My mother taught me to hang our underwear on the middle line of our clothesline so that the clothes on the two outer lines would shield our “unmentionables” from the prying eyes of the neighbors. These days I would almost bet you could walk into any WalMart and find someone willing to take off their clothes and show you their underwear if you promised to post a video of them on YouTube. For the right price you might even find someone willing to walk around naked.
When I was growing up bra commercials showed a bra on a mannequin, over a sweater or other garment. Today you can see more flesh on a bra commercial than our fathers could have seen in a strip club. There is even more nudity in television shows.
I grew up with something my parents called “polite conversation”. There were subjects you didn’t talk about at the dinner table, in public, with the neighbors, etc. Now you can walk through any public place or sit down in nearly any restaurant and hear cell phone conversations about sex, drugs, in-laws, jobs, co-workers, health conditions- complete with descriptions, expletives, and anything else you really didn’t want to hear. Neighbors do not keep secrets! They brag to you about their latest exploits involving drugs, alcohol, and escapes from the law- far more information than you ever wanted to know. Television shows and commercials talk about topics and products I didn’t even know about until I was twenty! Now any child can listen to them any time.
I once overheard my father cursing at a non-responsive engine he was trying to fix so we wouldn’t remain stranded on the side of the road. My mother made her “displeased” face, but said nothing. In a moment my father came to the car window and apologized. I’ve had kindergarten students use the foulest language you can imagine, and use it “correctly”. What is sad is that they use it so casually…you know they have heard it repeatedly and no one has apologized for using it. And of course they can hear it in movies and on television.
My grandmother once spoke with my mother in hushed whispers about someone they knew who had left his wife for another woman. It was a terrible, shameful act that left the family devastated. Now men, and women, seem to abandon spouses without shame or regret. After all, cheating is so American! Most of our movie stars, politicians, sport figures, and musicians do it, AND talk about it openly on television. Why wouldn’t everyone else?
Our society has no shame. In fact, we not only misbehave, but want the world to see and hear our actions. We post photos and videos on our phones and computers for the entire world to see. We talk about our worst actions as though they have no affect on our future. We want our fifteen minutes of fame, even if it is for something bad.
Our society has moved beyond shame and guilt and repentance to world of open-mindedness, acceptance, and forgiveness that has made almost anything that anyone says or does acceptable. Worse than that, we are taking steps toward pride and arrogance. Remember what Proverbs 16:18 says about that: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
P. S. I’ve written about some of this before, but recent events made me feel that a little further comment might be necessary. And I offered some pictures from this morning to soften the lecture. J
Have a great day!