April 6, 2003
They call it "SARS" – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – a mysterious illness, highly contagious but not as fatal as first thought. Having originated in the Guangdong Province of China, Hanoi and Hong Kong, it has, as of April 1st, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) spread to more than 70 reported cases here in the United States. Even still, eyebrows are being raised around the world as the numbers of infected grow at an alarming rate. SARS is even being blamed for further damaging an already fragile airline and travel industry fraught with bankruptcy, terrorist threats and a weakening world economy.
It's interesting to note people's reaction to this new epidemic. The response seems to vary from complete ignorance and apathy to the daily wearing of "protective" masks in public. It is apparently becoming chic in some areas to don one of these devices as evidenced by a photo I saw on the Drudge Report of two women, each dressed in masks you probably wouldn't find at a medical supply, drug store or health clinic. One had a gold Nike slash racing across a brassy brown background while the other bore the distinctive design of Louis Vuitton. Neither of course was surgical white or even form-fitted for that matter making me question their basic functionality. Heaven forbid we should wear something that might clash with our outfit! If death and disease are all around, at least let us shop in style and die with dignity, right? It's times like these that make the words of Ecclesiastes jump right off the page.
It speaks volumes to the flippancy with which we promenade through our condomized culture in search of self. I am reminded of a conversation I had with a homosexual many years ago where I tried desperately to help him see the dangers of HIV infection, only to be told: "If I can't experience 'love', I'd rather just die."
And so it is with sin – the greatest epidemic known to man. The response to its presence among us ALSO varies from ignorance and apathy to the wearing of "protective" masks in public. Some, like the two women in the photo, are more concerned with how they look amid the tragedy, than actually being protected and delivered from it. Others would rather just die than have to change their ways. "Don't ask me to alter my lifestyle or give up anything! Just show me what styles your condoms come in and I’m sure I'll be just fine." These are probably the same folks that rush out to buy duct tape and plastic under an orange alert.
Unfortunately, Home Depot doesn't sell anything for sin. However, to deny sin's existence or consequences is to ultimately surrender to it. Wearing a fashionable cross around your neck or a religious smile on your face won't protect you from its "wages" either -- anymore than a Louis Vuitton mask will protect you from SARS. Still, we look to these things for comfort and security. Why? Because in the 21st century, its vastly more important to LOOK good and FEEL good than BE good.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." – Romans 6:23
© 2003 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at [email protected]