I had a wonderful experience at Little Chapel in Harrisburg Illinois this past Sunday night. I don’t know what it is about this community but they have always been so gracious to me and supportive. This was my 4th trip to speak there in the past few years and my first at Little Chapel. I have also met with the book club there which is always very enjoyable.
Don’t let the name fool you, Little Chapel is not little. It was a large modern church with an excellent praise band and a great facility. Pastor Ed Neoneon was a wonderful host and mentor. I have enjoyed getting to know him through some phone conversations and emails. He came up and prayed for me both before and after my talk. I find that so uplifiting when a pastor does that. I know all prayers are powerful but there is something special about being prayed for by a body of believers who are in agreement with the prayer. Special mention to my friend and former co-worker David Martin. David introduced his pastors to me and what I am trying to do and I am most grateful.
Regarding current events, I shared a quote with the congregation, here is part of that quote. The writer is speaking about the Christians living in ancient Rome and how Paul exhorted them:
Thus the apostle wrote to Chritians living in Rome, living in a culture every bit as decadent and depraved as our own, our television having become like their games, spectacles of eroticism and violence….
This latest killing by the movie producers son makes me think of that quote. How many of these monsters must we create before the culture at large sees the error of our current trajectory? How many have we already created that have not yet acted on their evil intentions.
Recognize something. This is not sickness, though the boy apparently had a condition. It is not a result of the gun or in this case the knife he used as a weapon. This is what evil looks like when it is given an open invitation to be a constant companion in a life.
The culture bombards these kids with filth and violence and this is the result. It’s not that Satan has a foothold in a young life, it is that he has established permanent residence with no let up. Like you, I ask, where are the parents? But this is so pervasive now…all you can do is arm the child with the sword, shield and helmet that Paul wrote about and pray with fervor that they hold fast to those when they are out of your sight.
And make no mistake. None of us are immune. Not now. Not in this culture. The escape for the Christian male television viewer used to be sports. But try watching a game now. Try and avoid the borderline pornography in a hamburger commercial for Pete’s sake! As for violence, any detective show or crime scene show now has as much profanity and violence as the worst R movie of ten years ago. Beloved this DOES have an affect on you. It does on me.
In my writing, it is so tempting to fall into the trap. “make this scene a little steamy” the voice says, “You will sell more books that way.” Or “Make this scene a little more bloody, it seems too mild the way it is now.”
That’s because we have all become so desensitized.
I’ve been listening to Dr. Ben Carson lately on his book tour. He has done a lot of radio interviews. His Mom took control of her two boys when he was young and only allowed two television programs a week. The rest of the time they had to read books. I am thinking Mrs. Carson may have been on to something. I’ve set a summer goal of reading one non-fiction and one fiction book a month this summer. Hard to do while writing another book myself. But so far I have read three in the month of May.
I’ll close with a reminder from Pilgrim’s Progress. The words belong to Hope and he is describing when he first had to confront his sin. It applies to all of us and what we let into our eternal souls through the window of our eyes:
“I endeavored, when my mind first began to be shaken by the Word, to shut mine eyes against the light thereof.”