by Joe Kirkpatrick
No prayer in schools, gay rights, sex on TV, how did this (plus much more) happen in a so called Christian Nation? It is simple - an illness I have termed "Christian Complacency." Before you think I am finger pointing, I too, have been "guilty as sin" of Christian Complacency.
How did we go from the conservative Christian country of the 1950's, with the Bible openly taught in public schools, to the largely immoral country we live in today? There are many factors, but I think the invention of the television played the biggest role in our country's moral decline. Several years ago, I heard a man named Mitchell Tolle speak, and what he said was a real wake up call for me. He had been in the military, and served mainly in the far east in nations who embraced Buddhism. He told of how in the home of Buddhist families, they would build an altar to Buddha in the center of the wall in their living room. He then went on to say Americans also placed an altar in the center of the wall in their living room too - it's called a television. That really got me thinking about what I enjoyed watching on TV, and I realized the show that was by far my favorite was "Two and A Half Men." This show has been on for several years, and reruns at that time were shown every night Monday - Friday at 7:30, in the time frame which is commonly referred to in TV scheduling as "Family time." For those of you who are not familiar with "Two and A Half Men," here is a summary: Controversial "Bad Boy" actor Charlie Sheen is the star, and is the "Stud" on the show who lives with his nerdy brother who can't get a date, and Charlie Sheen's young nephew. Every episode depicts Charlie Sheen bringing home a hot sexy woman to take to his bedroom, makes insulting remarks to his brother about how he can't get a date, all done in front of the young nephew, so hopefully he will grow up and be a stud like his uncle instead of a nerd like father. Of course, the show is "packaged" in a way all of this on face value appears funny. After I heard Mitchell Tolle speak, I realized as a Christian I, too, had been duped by Hollywood and sucked in to watching something very immoral. I then started assessing other shows I was watching and enjoying that were too based on things that Christian's should not watch.
Now those of you who know me personally know I am not perfect by far. I am also not that smart (ask any of my teachers I had in school). However, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what is going on today. I think many times we are so involved in keeping up with what is in style and the latest trendy thing, we simply don't take time to stop and really analyze what is really going on.
Here in Cleveland, Tennessee, where I live, we had a controversy several months ago where a city commissioner was alleged to have used the "N" word in a conversation. For the next couple of weeks, that story dominated the news on all three local TV channels, as well as the newspapers. The NAACP held rallies, and for an organization that had experienced a membership decline, membership suddenly began to increase again. Why? Because the black youth had become complacent, and this was their wakeup call.
Christian's recently got a wake up call too when Phil Robertson, star of Duck Dynasty, was suspended from the show after he made what the A&E network called an "Anti-Gay" remark. Even though Christians like me have sat by and watched shows like "Two and A Half Men" without doing anything, this time things were different. Christians rallied in masses, and scored a clear victory when A&E must have decided Christians spend more money than gays and lifted Robertson's suspension.
The city commissioner's alleged use of the "N" word is now old news. The increase in the membership of the local NAACP has most likely tapered off as well. But, what do we as Christians do now? Is this it? Phil Robertson is reinstated. Do we as Christians learn from this that we can unite and use this to build on? Or, do we let this die down, become old news, and we return to our lives of Christian complacency?
Even though I titled this article "Christian Complacency," I do not mean to infer anyone who isn't a Christian is immoral and unconcerned. Through personal experience, I know and have many friends who are not of the Christian faith who have very high ethics and morals.