbes:
- Sean Combs – $130 m
- Beyonce Knowles – $105 m
- K. Rowling – $95 m
- Drake – $94 m
- Christiano Ronaldo – $93 m
- The Weekend – $92 m
- Howard Stern – $90 m
- Coldplay – $88 m
- James Patterson – $87 m
- LeBron James – $86 m
So, what’s my point? We worship entertainment and escapism not God.
According to Christianity Today, Americans tithed and gave $114.9 billion to churches and religious organizations in 2014. That’s a big number and makes an incredible difference in our communities. Imagine if churches didn’t give – where would our cities, counties and states be without those social service dollars that supplement areas the government can’t or don’t cover?
But that number is actually dwarfed by the totality of American spending on entertainment and self-indulgence. A story from Moneyish says Americans spend $1 billion on alcohol on the 4th of July – a billion bucks of booze in one day!!!
A guy named Glubb Pasha argues that there are seven stages in the life cycle of an empire. They include:
- The age of outburst (or pioneers)
- The age of conquests
- The age of commerce
- The age of affluence
- The age of intellect
- The age of decadence
- The age of decline and collapse
Based on these seven, where do you think we are today? I’d say we’re number 6 racing as fast as we can toward number 7!
Here’s a pretty good quote from that same article (Life Cycles of Empires Lessons for America Today – July 6, 2011 Beyond Today United Church of God):
“The growth of wealth and comfort clearly can undermine the values of character, such as self-sacrifice and discipline, that led to a given empire’s creation. Then the empire so affected by moral decline grows weaker and more vulnerable to destruction by forces arising inside or outside of it.”
Come Jesus Come!
I don’t know if I actually have a point to make this morning. If I do, I guess it’s just to point out that this country of ours is in deep trouble.
We glorify sin
We glorify wealth
We glorify pride
We glorify division
We glorify violence
We glorify independence from God
They say if you don’t learn from history, you’re bound to repeat it. As Christians, we need to learn from historical Israel and how she rose and fell time and time again as her love for God ebbed and flowed. As Americans, we need to learn from every great empire that came before us…and fell when their cultures became debased as ours is now.
The news is not good. Perhaps it’s never been. But I find my morning reading more and more disturbing as today’s Journalists (and I use that word lightly as a former reporter and editor myself) highlight insipid stories of zero worth to the collective encouragement and edification of society.
The worse news, however, is these Journalists are just doing their job – they are reporting what they see. God have mercy on us!