by Jason Cruise
I woke up Monday morning and checked my Twitter feed. Evidently MTV's Video Music Awards were nothing new. Rank. Raw. Filled with glam and pop culture. Yet there was a buzz above the norm, and it was due to Miley Cyrus. Her performance left even the most un-shockable shock jock pop stars speechless with shock and awe.
Before you start shaking your head, be careful, because I'm not so sure you, me, and Americans everywhere, can get off the hook on this one.
I searched out the video of her performance on the internet so that I could see it for myself. It was bad. No, it was awful, not merely in matters of music and production, but in all things related to the human soul. However, after watching it, my first response wasn't targeted at Miley. My first thoughts were targeted at us: all of us. All Americans. Everywhere. I thought to myself, "Why all the shock? This is what we wanted. She's giving us exactly what we've wanted for decades."
Miley Cyrus is completely to blame for her actions. Let's be clear about that. I detest with a vengeance any time I see someone blame evil or depravity on anything other than the person doing it. Miley is not a product of her environment. Miley's a grown woman who did what she did because she wanted to, but as an entertainer, she's just living out what people want to see. As an entertainer, she's matching the culture's desire for more of the edge we want to see pushed.
There's a question in leadership circles about how change happens. It goes like this: "
"How do you turn a battleship?"
Answer: Constant pressure on a very small rudder.
We've allowed ourselves to get to this moment in our nation's history. Decay is always a slow process. We have decayed via constant, unrelenting pressure in the name of freedom of expression. We, and by we I mean all of us, Jesus followers very, very much included, one by one, we all began to let things into our lives and our homes that were far less than righteous.
We ... me ... you ... watched Friends in college and laughed about their lives as twenty-somethings trying to figure life out, all the while willing to put up with the sitcom as it was couched in the context of every character freely pursuing multiple sexual partners.
We ... me ... you ... let our children go to movies that have questionable plot lines because we want them to have friends and we want them to be socially included. Americans at large have allowed promiscuous language, via the television, to slip in our homes, all the while telling our kids, "Oh, sweetie, now we don't say that."
We just let it go, and that's how it happens. The constant pressure of promiscuity leaning hard on our cultural rudder eventually wins. That's how you transition from Andy Griffith to NBC's debut of The New Normal, aptly titled because it's two gay men raising children. It's in this same cultural context where now you have the debate in the church over whether or not homosexuality is actually a sin when God's word couldn't be more clear on the issue.
It's in this same culture where you see men, in rampant numbers, addicted to porn. Christian men included. It's in the same culture where you now see women struggling with self-image and doubt because they can't keep up with the latest breast implant fads; nor can they measure up to the ads they see in magazines where models display photo-edited versions of what is, after the graphics are mastered, a woman who is a computer generated, perfect, flawless version of the quite flawed woman who actually modeled in the photo.
It's in the same culture where movies are filled with killing, and killing, and killing. It's in that same culture where video games are filled with killing, and killing, and more killing while the teenage gamer, surrounded by girls in the video game clad in bikinis, stand in awe of him doing his killing. Yet, we are somehow shocked when we see Newtown?
Listen: it's not the fault of a gun. It's not the fault of a video. Even the most anti-intellect human being can reason that out. It's evil, and we let it in our homes, and by letting it into our homes, we gave it value.
We have taught our children to value killing, sex, sexiness, and rebellion. In fact, many of you PAID to let these values into your home because you bought the video games, and some of you watched these movies and sitcoms yourselves right along side your sons and daughters.
It's in this same culture where teenage California boys are watching their wildest dreams come true, supported by the force of state law, where boys have access to girls locker rooms and bathrooms, and can now go shower alongside girls at public schools, if those boys are willing to say they are struggling with their sexual identity. I can promise you, at the age of 14, I'd have been the very first to sign up for that, and every one my buddies would have, too! We'd have all been claiming to be sexually confused, without the first ounce of shame, if it meant getting to watch girls take showers.
We let it go. We, Christians included, shook our heads in disgust, yet we did nothing. We let it go, and eventually, slowly, over thirty years or more, it's gone. All of it. Innocence has left our country, and it's not coming back.
Miley grew up in a culture where the gloves had officially "come off." Everything and anything that even hinted at sexuality was actually celebrated as creative and vogue. Every movie, every song, every sitcom, every billboard, every everything, from the day she was born into this world, reeked of sensuality.
When I saw Miley's performance, my heart hurt for her. She literally looked and acted like a person who'd lost her mind given that her soul had been taken over. As a father, my heart hurt for Billy Ray Cyrus. To see you daughter act out such depravity has got to leave a man speechless.
Even still, friends, do not think that we are completely innocent. Even within the church, our standards have fallen. Our regard for that which is Holy is missing, and we are paying for it.
So now what? What do we do in the face of a culture that is morally lost its mind?
Take back your mind. The Scriptures tell us that we are to "be transformed by the renewing of the mind." (Romans 12:2).
Take back your home. Get rid of networks like ABC FAMLY who stated recently that they are going to start introducing programming for kids that have gay parents. Take back your music, and your kids music, when lyrics denigrate the holiness of God's plan for your body. Cancel service to networks that show movies that your children can access when you're not home, and for the love of God and His plan for you, don't watch them yourselves.
Take the words of Jesus seriously. Jesus wasn't offering a Great Suggestion. He was giving a Great Commandment. When He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" He was including loving God with your iPad, loving Him through your DirecTV, your movie ticket purchases, your iTunes downloads, how you spend your money, loving Him through the clothes you let your kids wear, and the video games you let them purchase.
Our culture may be lost. And gone. And depraved. That doesn't mean you have to be, and it certainly doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your children on the altar of temporary popularity for the long-term loss of their soul.
Post Script: People ask me all the time if they are allowed to forward The Man Minute or post in on church or corporate websites. Absolutely. In fact, in this case, I would hope you'd send it, post it, or tweet it to every man, woman, or teenager who is willing to listen.