Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Railing at Glory

Events declare how philosophically and spiritually shallow are the principal influences in our culture. The following events are transient and the details will be forgotten and seem passeňä before long. But the state they reveal will likely get worse until conditions are so distressing reform will be an appealing necessity.
Tim Tebow is a mere football player. But he has a strong conviction about God and is unashamed to declare that. Without all the details, one characteristic will suffice. He credits Christ for his ability and successes. He can be seen on the sidelines on one knee, head bowed, giving thanks. This has driven our cultural mavens into madness, in deranged frenzied antagonism and mockery. Foul mouthed and all but publicly fornicating players receive plaudits, but a person full of good works which bless suffering children as well as others, in monetary and personal ways, is in his faith an absolute thorn in sides of our influential secularists.
And so to their rescue comes Saturday Night Live. A skit is presented where a “whatever” Jesus visits Tebow and the locker room of the Denver Broncos with irreverent banter delighting the “sophisticated” audience. Revelatory enough, but something more significant was to come. Bill O’Reilly, who touts his Catholicism, and criticizes those he calls “secular humanists,” showed the skit on his news commentary show. Following the skit, there he sat with a benign avuncular smile, and chortled, “I hope God has a sense of humor.” Thus a professed believer’s principal response to the profane distortion is amusement. That takes us to new depths of peril. Now a sense of humor is a wonderful thing, and without it life might miss some of it color. And man who is made in the image of God has one, so I take it God does. There are a few things in his word that evoke humor. But principally His Word is a declaration of what he has done, that we might know who he is, and thus his significance to our existence, destiny, and hope, which leads to our serving him with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28).
A culture may have it skills, learning, and diversions, but if it lacks something that is greater and more than its transitory self, how futile. If it lacks a knowledge of an existent profoundly greater actuality, how trivial and vain. If there is nothing so high and ennobling that it is due our absolute reverence, life is lacking, especially in purpose. To contemplate and revere things high and noble, greater than the individual, and greater even than the whole collection of mankind, is to be ennobled oneself. To look up to One who is Holy, Holy, Holy, who was, is, and is to come, is to give a sense and purpose to life nothing else can. That is a quality of thoughtful and serious people. Thus our initial observation. How philosophically empty and spiritually shallow is a culture that has nothing so transcendent as to be above parody or burlesque, and that includes O’Reilly’s vacuous amusement. Is humor our greatest quality and virtue?
The scriptures speak of people who are “daring, self-willed, (who) tremble not to rail at glories” (ASV footnote , II Pet. 2:10). Given that is an evaluation of the One who shall eventually judge us all and in whose hands we now dwell, can we appropriately laugh off such things in our empty helpless shallowness?

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