We want so much to ask these days, "Where are the men?" That is, the men who don't invade the lives of women with their hands or voices. God knows His sons are sinners - all of us - most particularly in ways of pride, of putting ourselves first, somehow thinking the world was made for us to succeed, be noticed in, to have authority and leadership and power in - permitting us to do outrageous, invasive, indecent things to others.
Self-righteousness creeps in, even as we whisper off-handedly about the things we're hearing in the news. None of us has rights of self-righteousness. We are sinners, mercifully forgiven by a Lord who pled for us from the cross, "for they know not what they do."
Alas, it seems on reflection and in prayer, to be not just about individual people and their decisions and behavior. Something has happened to us as a society.
It was taking place courtesy of the sexual revolution of the 1960's, aided by high feminism, and a yearning in our society to leave all restraints behind, to have nothing that could hold us back. Our society experimented in "open" marriages. We saw less and less reason to restrain ourselves from sexual intercourse before marriage. We began to think that that deepest human expression was the privilege of everyone - even those still in their high school years.
We forgot the reasons for chastity before marriage. We made sexual relations a common thing in our minds and then of course, in our actions.
Soon, the whole idea of the sacred, the holy, was gone. It was all about pleasure - pleasing ourselves, fulfilling our own desires.
Why would not a sense of sexual play - in conversations, in roving eyes and hands, in forceful demand - grow in the mind, not just of men, but of our society?
As a culture we have unwittingly lost any sense of a framework in our common life, for morality, for decency, for a sense of right and wrong.
When did we lose it? How did it come about? Surely it was everyone's responsibility. But peculiarly and particularly, the responsibility of the church. We of the church have abdicated our responsibility - in the Name of God - to articulate and uphold a moral framework by which the whole society could know the limits and requirements of decent and thoughtful and humane behavior. We have stepped back from articulating these deep and delicate things in our common life.
These issues, of treating each other with respect and kindness, and love are part and parcel of the Good News of the Gospel. The parameters and privileges of a decent way of life are all described and taught in the Scriptures that are sacred to us.
But, we became afraid to talk about these things, of intimacy and thought and understanding.
Surely it is time to look again, deeply and humbly at these things of truth that are essential in our faith philosophy and now so desperately needed by the society we call our own.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES