Before making the illuminating comments I would like to present this morning, I need to prevail upon you to do a little refresher as necessary.
As the sexual controversies of our day continue to unfold, the need of the hour is for believers to understand what is actually going on, and how we got to this place.
In pursuit of this noble objective, I am going to be talking a little bit about millennials — bless their little round faces — and so I would refer you to this previous post I once wrote about hiring millennials. I do so because at that time, I surrounded my assertions with a host of refined qualifications, but after the fact got the kind of blow-back that ignored all the qualifications, and made me think bulls-eye to myself. Because this post addresses another weak spot in the millennial psyche, I make these prefatory comments in the hope that nobody makes me say bulls-eye to myself again. Self-congratulation is spiritually dangerous, and I would therefore ask you all to work with me here.
Second, I need to remind everyone that justification is not just a theological category. It is also a political and cultural reality. What we call a media “double standard” is actually this process of cultural justification at work. You can read a little bit more about that here. This is important to understand because Christian millennials are trying to combine a biblical list of sins with a pagan concept of cultural justification. It simply cannot work — one will eventually give way to the other, as it is currently in the process of doing. And not in the good direction.
And no discussion of millennial reaction would be complete without a discussion of cultural whining about how people need to be made to feel safe, and how they need to be given permission to heal. Or something. By these criteria, this blog is an extremely unsafe place. It makes you think, and that, in these times, is a recipe for trouble.
All right. A commonplace in these discussions is that approval or disapproval of same sex mirage is a generational thing. There are other factors, obviously, like race, political ideology, and religious commitments. For example, evangelical Christians show the most disapproval of same sex snipe hunts, but if you drill down among the evangelicals you will find that millennial evangelicals are more open to our new marital kinkeries than are the oldsters.
To which, our response should be to take this data as showing us where the teaching and instruction is needed. We must not take it as a democratic decision on which way we must all now go. It is quite true that the attitudes of the millennials will be the mainstream attitudes twenty-five years from now. But this is quite a different issue than deciding whether or not those attitudes of the future are steeped in ignorance. Old fools come from young fools, and one of our tasks is to protect our great-grandchildren from the future regnant bad ideas and all their concomitant follies.
In The Screwtape Letters, the senior devil dispensing advice notes how the word “phase” is indispensable for their diabolical work. But, as Lewis points out, “I used to feel that way” is not an argument, and this reality is not altered by changing it to “we used to feel that way.” The mere fact of a homo-tsunami is not an argument. Yes, it is quite true that we are replacing the old way of thinking about same sex mirage with a new way of feeling about same sex mirage. But the change is not just a rejection of the paradigm of a man and woman in bed, both of them naked and having God’s idea of a good time. The change is also from thinking to feeling.
Taking one thing with another, millennials have been emotionally coddled for years and from virtually every direction. They have been trained to move in response to how it all feels, and not in response to what actually is. What I argue for here on this blog is dismissed in just the ways that Screwtape teaches Wormwood to lead his patient along. Don’t have them think in terms of true and false. The enemy can argue too. Have them think in terms of stark, or realistic, or pragmatic, or in tune with the times.
But if they reject the authority of logical argument — forgetting that right reason is an attribute of God — they are susceptible to a ringing declaration, a very emotional declaration, of “no condemnation.” And this takes us right back to the concept of cultural justification.
The reason what I write here seems harsh to so many millennials is that it is set against the backdrop of what our culture is hellbent on portraying as a glorious, liberating, joyful and happy event. The backdrop of this perverse no condemnation anthropology is being brought to us in the form of mandatory participation in weddings, so let us illustrate it with a wedding image. Say a minister gets to the place where he says “let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” If a man in the congregation clears his throat, stands up, and says, “Um, I do,” then it is not his words that are harsh. It is his very presence. It is the fact that he is even there. He is the offense.
The whole event is structured in order to justify (and glorify) the bride. It will have this impact even if we happen to know that the man objecting is entirely in the right.
So whatever Ahab might think about it, Elijah was not the one who was the troubler of Israel.