The road too far

When I was a kid in the late 1960s, my parents took me to a neighborhood carnival. I don't remember much about the rides or who might have been there, but I do recall my dad's reaction to something I said. I had seen people wearing the typical hippy fashions with peace symbols and "free love" emblazoned on their t-shirts, and my parents must have commented on them, because my obvious question (to my 10-year-old mind) was, "What's wrong with free love?" I had no idea that the "free" in that sense is never truly free, and the "love" meant sex. Fast forward twenty-plus years and I was the mom of young boys, and very aware of our sex-crazed culture. Sex was everywhere. It helped sell everything from cars to toothpaste. Television brought it into our living rooms with greater and greater ease, and as with anything that is repeated often enough, our society accepted it.

So today when I stood in line at the post office, I should not have been surprised to see a woman openly reading the New York Times Bestselling 50 Shades of Grey. In some circles it is referred to as "mommy porn." I have not read this book, but I did read a little about it on the web. The author was interviewed on one site, and was asked if teens read her book. She said she hoped not, but then admitted that she had received letters from some who had. Many women of all adult ages are reading it, bringing erotica to a whole new level. One article suggested that the popularity of the book came from the story line, because it was about a guy who knew what a woman wanted without her having to explain it to him. No communication necessary.

I could ponder that for quite some time since communication between men and women has been a struggle since Adam and Eve. But that is the subject of another blog.

Turning a corner on this road too far, I saw in the news where more magazines were posting inappropriate pictures of royalty, which they had no business taking in the first place. Have we lost all sense of propriety? Are we really that enamored with the royals that we can't give them any privacy?  Have we forgotten the tragedy of Diana?

And these are just small glimpses of our world gone crazy culture.

Words have also changed. As a wordsmith, you would think I should know this, but at times I've been blissfully ignorant about the changes that have taken an innocent word to mean something sexual. On the other hand, that ignorance has gotten me corrected by my kids, who want to spare me the embarrassment of saying something in innocence that now carries sexual meaning.

But really, should those phrases carry sexual meaning? Are we so jaded and surrounded by talk (and humor) that would have once been considered raunchy that it no longer fazes us? Is there no shame?

There was a time when purity held value.

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:2-3 NIV

What has brought us to this place? Did it start with that "free love" in the 60's that troubled my dad so much? His answer, by the way, was to explain to me that "free love" was not what it sounded like. But the idea of that era did spark an acceptance of sex outside of marriage. Television shows and romantic movies that once stopped at the bedroom door (between married couples), now shows far more than necessary and between anyone and everyone. How far we have come.

There are a lot of stories in Scripture where people stepped outside of God's original plan for sex. David's adultery is the most famous of examples, but there are many more. In Jesus' day, when the religious leaders brought to Him a woman caught in adultery, they expected Jesus to condemn her as the law required. They already had the stones ready to sling her way, but Jesus, interestingly, told the men that if they themselves were without sin, they were free to cast the first stone. Every single leader walked away, and the only person left standing with her, the One who was without sin and had the right to condemn her, said this:

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We tend to focus on Jesus' lack of condemnation as an excuse not to judge others. But Jesus, the Righteous Judge, said, "Go now and leave your life of sin." He did not condone her  adultery, just as He does not condone any sexual pursuit outside of the way He intended sex to be. Elsewhere He said, "at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife..."

Sex was never meant to be free. Nor was it meant to be exploited for marketing purposes. And true love is much more than sex.

This road we've taken is not a biblical one nor a wise one.

I wonder just how far we will take it before we recognize that fact.