August 18, 2011
A woman told me recently that she was “elated” over the news that her grand-daughter is going to have a baby. The prospective mother, fresh out of high school, is not married to the father of the children. They are not going to get married. They might not even live together.
A few doors down, another young couple is expecting a child. They aren’t married, either. In fact, the mother is still married to another man; and the father already has another out-of-wedlock child in another state. The neighbors were so elated, they threw a baby shower for the happy pair.
Meanwhile, the first girl’s grandmother faithfully goes to church every Sunday. She told me about a recent service that she enjoyed very much: they had a ballet dancer pirouetting up and down the aisle, followed by some really nice snacks after the benediction. Church is so entertaining, these days.
The second couple goes to church, too. I can’t speak for the pastor of their church, but the pastor of my former church once told me, “Adultery is no big deal.” So shut up and enjoy the hootchy-kootchy dancers and the juggler.
In this small neighborhood in question, anyone who’s young enough to have a baby has chosen to do so without benefit of marriage. This is not an effect of poverty; indeed, it’s a rather pricey neighborhood. But it will soon have an out-of-wedlock birth rate of 100%.
When did it become totally unreasonable to expect a man and a woman to get married before they had a child? Or even, forsooth, afterward? Why should providing a child with a stable home, with both a mother and a father, be so little valued? Why do young women so freely give themselves to men who will not marry them? Do they believe these studs who shun marriage will really and truly stick around for 18 years and help them raise the child?
(“Shh! The minister has just introduced the stand-up comic, and I don’t want to miss the jokes.”)
Parents of America, these are your children who are having all these out-of-wedlock babies. What did you teach them while they were growing up? Or did you teach them pretty much nothing at all, and leave all the teaching to the teachers’ unions at the public schools? And what the schools didn’t teach them, TV and the movies did.
Churches of America, this has happened on your watch. What were you watching—Gong Show re-runs? What have you taught your congregations? Or were you so busy entertaining them, that you just never got around to God’s Word?
What about the preacher who would rather have a stake pounded through his heart, than stand in the pulpit and tell the people, “God hates sin”? Oh, but the elders wouldn’t like it! Counting that collection money every Sunday, and counting the fannies in the pews, there might be some embarrassment if the figures show a decline.
Better play it safe. Tell amusing stories, avoid telling the people anything they might not want to hear, throw in a dance or two, and some Christian rock ‘n’ roll while you’re at it. Grow the church. Measure the preacher’s effectiveness by the money in the baskets every week.
What are we to make of the work of tens of thousands of churches in a country where Christian morality is melting faster than butter on a skillet?
In our modern world, only the family and the church stand between the individual and the all-devouring messianic state. Would-be rulers of the world have been gunning for the family and the church since the French Revolution. Today parents and preachers are putting the gun to their own heads and pulling the trigger. What Stalin and Mao couldn’t do by force, parents and preachers now do themselves.
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Beyond all doubt, growing up without a father is the biggest single predictor of problems later on in life. If nothing else, growing up with a mother and a father almost always teaches children how to handle it when it’s their turn to raise the next generation. The fact that there are, and always have been, a few bad parents proves only what we know already: human beings are sinners living in a fallen world. But for the most part the two-parent family is a blessing, and we discard it at our peril.
Why aren’t the churches talking about this? Why aren’t they shouting it from the housetops? Don’t the preachers see what’s happening to our culture? Have they been struck blind as well as dumb?
When God comes to judge the churches of America, all He’ll need to do is to look at the out-of-wedlock birth rate.
Guilty as charged. Case closed.
� 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com
E-Mail: [email protected]