The “Anything Goes” Flood

 

“This is the lie that is at the heart of our society, the lie that encourages every form of destructive self-indulgence to flourish: for while we ascribe our conduct to pressures from without, we obey the whims that well up from within, thereby awarding ourselves carte blanche to behave as we choose. Thus we feel good about behaving badly.” ― Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

~~~

Warning! Mixed Metaphors Ahead!

So last night I had a dream…

The past several days I was made hyper aware of the inundation of God’s world with a flood of “the world, the flesh and the Devil.” We know from Scripture that God promised to never flood the world again. His promise would be signified by a rainbow for all to see. God will keep his promise even as the level of man’s inhumanity and depravity rises again.

This last Friday in particular, I sensed the overwhelming “Anything Goes” flood waters of a world system that detests Jesus as Lord. I decided to take Friday off from work, as my workload had slowed. As usual I went to the fitness club to work out first thing in the morning. Inside, the background noise turned foreground noise – a percussive sound – was so loud and so overwhelming and so meaningless in content that I had to use ear plugs and listen to the TV on the elliptical machine to drown out its convulsive effects.

After working out I ventured over to my favorite breakfast restaurant, the one I visit every weekend. The waitresses know me. The service and the food are good. The background music, not so much. And then there is Liz. Liz has waited on me many times. When Liz fills out the check it is impossible for me not to notice the creeping scrawl of tattoos that cover her arms. Liz asks me if I want the usual (what I’ve ordered over and over for three years, now). I say yes. Liz repeats the order to me and gets it wrong. Every time, she gets it wrong. “OK”, I said to myself again, “life is hard”.

After breakfast I went to a large grocery store, a store like Target. I needed to pick up a few things before heading home. Again, the background pop music is flooding forward into the large cavernous room bringing with it cultural rot –lyrics (not the right descriptor) that slither around an accelerating tribal dance beat.

I go home to rest. I turn on the TV to check the stock market news and sure enough commercials flood the room with their raised volume level and carnival barker announcements of products that will fix whatever ails your modern life. Everything is for sale in our culture.

Later in the day, I decided to go out for dinner. The temperature outside was 90 degrees. And, I cook every day, so I tell myself, “Why not go out for a change?” I check out a new “Modern Japanese Cuisine” restaurant in town. I enter and see the hostess looking deeply into her Smartphone. Out of the corner of her eye she notices me at the door and picks up a menu while looking at her phone. She throws the menu onto a table that is between the only two tables in the restaurant where people are eating.  There are about hundred open seats elsewhere. No matter. I pick up the menu and move to a table I like.

Minnie, the tattooed waitress who looked barely 21, came to my table. I asked about a certain Sake. She couldn’t answer. So, I asked based on the pricing, “It looks like the smaller price is for a glass and the larger price is for a Sake carafe?” She couldn’t answer. I then said that I wanted to try a small (I used my fingers to show her small!) glass of sake. Five minutes later and she’s back at my table to ask me what size I wanted, of the two sizes. I go along and tell again, using sign language and words.

Minnie brings the Sake and takes my food order: a Bento box with teriyaki beef. (I like sushi, but I haven’t had teriyaki in a while and besides, I saw that the Sushi chef had tattoos.) Fifteen minutes later Minnie returns with my Bento box. She uncovers the box. The meat portion looks teriyaki-ish so I don’t think there is an issue. But then I pull off some of the meat with my chopsticks and realize that she brought me teriyaki salmon instead.

It took several attempts, in the almost empty restaurant, to flag Minnie down. When I told her my dinner order was wrong it was like I slapped her out of a trance. I was starting to see a pattern develop.

~~~

Last Friday I experienced only some of the effects of what I see as the flood waters “of man’s inhumanity and depravity rising again”. Look around, carefully. You will see TV shows called “Real Housewives of…” which depict mostly women clawing and fighting to be top cat. You will see TV shows of the Kardashians where women preen and fawn over themselves before you, the mirror. You will see sitcoms which trivialize God and exalt man (and his social science). If you watch such things, how will you transform your mind?

You will see movies of fantasies – superheroes who save mankind within two or so hours and who need to be recycled to save the world again and again (for profit). There is also the trio of leave-nothing-to-the-imagination-PC-approved characters who presume to speak for God in The Shack fantasy (see my previous post). If you watch such things, how will you transform your mind?

There is the upcoming Chicago Gay pride parade on June 25th with its flood of manmade rainbows meant to stave off judgment for its celebration of inhuman behavior. If you watch such things, how will you transform your mind?

Christians are so inundated by the world system that it is easy for them to take it in and accept its sashaying flirtations with evil as just “fun and peace and love”, to accept gays as being “differently ordered” instead of “objectively disordered” (a change in terms for the Catholic Church as directed by Pope Francis)

I could write a whole lot more about the rising level of inhumanity, about abortions, euthanasia, homosexuality, about Disney’s social justice animation, about climate change population control, etc. Suffice it to say, if the Spirit of God is living in you, you will experience the dissonance: the unrelenting pummeling sounds of this world system demanding submission and the voice of God asking you to follow here and now.

 

One example of a response to the latter:

 

Important Note: In writing these things, I am not judging these people. I am observing that this world is hurting. I and all believers are a royal priesthood who stand between earth and heaven to intercede for a world that is hurting. When I see the tattoos, I pray for the person. When I hear commercials, I pray for those who are in pain, in need, who seek relief for the struggle of everyday life. When I tweet debate a homosexual I pray for their emotional and psychological needs and for the seed of the Word to be planted and to take root. Within every situation I encounter I am learning to pray in the Spirit for the person before me.

~~~

Keep in mind the words (and mandate) of those around the throne:

“With your own blood you purchased a people for God and made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5

Keep in mind this warning from the Apostle Paul in his circular letter to the churches around Ephesus (Chap. 5):

“So don’t get involved in the works of darkness, which all come to nothing. Instead, expose them! The things they do in secret, you see, are shameful even to talk about. But everything becomes visible when it’s exposed to the light, since everything that is visible is light. That’s why it says:

Wake up, you sleeper!

Rise from the dead!

The Messiah will shine on you!

So take special care how you conduct yourselves. Don’t be unwise, but be wise. Make use of every opportunity you have, because these are wicked times we live in. So don’t be foolish; rather, understand what the will of the Lord is. And don’t be drunk with wine; that way lies in dissipation. Rather, be filled with the spirit! Speak to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

Note:  the “Wake up, you sleeper! quote Paul uses is likely from an early Christian poem or song.

~~~

So, last night I had a dream: I am sitting in the backyard of what I perceive to be my house. I am sitting next to someone I perceive to be my spouse. I look up and in the kitchen window of my house are two men in dark suits with guns. I perceive they have taken over the house. Next, I see them tearing up our passports. My spouse says to me, “You need to take care of this.” So, I get up and go look for my handgun which is in my car in the driveway, but then I sense that my car is parked at the train station. I then felt helpless against the two men. I wake up.

10 thoughts on “The “Anything Goes” Flood

  1. One of the most ingenious tattoos I’d ever seen was that of a beautiful feather, if you looked closely, you would realize that it’s “spine” was actually a surgery scar. The woman who opted for the tattoo decided to take something ugly and make it beautiful.
    I also remember the story of a Ukranian Missionary who used his extensive tattoos to spread the gospel message – you see, the Ukranian youth won’t listen to anybody without tattoos. They think that people without them are not their sort of people.

    • Thank you for commenting.

      You have provided two rationales for tattooing:
      1. To hide and transform what is considered ugly – a scar, in this case.
      2. To relate – becoming like those you are trying to reach out to.

      My response:
      1. The desire to etch one’s body with a permanent ink to hide a permanent scar tissue means that you want to hide the healing process that God has given you. Scarring is a natural part of that healing process. I have scars. I don’t consider myself or them ugly. They are part of my human history. Besides, Band-aids are meant to be temporary. Tattoos are not.
      2. Should a person become a homosexual to reach homosexuals? Should I become a druggie to be able to witness to drug addicts? What the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church is often taken out of context to justify relativism:

      “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22

      This verse should not be taken out of the letter’s context to justify becoming like pagans to reach non-believers. There are limits – boundaries – to how we relate to others. We are light in Christ meant to expose what is done in the darkness. We are not to cover up the light to become like darkness so as to be included and inclusive.

      “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter 2:16 (read the whole letter)

      Consider the following:

      Why Does Judaism Forbid Tattoos?

      http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/631046/jewish/Why-Does-Judaism-Forbid-Tattoos.htm

      1. The human body is G d’s creation, and it is therefore unbefitting to mutilate G d’s handiwork. It is especially unbefitting for members of G d’s chosen nation to mutilate their bodies. One must believe that G d, the greatest artisan of all, formed him or her in the most fitting way, and one must not change this form. Changing one’s body (unless it is for health reasons) is tantamount to insulting G d’s handiwork.
      2. In ancient times, it was customary for idol-worshippers to tattoo themselves as a sign of commitment to their deity—much like an animal that is branded by its owner. On many occasions the Torah forbids practices that emulate pagan customs, considering that following their traditions is the first step towards subscribing to their idolatrous beliefs and services.
      3. The covenant of circumcision is unique in its being a sign in our bodies of our relationship with G d. Making other signs in one’s body would weaken and cheapen this special sign.

      http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tattooing-in-jewish-law/

      http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-tattoo-taboo-in-judaism/

      As I see it, there isn’t much difference in motivations: man’s current obsession with homosexuality and his tattooing himself desiring to look relevant, ‘creative’,’ artistic’, rebellious and sexy. Both are attempts to satisfy deep emotional needs, including neuroses. The fact that others are doing the same thing and that there are TV programs which promote such responses to deep needs, lends ‘credence’ to the thinking that if it is popular it must be right.

      My opening quote is from an atheist:

      “This is the lie that is at the heart of our society, the lie that encourages every form of destructive self-indulgence to flourish: for while we ascribe our conduct to pressures from without, we obey the whims that well up from within, thereby awarding ourselves carte blanche to behave as we choose. Thus we feel good about behaving badly.” ― Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass.

      Another POV from the well-read prison psychiatrist who’s also an atheist,Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels’ pen name):

      “Tattoos were always kitsch, implying not only the absence of taste but the presence of dishonest emotion. From Theodore Dalrymple’s article:
      https://www.city-journal.org/html/law-isn%E2%80%99t-enough-12899.html

      Beyond my response above, I do not see tattoos as art. Rather, they are carney kitsch which degrade and deface the image of God (imago Dei) when permanently etched onto a human body. There are many people who do not want the image of God. It is evident: some will deface their bodies and/or practice homosexuality in worship of Epicureanism, philosopher Epicurus’ response to a God they presumed to be distant, angry and uncaring.

      • If the image of God can be cheapened or somehow lessened by a tattoo of a cross, an image of Jesus, hands in prayer, or other Christian symbols – I’d question how glorious this glory is … it reminds me of the argument that a woman’s hair can outshine God’s glory from 1 Corinthians 11 and that’s why women must cover their heads in worship. If we can out-glory God or or mar God’s image; then his glory mustn’t be all that glorious. With that logic, a scar itself isn’t part of the healing process when it is permanent and will never go away – a mar in and of itself on that very image. You might as well say amputees are likewise permanently marred. I think you make too much an idol of the body itself.
        I’ve been watching a lot of spy t.v. shows lately; and that’s just what they do. When they want to create a friendship, they become just like the person they want to befriend. You wear what they wear, you talk like they talk. You can see how it works in Christian groups because it creates a sense of belonging and common ground. That’s just using basic social science. Look at how Jesus interacted with the regular folk, he gained a reputation for partying and drinking. He didn’t stand out – he blended in.

      • Your reply: “If the image of God can be cheapened or somehow lessened by a tattoo of a cross, an image of Jesus, hands in prayer, or other Christian symbols – I’d question how glorious this glory is … it reminds me of the argument that a woman’s hair can outshine God’s glory from 1 Corinthians 11 and that’s why women must cover their heads in worship.”

        Response: I have never heard the argument you pose. It makes no sense in any context I am aware of. You question how amenable God is or should be to your tattooing His image with symbols. Early Christians knew the Jewish thinking about tattoos (see above) and avoided tattoos. Early Christians avoided making any pictorial image of Jesus. They also avoided symbols because of their pagan associations. (The ichthus symbol was placed discreetly on doorways and such to identify friends and foes during a time of persecution.) This is why there are no images of Jesus from the 1st century (there is a Roman depiction of a horse on cross). Again, you are trying to justify tattoos as somehow adding ‘glory’ or adding personal meaning (sincerity) to what God has called his image in man. Tattoos are a pretense of meaning, of devotion.

        Actual text:
        1 Cor. 11: 13 “Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

        You say you watch a lot of spy movies. So, you want to be an undercover Christian? So, you want to deceive people and gain their trust so that will turn to Christ? Makes no sense to me whatsoever. And, if you tattoo yourself with a cross, I don’t think they will be taken in by your “social science” deception which also cheapens and lessens the glory of God.

      • My friends at The Headcovering Movement would disagree with you, they teach that all women must cover their head with a cloth covering: http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/christian-covering-images/the-meaning-behind-the-symbol-infographic

        I find them entertaining, that’s all. But it’s true that people like people who are like them and are more likely to hear them out. The last time I met an Amish woman in the street, I just knew that she wouldn’t have any interest in my blog and I let her go about her own business. Without any common ground, it’s hard to build a relationship. In a sense, what we present ourselves to be as Christians is the billboard for what people are going to sign up for – some women might be attracted to the head-covering crowd and copy that fashion. Others will see it as legalism. Same with tattoos, some are attracted tho the idea and others repulsed. If you have tattoos, you can reach people with tattoos, if you believe in head covering, you can reach people who are predisposed to believe in head covering; but if you’re not already of the mind for it, then trying to be converted by something who is into those things won’t work. Which is why the Ukranian missionary used his tattoos to reach those kids with tattoos. (Cultural aside: the Russian orthodox church is a head-covering church.)

      • Your reply: “The last time I met an Amish woman in the street, I just knew that she wouldn’t have any interest in my blog and I let her go about her own business.”

        Response: My advice: In place of the mental gymnastics of trying social science voodoo to get people to accept you, put on Jesus. Do not project onto people what you think they will like. And, don’t be dismissive of them based on appearance. Instead project Jesus, His simplicity, His unambiguousness, His utter trust in the Father.

        Jesus spoke to all kinds of folks. His purpose was to present His Kingdom to everyone who had ears to hear. Jesus didn’t pretend to be something or someone else to attract attention and to gain a hearing. His Kingdom life and Kingdom message were all that he presented. Some listened and followed and some did not.

        “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
        Isaiah 53:2.

        “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3

      • I deal with tattooed people day in and day out. The other day, I saw a woman with a curious tattoo – it looked like 1s and 0s both up and down and sideways.
        “Is that … Korean?” I asked her.
        She seemed surprised: “Why yes it is.”
        “What does it mean?”
        “It means faith – it’s from 1 Corinthians 13:13, ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.'”
        This woman was not some evil heathen out to get your order wrong and ruin your day – she was kind, polite, and patient; a believer in God if there ever was one. Her tattoo gave her an opening – something that wouldn’t have been there without it. I don’t see how that’s the worst thing, ever.

      • Again, people can justify just about anything they want to by saying, “It doesn’t hurt anyone else” or “It isn’t the worst thing ever” or “I’ve seen good people do the same thing.” These justifications are attempts to relativize anything as acceptable and therefore repeatable.

        Based on my above comments, I do not recommend tattoos of any kind and certainly not to remind yourself of love or Scripture or of your boyfriend or girlfriend or of yin and yang or of God knows what.

        Based on my post above, I am not judging people. People are hurting. For someone to justify tattooing a novelty on their skin could mean that their faith is only skin deep or that they needed to make a statement in ink that Christ said must come from the heart. I do not understand the logic, even from a worldly point of view, except as an attribution to paganism.

        “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor.

        It was always your choice. God looks on the heart and cares about the stewardship of His image and its becoming an act of worship to the One True God. Take care and choose wisely.

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