Church Message

A Recipe for Retaliation
By Ronald Gallagher
CHURCH DIRECTORY

Church message imageChurch sponsors jul17I might have been curious enough to watch the Emmy Awards show last weekend if they would have had a bunch of actual parrots on stage squawking out anti- Trump leftist talking points in a lame attempt at humor instead of human beings doing parrot impersonations, and it might have been more intriguing if they had been squawking to an auditorium full of actual seals trained to clap wildly on command instead of people acting like them. Then again, even that would have been too redundant, too predictable, and too intolerably boring to suffer through for two hours.

It’s a sad and disturbing commentary on the status of America’s moral character that people who exhibit, defend, and promote the attitudes and behaviors demonstrated by most of Hollywood’s icons even have a job. It’s even more unsettling to consider that their income— exceeded only in ridiculous obscenity by their rhetoric—is largely supplied by those who claim to adhere to values that Hollywood’s elites delight to ridicule. Even though they openly despise the beliefs and repudiate the lifestyles of their "fans”, they’re able to keep seducing millions into buying their tickets, watching their programs, downloading their music, and reading magazines extolling their hedonistic lifestyles.

All of us know that none of these antics are new. Every year sees new attempts to reach even deeper into the sewer and see if some piece of filth can be drawn up that is even more repulsive than last year’s offerings. Pointing all that out again, I admit, is redundant and doesn’t accomplish anything, but just pointing it out is not my purpose. Pushing back is better.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the heartland of this nation refuse to support the values that run counter to every positive and uplifting thing about us? Wouldn’t it be encouraging to see a clear repudiation of the attitudes and behaviors that infect the minds of our kids and that tear our families apart? Wouldn’t the day look brighter on every hand if we began to promote a resurgence of the kind of character that built this nation and that produced the greatest real heroes we have ever had? And doesn’t that sound like a more positive and powerful invitation to our heart than wasting another chunk of our life watching yet another "star” telling us that their view of life is the only acceptable one, that garbage tastes good, and that filth is funny?

God used David to say it so well: "The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men” (Psalm 12:8 NKJV). That’s a one-sentence synopsis of the outcome that Hollywood’s influence has already had on America. It’s too late to talk about devising preventive strategies. What we need is retaliation— a concentrated effort to counter the effects of the toxic diet we’ve been served for decades by the entertainment industry, but our tactics have to be different.

God’s way to retaliate against the wickedness prowling on every side would be to take His definition of moral and ethical character out of the closet, to put it on display in the daylight again, and to proudly herald its benefits. We’ve allowed godly character to be treated like some kind of outdated, behavioral antique, in spite of the destructive influence of Hollywood’s hedonistic approach to life. Pushing back involves contrast and conflict, but it doesn’t have to be in the violent, destructive, or coercive ways we’re seeing so often these days.

Jesus came to offer ordinary people with few options and little or no hope a future that was priceless, and a way to live that was radically different from what their religious hierarchy had shown. Jesus pushed back with clear and simple words, but they were reinforced with a life that demonstrated what His words meant.

Unlike those media icons who have no intention of living among their worshipers, much less touching them, Jesus did exactly that. Though all of Heaven was subjected to Him, he lived among the poorest and lowest of us, and touched the untouchable. He didn’t come to take from an adoring crowd and offer in return a glimpse of His gifts and talents. He came to take nothing from those who adored Him except the source of their pain, and to offer in exchange all that He had -- and in doing that, He changed the world.

What if we retaliated by living the principles He taught, and by celebrating those whose lives are characterized by things like honesty, integrity, and faithfulness? What if we turned off Hollywood’s stars in favor of honoring people willing to stand beside us and, like Him, live among us?

In addition to being an active writer, speaker, teacher, and blogger, Ron Gallagher serves in a variety of roles as a ministry consultant for local churches. His Biblical insights are coupled with down-to-earth humor, satire, and relevant stories, all aimed at promoting "right side up thinking in an upside down world.” Ron strives to apply God’s truth in a way that stimulates the mind, encourages the heart, and challenges the cultural norm.  Check out his blog, "Gallagher’s Pen” at www.gallagherspen.com

 





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InBrief 21sep17

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