Tag Archives: culture

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Every July there is a two-week international guitar festival here in Córdoba. I think that is because Córdoba claims some credit for the first classical guitar being made here in the sixteenth century. And every year they seem to make a point of inviting some aged rock and roll star to put on a concert. This year it was Bob Dylan. Ol’ Bob was born in May 1941, so that means he was 74 years old when he came here. He still dressed like he did when he became popular in the 1960s. He still wore his hair like he did then. He still sang the same songs he did then. So, what is a-changin’ for ol’ Bob?

Dylan and his fellow pop singers in the 60s were catalysts for change in Western society. Their lyrics were rebellious and disparaging of the status quo of that era. They cried out for change and they eventually got what they asked for. I think these lyrics from Dylan’s song with the above title will show what I mean:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your wall
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Even though ol’ Bob hasn’t changed much from the 60s, for sure we are living in changing times. Before you can adjust to one change it changes. The most rapid change is coming in the area of morality. The 60s generation wanted a new one and the twenty-first century has chucked morality all together. Issues of right and wrong have become issues of rights—one’s right to do what they want morally. According to God the right to do wrong brings judgment and woe. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my Living Right in a World of Woe which has just been released by Antioch Press:

From the beginning of the world God has given instructions in the form of commandments and laws informing His people how they are to live in this world. These commandments and laws are the basis of God’s relationship with people. He is God; we are His creation. He commands; we obey. Our obedience to His laws brings blessings. Our disobedience to His laws brings curses and woe. God does not change and God’s laws do not change. What God says is right will never be wrong. What God says is wrong will never be right.

We are now living in a time when some civil laws of the land are in opposition to the laws of God. What is evil in God’s sight is now called good. Obedience to those laws that oppose God’s laws will bring woe to individuals and nations. What is a Christian to do when ungodliness is the law of the land? The answer is simple: we are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). At this time when legal and societal pressure will be on Christians to conform to the laws of the world, it will be good to take a fresh look at how God requires his people to live right in this world and its coming woe. We must see right, be right and do right in order to live right in a world of woe.

God pronounced woe to the enemies of Israel. God pronounced woe to Israel. The psalmist pronounced woe to himself. The prophets pronounced woe to themselves. Jesus pronounced woe to cities. Jesus pronounced woe to the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Jesus pronounced woe to the rich. In Matthew 18:7 Jesus pronounced woe to the world. What is woe? Where does woe come from? Why does woe come? Why is this world a world of woe?

Woe has several different meanings as used in the Bible. None of them are good. Woe can mean an exclamation that brings a curse of condemnation or judgment. It can mean deep sorrow, grief or affliction. It can mean ruinous trouble and calamity. An exclamation of woe can apply to the one expressing it as in the case of the psalmist and the prophets. It can apply to individual people, cities and nations when pronounced by God.

With the psalmists and the prophets, woe comes from what they observed going on around them. The wicked prosper. God’s people suffer. But the greatest woe came to the prophets because they observed God’s people sinning and enjoying it. Woe comes to the sinners as a natural outcome of their sin.

Romans 1 gives us a list of things that go wrong when people do not acknowledge God: their thinking becomes futile and their hearts are darkened; thinking they are wise, they become fools; and, God gives them over to the sinful desires of their hearts, to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. Sin brings woe to the sinners. This woe is the one that means a curse or condemnation. This woe comes from God.

Isaiah 5:20–24 gives us a concise explanation of why woe comes and why the world today is a world of woe. The prophet spoke words that apply to all ages when he said:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,

23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.

24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord  Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

After describing the world we live in, the prophet succinctly put the reason woe comes in these words, “they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

Living Right in a World of Woe

LRWW eBook coverWoe is inevitable when ungodliness is the law of the land. This book will help Christians live in an ungodly world that brings woe upon itself and woe upon Christians for not conforming to it. Helpful guidance is given for understanding this present world and how to overcome it by living like Jesus Christ.

Why a World of Woe?
See Right to Live Right
God’s will is Right
The World Started Right but Went Wrong
The World That is Wrong
Be Right to Live Right
Doing Right is Living Right
Living Right in a World of Woe

Living right requires seeing the world in the right way from a biblical worldview. Living right in this world of woe requires knowing God’s will as He guides us through these perilous times. The history of the world is traced from the biblical origin of the world’s culture to how philosophy and science has lead the West away from God.  A description of today’s Western culture that brings on the woe is presented. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount is used as a guide for being right and doing right in the home and in society as we live right in a world of woe.

Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Antioch Publications (October 2015)
Language: English
978-0-9967929-0-5 Print
978-0-9967929-1-2 Mobi
978-0-9967929-2-9 ePub

You can find this book at major booksellers including:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Feelings trump truth

“The truth hurts” is an old saying that describes telling someone the truth when the truth is perceived as negative and makes the recipient feel bad. The meaning behind the saying is the truth may hurt, but it does not harm, and it should spur the recipient on to be better or do better so that the truth will no longer hurt. The saying was popular when people wanted to hear the truth. Not so today! Why? Because people do not want to feel bad. Why? Because life is feelings brought on by experiences. People, especially young people, do not want to experience anything that makes them feel bad. They are willing to sacrifice truth and knowledge in order to avoid feeling bad.

An article in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic magazine titled “The Coddling of the American Mind” shows the extent that young people today want to avoid feeling bad. The article begins: “Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.” The movement is fueled by the “emotional well-being” of the individual. Of course, like so much in the world where bad is called good, the movement to avoid negative feelings in the name of emotional well-being will have the opposite effect. A person who cannot deal responsibly with negative feelings will never have emotional well-being.

The article gives the example of a law professor at Harvard who was asked by law students to not to teach rape law or to use the word “violate” (as in “that violates the law”) fearing that it would cause some students distress. Who knows? Maybe some student might think that they had been violated in some way in the past. That is absurd enough and the article gives some examples that are more absurd.

Mental reasoning has been replaced by emotional reasoning. Emotional reasoning assumes that your negative feelings necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true!” Lord help us! when feelings are the sole basis for interpreting reality. Is this generation being coddled or what? And to think that these young people will someday  be adult babies and will run the institutions of our society. It will indeed be a world of woe.

Here is an excerpt from my book Living Right in a World of Woe which will be released soon:

We have moved from the belief that everyone has an equal right to their own opinions, to the belief that everyone’s opinion is equally right. Everyone determines what is right for them. Everyone is their own god. Everyone is a fool (Ps. 14:1). Evil has become good.

Fifteen years ago we talked in terms of “floating anchors.” The things that held society together and that anchored one’s life to his history and identity were no longer secured to anything. Today the anchor rope has been cut at the boat. There are no anchors wanted. Society is adrift with no destination in mind.

The folly of this twenty-first century culture is that there is no foundation to one’s life. There is only an emotional freefall. There is no family, no love, not even a faithful friend to land on before you reach the total despair of suicide. When the music stops there is silence—nothingness, hopelessness, despair, death. With no music the body has no life because the human spirit has already been killed. It died when God died.

In thirty years the youth of today will be middle-aged. They will have no choice but to continue on with the culture they created and with what they have been doing. They have no traditional family, traditional religion, or traditional culture to return to. The modern church has let them down. Instead of converting youth to be like Jesus Christ, the church is converting Christianity to be like the youth.

I have tried to describe the world we live in here in the twenty-first century, the world that Christians are in but not of; the world and things in it that we are not to love. It is impossible to predict what the world will be like at the end of the twenty-first century, if the Lord tarries. Current culture has no trajectory. What has been described will not apply to, or be the culture of, the small minority who still hold to the Judeo-Christian worldview and who live in obedience to the truths of the Bible. Christians must be prepared to live like a remnant in a culture that has repudiated the foundations of our faith. Living right in a world gone wrong will not be easy.