Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Are Men Growing More Wicked?

Are Men Growing More Wicked?

Yes, men are growing more wicked.

Proof shouts at us from every niche and corner: on the television, the movie screen, the radio, the Internet, at the table next to us in a restaurant, in the newspaper, in politics, economics, from the suburb to the inner city, from the most rural setting to the ivory mansion, evil is rampant, adamant, blatant, decadent, flagrant, violent, insolent, and constant.

After five decades of observing human nature and culture, my observations are existential to my subjective experience, but only a blind and deaf man would argue against objective proof of my assertion that men are growing more wicked.

As my “righteous soul is vexed from day to day,” I think often about moral and cultural deterioration. My latest contemplation of that awful subject derives from a recent conversation with an educational colleague who taught a number of years in a southeastern, metropolitan public school district. Beyond the typical incorrigibility and lethargy of the average student, numbers of her students wore electronic ankle bracelets to supervise their probation. Threats against teachers and social matriculation were the norms. We both reminisced about “the good old days” when public school schools were excellent (of course a handful still are), and the teacher was equally respected with the doctor, lawyer, and preacher. The teacher was always right, a revered authority-figure whose professional station inherently demanded respect from both students and parents. Misbehave, and the prodigal could expect an enforceable penalty; continue to misbehave, and he could expect the board of education applied (with stinging force) to the seat of education.

My! How things have changed! Punish a punk and you'll get fired and sued.

If you’ve followed this blog for any time, you’ve heard my harangue about prolific profanity in public places. Add to that the sexual promiscuity and drug abuse rampant in our culture, and one already has several unassailable proofs of moral and cultural deterioration—disrespect, irreverence, ignorance, laziness, rebellion, materialism, relativism. I know Caligula had his day, and Hitler, and Dillinger, too, but nowadays outlaws, hooligans, hoodlums, and hedonists are the rule, not the exception.

Why?

Pragmatically and historically, the 50's and especially the 60's are the origin of this decline: the advent of rock and roll and, with that, the drug and sex culture; the burgeoning entertainment industry and media controlled by reprobates and profligates; perpetual and large-scale breakage of the Ten Commandments; the intellectual and philosophical deterioration of the average university and the raping of the public mind; celebrity worship in athletics, theater, and music; relative and socialized democracy instead of absolute and socio-economic hierarchy bred from meritocracy, the psychological wasteland of divorce; pornography; sexual license; social and biological Darwinism; laziness; gluttony; Arminianism; mysticism; and, yes, the debilitating effects of multi-culturalism in the name of tolerance and equality: all these factors are symptomatic proofs of men grown more wicked.

It is certainly becoming much more difficult to love a neighbor as oneself. Those who possess moral integrity find themselves increasingly polarized from the broader culture; this is why Christian schools exist, and why so many Christians channel (and largely waste) their energies through politics, trying to “take back America for Christ.” But, of course, a political solution is only a Band-aid. A national catastrophe might spark a degree of moral and cultural reformation, not a molehill like 9/11 but a mountain like WWII, perhaps simultaneous and broad-scaled nuclear or biological detonations in American cities (I think it is almost sure to happen); but every Israelite knows how shallow is the repentance of Pharaoh and Egypt in the midst of plagues.

I am so thankful that I am a citizen of Heaven, that the Church is my Home, that the Bible is my Constitution, that a better Wind blows upon my Homeland than that shifty and violent wind of human culture; I am so thankful for God’s grace in my life, for the forgiveness of my sin through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and for eyes that, though they must at times look with horror and sorrow upon “the things seen,” can also look above and beyond to wonderful and unassailable “things unseen.”

“Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,” Paul has told us, and also that “in the last days, men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”

May the Sovereign and Merciful God of Heaven help Israel that she may also grow, better and better, “in grace, and in the knowledge of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

By His own decree, and in His own way and time, that Dread Sovereign, Messiah ben David, shall "wash His feet in the blood of the wicked."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lost in Austin

The Fair Tish and I went on our annual Super Secret Road Trip ("SSRT"). This was SSRT #5: Lost in Austin. The SSRT occurs around the first week of July every year, and is basically comprised of me planning a weekend in a city, telling Tish to hop in the car, and then we go. Somewhere along the way, I tell her where we're going, and it's a great deal of fun. This custom began when we were dating, and would go someplace for the day (in other words, we wouldn't spend the night somewhere).

Austin was a blast. We ate some great food, visited the Capitol, canoed, and toured the LBJ Presidential Library. We also stumbled upon a tea party, and hung out with about a thousand of our closest friends. If I could buy stock in the Gadsden Flag, I would go all in. The tea parties, if nothing else, are great stimuli for the flag business. Below I've composed ten observations about Austin. Feel free to contribute your own.

1. I didn't get bitten by a single mosquito, not one---not even while canoeing. I don't know if you can appreciate that phenomenon or not, but I must say I found it simply amazing.

2. Perhaps just as interesting, I surmise the reason I didn't get bitten was because Austin is home to 1.5 million bats that live around the lake near the Capitol Building.

3. Somebody should franchise tattoo parlors. Maybe that's already been done, but if it hasn't some enterprising inkster should take charge. Austin has approximately 700,000 people, all of whom, it seems, have at least three visible tattoos. That's visible tattoos.

4. Austin has a N. Congress, a S. Congress, and a Congress. As Congress is the main road, I believe there should be some sort of sign when you come into town about this. The Capitol Building divides North Congress and Congress. Then past the lake you have South Congress. I suppose this isn't a big deal when driving, but when it's 1:30 on a 110 degree day and you're walking around the Capitol Building on Congress and 15th hankering for a pizza at a certain primo pizza joint you read was on the 1400 block of S. Congress, and you've just noticed that north of the Capitol is N. Congress, well, you get a bit peeved, let's say, when you walk six blocks and realize there's no "S." in front of Congress....

5. While you can't smoke in restaurants in Austin, you can wear a dress that comes less than an inch below your business, if you catch my drift. Speaking of women's dresses, a feminist law professor told me once that a good answer to an essay question should be like a woman's skirt: long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting. Driving down 6th Street on Friday evening on our way back to the hotel I saw a lot of "interesting," but I don't think everything got covered.

6. I am absolutely convinced that big cities breed racism, and that the only people who can't see that are those people who live in big cities. A quick glance around and you see self-segregated groups all over the place: Asian groups, Mexican groups, Black groups, White groups. We were at a pizza place (a substitute pizza place for the aforementioned primo joint) and I went to get a refill of my Cherry Coke (the best drink with pizza, bar none). Behind the counter was a 40ish woman of Italian heritage, and in front of the counter chatting with her was a 60ish woman of Mexican heritage. The older woman was quite upset over something regarding the ubiquitous Jackson coverage. I asked her what she was specifically upset about and she cited the tickets being sold for the funeral at the Staples Center. "Would you ever pay for a funeral?" "No," I said. "I would never charge for one either," she said. Then she paused... "It's the blacks." Maybe I'm just some hayseed hick, but I figured it was just nuts of all races.

7. Is there a requirement that hotel workers don coats that are three sizes too big for them? I notice this on every overnight trip I take now. The guy, or gal, behind the counter, regardless of age or race, has on a coat that just swallows them. I wonder whether that's taught in all of those hotel management courses they have at colleges these days.

8. I'm convinced that every waiter I had there either just moved to Austin to get into the music business, or moved to Austin 10 years ago to get into the music business. (I'm sure in the fall there will be students waiting tables, too.) The Fair Tish pointed out that the reason they probably haven't made it in music is because waiters have to work so many nights and weekends, which is when most gigs would be booked. She suggests that aspiring musicians get day jobs so they can perform at night. I thought that was a brilliant point.

9. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited at the tea party (I abstained). The recitation brought up this thought: If we added Puerto Rico as a state, then would people who pledged allegiance to the 50 star flag not have to pledge allegiance to the 51 star flag, as they would be reneging on their prior promise? What about pledgers from pre-Alaska/Hawaii?

10. There's no place like home.