Friends, we are not in the Bible Belt anymore. Though elements of cultural Christianity drift about the South like the objects from Dorothy’s farmhouse (God Bless the United State, anyone?), we have been transported into a new world. The road to fulfillment no longer guides people to churches singing, “I Walk Through the Garden.” The yellow brick road of the twenty-first century points its guests to a technological wonderland with shiny towers dedicated to humanism, naturalism, and paganism.
A NOT SO GOOD OZ
The new Technicolor America surrounded by the Munchkins of secular diversity is, as one pastor said, a world of “hedonistic and unrestrained sexuality and selfishness” (p. 59). Our high school teachers are sleeping with students, our web designers are responsible for 89% of all pornographic web content, our scientists are silencing their critics via lawsuits, and our youth commit violent crimes against both the young and the elderly. The new American culture no longer seeks for the truth behind the curtain. Americans are their own final authority and their own god on all matters from sexuality to immigration. And things are not going particularly well in the new Oz.
Moreover, America is increasingly finding evangelicals to be scarier than winged monkeys. Today, researchers estimate that only 7% of the American population sees the world through the black and white lens of evangelicalism (Dickerson, 2013, p. 32). If trends hold true, less than 4% of America will be evangelical in the years ahead. Evangelicals are feared and decreasing in number.
Even things that might be considered good news are followed by bad. For example, the Bible is currently the most searched for book on google. Unfortunately it is followed by Fifty Shades of Grey, and The Fault in Our Stars. Christianity is losing the popularity battle to unrestrained sexuality and self-expression. Off to the modern Oz, we go.
OUR HOPE IS NOT GONE
I say all this not to dampen your day. God is still king. And His kingdom is moving forward (Mark 1:15). When He returns, we will really see in color as we enter a world of loving perfection. And as we wait, we can be confident that the Church will never disappear. And the gospel is moving powerfully in China, the Philippians, and South Korea. And there is every reason to hope that God will bring revival to our own nation. Jesus will rule the world one day (Rev. 7:9-10)!
WE CAN’T TRUST OZ
I mention the above statistics to remind us parents of our responsibility to teach our children. No one else will help our kids grasp that there is more to the world than sex, money, and college degrees. The new American culture settling in on our screens will not teach our kids biblical morals. The internet will not make our kids wise. Hollywood will not inspire our kids to abandon violence. And, schools will not direct our children to spiritual truth and hope. If anything, they all point to a dark world swarming with disappointment.
If we want our kids to know Jesus and to understand the beauty of the gospel as it relates to work, school, sports, and music, we will have to teach our children. And while church is important, the task of teaching is primarily our responsibility (See Deut. 6). We watch our kids when they wake up, slap a sister, refuse to eat green beans, and score a touchdown. We have the wonderful ability to bring the gospel to bear in every aspect of their life. Let’s commit to following God’s plan and protect our kids from the coming tornado of American culture. Moreover, let’s commit to seeing our kids become brothers and sisters in the kingdom of Christ.
Dickerson, J. S. (2013). The Great Evangelical Recession. Grand Rapids: Baker .